back to article US still 'not prepared' in event of a serious cyber attack and Congress can't help if it happens

Despite some progress, the US is still massively underprepared for a serious cyber attack and the current administration isn't helping matters, according to politicians visiting the DEF CON hacking conference. In an opening keynote, representatives Ted Lieu (D-CA) and James Langevin (D-IL) were joined by hackers Cris Thomas, …


    Makes no sense

    It makes no sense to give the federal government control over every aspect of everything in our lives. What exactly do you all want out of this? Only the giant companies will benefit and everyone else suffers.

    1. Tom Paine

      Re: Makes no sense

      It makes no sense to paint yourself green and blue and dance naked in the traffic at 3am, either.[1] But what's that got to do with the price of fish?

      [1] unless you're amanfrommars natch

  2. Tomato42

    You want help?

    Politicians, there's thing you could do: put a last nail in the coffin of Three Letter Agencies asking for backdoors (oh, sorry "front doors") into encryption.

    Making us say is a bloody stupid idea wastes weeks of time for hundreds of people every year for the past 2 decades.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: You want help?

      They will never stop asking, and are just waiting for the right narrative to make their next big push. They thought they had with San Bernadino, but when they managed to access that iPhone they found there was nothing of value.

      They're looking for that golden opportunity where a terrorist or mass shooter is found after the fact to have used a messaging service that uses end to end encryption where the plan was detailed in advance, so they can claim "see, if we had a backdoor we could have stopped him". When they make such a claim, there's probably an equal chance they simply faked it because they were tired of waiting for the right circumstances. At some point they'll magically find something a shooter/terrorist left behind detailing the entire plot in advance, then AG Barr will point to that as a reason they need to force companies to provide a backdoor.

      Unfortunately they would probably get a lot of people on their side, not only Trumpies who will go along with anything he pushes, but enough others to create a majority. Too many people have an unreasonable fear of terrorist or mass shooting type incidents even though the odds of dying in one are lower than dying in a car crash or even falling in your bathtub. They may be willing to give up their rights in exchange a bit of illusory safety. The democratic candidates would go along with it, no one wants to appear weak on terrorism/mass shootings, so even if they don't agree with the plan they won't be willing to take a hard position against it (except maybe Bernie) Both parties are pretty willing to give more power to authorities except for funnily enough the extreme right and extreme left neither of whom trusts them with such power, though for different reasons.

      1. Paul Crawford Silver badge

        Re: You want help?

        Funny how the push after (the almost daily*) mass shootings is to restrict crypto and not guns? Odd...

        [*] frrom

        "Gun Violence Archive, frequently cited by the press, defines a mass shooting as firearm violence resulting in at least four people being shot at roughly the same time and location, excluding the perpetrator. Using this definition, there have been 2,128 mass shootings since 2013, roughly one per day."

        1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

          Restrict guns ?

          That is anathema. Blasphemy in the Church of the NRA that is the USA.

          Might as well ask the Sun to not rise for the next week.

          Gun control will remain unthinkable until enough parents are fed up with seeing their children die in school. At that point, even the staunchest NRA-bankrolled Republican will have to take a step back and finally let it happen, or be swept away in the wash of truly national furor.

          The sad thing is, there is no telling how many people still have to die before that happens.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: You want help?

          Don't forget violent video games, there was a lot of mention from that by politicians including Trump. Somehow countries like South Korea and Japan that have a much bigger gamer culture than the US don't have this problem, so that doesn't hold any water.

          The "restrict crypto" and "we need more good guys with guns" solutions are not attempts to solve the problems that lead to mass shootings, but an overly hopeful attempt to head them off at the last moment.

          1. Tom Paine

            Re: You want help?

            Also the spurious "mental health" guff.

  3. asdf

    Congress lol

    Legislative branch has abdicated all its responsibility to the other two branches. All except for Post Office naming and even that became controversial at times sigh.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    the only time Congress acts fast is when they need to recess because everyone has fundraising events to go to. RIght now, having a person sneak over the southern border with or without a kilo of hash is a greater priority than someone sending Pantex a virus that lets hemispheres of plutonium get a bit too close to each other.

  5. sanmigueelbeer

    But Congress doesn't work that way; it doesn't work at the 'speed of hack'.

    Americans have this firm believe that things like this will never happen on US soil.

    Had WannaCry(pt) &/or Petya landed on US ground all of this debate will all be for nothing.

    1. Tom Paine

      I'm old enough to remember "electronic Pearl Harbor", over 20 years ago.

      Here's a blast from the pre-911 past from this very journal that makes interesting reading today:

      Edit: or this one from 1997

      Sooner or later something massively destructive will happen[1] and the mundanes will be all "OMG, how was this allowed to happen?" and that's when the crypto backdoor plans and other perennial favourites (ID cards anyone) will be pulled out and dusted off.

      [1] my money's been on a flash worm wiper that bricks smartphones for some time, but I carry on not being right about that - so far. Unlikely, because it can't be monetised and it's use as a weapon risks massive blowback if deployed by a nation state. Some threat actors aren't nation states, though...

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    we need your help

    I know weve been totally disproportionate at times, hounded your heros (to death on occasions) but we promise you...

    nothing really, we just need your help.

    They'll probably get it when the time comes but you have to wonder if they have earned it.

  7. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

    Whenever an abiding problem isn't deserving of unearthly solution, a new front opens up.

    Politicians appeal to hackers to take up the fight

    Surely hackers have long ago already taken up the fight, albeit not necessarily in empowering support of unappealing politicians?

  8. sitta_europea Silver badge

    They always come out with this same old crap at these conferences.

    I don't care what they say at the conferences, they aren't listening.

    I've been banging on about specific, easily fixed issues for YEARS and the same, specific, easily fixed issues are STILL THERE.

  9. IceC0ld

    Trump may still have issues though ..................

    Obama laid out a framework for a national incident response team

    and anything that bears the Obama fingerprint is NOT going to get a look see under Trump, he really needs to get his head out of his ass on this, just because someone else thought of it, does not make it bad, especially when those contemplating said issues are actually well educated and are trying to actually help things along.

    and those who slavishly follow Trump also need to learn this - slight thread drift - there was a story of a MAGA guy, who was actually happy to see Obama Care removed, when asked to explain, he said it didn't matter to him, as he still had the Affordable Care Act to help him .............................


    US needs to sort cyber security STAT

    no matter who had the initial ideas apropos the design and construct of the device

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