The John Batchelor Show

VIDEO: Cyberinsecurity

May 12, 2016

Wednesday   11 May 2016 / Hour 2, Block A:  Bill Gertz, senior editor of the Washington Free Beacon, in re: Gucifer hacked in to John Kerry’s accounts. The Obama Adm cybersecurity, etc., so far: and incomplete response.    . . .  Gucifer wasn't an enemy; he was just fooling around.  The problem is that the Net is a lawless event.   For example, there’s no court to take Gucifer to.
Office of Personnel Management (OPM): 22 million records stolen and used for counter intell and cyberattack.  US firms currently are forbidden to “hack back,” yet the US govt does: nothing at all. There’s a debate in process in intelligence services, Department of  Jusctice, and others:  “We must show a cyber force or there’ll be no deterrent.”  When you raise the cost, that’s a deterrent. The White House wants not to.Panetta: The WH has short-circuited the entire constitutional system – uses Executive decisions and Ben Rhodes.   The chief US counterintell official: “US loses $400 bil per year – and 90% of the attacks come from China”  It's high time for a reevaluation. Bad actors –probably Iranian – hacked into a hydroelectric facility in southern New York State. What ‘s an adequate response to a bad actor here?  1. The infrastructure of hacking the New York dam: an extreme vulnerability– industrial systems are much different from laptops; these are old, vulnerable.  So first we need to modernize industrial systems.  2. Make it clear that there’s a cost: if the attack is domestic, go to US court; if from overseas, launch some kind of counter cyber attack, to reclaim the data or disable the perp’s systems.  Note that the Iranians also went after major, money-center banks. (Office of Personnel Management and Anthem were both seriously attacked.)  . . . You're right: if a major system breakdown, we civilians have no way to know if it’s a major security hack from an enemy, or not.
“The indictments are largely symbolic, since none of the Iranians or Syrians are within reach of U.S. law enforcement and the chances the hackers will ever face justice in a courtroom are slim.
Like many of President Obama’s foreign policies, the indictments appear designed to provide the president and his administration with political cover by adopting seemingly proactive measures, but without having much impact.
The approach to cyber threats coincides with the president’s generally pacifistic approach to foreign affairs, which he is reported to have summed up as “don’t do stupid shit.” In practice, this approach often amounts to doing as little as possible, and doing nothing that might require the use of military force.
The policy was captured in a New York Times profile last week of Ben Rhodes, the White House deputy national security adviser for communications who was described as “The Boy Wonder” of the White House.
Leon Panetta, who served as CIA director and defense secretary under Obama, explained that the president’s approach to foreign affairs has been dominated by the desire to avoid possible conflicts. “I think the whole legacy that he was working on was, ‘I’m the guy who’s going to bring these wars to an end, and the last goddamn thing I need is to start another war,’” Panetta said of Obama’s approach to Iran and the nuclear deal. The former defense secretary said the president believes that “if you ratchet up sanctions, it could cause a war. If you start opposing their interests in Syria, well, that could start a war, too.”…