back to article NSA boss reveals top 3 security nightmares that keep him awake at night

Admiral Michael Rogers, head of the NSA and the US Cyber Command, has told delegates during his keynote address at RSA 2016 the three things that keep him awake at night. His first fear is an online attack against US critical infrastructure, which he said was a matter of when it will happen, not if. Citing the recent Ukrainian …


  1. Nifty Silver badge

    Data tampering. Add Blockchain. Fixed.

  2. Tom 7

    I'd have more time to criticise these dick heads

    but I'm a bit busy encrypting some white noise for them to keep themselves amused.

    1. TRT Silver badge

      Re: I'd have more time to criticise these dick heads

      I ran a sample of the white noise gathered from the background hiss of a popular US FM radio station through a self-learning decryption algorithm once. It was a voice repeatedly telling me to obey...

      1. Anonymous Coward

        Re: I'd have more time to criticise these dick heads

        just obey, I mean your wife, the local preacher, your dog...

        1. TRT Silver badge

          Re: I'd have more time to criticise these dick heads

          It could have been e-bay; I'm a little hard of hearing sometimes.

      2. ecofeco Silver badge

        Re: I'd have more time to criticise these dick heads

        They live, trt. They Live!

  3. Stevie


    See my worst security nightmare is that technology obsessed politicians and policemen spend so much time dithering over how to guard against nebulous threats they let someone fly an airliner into my office window.

    My worst technology nightmare is the hacked google car cruise missile.

  4. Big_Ted

    This man needs to get on message.

    Everyone else tells us its to protect children, stop crime and then protect against terrorists etc

    Doesn't he care about them ? Surely he knows his first words and sleepless night cause are the children.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Sounds like the government needs to buy a bit of NSX...

    Protecting the critical infrastructure could be as simple as some micro segmentation.... Let's watch VMware save the day and make some more money.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Sounds like the government needs to buy a bit of NSX...

      Are you a paid employee for this crappy solution?

  6. Christian Berger

    If the NSA would actually see that as a problem...

    ... they would mandate for minimal security standards when it comes to SCADA systems. They would, for example, lobby for mandatory code reviews of such systems, including the source of the operating system they use. (That would lead to simpler operating systems as code reviews get more expensive the more code you've got. Less code leads to less bugs and less security vulnerabilities)

    Instead the NSA wastes our money for spying on everybody, claiming that it would help them catch that one stupid "terrorist" using hotmail to communicate.

  7. A Ghost
    Big Brother

    The potential for a world-changing event is massive right now.

    1: Connecting vital infrastructure to the internet. Check.

    2: Creating super malware to destroy infrastructure not connected to the net. Check.

    3: Dishonest politicians who blatantly lie making vote winning policies (think of the kiddies). Check.

    4: Dishonest politicians making up technical policy as they go along. Check.

    5: Dumbed down and stupid population that just does not care. Check.

    6: Abundance of real enemies with real motives and means to bring it all down. Check.

    7: Refusal of Dishonest politicians to listen to even their tech advisors. Check.

    8: Paranoia and megalomania rife at the highest levels of government. Check.

    9: Internet in early days and a false sense of security because of no Black Swan event, yet. Check.

    10: Vital infrastructure connected to the net, infrastructure busting off-line malware in the wild. Check.

    Yes, point ten is the same as points one and two, but it needed to be said twice. No one is listening anyway.

    Just because it has not happened yet, does not mean it will not happen tomorrow or the next day.

    These are the facts of the matter and we are heading for the perfect storm. It's unbelievable that any systems are internet facing, but some are, so there you go. It's unbelievable that malware is actively being written to target offline installations (stuxnet, Iran etc. usb keys found in car parks as a vector), but it is so there ya go. How much of a threat stuxnet et al are to nuclear power stations I have no idea, but I would imagine that if you go making a habit of something like that, something nasty will occur as an unintended consequence.

    It's also a fact that there are some seriously deranged people on this planet, that would rejoice at causing a nuclear power station here to blow up, or a dam burst, or just simply taking out the national grid for 24 hours. Now, I expect that nuclear power stations aren't connected to the net, though it wouldn't surprise me if they were, but that's all by the by, there is enough out there to cause some real mayhem. I'm surprised no one has done it already. But they will. And probably quite soon (say in the next few years).

    Add on board (see points 3,4,7 above) the fact that dishonest politicians are actively going against the advice of their tech people, and deliberately weakening the system. This is insanity. It is provable insanity. It is criminal insanity. The whole fucking lot of them are behaving as if they are auditioning for the next bond film arch-villain role.

    The will to hurt us, nay, to destroy us is strong - very strong. Some people are prepared to give their lives just to kill a few people with a suicide vest. Hacking, or rather, cracking, sorry, into vital infrastructure is child's play when you probably won't even get caught, if successful.

    When the shit hits the fan, the dumb population will only have itself to blame that they allowed this situation to arise. It will be them that get it in the neck. First. Then everyone will become a victim. The rich, the powerful, the law makers, the criminally insane who orchestrated this time bomb.

