Obama calls for comprehensive cyber-security measures; looks for a national cyber ninja

Obama calls for comprehensive cyber-security measures; looks for a national cyber ninja

Summary: Update: It would seem that Richard Stiennon agrees with me on the concept of a group of experts to advise, also on keeping away from spending ridiculous amounts of money.Cyber-terrorism...

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TOPICS: Security
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Barak ObamaUpdate: It would seem that Richard Stiennon agrees with me on the concept of a group of experts to advise, also on keeping away from spending ridiculous amounts of money.

Cyber-terrorism... ah, what a fancy buzz word that is. Defined on Wikipedia as:

“The premeditated use of disruptive activities, or the threat thereof, against computers and/or networks, with the intention to cause harm or further social, ideological, religious, political or similar objectives. Or to intimidate any person in furtherance of such objectives.”

Besides being a buzz word, it is fast becoming a major point in the presidential race, with Democrat Barack Obama blasting the Bush administration's plan to counter the cyber-terror threat (see LA Times article) and Republican John McCain also chiming in on the subject. JR Raphael, from TechNewsWorld, wrote:

The presidential campaign is turning a focus to cyberterrorism. Democrat Barack Obama has unveiled plans for a "national cyber advisor" position as well as updated standards for protecting computer-based infrastructures if he is elected. John McCain, the presumptive Republican nominee, has spoken of the need for increased cyber security in recent weeks as well.

Sweet! I nominate myself. Barak, give me a call, I can be the cyber czar you're looking for.

Seriously though, these positions have been created and filled before, what we really need is to create a panel of security experts and government officials that can make educated decisions. I could go on to nominations, but that could get controversial. I'm sure we can all think of top researchers, C-level people, Partners, etc. that would fit this group well. Back to the story:

Already this year, the current administration has increased its efforts to protect America from Internet-based attacks, with plans for a US$30 billion effort to expand federal network monitoring over the next seven years -- but Obama, taking the strongest stand on the issue, insists it's not enough.

Speaking at Purdue University on Wednesday, Obama said he intended to make cyber security a "top priority," with an advisor reporting directly to him rather than to the Department of Homeland Security .

"I'll bring together government, industry and academia to determine the best ways to guard the infrastructure that supports our power," Obama stated.

Wonderful! So like I said, a panel of top researchers, C-level folks, partners, etc...

Back to Mr. Obama:

"We need to prevent terrorists or spies from hacking into our national security networks. We need to build the capacity to identify, isolate and respond to any cyber attack. And we need to develop new standards for the cyber security that protects our most important infrastructure -- from electrical grids to sewage systems, from air traffic control to our markets," he continued.

Spot on, but we also need to create a group that helps government officials make wise choices on matters. No one wants to see another "researched leads to blowing up a SCADA device" on CNN. To that matter, lets make sure we spend sometime protecting SCADA networks as well. Back to JR Raphael's story:

McCain also has touched on the subject in speeches this month. During a talk in Indianapolis on July 1, he said the nation needs to spend far more money on cyber-security and high-tech protection.

"In this new century, and especially with the threat of terrorist attacks, every state, local and federal agency concerned with public safety should have access to a shared repository of information," McCain stated. "In the case of any suspected terrorist, we must make certain that law enforcement knows who they are, where they are, and what they're up to."

Good, so maybe either candidate will be able to get their hands around this problem. Somehow I personally feel that Obama is going to be the candidate that puts more effort into this. He's been more outspoken on the matter, plus, I could almost see Mr. Obama on Twitter, twitting away, being concerned about getting hacked... again. In any case, this is something our country does need to put more effort into, but let's do it in a smart way. I've commented on this before, and I hope to see major change, it'd be nice to prevent things like Hacking the Vote, Hacking SCADA, etc.

Mr. Future President, while you're at it, could you also do something about all of the civil liberties we're losing because of the 'war on terrorism'? That'd be great. Thanks!

-Nate

Topic: Security

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  • Liberties

    "Mr. Future President, while you?re at it, could you also do something about all of the civil liberties we?re losing because of the ?war on terrorism?? That?d be great. Thanks!"

    that is the point of Cyber Czar - censor what is on the internet, whom you talk to,terrorism is not the issue...freedom of speech is
    Monosdeja
    • Possibly

      Depends on the spin... I'm an optimist.
      nmcfeters
    • civil liberties vs cyber-terrorism

      Since we're talking about cyber-security. IMO, it is possible to make a network more secure from terrorist attacks without limiting civil liberties. They do not need to monitor the email content of American citizens in order to make sure our important networks are not compromised. In fact, they should not need to monitor communications of everyday American citizens at all for any reason.

