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Cyberattacks Reanimate CISPA, Spark Move by Obama

Posted February 09, 2013 11:10 AM

From CNET News:

With recent news of cyberspying and hacks, legislators plan to bring back the controversial Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act, and the president plans to issue an executive order on cybersecurity, say reports.

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#1

Re: Cyberattacks Reanimate CISPA, Spark Move by Obama

02/10/2013 5:56 PM

It was inevitable.

From the article: "The recent reports of cyberespionage against The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and The Washington Post, however, along with attacks on the Federal Reserve's Web site and on several U.S. banks -- not to mention comments about an imminent "cyber 9/11" -- have brought the issue back to the fore."

and

"'The order,' Bloomberg said, would create a 'voluntary program of cybersecurity standards for companies operating vital U.S. infrastructure.' It also 'directs federal agencies to consider incorporating the cybersecurity standards into existing regulations [and]...directs the government to share more information about computer threats with the private sector and issue more security clearances allowing industry representatives to receive classified information.'

"Obama-backed legislation involving voluntary cybersecurity standards for companies died in the Senate last year, with Republicans and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce saying it would be ineffective and would create de facto rules that would slow down business, Bloomberg noted.

"Critics of the different proposed cybersecurity measures are concerned that increased cooperation between Internet businesses and U.S. intelligence agencies could erode user privacy. And some have gone so far as to say that hasty regulation of things like the Denial of Service attacks used against U.S. banks could hamper legitimate forms of protest."

But in a related article,

"Revealed: NSA targeting domestic computer systems in secret test

The National Security Agency's Perfect Citizen program hunts for vulnerabilities in 'large-scale' utilities, including power grid and gas pipeline controllers, new documents from EPIC show."

and

"An NSA spokeswoman responded to CNET at the time by saying that Perfect Citizen is 'purely a vulnerabilities assessment and capabilities development contract" that "does not involve the monitoring of communications or the placement of sensors on utility company systems.'

Marc Rotenberg, EPIC's executive director, said that the newly declassified documents 'may help disprove' the NSA's argument that Perfect Citizen doesn't involve monitoring private networks."

But whether Perfect Citizen does or does not monitor private networks is largely immaterial because Perfect Citizen isn't the only game in NSA Town. There are others.

From Wired:

"Under construction by contractors with top-secret clearances, the blandly named Utah Data Center is being built for the National Security Agency. A project of immense secrecy, it is the final piece in a complex puzzle assembled over the past decade. Its purpose: to intercept, decipher, analyze, and store vast swaths of the world's communications as they zap down from satellites and zip through the underground and undersea cables of international, foreign, and domestic networks. The heavily fortified $2 billion center should be up and running in September 2013. Flowing through its servers and routers and stored in near-bottomless databases will be all forms of communication, including the complete contents of private emails, cell phone calls, and Google searches, as well as all sorts of personal data trails-parking receipts, travel itineraries, bookstore purchases, and other digital "pocket litter." It is, in some measure, the realization of the 'total information awareness' program created during the first term of the Bush administration-an effort that was killed by Congress in 2003 after it caused an outcry over its potential for invading Americans' privacy.

"But 'this is more than just a data center,' says one senior intelligence official who until recently was involved with the program. The mammoth Bluffdale center will have another important and far more secret role that until now has gone unrevealed. It is also critical, he says, for breaking codes. And code-breaking is crucial, because much of the data that the center will handle-financial information, stock transactions, business deals, foreign military and diplomatic secrets, legal documents, confidential personal communications-will be heavily encrypted. According to another top official also involved with the program, the NSA made an enormous breakthrough several years ago in its ability to cryptanalyze, or break, unfathomably complex encryption systems employed by not only governments around the world but also many average computer users in the US. The upshot, according to this official: 'Everybody's a target; everybody with communication is a target.'"

and

"In the process - and for the first time since Watergate and the other scandals of the Nixon administration - the NSA has turned its surveillance apparatus on the US and its citizens. It has established listening posts throughout the nation to collect and sift through billions of email messages and phone calls, whether they originate within the country or overseas. It has created a supercomputer of almost unimaginable speed to look for patterns and unscramble codes. Finally, the agency has begun building a place to store all the trillions of words and thoughts and whispers captured in its electronic net. And, of course, it's all being done in secret. To those on the inside, the old adage that NSA stands for Never Say Anything applies more than ever."

