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Xeni Jardin at 3:43 pm Mon, Jan 28, 2013
Hmmm…”cyber security” or perhaps more “cyber assault”
“I feel safer already.”
– PFC William Hudson, Colonial Marines
It’s cool, most of them are just playing Minecraft anyway.
Its all fun and games till some kid in China gets on their server and lets the lava loose…
Maybe Anonymous is looking for work.
If the CIA only read The Mythical Man-Month….
There is such a diversity of skill levels in IT I can’t help but fear that the best of the best are not signing up for Pentagon duty.
So… actually? The DoD seems to do pretty well for themselves on that, from my experience. I think it might be because they’re using the same general production standards for code that they use for everything else they do R&D on (submarines, airplanes, bombs, etc..). There’s not really a lot of fuck-up room on those, so their development cycles tend to involve a lot of collaboration and a *lot* of checks and tests. There’s not really the work environment that could support the sort of stuff that shows up on daily-WTF.
(Oh… and since it’s notoriously hard to get profit-oriented industry companies to focus on security issues, often the best of the best in security *do* head out for defense industry jobs. Makes sense from etymological perspective too :-p )
They need all those people, because they’ve discovered that the only information safe from cyber-warfare techniques is written on paper with a #2 pencil.
Then locked in a secure cabinet without letting anyone else read it.
And the file cabinet is in a no longer used room in the basement. There’s a sign on the door. Something about beware of leopards.
I would have thought “immobile computer that has no hardware to connect to any network in a high-security building” might work, too.
Because those 4,000 new employees are going to help figure out its mission. DUH.
The fact that they are using the term “Cyber” tells me how out of touch and ineffective this branch is likely to be. I wonder if any of these operatives cringe when their superiors tell then to attack “CyberSpace” or to put a roadblock on the “Information Super Highway”.
This sounds like more of a PR war against natives than anything else. “See how safe you are? Nothing to see here, don’t worry, your tax dollars at work protecting you from more invisible threats!”
So… this is the danger of being the first in the field; the name you pick might go out of fashion someday. But as a grad student who works with CS security researchers, no one I know cringes at the government’s cyber-security work.
The problem is that not just our information and recreation sources are ending up connected to the network, but our infrastructure is too: power, defense, navigation, transportation, all communication. And as we all know, anything connected to the network is vulnerable. Remember how the stuxnet worm was designed to attack iran’s nuclear facilities? It’s not like iran is the only place that can be targeted like that. So, the pentagon has started looking into what we can do to protect ourselves. And because there is an incredibly diverse set of vulnerabilities, and new ones popping up with every technological advance (smart grid anyone?), it’s going to take a lot of people working on a lot of problems to do it right. Not every step we take towards national defense is ridiculous, some are kinda important.
Well, one lesson they could take from that movie Skyfall is [SPOILER] when you’re holding a world-class superhacker prisoner, make sure that the containment cell he’s in is secured with a padlock instead of a networked electronic device.