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Spleen Venting. Take Cover.

OK, I can't believe I'm reading this in the NYT in 2012. It's on par with Internets Toobz. I can't believe this person was the head of U.S. Cybersecurity. Until I look at what the years were where he served in that capacity. Right in the middle of the "mendacious clown" era of recent U.S. history.

Here's Richard A. Clarke's solution to the theft of valuable corporate data by foreign states and non-states actors:

Under Customs authority, the Department of Homeland Security could inspect what enters and exits the United States in cyberspace. Customs already looks online for child pornography crossing our virtual borders. And under the Intelligence Act, the president could issue a finding that would authorize agencies to scan Internet traffic outside the United States and seize sensitive files stolen from within our borders.

And this does not have to endanger citizens’ privacy rights. Indeed, Mr. Obama could build in protections like appointing an empowered privacy advocate who could stop abuses or any activity that went beyond halting the theft of important files.


Real, successful "cybertheft" (and for that matter, child pornography distribution) is performed over P2P-styled VPNS and has been for years. They are generally supported by a double-blind encryption mechanism and are highly resistent to any method of subversion via man-in-the-middle attacks. That you could go "steal back" files from this virtual space is a bizarre claim for Mr. Clarke to make. Even his nation's own State Department (and anyone who has worked with the DoS knows, they are always a decade behind the times in terms of technology) has gone on record for supporting such networks (E.G. The Tor Project) for their use in support of human rights communications across hostile packet switching networks (like the Iranian PTT).

Or to use an analogy the people Mr. Clarke would like to speak to could understand, there is no "where" to put your monitoring equipment in. There is no wire to tap. A "file" is not an object on the 'net, it's a series of packets, and even if unprotected by VPNs, a hacker worth half his salt can make it look like any other HTTPS or SSL traffic. Which means (unless the hacker makes some stupid mistakes) you can't distinguish a file theft from a bank transaction from any other encrypted stream.

Except in one place: at the point of attack. But installing mandatory monitoring, shutdown and disclosure equipment on corporate servers could only be accomplished by Government Mandate. In other words, REGULATION. The one thing corporo-republican bozos like Mr. Clarke are totally allergic to.

So instead of letting the government give tax breaks to the poor and middle class or support them with something useful like education or health care, this representative of the Mil-Int complex wants to further drain USG resources to empower private corporations to go on cyber phishing trips in foreign countries with a vague mandate of attacking people who have a proven record of using your own tools against you.

Not very bright, Mr. Clarke, to make such a transparent money-grab on the Op-Ed pages of the U.S.'s pre-eminent newspaper. I'd like to credit stupidity not evil in this, but we've just had too much stupid to buy it any more.

Comments

( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
peadarog
Apr. 3rd, 2012 03:26 pm (UTC)
I would love to giggle, except our own *current* ministers are still just as clueless.
barry_king
Apr. 3rd, 2012 03:44 pm (UTC)
Well, perhaps the current bunch are a bit less clueless. And it's understandable that someone who makes policy might not have a fully-formed grasp of the technology.

But this jackass is part of the same band of politicos that are always stuffing deregulation and free markets down our throats. The same band who let the banks go on a rampant orgy of greed and who keep hijacking their country and crashing it into the middle east.

But the REALLY sinister part is how they want to direct all their spying and enforcement outside of the country, which by their jingo-hodrod legal system which gives no inalienable rights to non-americans means that they ignore sovereignty whenever it bloody well pleases them.

Not that their worst enemies (and worst friends) don't do the same, but at least they could have the decency to quit pretending to themselves and everyone else that they're a bastion for human rights and democracy.

Hmm.... Guess who woke up on the wrong side of the bed this morning? Yes, Mr. Cranky-pants did indeed.
peadarog
Apr. 3rd, 2012 03:46 pm (UTC)
Man, you need to change those pants quickly! ;p
barry_king
Apr. 3rd, 2012 03:56 pm (UTC)
Yes, I seem to be staging my "extreme rendition*", don't I?

*I always thought that sounded kind of like Marilyn Manson covering "Personal Jesus", or Paul Anka doing "Black Hole Sun"

( 4 comments — Leave a comment )