At what point does the Cure become worse than the Disease?

If protecting the U.S. from cyberattacks is the NSA's focus, then why aren't their efforts - and our money - going toward defending Americans from the sources of these attacks? But no, these are directed instead at Americans themselves! And why isn't the NSA's considerable technological ingenuity not going toward designing better firewall technology and security software whilst making every effort to safeguard our Constitutionally-guaranteed liberties? And why are our civil liberties the first thing that they're willing to sacrifice as a result of these foreign attacks? Isn't this what they're SUPPOSED TO BE SAFEGUARDING?

In other words, if the NSA are truly acting in America's behalf and her citizens' best interests, then why are Americans themselves the NSA's target? And if it isn't American citizens' whose interests the NSA are safeguarding, then whose?

So a few newspapers, banks and the Federal Reserve were hacked. Okay, so give them better firewalls, you guys! Unless of course their protection isn't really your concern here but is, rather, one of finding a legit-sounding excuse to implement whatever you've been planning to implement all along: CISPA.

In other words: "If there's something you're planning to do, and if you want to do it badly enough, any old excuse will do - even if it means deceiving those whom, naively trusting in your having wisdom, integrity and their best interests at heart, elected you to office."

And so I ask again: At what point does the Cure become worse than the Disease?

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#2
In reply to #1

Re: Cyberattacks Reanimate CISPA, Spark Move by Obama

02/10/2013 7:04 PM

Thank you Europium.

.

I was about to comment on CISPA, but your comment has made the point (probably better than mine would have).

.

Everyone, please take a moment to read an consider the previous comment.

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#3
In reply to #1

Re: Cyberattacks Reanimate CISPA, Spark Move by Obama

02/10/2013 8:37 PM

I can't imagine how someone could think CISPA's intent is to protect the people.

They threaten a cyber 911 to get their legislation passed, but all they need to do is bring down Facebook for a few days, and they will have all the public outcry they need to get their erosive legislation passed and another ten years of war to boot.

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#4
In reply to #3

Re: Cyberattacks Reanimate CISPA, Spark Move by Obama

02/11/2013 1:43 AM

If this is not for Americans' protection, then for whose protection is it? Theirs? Why would they think they needed protection from their American citizens? They don't need it now. Do they anticipate needing it at some point in future? Why would they anticipate needing it? Possibly because of something they are planning? Some future action which they know will be so abhorrent to American citizens as to need protection from them? Is it why they are building all of this? Paving the way for tyranny? I cannot help but wonder. This does not look as if it is about America's security at all, but about theirs. What if they already regarded ordinary American citizens as their enemy? If they did, would they do anything differently so long as they could maintain the illusion that all these measures are for Americans' protection, to fool Americans into believing it is for their own safety? If this were so, would they go about it any differently? They are building this in secret. When you do things in secret, it is because you know that what you are doing is wrong and so you keep it hidden from those who would hold you to account, or you are ashamed of what you are doing, or both.

If these measures are good for Americans and America, why do they all smell like spoilt fish? Why are Americans not asking more questions about all of this? Hard questions? Deep questions? Where is all of this leading? Ask these questions while you still can.

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#5
In reply to #4

Re: Cyberattacks Reanimate CISPA, Spark Move by Obama

02/11/2013 7:23 AM

While I generally agree with your point, there are a few arguments that simply do not hold water for support of your claims:

1. "When you do things in secret, it is because you know that what you are doing is wrong and so you keep it hidden from those who would hold you to account, or you are ashamed of what you are doing, or both."

This is a fallacy because many times projects conducted under the shroud of secrecy are done that way so as to not give away state secrets to foreign powers. There are endless legitimate examples of this. For example, your bank account information is something you hold secret, therefore, one can not assume that just because something is performed in secret it is necessarily evil nor shameful.

