Third Party & Independents Archives

A New Kind of National Security

There exists a menace somewhere in the world, which government is largely ignoring. More and more each day we rely on technology, computers, and the internet. This area of our life needs to be more secure, for ourselves and our nation. However this does not mean the government monitoring emails and internet activity of the citizenry. No, no I am speaking of a new kind of national security.

The 'hobby' of hacking is becoming more and more popular as the possibilities for it increase. At this same time an increasing percentage of our personal information, financial information, and our government's information is online one way or another.

Sure its protected, of course. But for each person who creates an internet security wall how many out there do you think there are trying to hack it? I am proposing here a new kind of national security, personal security and financial security.

I propose Congress pass a resolution to study 'hacking' and our vulnerabilities to it, whether these vulnerabilities lie in personal information, financial information, or government information. A study in which security tactics were tried against some of the top minds in 'hacking'. These studies would be conducted by using the top hackers that are imprisoned to test their ability to break securities, and for this they would recieve some percentage off their jail time.

This could be the new front on national security and if we work to protect civil liberties while studying 'hacking' we may learn how to best protect ourselves.

Posted by Richard Rhodes at June 13, 2006 4:05 AM
Comments
Comment #157115

I also saw the movie Hackers.

It seems like a funny idea to go to a criminal and ask him for help. How did Silence of the Lambs end? Honestly, I fell alseep.

People arent really ignoring this issue. Microsoft is constantly trying to protect itself from these hackers. It is the same story of the sword and the shield. The sword gets bigger then the shield. The problem is the sword will always win. Though Reagan didnt seem to think so.

The whole issue for me is why do these hackers do this? I would think that trying to recruit them in prison is a little late. Why not focus there talents a little sooner before we make criminals out of them.

Posted by: stopculture at June 13, 2006 7:13 AM
Comment #157129

Richard, big mistake asking Congress to study the problem. Here is what we will get. Republicans will come up with a scheme in which each individual is responsible for protecting their own information and you pay an insurance premium to some corporate fat cats to deal with the event of identity theft, or you suffer the consequences. Democrats will come up with a plan in which a court order is required for a credit card transaction and encryption codes multiply to the point that we all lock each other out of being able to transact with each other.

I don’t have a solution, anytime government promises to protect us, they fail. 9/11 is a perfect example. But we lose civil liberties with every attempt. Looks more and more like the fall of the Roman Empire under the weight of its own vastness, complexity, and greatness all over again. And the root cause is too many people with freedom and too few policing our moral cultural and ethical upbringing. In other words, too many parents off working and not enough parents parenting.

If we could get back to a one parent working middle class, and one parent parenting in the home, crime might become manageable. As it is, the crimes are getting so huge that they affect the entire economy and nation - Enron, Savings and Loan debacle, and Auto Industry Pension plan bankruptcy, for examples.

Posted by: David R. Remer at June 13, 2006 8:59 AM
Comment #157172

Richard,

Another example that supports your suggestion is the true story of Frank Abagnale Jr. who before age 19 he was able to forge 2.5 million in checks, pose as a pediatrician, airline pilot, and a prosecuting attorney. He was initially put away on federal charges, but was released with the condition that he work with the FBI to fight fraud and forgery. Frank is currently owner and head of one of the worlds premier financial security consultancies.

Posted by: DOC at June 13, 2006 11:11 AM
Comment #157182

stopculture, I’m not exactly sure how we would get hackers to focus their talents before becoming criminals. My experience with them is that they enjoy what they do. In fact, it is because they enjoy what they do that they try to learn more. That’s why you can find hacker communities out on the web with relative ease.

If it were at all practical to stop people from becoming hackers to begin with, we would have done it by now.

Posted by: Zeek at June 13, 2006 11:26 AM
Comment #157238

Vulnerabilities will always exist, and someone will always find pleasure in the challenge of breaking in.
In my opinion, the best things to do are to enforce security regulations with audits at the provider level and to
give victims a quick transfer to new accounts. Perhaps one day we can all wear our personal information chips and
keep our data to ourselves. Of course our data mining government would not allow this.


