One of our contributors passed this to me and asked me to comment in relation to the alarm that Winn Schwartau, Bill Caeli, Jim Anderson, and I sounded in 1994, in writing, to Marty Harris, then head of the National Information Infrastructure (NII).
First, the item.
Christian Science Monitor, 22 September 2011
Stuxnet, the cyberweapon that attacked and damaged an Iranian nuclear facility, has opened a Pandora’s box of cyberwar, says the man who uncovered it. A Q&A about the potential threats.
CSM: How would you characterize the year since Stuxnet – the response by nations, industry and government?
LANGNER: Last year, after Stuxnet was identified as a weapon, we recommended to every asset owner in America – owners of power plants, chemical plants, refineries and others – to make it a top priority to protect their systems…. That wakeup call lasted only about a week. Thereafter, everybody fell back into coma. The most bizarre thing is that even the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and Siemens [maker of the industrial control system targeted by Stuxnet] talked about Stuxnet being a wakeup call, but never got into the specifics of what needed to be done.
CSM: What do you think has been the most important or dangerous development to emerge since you identified Stuxnet as a weapon?
LANGNER: The most dangerous development is that DHS and asset owners completely failed to identify and address the threat of copycat attacks…. With every day [that] cyber weapon technology proliferates; the understanding of how Stuxnet works spreads more and more. All the vulnerabilities exploited on the [industrial control system] level and [programmable logic controller] level are still there. Nobody cares.
Robert Steele: Emphasis added above. Shirley Turkle wrote a hugely useful book a couple of decades ago, The Second Self–Computers and the Human Spirit, that defined the essence of the hacker spirit. As I reflect on how we sounded the alarm in 1994 (after Winn Schwartau’s testimony to Congress in 1991 was ignored), and in light of Paul Pillar’s excellent book on loosely-educated and very corrupt politicians, Intelligence and U.S. Foreign Policy – Iraq, 9/11, and Misguided Reform, I believe the time has come for another book by Shirley Turkle, this one perhaps entitled False Gods: The Corruption of US Politics Against the Public Interest–a book about non-hackers and how to understand their collective lack of integrity. What we have now is what I call macro-treason (as opposed to micro-treason, leaks and such). It’s time we illuminate the political side of what Matt Taibbi calls Griftopia–Bubble Machines, Vampire Squids, and the Long Con That Is Breaking America–I quote from his review (emphasis added):
QUOTE (32): What has taken place over the last generation is a highly complicated merger of crime and policy, of stealing and government. Far from taking care of the rest of us, the financial leaders of America and their political servants have seemingly reached the cynical conclusion that our society is not work saving and have taken on a new mission that involved not creating wealth for us all, but simply absconding with whatever wealth remains in our hollowed out economy. They don’t feed us, we feed them.
These creatures, a mix of high finance and politics without integrity, have refused to engage in reality-based policy-making since, roughly, the assassination of John F. Kennedy and the realization they could get away with it–every President since has been theater. Both parties (excluding the other 63 of 65 parties in the USA) are one bird, two wings, same shit. Both are guilty, in my view, of repeated high crimes and misdemeanors against the public interest, going back to ignoring all the warnings on peak oil, peak water, poverty, infectious disease, environmental degradation, etcetera. Elsewhere I have written about how intelligence with integrity seeks the best truth, while politics with integrity seeks the best common outcome. Right now we have neither. I’m working on the first and hope Ron Paul, Ralph Nader, and others can come together to restore the integrity of our electoral process. Anything less is treason reprised.