- Internet & the Web
The Impossibility of Cyber Security
General George Patton said that fixed fortifications were a monument to man's stupidity. Although he was talking about physical obstacles, his observation remains just as relevant today.
No matter how up to date we make our computer firewalls, our enemies (and make no mistake about it, they are our enemies) will always find a breech. Thus far, our enemies (and even some of our allies) have just been sniffing around. If they were able to crack through and grab sensitive information -- particularly about our defense capabilities, this would be a serious fissure in our national security.
We can put out stern warnings, e.g.:
Any individual or any group attempting to disrupt the national security of the United States will be seized, imprisoned and prosecuted to the full extent of the law.
The probability with such a threat is that the perpetrator would probably prefer a long jail sentence in the US as opposed to what he/she might face in their own nation.
Nosing around into our defense apparatus is not a joke, and the repercussions need to be severe.
We also need to do more offensively to counter-act these incessant probings into the public or private sector. Since cyber warefare is an entirely new field, we ought to play fire with fire. The Israelis recently announced that they have the capability of taking down an entire power grid. If true, we should try to obtain this technology.
America will need all the intelligence that the NSA and other agencies can muster to pinpoint a specific hacker and remove him as a threat. (Russia would use a poison pill.) If we can tie the hacker to a specific country or alliance, then we must make a raid on their own safeguard capabilities. A nice demonstration would be to realign their surface-to-air missiles so that they are rotated in the opposite direction.
This is how future power plays in world politics are destined to evolve. Since the technological advantage the US has held for decades is based more on hardware (unmaned drones), we must regain the necessary edge in the field of cyber infiltration -- at whatever cost. If the intelligence community isn't doing it already, I suggest they flood our servers with mis-information then follow the trail of the hacker. If aligned with a foreign country's military, the US has no alternative but to eliminate this threat. We are going to be either ruthlessly aggressive in this campaign or declare ourselves neutral (like the Swiss) in world matters and watch all semblance of the "american way of life" go down the tubes. If America maintains a group of its own hackers (which it probably has assembled already), they will have a huge responsibility.
We hold no special advantage. We cannot assume our hackers are better than those of the enemy. The country must accept the probability that it's inner-most secrets will be probed from someone outside our security aparatus. In this case the best defense is a strong offense. The US must demonstrate that it too has the capability of disrupting a hostile country's infrastructure. These skills must be honed down to a fine point so that if/when a full-scale cyber-attack should occur, we would have some assurance that our own team could dish it out as well as we receive it. Technically, a full-scale attack on our public and private apparatus should be taken as a preemtive strike. The pressure on those commanding these posts who have the authority of launching a full counter-strike via conventional weapons would be extreme.
The idea of a push-button war that began somewhere admid the Cold War with the Soviet Union now has taken on a much greater meaning and consequent responsibility.