back to article Schneier: Teens and treaties - our cyber-war saviors

We can expect at least another 10 years of unbridled and irrational fear about the threat of cyber war before things calm down. That's according to security expert Bruce Schneier, who reckons it will be people's attitudes to the threat of hackers, terrorists and rogue nations that will grow up first, and essentially help make …


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  1. Gordon Fecyk

    Cyberwar won't exist...

    ...until people die because of a cyber-attack. Anyone die from a cyber-terrorist yet? A cyber-suicide bomber?

  2. Chris Miller

    Bruce also said

    That counting a DDoS attack as 'cyber war' (cf Estonia) was rather like some country crossing your borders with a massive army and then having their troops push to the front of all the queues in the banks.

  3. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

    An Almighty Offer, Bruce, surely secures Enigmatically, Nascent Nodes with Colossal Potential

    "At a national level, Schneier also endorsed an idea from former US cyber-czar Richard Clark, who has proposed cyber treaties between countries that would outline certain agreements, for example no first use of weapons or no attacks against civilian infrastructure."

    At the immediate practical level would there be a more virtually guaranteed order in an easily engineered and invisible remote controlled chaos, if cyber retainers between countries and competent non state actor persons of interest into remote invisible controlled chaos engineering, were mutually agreed upon to prevent, for example, non attributable use of virtualised weaponry against any and/or all command and control systems/zeroday vulnerability exploit targets ...... although one does have to mention that such is quite a tall order whenever one is aware of the fabulous riches and outrageous fortunes which are so readily available to both incompetent and/or unknowledgeable sponsors and star players in such security fields, which in military and paramilitary speak would be irregular and unconventional virtual team terrain, most definitely.

    It is an interesting point to consider, whenever one would be engaged in or entertained by such shenanigans as produce such a situation which has one availed of and capable of distributing abilities and facilities that are of a valuable trading nature, whether one's Internet Service Provider [the first and last link in the virtual communications chain] would be best placed to take the initiative and make a perfectly acceptable offer that would be ideally, mutually beneficial to all, which of course it would be quite naturally, whenever all parties , whether public or private or pirate were smart and way out ahead of the Great Game, Pioneering Virtual Lead Infrastructure and Future Protocols for 21st Century Cloud Networks InterNetworking Joint Applications.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Cyber War

    Terrorism is a term thrown around too quickly; it is terms like that and phrases like "make us safe" that results in authorities abusing power, and infringing upon rights. And with that in mind let me quote Princess Leia. "The more you tighten your grip, the more star systems will slip through your fingers."


    "people who attack with impunity "

    Like BT Directors (of which Schneier is one) and Phorm?

    Phorm, previously suppliers of malicious rootkits and desktop spyware, engaged with Ian Livingston of BT in covert mass communications surveillance three years on the trot.

    And no one was prosecuted.

    Until Bruce Schneier can explain that gross malfeasance by his boss I will struggle to understand why BT Directors believe they are in a position to lecture anyone about online security threats.

    1. Jim Morrow

      Bruce Schneier is not a Director of BT plc. Ian Livingston is.

      Although Schneier works for that wretched company, it's unlikely his day job had any involvement in the Phorm fiasco.

      If you think BT should be prosecuted for Phorm, go to your local nick and file a complaint. Then escalate matters if they tell you to fuck off. Start with the Chief Constable. Then go to the Director of Public Prosecutions. Then try the Ministry of Justice. Then start a private prosecution. Over to you.....

  6. Drew V.

    "I'm not saying cyber war will never exist; preparing for cyber war is reasonable... having a US cyber command makes sense. When war breaks out it will occupy all theatres."

    Funny how they talk about it as if it's a purely defensive thing. Isn't it more likely that when a US cyber command exists, they will use it offensively and aggressively? They invaded Afghanistan and invaded Iraq.

  7. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

    Eeeny, meeny, miney, mo ..... Gamekeeper or Poacher*, that is the question?

    "Until Bruce Schneier can explain that gross malfeasance by his boss I will struggle to understand why BT Directors believe they are in a position to lecture anyone about online security threats" ..... Posted Tuesday 29th November 2011 17:11 GMT

    Well, one thing is pretty certain,, you are not qualified to lecture anyone about online security threats unless you able to successfully carry them out.