“Holding up a Liquor Store: $250.00.”
“Robbing a Bank: $17,500.00.”
“Car Jacking: $13,000.”

“MasterCard Security Breach (40 million customers): Priceless.”

Posted by: europheus at June 13, 2006 1:19 PM
Comment #157247

Political bilking of future wage earners through deficits and national debt - Infinite! Well not quite, there is a breaking point at which point no one loans us any more. The problem is, politicians today have no clue when in the future that will occur so they don’t worry it.

Posted by: David R. Remer at June 13, 2006 1:30 PM
Comment #157281

Bad idea. Let’s not study hacking. Let’s get rid of it. You do this by beefing up the criminal investigation of hacking. You also arrange to cooperate with other nations to jail hackers, no matter where they operate from.

Posted by: Paul Siegel at June 13, 2006 2:41 PM
Comment #157310

Paul,
Even if you increased the penalty of hacking to life in prison or death, the problem will remain. It is the thrill of danger and bragging rights that some people use as their sole purpose for hacking. This is a big reason behind hacking attempts to the Pentagon.

If the government studied hackers, their tricks and tips would be exposed. Knowing those elements, software can be developed to assist law enforcement agents with their tracking and prevention. I believe the FBI has been using this method for some time now.

Posted by: europheus at June 13, 2006 3:46 PM
Comment #157378

Richard-
I have to agree with David R.R. Government agencies would only cause more mayhem. This is a job for market forces. If any particular credit card company would offer the holder complete amnesty from any penalties of identity theft,they would corner the market.
Hackers hack because they have great technological skills,and poor social skills. It takes a particular lack of empathy to profit on someone elses good credit.
Biometric devices will help eliminate some theft,and frankly I don’t see how we can avoid surgically implanted (or worn as jewelry) identification devices.

Posted by: jblym at June 13, 2006 6:39 PM
Comment #157385

Europheus, exactly no matter what hackers will continue to exist and continue to try to hack newer bigger things for bragging rights in their little community. Because hackers are becoming more and more organized and more and more educated at their ‘hobby’ is exactly why we need to perform some sort of study or security program to fight hacking for purposes of protecting our nation’s security and our own personal and financial information.

However we cannot let a study / security program on hacking to turn into anything similar to the PATRIOT Act. We need to study hacking, hackers, their motives etc, while protecting and respecting civil liberties. The best way I can see how to do this is to do something along what DOC talked about:

“Another example that supports your suggestion is the true story of Frank Abagnale Jr. who before age 19 he was able to forge 2.5 million in checks, pose as a pediatrician, airline pilot, and a prosecuting attorney. He was initially put away on federal charges, but was released with the condition that he work with the FBI to fight fraud and forgery. Frank is currently owner and head of one of the worlds premier financial security consultancies.”

We need to make it where hackers who get arrested or caught want to work for security to try to stop hacking rather than actually being active hackers themselves.

Posted by: Richard Rhodes at June 13, 2006 6:56 PM
Comment #157403

Richard wrote -
“We need to make it where hackers who get arrested or caught want to work for security to try to stop hacking rather than actually being active hackers themselves.”


Here is one of the most famous (or infamous) hackers doing just that.

He is not alone, this is already happening in the private sector.

Posted by: europheus at June 13, 2006 7:46 PM
Comment #157417

The government does spend money on this already. The National Cyber Security Division (NCSD) was created in the Homeland Security Department in 2003.
US-CERT monitors and tracks viruses and alerts the public. According to the President’s Budget, they also do some of what you’re asking for:

In addition to its watch and warning function, US-CERT conducts malicious code analysis, improves the security of software, and conducts cyber threat and vulnerability analysis.

They also have exercises, plans and analysis specifically for infrastructure control systems.

I don’t know who they hire or what their internal practices are, but I doubt a Congressional resolution is needed just to tell them it’s important.

Christine

Posted by: Christine at June 13, 2006 8:37 PM
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