    It might not even be ideology driven. It may be ransomware. A shot across the boughs to start with, say taking out london for a whole day so it has no electricity. Never mind a few bitcoins, what about a million here or there?

    The rich, the strong, the military, the government think it will not impact their lives, but it will change them forever. And it's coming. It's going to happen. On what scale I have no idea, but it will.

    All it will take is one attacker with sufficient motive and means to exploit a single vulnerability. And just like 9-11, all our lives will be changed forever. Again.

    And the bastards will use that as currency, letting no good crisis go to waste, to stamp their boot on our head. Again. Forever.

    We need to be worried about these shitheads. They have us marked as legitimate targets and potential hostile enemies. They are absolutely shitting themselves. Yes, they are laughing about how well their dystopian society has turned out. About how they can do wtf they like and not just get away with it, but be applauded for it too. Just like the rich despise the poor, just for being poor.

    But their system has worked a little too well in controlling us. They are getting cocky now. They are starting to make mistakes as they show their bravado, insulting us, prodding us, monitoring us - seeing what we will and will not accept. How they can fool us with false flag events and outrage. How they can control us by telling us we are being spied on every minute of the day. How they beat us down with economic warfare as well as psychological warfare. It's the only game in town! NO one has a proper job anymore. The only job worth having is a non-job, as they pay the most and carry the least responsibility. The bigger you are, the more you can get away with. Dido Harding is but one of a million examples.

    I fear the great powers that be have already pushed things over. Not they or the general population knows it yet, but the storm is coming. And it will be mighty. There are just too many things that can go wrong already, and instead of righting the system, they weaken it even more.

    If I was a terrorist (apart from saying what I think on the internet using words), and I wanted to do maximum damage, this is where I would be concentrating my efforts. That is what terrorists do. Remember the IRA? The goal is to cause as much confusion and damage as possible, with the least amount of resources and the least amount of risk to yourself. So you can live to fight another day, as you can not face the enemy head on, so you use asymmetrical warfare. It's hardly an unknown concept.

    So after I had done a feasibility study on all of this, I would gather my resources, keep my powder dry, and get all of my ducks in a row before pulling the trigger. Better hope it is a ransomware event when London goes dark for 24. That can be dealt with. By paying. Not ideal, but lives will be saved. However, the nefarious terrorist I have in mind, would take out the national grid in London, perhaps burst a dam or two, a couple of severe train crashes, cripple telecoms so no emergency services could be summoned etc. etc. - in other words a doomsday scenario. Do it all at the same time, just like when the IRA bombed a place and then left another bomb for the emergency services to cause more carnage.

    Do it for no other reason other than you can. And it is the so called 'humans' in power that are exposing us to the risk of this. Fat lot of good your army will do you then. All your fighter jets. Your artillery. Your economic sanctions. Your dirty proxy wars. The time of reckoning will have come.

    I'm not the only person warning against this. I really don't know what I'm talking about with regards to the systems in place. Then again, I'm not a terrorist and just want my health and for my family to have their health, and maybe have a bit of happiness in this short time we have on planet Earth. Fat chance eh, you fuckers!

    I am not the enemy. Stop spying on me. Stop nannying me. Leave me alone.

    Those with power, true power, would be well advised to maybe start taking some anti-psychotic medication for their paranoia. For in their paranoia, they have lost their grip on reality, seeing reds under the bed everywhere. All the while, our shared enemies who would do us real harm, are plotting in dark basements, with an internet connection and the screensaver from the matrix scrolling in the background, as they prepare for the Mother of all battles.

    9-11 was a terrible event, whoever was responsible for it, but there was no need for it to be such a world-changing event as it was. It was used as an excuse. It had to happen to bring in the draconian laws they already had planned. But what will the world be like when a dam is burst and hundreds of thousands of people are killed in an horrific death. Or a nuclear explosion of some kind?

    That is what our dear leaders are setting us up for. A true darkness over our land, the likes of which none of us have seen. Yet.

    Provable criminal insanity. No less. It's only extreme cognitive dissonance keeping the boat afloat for now. The law of unintended consequences will hold sway, such is the Tao...

    1. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

      The potential for a world-changing events are massive right now.

      Messages received and understood, A Ghost, and fully deserving of upvoting.

      Not everyone is deaf, dumb and blind to crazy current events and practically helpless and virtually useless in exploiting and expanding them to XSSXXXX success and whatever else that leads to.

      Greater IntelAIgent Games On. Who Dares Win Win Wins All.

  8. Venaax

    Hahaha. Hahahahahaaaa.

    So he's going around and complaining about this shit, while crap in the government is insecure as all hell, and actually has default passwords fucking everywhere? Really?

    And then going and REPRIMANDING people who attempt to change this?

    Fix your fucking culture, US Government.

    (Duck "Malwarejake US Cyber Command" and it should get you what you want.


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