July 10, 2009

A Disciple of Cyberwar Shakes His Literary Fist

Greetings. Over on the ABC News site today, I had the displeasure of reading this commentary by well-known Silicon Valley observer Michael S. Malone. It struck me as one of the more irresponsible and even potentially dangerous articles that I've seen from any mainstream technology columnists in quite some time.

By suggesting -- even urging -- that the U.S. use Internet disruption techniques (e.g. hacking/DDoS) in response to perceived "cyber attacks," he is in fact endorsing the Crack in the World school of political technology policy. That is, even when the potential risks are catastrophic, fire the missiles anyway.

Even worse, Malone seems so doggoned sure that he knows where to point his Internet-propelled cyber-bombs. In reality, despite his obvious confidence that North Korea's leaders are to blame, calmer heads know that it's virtually impossible to pin down operational command responsibility for these sorts of attacks in most cases.

But here's the real kicker from Malone:

"Yeah, right. As if all of those millions of middle-class teenaged private owners of broadband connected laptops all over that electricity black hole called the People's Republic of North Korea spontaneously decided to hack the Web sites of another country's government and largest corporations."

Say what? Malone must know that attacks of this kind can indeed be triggered by a single botnet-commanding teenager anywhere in the world, and use virus-contaminated PCs in any locations around the planet to try divert the blame.

So we have to assume that Malone is ignoring these facts intentionally to prop up his railing against North Korea. Cyber-warmongering such as that from Malone is unwise, unhelpful, and in the final analysis, both dangerous and just plain dumb.


Posted by Lauren at July 10, 2009 02:23 PM | Permalink
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