CyberWar

Today Rob Rosenberger wrote about Vonage and 911. VoIP companies allow you to use the phone from anywhere in the world, as such 911 operators would be unable to ascertain your true location in case of emergency. Further, the VoIP phone must be configured to dial the correct local office. Of then this does not happen. The call goes somewhere else or to the local sheriff instead of the 911 center. Capitalism has managed to do what terrorists have not yet done. Weaken the 911 system. There are fears that VoIP could also be used to launch untraceable telemarketing calls that will make the phone system oversaturated.
In his article, Rosenberger links to an old article in which he quotes Michael Caloyannides as saying that capitalism is the Internet’s worst enemy. Since Michael is a Senior Fellow where I work and is the head of the Infosec Board for the company (I am also a member of this board) I thought it interesting to look at further.
The quote is:
“‘While the Internet was originally designed and configured to be survivable, its transformation to a commercial entity has caused it to become economically efficient at the expense of no longer being anywhere near as survivable.’ ” Rosenberger oversimplifies this quote in his summery that Caloyannides blames capitalism for the pending demise of the Internet.
Rosenberger is quoting from a Computerworld article but I think he missed some other interesting quotes.
His quote: 1. “The skills required to launch a strategic cyberattack with devastating economic consequences are far different from what terrorists have focused on in the past. However the interest remains very vulnerable to serious disruptions including those focusing on dns root servers, bgp routers and various single points of failure.”
My reply: I have seen it postulated that there are three or so places in the United States where the majority of traffic passes. These routers could be taken out with a truckbomb or other physical means of attack. That would be within their current skill set. It is also possible that Al Quida has enough money to hire mercenary hackers from Germany, the Eastern Block, Russia, China or North Korea. Boy, I’m starting to sound like Richard Clarke. Doh!
2. “”While the Internet was originally designed and configured to be survivable, its transformation to a commercial entity has caused it to become economically efficient at the expense of no longer being anywhere near as survivable,” said Caloyannides. ”
my reply: I agree with this. You once heard about how the Internet was designed to survive a nuclear blast, what with multiple paths etc. Now days the economic interest has trumped the security interest.
3. He said any such attack launched by al-Qaeda or in direct support of al-Qaeda could have a significant impact on the Bush administration’s war on terrorism. In particular, Caloyannides warned of potentially dire consequences for any nation that knowingly allows such an attack to be launched from systems and networks within its borders. “Any country that allows its territory to be used for a massive Internet attack on the U.S. may want to think twice of the likely consequences,” he said.
my reply: Rosenberger recently ran a poll asking if we as U.S. citizens would support invading a country which was tied to a debilitating cyberattack. I really doubt that would happen. Even if it crippled the economy. When a “massive Internet attack” it will not some from the axis of evil. It will come from unsecured unlicensed Windows computers in Korea.