2. "If these measures are good for Americans and America, why do they all smell like spoilt fish?"

There could be any reason for the foul smell. Remember, rhetoric and disinformation flies both ways. It could smell bad because opposition choses to cast it in that light. Again, there are endless examples of this in our own media. Because something smells bad does not mean that it is so.

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#6

Re: Cyberattacks Reanimate CISPA, Spark Move by Obama

02/11/2013 7:25 AM

I wonder if there is a special pen company just for executive orders? Probably a lucrative business.

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#7
In reply to #6

Re: Cyberattacks Reanimate CISPA, Spark Move by Obama

02/11/2013 7:42 AM

Okay. You lost me. I know there is something there, and usually, AH, you have written something worth reading, but I am just not getting it this time.

.

Care to nudge me in the right direction?

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#8
In reply to #7

Re: Cyberattacks Reanimate CISPA, Spark Move by Obama

02/11/2013 9:57 AM

Just an early morning joke about executive orders from the President of the United States.

Lately, the president has been issuing executive orders faster than someone with allergies goes through Kleenex.

I understand that executive orders have their place and this one may fit that need, but there is also a purpose for the legislative branch, which executive orders completely bypass.

I find it a little nerve wracking when executive orders impact the liberties of citizens without the due process they deserve in Congress.

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#9
In reply to #8

Re: Cyberattacks Reanimate CISPA, Spark Move by Obama

02/11/2013 10:21 AM

Ok. Sorry, I think my coffee intake insufficient this morning.

All good points.

thanks for bringing me into the fold.

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#10
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Re: Cyberattacks Reanimate CISPA, Spark Move by Obama

02/11/2013 11:01 AM

Ah, that means you can explain what I wrote to me. :)

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#11
In reply to #10

Re: Cyberattacks Reanimate CISPA, Spark Move by Obama

02/11/2013 11:05 AM

sure....but I'll need one of those special pens to do it.

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#12
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Re: Cyberattacks Reanimate CISPA, Spark Move by Obama

02/11/2013 12:40 PM

Dis-avowing Ink?

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#13

Re: Cyberattacks Reanimate CISPA, Spark Move by Obama

02/11/2013 11:16 PM

It's good to maintain vigilance, but is reckless and naive to make wild eyed accusations and suggest counter intelligence be carried out without a necessary veil of secrecy....These forces we guard against are a constant and growing threat to the security of your families and this country's economic well being.....Do you have any idea how many hacking attempts there are everyday...? Here's an except from a recent article on just one sector....

"

U.S. Nukes Face Up to 10 Million Cyber Attacks Daily

The head of the National Nuclear Security Administration says America's nuclear weapons face a massive number of cyber attacks every day, and are calling for a budget increase in order to enhance security.

By JASON KOEBLER

March 20, 2012 RSS Feed Print

The computer systems of the agency in charge of America's nuclear weapons stockpile are "under constant attack" and face millions of hacking attempts daily, according to officials at the National Nuclear Security Administration.

Thomas D'Agostino, head of the agency, says the agency faces cyber attacks from a "full spectrum" of hackers.

[Scientists With Nuclear Testing Experience Rapidly Dwindling]

"They're from other countries' [governments], but we also get fairly sophisticated non-state actors as well," he said. "The [nuclear] labs are under constant attack, the Department of Energy is under constant attack."

A spokesman for the agency says the Nuclear Security Enterprise experiences up to 10 million "security significant cyber security events" each day.

"Of the security significant events, less than one hundredth of a percent can be categorized as successful attacks against the Nuclear Security Enterprise computing infrastructure," the spokesman said-which puts the maximum number at about 1,000 daily.

The agency wants to beef up its cybersecurity budget from about $126 million in 2012 to about $155 million in 2013 and has developed an "incident response center" responsible for identifying and mitigating cyber security attacks.

In April of last year, the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory was successfully hacked and several megabytes of data were stolen, D'Agostino said. Internet access for workers at the lab was disconnected following the breach."

http://www.usnews.com/news/articles/2012/03/20/us-nukes-face-up-to-10-million-cyber-attacks-daily

This is war,,,,cyber war....Who's side are you on?

