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Truth about computer security hysteria
Truth About Computer Security Hysteria

Pentagon will destroy the Taliban — with a computer virus

Rob Rosenberger, Vmyths co-founder
Saturday, 10 November 2001 As read by the author (MP3) I'VE GOT BAD news and good news.
Bad news: the Internet died today. Good news: no one noticed.
First the bad news: InternetTrafficReport.com declared the Internet dead on Thursday. Now the good news: only Vmyths reader John Hogan noticed it. (Good eye, John!) Click on the autopsy photo if you need detailed proof.
InternetTrafficReport.com
Killed by a raw socket, I'll wager. Hey, look at those trend arrows! A fate worse than death looms ahead. The Internet's untimely demise follows hot on the heels of a Reuters story about an upcoming cyberwar. According to cub reporter Jim Wolf, "even as it fights in Afghanistan with bombs and guns and allies on horseback, the U.S. military is gearing up to use computers and code as potentially decisive weapons in the next phases of its campaign." Computers and code? Potentially decisive weapons? In a war with Afghanistan? Do tell. I'd gladly donate 27 pixels to the U.S. war chest if I knew where to email the photons... Hey, don't get me wrong: I never wanted to send the cavalry into Afghanistan to begin with. Thank goodness we can rely on these strapping young keyboard kops! Indeed, many virus fighters would give the Arrow shirts off their backs to join the ultra-classified struggle against terrorism. Pound 'em with bombs, ping 'em with packets, what's the difference? Either one will satisfy my craving for vengeance, and the latter war plan doesn't force us to saddle any horses. Heaven knows we need cyberwarriors at this important time in our history. An IDG newswire quotes recently demoted presidential fearmonger Richard Clarke, who still to this day insists "cyberattacks on the nation's critical IT infrastructure could potentially cause 'catastrophic damage to the economy,' akin to the 'functional equivalent of 767s crashing into buildings.' " Clarke used to cheapen the memory of Pearl Harbor. Now he cheapens the memory of the twin towers. And I in turn cheapen the memory of Clarke. So there you have it, folks. Osama bin Virus can kill thousands of Americans with just a laptop and a 56k modem. From the comfort of his cave, no less. The president's top demoted fearmonger believes it, and he should know! I shudder at the thought of what might happen when real cyberterrorism finally kicks off. Why, the bankrupt fearmongers at iDefense now predict "anthrax mail scares could prompt [a] cyber response... Users should be on alert not to open any e-mail messages with an attachment referring to anthrax."
Demoted presidential fearmonger Richard Clarke still insists "cyberattacks on the nation's critical IT infrastructure could potentially cause 'catastrophic damage to the economy,' akin to the 'functional equivalent of 767s crashing into buildings.' "
Makes you want to iron your email, doesn't it? I swear I don't make this stuff up, folks. I just report it for your amusement. Uh-oh, wouldn't you know it? A SatireWire newswire carries the headline "SPAMTHRAX — CONTRACTING ANTHRAX VIA EMAIL." It also talks about "Information on Net Evacuation [and] Bayer's Production of e-Cipro." I hope you'll read the story's second sentence carefully. You can't say Clarke didn't warn you!
ODDLY, CLARKE HASN'T explained why bin Laden paid exorbitant amounts to train commercial pilots who gave their lives in elaborate skyscraper-jetliner attacks. Why not just remotely pilot a 767 with a PC joystick? You get the same effect and your own men don't die in the process. Hmmm. Perhaps Boeing uses the secure-by-default OpenBSD operating system. It would explain why the terrorists needed local access to the cockpit... Sadly, the death of the Internet will compel us to send troops into battle rather than electrons. Crud! We'll need to drop 500-pound bombs instead of 500-byte ping packets. So I guess Clarke won't need my 27 pixels after all. (Don't worry: the government knows where to find me if they ever again need my services at 3am.) I'll leave you with two philosophical questions. First, if Clarke insists cyber-attacks are the "functional equivalent of 767s crashing into buildings," then why haven't we seen such attacks? Second, if Clarke insists cyber-attacks are the "functional equivalent of 767s crashing into buildings," then why did the president demote him?
''Debunking Richard Clarke'' computer security audio CD now available