      Sure, let's keep track of suspected terrorists, but don't do it without checks and balances in place, and leave the rest of us alone. This isn't what they are doing, unfortunately. Congressional and Judicial oversight are nearly non-existent with the current laws and recent investigations by the GAO have shown widespread abuse of the power granted to the Executive branch. Our civil liberties are being trampled on and this is what needs to change.

      Our sons, daughters, friends, and relatives are fighting and dying to protect our freedoms and way of life. Meanwhile, our idiot government is eliminating those freedoms one by one. I even saw the morons in power trying to label music file sharing as a terrorist activity. Talk about absolutely proving beyond a doubt how stupid they are, that one took the cake.

      It seems to me that the terrorists have already won a major battle by forcing the frightened old farts in the capitol to rework our laws to drastically reduce the freedoms of every American.

      The reality is, the terrorists have now changed our way of life to be more like theirs. As American citizens, we now have to monitor our open discussions in fear of being falsely labeled a terrorist by those in power. We now know there is the possibility of being thrown into Guantanamo without a trial based on an opinion you express. I saw a news report showing that this has happened to at least one innocent person (probably a lot more) who has been held there for years with no trial.

      In a nutshell, our Freedom of Speech is compromised. The government monitors, censors, and even holds dissenters without trial. Opinions opposing our government's insane actions are now expressed nervously and carefully worded.

      In my opinion, fearing your own government is NOT the sign of a healthy democracy or a free society and the idiots in power only seem to be pushing us further along the path away from our freedoms.

      I certainly hope somebody with a brain gets elected soon and reigns in our slow decent toward totalitarianism. Getting somebody with more intelligence, less fear, and a better level of technological understanding would help this country a lot. The old farts currently in power seem to lack all of those. Right now, they are only worried about pleasing their corporate sponsors to keep their cash and power flowing in.
      BillDem
  • Just Lip-Service

    Hi Nathan

    I think it's just lip-service, typical election-year follies that will get forgotten about in lieu of the Iraq war.

    What will it take to improve security? 3 things:
    #1 Change the culture of Government so that people can talk freely about the problems that they have.
    #2 Give up on the compliance angle, take the accountants mostly out of the picture, and have real security leaders in charge with the responsibility and the authority to get the job done.
    #3 Grow the size of the security staffing pool so that you don't have to use people from other disciplines to compensate for the lack of security staff.
    rybolov
    • Isn't it all though?

      That's the problem with politics in America. You hear so many lies, you don't know what to expect. That's why we do crazy things like vote for the Governator... I mean, why not? What's the difference? If he lies to us, he's know worse than the previous guy, so why not get a guy that can travel through time and kick liquid metal robot butt?

      Too many lobbyists.

      -Nate
      nmcfeters
  • RE: Obama calls for comprehensive cyber-security measures; looks for a national cyber ninja

    that is a bit to much for the government to do.
    lol
    need abut 5 or 6 more Bureaucracy and hundreds of commities to over see such

    if only what ya suggest would come true :)
    Monosdeja
  • RE: Obama calls for comprehensive cyber-security measures; looks for a national cyber ninja

    "Already this year, the current administration has increased its efforts to protect America from Internet-based attacks, with plans for a US$30 billion effort to expand federal network monitoring over the next seven years ??? but Obama, taking the strongest stand on the issue, insists it???s not enough."

    Great, so we will be having unwarranted government search-and-seizures into our COMPUTERS?

    I consider my computer as not only PRIVATE property, but also part of my LIVING ROOM, en extention of my HOUSE. Last I heard, police and other agencies MUST present me with a WARRANT, which they must get from a Juidge, for GOOD reason, before that can set a foot one inch into my house.

    The same goes for my COMPUTER... I want NO gernment agencies peddling around in my PC under the auspices of "Anti Terrorism"-

    The RI/MPAA would just get that turned around to obtain some legal way to get into my computer without Warrant. They already tried to do it in Sweden with Pirate bay and got told to go to Blazes, but here, they may succeed.
    XweAponX
    • Privacy

      By sending anything on the internet, you have opted to allow the LACK of privacy. Nothing sent over the net is. Now, unless someone can come up with a new data mechanism, you've had it. Secure data does not exist. Sorry!
      bgurman45@...
  • RE: Obama calls for comprehensive cyber-security measures; looks for a national cyber ninja

    Fascinating. I'm unfortunately not with you on this one Nate - I'm skeptical. In an election year candidates tell us anything we think we want to hear - and we all know Obama has been trying to cater to the "younger and more aware" crowd... so naturally he picks a hot topic that would get us going to vote for him.

    I'm willing to bet that once he's president this cyber-security issue will be pushed further into a useless, overly bloated bureaucracy with too much to do, too little money, too little knowledge and a perfect recipe for *another* "big government" failure.

    So sad.
    Rafal.Los (RX8volution)