Cyber criminals no longer target your computer – they threaten society itself. This is the story of how a few self-selecting techno geeks fought the most devious and destructive attack ever launched on the web.
The Observer, 18 February 2012
A computer attack could compromise nuclear reactors, electrical grids, transportation networks and pipelines. In America this would be considered an act of war that would justify a military response.
They eventually succeeded in getting reps from the alphabet soup – NSA, DOD, CIA, FBI, DHS, etc – to sign on as members of the private chat channel where they co-ordinated strategy, but throughout the effort the feds would remain lurkers; they logged in and listened, but rarely made a peep. Over four months in December 2008 and January, February and March 2009, as Conficker assembled the largest botnet in the world, government, which would seem to have had the largest share of overarching responsibility, played a shockingly minor role.
Phi Beta Iota: Back in the day when Clifford Stohl battled the East German worm, CIA could do its own cyber-espionage but knew nothing about cyber-counterintelligence. Today, despite $12 billion a year being spent on the Cyber-Command, the persistent ignorance and arrogance of the government persists. Cyber-Command would rather pretend to be competent than admit that it does not have a clue. What Bowden (who has a stellar reputation for intelligence and integrity within the Special Forces world) has done is demonstrated in detail where the real expertise is, and how irrelevant the US Government is to protecting the USA from cyber-attacks. What is needed is a much more pro-active integrated hybrid network that brings together the best of the best from across the eight communities and across the multinational spectrum. An Open Source Agency under diplomatic auspices is the place to start, with a Treaty for Information-Sharing and Sense-making being its first task.