Cyberwarfare: The Next Battleground
Friday, May 30, 2008 2:19:43 AM
The attacks lasted for four days and West Point came out the “winner”. The exercise shows the toolkit that the NSA has for infiltrating, corrupting and bringing down networks. The NSA is also the agency that is monitoring all telecommunications traffic that comes into and goes out of the United States.
It's nice to know that someone is watching for terrorist activities, but it goes beyond terrorist surveillance. Telecommunications companies have come under attack by concerned citizens with class-action lawsuits for handing over to the federal government, without a warrant, telephone, email and other telecommunications records. Congress has been asked by the president to grant full immunity to the telecommunications companies retroactively.
Now the Air Force, according to a recent report from Wired Magazine, wants “a suite of hacker tools, to give it "access" to -- and “full control” of -- any kind of computer there is. And once the info warriors are in, the Air Force wants them to keep tabs on their "adversaries' information infrastructure completely undetected.”
This, in my opinion, is a double edged sword. Again, it is comforting to know that the federal government is keeping an eye on possible terrorist activities. As we all know, the Internet can be a dangerous place, but this type of warfare is very scary. Now we know that there is unwarranted surveillance on American citizens. But what really frightens me is the following remark from a recent Defense Department note.
"An adversary needs to know that the U.S. possesses powerful hard and soft-kill (cyberwarfare) means for attacking adversary information and command and support systems at all levels," a recent Defense Department report notes. "Every potential adversary, from nation states to rogue individuals... should be compelled to consider... an attack on U.S. systems resulting in highly undesireable consequences to their own security."
Now just who would the Air Force (read: government) consider a “rogue individual”? Maybe a blogger writing unpopular things about the government? They could bring down his web site. Maybe an artist who makes politically incorrect art? Again, they could bring down the web site or destroy the network that is hosting such sites.
And just what does "attack on U.S. systems" really mean? Computer systems or our governmental systems like law enforcement, the military, Congress or even the Presidency? It is said that “the pen is mightier than the sword”, so would words against governmental agencies classify as an “attack on U.S. systems”?
Granted, we are in times where we need safeguards in this country, but we should also think about what the government is doing to erode our Constitutional rights, like giving retroactive immunity to telecommunications companies who gave up your and my information without a warrant. This is something that none of us should tolerate.
This type of action goes beyond terrorism from outside the United States and it has everything to do with our civil liberties. Remember the Alabama state motto:
We Dare Defend Our Rights.
My time is up; I thank you for yours.