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#14
In reply to #13

Re: Cyberattacks Reanimate CISPA, Spark Move by Obama

02/12/2013 3:02 AM

Solar Eagle: "This is war,,,,cyber war....Who's side are you on?"

This discussion is about accountability, responsible oversight and ensuring that, in its zeal to counter these attacks, the government acts in a manner that best safeguards the liberties, interests and security of the governed, and at all times. That is government's purpose, is it not? And without oversight and accountability, how would this even be possible? Are we so lacking in lessons from History that where such were missing, governments inevitably evolve into tyrranies? Is 8,000 years' lessons not enough? Or is this really a case of That Can't Happen Here?

What is this "Who's side are you on?" crap? Where did that come from? Are you suggesting that keeping a government accountable is equivalent to treason? Isn't that what 'whose side are you on?' means? You're imputing treason?

You're kidding, right?

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#16
In reply to #14

Re: Cyberattacks Reanimate CISPA, Spark Move by Obama

02/12/2013 8:52 AM

It was a rhetorical question....You can't give people a job to do and then tie their hands behind their back and expect them to be effective at it....How would you suggest these threats be neutralized? and while I'm at it, the government has always had access to your personal information and had the ability to track your movements, the internet has not changed that, just made the process more efficient....Let me know when you see a tyrannical despot taking control of the world and I'll be right there with ya, shoulder to shoulder, because that's pretty much what we're doing now.....Would you send your troops into battle with no intelligence at all, saying I would give you the information you need to succeed, but you might use it against your own side?...Now don't get me wrong a little paranoia is a good thing, but too much and you become ineffective...

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#18
In reply to #16

Re: Cyberattacks Reanimate CISPA, Spark Move by Obama

02/12/2013 10:54 AM

And no one is more paranoid than government.

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#20
In reply to #16

Re: Cyberattacks Reanimate CISPA, Spark Move by Obama

02/12/2013 2:07 PM

SE, You're reading an awful lot into my posts which simply isn't there and brushing aside what is. Why?

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#15
In reply to #13

Re: Cyberattacks Reanimate CISPA, Spark Move by Obama

02/12/2013 6:26 AM

"Who's side are you on?"

The people's.

However, only a fool hands over all of their liberties and rights to some other organization or person.

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#17
In reply to #13

Re: Cyberattacks Reanimate CISPA, Spark Move by Obama

02/12/2013 9:09 AM

'....

U.S. Nukes Face Up to 10 Million Cyber Attacks Daily

The head of the National Nuclear Security Administration says America's nuclear weapons face a massive number of cyber attacks every day....'

.

Nukes under daily attack! WFT! Why are the nukes made vulnerable to web attacks!

.

.oh...

.

.oh... I see. That was just an outright lie flagrant sensationalism a bit of hyperbole. The nukes aren't being attacked. The organization that oversees the stockpiles of nukes is having its servers cyber attacked daily.

.

oh. that's different.

.

Doesn't the fact that this agency felt the need to resort to lying ... grossly misleading claims...(oh yeah) hyperbole make you the least bit suspicious? Are you not the least bit concerned that these are the same signs one might see if it was common practice to lead the public around by its (reactionary) nose?

While it is obviously not proof of such, if does create some ambiguity.... surely you won't be in denial of that point, will you?

.

.

At any rate I think it is an excellent idea that computers and employees (at work) working on projects with significant national security implications not be directly accessible by the internet.

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#19
In reply to #13

Re: Cyberattacks Reanimate CISPA, Spark Move by Obama

02/12/2013 11:01 AM

This reinforces my point. They supposedly can't protect their own stuff so they want to protect everyone's stuff. I'll call BS! They have full power and authority to protect the nuclear arsenal without violating the 4th Amendment and they claim they can't do it well enough, on their meager budget. They'll need CISPA, and our 4th Amendment, in addition to the (already executively ordered) internet kill switch, in order to protect us adequately! This is complete and total insanity. I say "No thank you!", I will keep the Bill of Rights intact, and take my chances. We are safer with the nuke than we are without the Bill of Rights.

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