The hype of cyberwarfare used to control the internet

Ryan Singel writing for Threat Level believes that the Cyberwar Hype Intended to Destroy the Open Internet

With the rise of the internet nation states have begun to lose control of their citizens and have introduced ever more draconian laws to try and claw some of that control back.

The War on Terror was framed as a Cold War for the 21st Century and a fog of fear was spread over the population but that fog gradually lifted as people realised that they were not at risk from Al Qaeda. Even when a nutcase tried to ignite explosives in his underpants on an aircraft and politicians and the news media spewed rhetoric about this dangerous new tactic of the terrorists and how something had to be done most people soon went back to their lives as if nothing happened.

The powers that be needed a new threat with which to control the people and the Chinese hacking of Google and others provided them the framing to do it.

Western civilisation is now under the peril of being destroyed by China in the form of computer hackers.

Google’s allegation that Chinese hackers infiltrated its Gmail servers and targeted Chinese dissidents proves the United States is “losing” the cyberwar, according to McConnell.

But that’s not warfare. That’s espionage.

We do not need as Mike McConnell to ‘reengineer the Internet to make attribution, geolocation, intelligence analysis and impact assessment — who did it, from where, why and what was the result — more manageable.’

The ‘Google hacking situation’ was first and foremost the infiltration of the servers of private industry not an attack on the United States itself. The IT security of American companies is an issue where the US government can be of assistance by offering advice or notifying of specific threats that they’ve become aware of, but not through monitoring and controlling the internet.

Reflections on the underwear bomber

Following Abdulmutallab’s failed attack there was predictable kneejerk response from the TSA with bizarre new rules concerning air travel

Bruce Schneier gives his opinion on airplane security following the recent Nigerian ‘underwear bomber’ incident.

And what sort of magical thinking is behind the rumored TSA rule about keeping passengers seated during the last hour of flight? Do we really think the terrorist won’t think of blowing up their improvised explosive devices during the first hour of flight?

For years I’ve been saying this:

Only two things have made flying safer [since 9/11]: the reinforcement of cockpit doors, and the fact that passengers know now to resist hijackers.

This week, the second one worked over Detroit. Security succeeded.

EDITED TO ADD (12/26): Only one carry on? No electronics for the first hour of flight? I wish that, just once, some terrorist would try something that you can only foil by upgrading the passengers to first class and giving them free drinks

I think that the ruling regarding keeping passengers seated during the last hour of flight seems idiotic at first glance but that it makes sense if you consider that any flights flying into the US are only in the jurisdiction of the TSA during the final stages before that it is someone else’s problem if a terrorist decides to strike.

Joel Johnson of Gizmodo believes it is time to fire the TSA.

The TSA isn’t saving lives. We, the passengers, are saving our own. Since its inception, the TSA has been structured in such a way as to prevent specific terror scenarios, attempting to disrupt a handful of insanely specific tactics, while continuing to disenfranchise and demoralize the citizens who are actually doing the work that a billion-dollar government agency—an agency that received an additional $128 million just this year for new checkpoint explosive screening technology—has failed to do.

He makes some good points but I think that the TSA and their equivalents in the UK only reflect the general tone set by our governments where the prevailing wind is to cover one’s ass and be seen to be doing something even if it is only theatre.

Because security breaks down in practice to the reality and the perception, modern politicians because are going to address the perception before the reality becuase making people feel mre secure will win votes.

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Nigerian man attempts to blow up Detroit flight

Nigerian Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab who is thought to have been a student in the UK is accused of trying to blow up a flight to Detroit.

Sources say a man burnt his leg trying to ignite explosives on the jet, which had 278 passengers and 11 crew aboard, but nobody else was seriously hurt.

In custody, the Nigerian suspect said he had been acting on behalf of al-Qaeda, a police source said.

Passengers from the flight describe what they saw during the incident

The police conducted a search of a London flat as part of the enquiry into the failed bombing attempt. Abdulmutallab was believed to have been a mechanical engineering student at UCL between September 2005 and June 2008 but a UCL spokesman has been unable to confirm whether it is the same individual as the man detained in the US.

Most intriguingly a Nigerian banker Alhaji Umaru Mutallab has said his 23-year-old son may be the man connected with the failed incident.

Mr Mutallab, the former minister and chairman of First Bank in Nigeria said his son left London where he was a student to travel “I believe he might have been to Yemen, but we are investigating to determine that.”

Jailed hacker gained control over prison computer

The Mirror reports that a jailed hacker was allowed to gain control over the prison computer hard drive. [via]

Slashdot says prison computer network was in the control of this hacker but the Mirror states that he had control of the hard drive and managed to lock everyone else out by password protecting it.

That’s two quite different things, but regardless it sounds like he didn’t do much harm. I’d be more concerned about the inmate that at the same jail managed to get a key cut that opened every door.

Phorm not dead but is looking terminal

ARS Technica reports that British Telecom the UK’s largest ISP have decided not to roll out the controversial Phorm system of targeted marketing.

In April of this year, however, the EC decided to open an infringement proceeding against Phorm and urged the UK to reform its privacy laws.

That brings us to today, with BT announcing that it remains interested in the technology but that it wants to allocate resources to “developing next-generation broadband and television services in the UK.”

Digital rights groups are pleased with the news. The Open Rights Group described the move as “the right decision for BT and other online providers who respect privacy,” and urged other UK ISPs to follow BT’s lead in dropping Phorm. Another group, No Deep Packet Inspection, said that “Phorm’s House of Cards is falling” as the company’s stock continues to drop following the BT announcement.

BT’s association with Phorm was one of the reasons that I decided to take my business elsewhere and sign up with a different Internet Service Provider.