Cyber-Terror Scam: Problem-Reaction-Solution
J. Orlin Grabbe whose web site is one of my favorite sources of news (he updates it daily) was the first to call the current cyberterrorism scare what it is: another Clinton administration scam to expand government control.
Grabbe's expertise on money flows (the key to understanding government corruption) and other essential topics like encryption makes him one of the most useful news analysts today. Note how he combines this issue with what is going in banking. His comments are short and to the point and he frequently leaves it to the propagandists to hang themselves with their own stories.
(Note: Anyone reading a little about counterinsurgency will quickly discover that all of the odd things going in our country are classic, textbook counterinsurgency tactics. Basically, to control a conquered nation you must deny the right to secure communications, expand the presence of the police and military, criminalize as many common activities as possible, and closely monitor cash flows so you can identify targets to loot as well as potential resistance groups.
This graphic by John Heartfield sums up the basic strategy by which all this is sold to the public:
Here's Grabbe's latest:
"Police the Internet! To Save You We Must Be in Charge of Your Data! Massive government propaganda campaign underway aided by the TV networks."
WASHINGTON - President Bill Clinton convened some of the top Internet executives in the United States on Tuesday in a determined search for responses to the sort of electronic vandalism that last week brought several of the largest on-line sites to a halt.
Meanwhile, law enforcement authorities appeared to be making headway in their investigation of the attacks, identifying hackers who might have knowledge of the unprecedented assault.
Mr. Clinton tried to sound a calming note about what had been the gravest round of Internet attacks in the brief history of the vast electronic network.
The assaults were not an ''electronic Pearl Harbor,'' he said in the White House Cabinet Room, evoking a specter raised four years ago by government experts. The burgeoning electronic commerce supported by the Internet, Mr. Clinton added, was not threatened.
''I don't think we should leave here with this vast sense of insecurity,'' Mr. Clinton said. ''We ought to leave here with a sense of confidence that this is a challenge that was entirely predictable. It's part of the price of the success of the Internet.''
The 20 industry representatives at the meeting included top executives from Intel Corp., MCI Worldcom, E-Trade Group, Yahoo, IBM and America Online, as well as computer specialists from academia. U.S. national security experts also attended the meeting.
Authorities last week launched a wide-ranging investigation of the attacks on sites including, E*Trade and eBay, which were temporarily disabled when computer vandals flooded them with huge amounts of data sent simultaneously from thousands of computers that had been remotely activated. Such a cyberassault is referred to as a ''denial of service,'' or DOS, attack.
DOS attacks are not uncommon and are one of the lowest-tech forms of hacking, but last week's were the largest ever experienced and caused temporary pandemonium at the affected sites.
But the FBI on Tuesday was seeking to question several hackers in connection with the attacks last week, The Washington Post reported.
One, who uses the on-line nickname ''Coolio,'' lives in the United States, The Post said. A second allegedly is a Canadian teen known as ''mafiaboy''; the third is a male who allegedly ''confessed'' to a staff member of the popular security site,
Meanwhile, federal agents have seized a computer in Portland, Oregon, that purportedly was used in the attacks, The Associated Press reported.
Authorities in Canada have joined the investigation. The Globe and Mail newspaper in Toronto reported that the Royal Canadian Mounted Police was checking whether Canadian computers had been used in an attack.
The FBI also has sought to interview a 20-year-old computer programmer from Hannover, Germany, who created a DOS program, security experts said.
The White House, in calling the meeting Tuesday - actually moving up a meeting that originally was to have focused on the cyberterrorism threat - hoped to bring many of the world's leading Internet minds to bear on a problem that potentially threatens them all.
Mr. Clinton said that keeping the Internet ''open and free'' was above all the job of the private sector. The free-wheeling Web had evolved without heavy-handed government involvement, he said, and should continue on that path. ''Insofar as we can,'' he said, ''we ought to stay with what brought us here.''
The executives, and analysts contacted separately, supported that approach. They favored a voluntary, industry-led program to promote a systematic sharing of information on Internet attacks and defenses. ''The private sector will always have a far better grasp of what to do about such problems,'' said Michael Moynihan, a senior fellow for international communications at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington.
Balancing security, privacy and the interests and secrets of highly competitive companies dependent on the Internet will pose challenges.
Computer experts at a network of large financial institutions received detailed warnings of impending threats days before last week's attacks and were able to prepare for them. But they did not alert law enforcement agencies because of an unusual security arrangement formed with government encouragement, The Associated Press reported.
To encourage the companies' participation, the Treasury Department had told them that information disclosed within the network would not have to be turned over to law enforcement.
Protection against cyberattack has become vital as the use of the Internet - and assaults on it - have burgeoned. As many as 1 billion people are expected to use the Internet by 2005, by some estimates. At the same time, hackers have developed a growing array of weaponry, from so-called logic bombs to worms and viruses.
But Mr. Moynihan was far from gloomy about the longer-term outlook, even after last week's attacks. ''The upshot of all this,'' he said, ''is that we'll have a more secure Internet.''
International Herald Tribune, February 16, 2000


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