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  • 47 Percent of Americans Cyber-Unserious

    Earlier in the week, the media reported the Pentagon’s position that a serious cyber attack might require a military response—to which the only logical response is: You think?

    Now we have the findings of a new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey that 53 percent “of voters agree with this proposed new strategy and think a major cyber-attack on the United States by another country should be viewed as an act of war.” Here, the only logical question is: What is wrong with the other 47 percent of the people surveyed?

    If (1) A cyber threat threatens the vital interests of the U.S., (2) You can attribute the source of the threat, and (3) Military action is proportional, then clearly, taking military action is a perfectly legitimate form of self-defense. You don’t necessarily need to declare war to take military action, either.

    On the other hand, if you wind up whacking somebody because of a botnet attack, you need to be prepared to justify that to the American people and the Congress—something this President apparently has trouble doing when it comes to conventional operations.

    America needs to wake up and get cyber-serious before it is faced with a digital Pearl Harbor—because the day after thousands die as the result of a cyber attack, the poll results will show that 99 percent of Americans will think hitting back is a good idea. Protecting and defending against cyber threats is a better strategy than damage control.

    Posted in Security [slideshow_deploy]

    7 Responses to 47 Percent of Americans Cyber-Unserious

    1. Jim, DC says:

      This sounds a little extreme when we could simply use better security software and computer hardware block. It could also be stopped by using physical barriors preventing wide access to sensitive information. If there was a breach, it is most likley our fault for using weak defenses, not hackers who will hack anyway. I am not sure I want to start WWIII over breaking into a computer system. I feel we should hire these hackers at top dollar to try to break into our systems 24/7. If they find a weakness, we tighten it up. By lobbing bombs at China which could bring about the end of civilization as we know it does not seem worth it. I guess I am part of that 47%.

      If we wanted to impose sanctions or terrifs in retalliation – perhaps.

    2. Simeon, IN says:

      @Jim – "If there was a breach, it is most likely our fault for using weak defenses, not hackers who will hack anyway." I disagree; that's like saying the US should respond to a destructive Chinese missile attack with only sanctions because, after all, it was *our* fault for not funding and deploying the technology to shoot down all of the missiles. With all due respect, that's ludicrous.

      Yes, we need to put in place appropriate security measures, but at the same time, a cyber attack that costs billions of dollars and hundreds of lives can and should be responded to in the same manner as a physical attack with those results. (Note that we're talking about very real, very serious damage here, not just another Sony hack.) It is the outcome of an attack, not its avenue, that should determine the response.

    3. Brian, PA says:

      "Here, the only logical question is: What is wrong with the other 47 percent of the people surveyed?"

      Here's whats "wrong" with us. Ultra-Right-Wing Conservatives will use any excuse to "defend" the USA at any cost for the simple reason that enhances the military-industrial complex. The rest of us sane people realize that money is better spent on social programs than constant military spending.

      BTW – "Rasmussen Reports" is a primarily Conservative polling organization, so the 53% isn't that great considering who they're polling. If a poll were taken representative of the country at large, the result would well under 50%.

    4. Pragmatic in Texas says:

      I work for the federal government, and can honestly say no matter how many firewalls are put in place (and our IT puts in on average a new one every other week) you will have someone who can hack into it. There are so many firewalls on my system, most programs run latent, and they freeze up.

      I agree that any cyber attack to cause massive disruption of our services and endangering lives is an act of war.

    5. AWM -NW Indiana says:

      It is, of course, a matter of proportion…..

      Say that Jim, DC finds that the hackers of some foreign government have prevented him from accessing his I-Tunes account. I'm sure that he will be upset- but if that is the extent of the damage, I'm fairly certain that he could easily uphold the courage of his conviction, and not call for the bombers.

      But what if Jim- along with several hundred million of his fellow citizens- cannot use their debit/credit cards?

      Or -because all electronic records have disappeared- access to their savings/checking accounts is placed on hold, for a week or so?

      The Whole Foods store is not likely to accept your IOU, Jim.

