[LINK] U.S. Plans for Cyber Warfare

Chirgwin, Richard Richard.Chirgwin@informa.com.au
Thu, 13 Feb 2003 12:18:52 +1000


David,

>    Australian utilities may not be directly connected to the 
> Internet, but lots of organisations and government 
> departments are.  

Yeah. I remember a complaint from an Asimov story ... "you want a doorstop,
they tell you to buy a robot with a big foot". The Internet got a bit like
that - a bunch of ignorant duffs were taught that "this is the only medium
for computer communications". So if we want to connect DFAT Canberra and
DFAT Sydney, the Internet must be way to do it, right?

> And of course even point-to-point circuits 
> can be, and are, monitored.  I think many utilities actually 
> make use of microwave connections, which aren't so secure either.

Good point, but at cross-purposes. I didn't say these couldn't be attacked,
I said they weren't connected over the Internet - in direct response to the
assertion that the Internet could be the attack medium (for eg) for a power
station. (Only in two places, cloud cuckoo land and America. Or is that one
place?)

Yes, circuits and microwave links are vulnerable, but it's a little more
difficult than pointing DoS attacks at a bunch of routers. Thank heavens for
boring engineers. 

Firewalls of European origin ... StoneSoft is the only one I can think of,
offhand (Danish). As an EX-CheckPoint partner (broke up in acrimony) they've
probably written their own software and everything!

Richard Chirgwin

> -----Original Message-----
> From: David Lochrin [mailto:dlochrin@dot.net.au]
> Sent: Thursday, 13 February 2003 10:49
> To: Brenda Aynsley
> Cc: Tom Worthington; Link
> Subject: Re: [LINK] U.S. Plans for Cyber Warfare 
> 
> 
> At 8/02/03 10:13, Brenda Aynsley wrote:
> >FYI ... U.S. Plans for Cyber Warfare 08:50 AM Feb. 07, 2003 PT... 
> >WASHINGTON -- President Bush has ordered the government to draw up 
> >guidelines for electronic attacks against enemy computer networks... 
> >http://www.wired.com/news/conflict/0,2100,57591,00.html?tw=wn_ascii
> 
>    Now who still believes that proprietary software from US 
> suppliers is free of back doors and surveillance tools?  When 
> Microsoft rummages around your computer in the process of 
> "installing a live update" I wonder what else it might do?  I 
> can't imagine the US National Security Agency hasn't been to 
> see Microsoft, Symantec, ZoneLabs and other suppliers of 
> widely used "free" software.
> 
>    Australian utilities may not be directly connected to the 
> Internet, but lots of organisations and government 
> departments are.  And of course even point-to-point circuits 
> can be, and are, monitored.  I think many utilities actually 
> make use of microwave connections, which aren't so secure either.
> 
>    It seems that an interesting political and cultural 
> division may be forming between Europe and the US.  I wonder 
> whether this may mean an independent IT&C industry forms 
> there?  Now where can I buy a firewall of European origin?
> 
>    Given the choice of living in an Australia which is 
> effectively another state of the US or moving to Europe, I'll 
> take the latter.  Unfortunately I think I'm one generation 
> too far removed from an EEC passport......
> 
> David Lochrin
> 
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