Cyberwar Fearmongering Pays Off for Defense Contractors

A survey paid for by a company that works for the Department of Defense says 92 percent of Americans believe the nation's infrastructure is vulnerable to malware attacks. Once the public has been buffaloed into stampeding the money is sure to follow, according to CIO.com blogger Constantine von Hoffman.

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Cyberwar, which has no true definition, is currently being waged. If you have any doubts then you clearly are not selling cyberwarfare stuff to the government.

"We are in a cyberwar. Most Americans don't know it...and at this point, we're losing," says Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Mich).

Cybersecurity is our "greatest threat" and a "21st century nuclear weapons equivalent," says Secretary of State John Kerry. I’m pretty sure nuclear weapons are still this century’s nuclear weapons equivalent, but thanks for playing John!

Janet Napolitano, head of the Department of Homeland Stupidity, says "cyber 9/11" every chance she gets. The term sounds compelling but means nothing. Well done, Madame Secretary.

Rogers, who chairs the House Intelligence Committee, "told the [Pittsburgh] Tribune-Review on Wednesday that he is 99.9 percent confident Iran initiated recent cyber attacks on PNC and other major banks and that it clearly has the capability and desire to trigger more destructive assaults." It’s China one week, Iran the next–I believe North Korea is penciled in for later this month. Or maybe Monaco.

All this has paid off big time in the hustings. A survey paid for by Tenable Network Security, a security firm that works with the Department of Defense, found 92 percent of Americans believe public utilities, such as electricity and water, are vulnerable to malware attacks. Once the public has been buffaloed into stampeding the money is sure to follow.

Actually, the money is already there. As Tom Simonite writes in his great piece on the Malware-Industrial Complex:

"A freshly discovered weakness in a popular piece of software, known in the trade as a 'zero-day' vulnerability because the software makers have had no time to develop a fix, can be cashed in for much more than a reputation boost and some free drinks at the bar. Information about such flaws can command prices in the hundreds of thousands of dollars from defense contractors, security agencies and governments. This trade in zero-day exploits is poorly documented, but it is perhaps the most visible part of a new industry that in the years to come is likely to swallow growing portions of the U.S. national defense budget, reshape international relations, and perhaps make the Web less safe for everyone."

Yes, that would be the defense budget that already consumes nearly a trillion dollars a year on its own. The same defense budget that never seems to find enough money to increase pay or benefits for soldiers and their families, but does pay billions for a new fighter program that doesn’t work and no one wants.

Now, in addition to building yet more ships that can’t fight, hundreds of millions of dollars will be thrown at security systems that won't protect anything as well as simple enforcement of password protocols. Huzzah!

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