[iwar] Fw: joke

From: VERNON THOMAS STAGG (vstagg@deakin.edu.au)
Date: 2001-04-13 05:50:10

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From: VERNON THOMAS STAGG <vstagg@deakin.edu.au>
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Date: Fri, 13 Apr 2001 22:50:10 +1000 (EST)
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Subject: [iwar] Fw: joke
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Hi all,

I came across this site before and thought I'd pass
this bit of humour along.

They also have a couple of interesting articles on 
Information Warfare. I have included one of the shorter 
ones below.



Defense Computer

A large defense contractor finally succeeded in building a computer able 
to solve any strategic or tactical problem. Military leaders assembled 
in front of the new machine and were instructed to feed a difficult 
tactical problem into it. They described a hypothetical situation to the 
computer and then asked the pivotal question, "Attack or retreat?"

The computer hummed away for an hour and then came up with the answer, 

The generals looked at each other, stupefied.

Finally one of them submitted a second request to the computer, 
"Yes what?"

Instantly the computer responded, "Yes, Sir!."


Cyber War Surfaces


The long feared cyber warfare has finally arrived. But so far it appears to be 
nothing more than the same kind of snooping around that malicious, or just curious, 
computer users have been doing for some twenty years. Yes, twenty years, for it was 
in 1979 that the first major consumer network (CompuServe) went on line, at the same 
time that private BBS's (Bulletin Board System) began to appear. Many of the people 
using these early systems were computer enthusiasts. The first PCs had arrived a few 
years before and the first generation of talented amateurs was being developed. The 
BBS software, like the later Internet stuff, was developed largely in the open. 
Weaknesses were known, and there were, then as now, always a few malicious little 
creeps who exploited the flaws in the systems. Even CompuServe, a system created by 
professionals for professionals, soon found clever amateurs traipsing around where 
they shouldn't be. The original idea behind CompuServe was to allow this business 
network to be used by consumers at night, when business customers were few. 
Fortunately, CompuServe did not just shot down the off-hours consumer business, but 
instead beefed up their system security and kept a close watch for new weaknesses. 
There's a lesson in that, for some two decades ago, a major online service learned 
how to deal with the cracker problem.
Not so today. The Internet is far larger than CompuServe and, more to the point, not 
under any central control. The result is that system weaknesses show up faster than 
everyone can find, fix and spread the word about the solutions. There is also a 
shortage of qualified people to run the many servers connected to the Internet. 
What has made cyber warfare visible has been the development of skills and tools to 
detect who the crackers were and where they were coming from. Earlier this year, 
when China and Taiwan were going at it over the Taiwanese independence issue, pro-
Taiwanese web pages were getting trashed. The culprits were traced back to servers 
in Beijing. Same thing with some recent snooping in Department of Defense servers. 
The culprits were operating from Moscow. 
The Russians responded that they would not be so clumsy that they would get caught. 
The Russians blamed thrill seeking amateurs. They have a point, but the cyber 
attacks were also done in a quiet and unobtrusive way. The intruders were only 
caught because better tools and techniques are becoming available to counter the 
most clever cracking methods. Moreover, the Russian based attacks were all done 
during 9-5 (local time) and never on Russian holidays. Government employees always 
leave a trail. Freelancers generally work different hours, often at night local 
time. During the war over Kosovo, the Serbs made no secret of the local crackers 
they had mobilized to fight back. There was some mischief done, but no serious 
The reality of cyber war is real, and America is the most vulnerable nation. Many 
essential services, for example, are controlled via a modem connection. This is 
often a convenience for staff, but sometimes it's a necessity for out of the way 
facilities. Information is now recognized as a great source of power, and increasing 
amounts of data, especially military, is online. This makes the users more 
effective, but also makes them more vulnerable to enemy action. But America has 
advantages in this war. Most of the net experts in the world are Americans. And then 
there is the American tendency to pile on a crises situation and beat it to death. 
Don't underestimate this, for it is the major reason the U.S. won the Cold War, not 
to mention World War II, the Space Race and so on. This war will go on and on, and 
although most of the battles will be fought out in the shadows, occasionally bits 
and pieces will surface. 

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