    * :-) There are other extremely lucrative options, with the smartest ones invariably revolving around being both Yin and Yang and playing one side off against the other and providing options and solutions to the problems one would be causing by proxy, although of course would they be pseudo-solutions to generate more problems for similar solving. And a nice little earner is that .... like selling weapons to nations you are going to invade, so that weapons and nations can be destroyed for rebuilding and resupply to the same early sub-prime standard as before, so that the same thing can be tried again later in the future.

  8. William Boyle
    Thumb Up

    "Even a cyber-war hotline would be a good idea between the various countries cyber commands," he said.

    Hello? No, it's not us! Honest!

    1. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

      AIdDefinite Vision with NEUKlearer HyperRadioProActive IT ......

      ......Bletchley Boffinry to InterNetional Rescue***

      ""Even a cyber-war hotline would be a good idea between the various countries cyber commands," he said.

      Hello? No, it's not us! Honest!" ...... William Boyle Posted Wednesday 30th November 2011 00:22 GMT

      Do you think they*, who are in dire straits fiscal meltdown circumstance , and would be needing exceptional cyberspace expertise, William B, will read between those lines of yours to discover its true meaning and the services which abound here, or does ignorance in the virtual terrain field for teams and streams reign sublimely supreme in Earthly SCADA Systems, and they will not readily, without mentoring leading instruction, comprehend and really know of those and that which lands on El Reg regularly to share freely and transparently, Virtual Insider Intel, for floating into bloated bubble markets? And then for embedded information to explode into life and take over ..... well, everything actually.

      * <blockquote>Recently, the Commander of the U.S. Cyber Command stated that “even the most astute malicious cyber actors—those who can break into almost any network that they really try to penetrate—are usually searching for targets of opportunity. They search for easy vulnerabilities in our systems’ security and then exploit them.”**

      Cybersecurity professionals help to prevent or mitigate these vulnerabilities that could allow malicious individuals and groups access to federal IT systems. …. Report to the Chairman, Subcommittee on Immigration, Refugees, and Border Security, Committee on the Judiciary U.S. Senate


      Initiatives Need Better Planning and Coordination …. Nov 2011

      **General Keith B. Alexander, in a statement before the House Committee on Armed Services, Subcommittee on Emerging Threats and Capabilities, Washington, D.C., March 16, 2011. </blockquote>

      Astute is a class system without equal or parallel and indeed, in deed, an almighty invisible weapon for wielding decisively thus to yield any treasuried arsenal securely compromised and captured intact for juicier target reprogramming.

      *** which you should note is not a simple question but rather more a shared fact which you can believe is a crazy fiction if it makes you happier and what it reveals easier to believe. Whatever would float your own boat matters not a jot to the programs which driver your realities.

  9. rossm

    Cyber war or Cyber insurgency

    I agree that Cyber War is a long way off - where one country declares Cyber war on another. However the 'war' is a proxy war - in the same way that the Cold war was fought by 'proxies' so too - the Cyber 'war'. This will be a case of insurgents operating in a covert agile way - never attacking head on. So the battle for IP, corporate espionage, deliberate DDOS attacks on high profile targets all make up this new ' war'. It is going on all around us - it is real - and we need to shore up our defences quickly or else it will undermine the foundation of our economic strength.

    1. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

      Virtual Attack is the New Real Colossus and QuITe Surreal AI Leading Norm

      Quite so, rossm. An excellent analysis .Good luck with those titanic defences. Spookily enough, they are probably a lost cause being erected by security offices loughside in direct line of sight of the old Harland and Wolff shipyard.

      IT Security is definitely for those into classic long marches and paramilitary type guerrilla warefare and a right debilitating mined mind field for those into squirmishes and quick fixes for systemic indefensible vulnerabilities.

  10. BacktoBasics

    Time for terminology check

    Interesting article by Bruce the only question I have is what he defines as cyber-warfare? Surely this must mean some sort of conflict happening within the cyber realm and only the cyber-realm. If the expectation and focus is on the use of computers et al to inflict damage and destruction in the real world i.e. have kinetic effects then surely a better term should be used, perhaps information operations? Just a thought....

    On another note conflict within the cyber-space is happening and while not evidence can be provided to show state sponsorship, it happens..against the general population, companies, gvt agencies etc..I'm surprised at Bruce's statement given that BT make a killing on providing security services.... #just saying.

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