Wednesday, April 25, 2012


About America and its unprepared defense against cyberattack:
“Are we as a nation living in denial about the danger we’re in?” I asked Clarke as we sat across a conference table in his office suite.

“I think we’re living in the world of non-response. Where you know that there’s a problem, but you don’t do anything about it. If that’s denial, then that’s denial.”

[sidenote to the reader: Stuxnet is a computer virus that physically destroys the physical machine it infects. It's like saying, shit, my computer crashed, versus, shit, one of our nuclear subterfuges is on fire.]

On suspicion of US executing Stuxnet:
“If we went in with a drone and knocked out a thousand centrifuges, that’s an act of war,” I said. “But if we go in with Stuxnet and knock out a thousand centrifuges, what’s that?”

“But in any event, you’re right, it got out. And it ran around the world and infected lots of things but didn’t do any damage, because every time it woke up in a computer it asked itself those four questions. Unless you were running uranium nuclear centrifuges, it wasn’t going to hurt you.”

“So it’s not a threat anymore?”

“But you now have it, and if you’re a computer whiz you can take it apart and you can say, ‘Oh, let’s change this over here, let’s change that over there.’ Now I’ve got a really sophisticated weapon. So thousands of people around the world have it and are playing with it. And if I’m right, the best cyberweapon the United States has ever developed, it then gave the world for free.”

"Every major company in the US has already been penetrated by China. ... My fear...[is] Where we lose our competitiveness by having all of our research and development stolen by the Chinese. And we never really see the single event that makes us do something about it. That it’s always just below our pain threshold. That company after company in the United States spends millions, hundreds of millions, in some cases billions of dollars on R&D and that information goes free to China....After a while you can’t compete.”

Richard Clarke on Who Was Behind the Stuxnet Attack:
America's longtime counterterrorism czar warns that the cyberwars have already begun—and that we might be losing
Ron Rosenbaum, Smithsonian magazine, April 2012

Cyber War: The Next Threat to National Security and What to Do About It, 2010. with Robert K. Knake (ISBN 9780061962233)

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