      Although they may be willing to get rid of the food that's thawing in the freezers (which are working only intermittently, due to the infected software which used to shift power to locations where it was needed).

      And what if the attack effects our transportation system? (railroad signals/air traffic control/traffic signals/etc.)

      Or the medical system?

      I agree that strong security systems must be used by the government, by business, and by each individual; but those who would deign to attack the country must be put on notice that our response can and will include military action, commensurate with the level of damage to the people and infrastructure of the United Sates.

      If not, we are just enlarging the bullseye already placed on this country by the Quislings presently in power.

    6. Pingback: El 47% de los americanos son poco ciberserios | Heritage Libertad

    7. George Colgrove, VA says:

      This is starting to breach on craziness. We were lead to believe Y2K was supposed to stop elevators, and bring the nation to its knees when banks collapsed by the year turning over to 2000 from 1999. But did anything happen? NO! But what did happen from that fear mongering is that people in droves when out and bought new PC's. So much so that in the year 2000 a lot of PC companies went out of business as nearly everyone had a new PC and did not want a new one for quite some time after. This was a painful manipulation of an industry that even though it did make many PC companies a lot of money in a short time, ended up causing many to disappear.

      I do not fear the entire system to be harmed by any hacker – be it a country or some pimple faced nerd in some basement. So far the worst hacks have been in singular entities and not the whole sale system. A hack can be reset in minutes by rebooting a system. We see more damage to enterprises when hit by a virus than a hack. It amazes me how banks and the federal government put so much personal and sensitive information on networks based on Microsoft's OS. If 90% of the world is on one operating system, what do you think is going to happen? When the entire globe is one network protocol – what do you think is going to happen?

      Viruses can be transmitted via jpegs. When we have recent reports of a second round of SEC federal workers and who knows where else accessing adult images that is where the security breaches are. Why federal workers have internet access amazes me at this point. How many reports do we read on federal workers spending a lion's share of their day cruising the internet – buying things (in the case of high-security federal workers – inappropriate material regarding children,) planning vacations and personal email.

      A war with China will not only cost trillions, but will also cost us a civilization. Anyone who thinks they will profit greatly by war mongering, will see Einstein's prediction come true. He said that he was unsure of the weapons that will be used in WWIII, but that in WWIV we will be using sticks and stones.

      I think it would be far cheaper to:

      Consider alternative operating systems

      Eliminate internet access for federal workers (will greatly improve output and productivity!)

      Restrict access to sensitive material to INTRAnets and physically remove all wired access to the outside world

      For that matter restrict access to sensitive material period! Only people who have been specifically trained and have field experience with the subject matter should be the only ones with access anyways.

      As for the rest (banks, iTunes or what ever) we live on a planet and there are risks. I do not put my information out there as much as I can avoid. If it were my choice of having a war with China or having easy access to my money for example, I choose no internet. If I lost faith in this system to the point where I felt we needed to start WWIII with China over a hacker, then not only the internet has failed, but humanity on the whole has failed.

      There are far more effective ways out of this mess. I am not afraid of China or any hacker for that matter. I have received three notices in my life saying that my personal information was hacked. I have Lifelock and I have yet to receive any indication that my personal information has been compromised.

      As for iTunes or banks that have been hacked. They dealt with it the best they could – they learned from it and they are making fixes. As for the federal government, if they wanted to go to war with anyone, it should be the members of the federal workforce's cushy relationship with WikiLeaks. Perhaps having a blanket policy that assumes all federal workers can and will leak stuff, therefore they all must have restricted access to prevent such behavior. Why this is not done today amazes me. Federal policy towards us citizens is based on the lowest common denominator – why not apply that to a workforce that bloats budgets, hires droves of other federal workers when there is no money, demands and gets extremely high wages and even more lucrative benefits. A workforce that is successful on robbing from an increasingly impoverished nation for their personal gain is one to be watched and restricted.

      Sometimes I wonder if China's buildup at a tenth of the cost we spend on our entire defense budget has more to do with their fear of us than anything else. The Chinese are currently divesting their holdings in the US like mad right now.

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