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[infowar.de] Arquilla: Hacker für die USA!
Join the U.S. Hacker Corps; see the world
October 20, 2003
What this country needs aren't bigger bombs and deadlier bullets. What
it needs is a Corps of Hackers devoted to protecting the nation's
computer infrastructure from cyber invasion.
So says cyber terrorism expert John Arquilla.
Computer hackers are an untapped and unrecognized military resource,
Arquilla said in a recent speech to The World Affairs Council of
Money and effort now spent tracking down hackers and throwing them in
prison with bank robbers and drug peddlers would be better spent
recruiting hackers for national security work, said Arquilla,
co-director of the Center on Terrorism & Irregular Warfare at the
Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey.
This may not seem like a great idea if your mental picture of a hacker
is a bleery-eyed sugar-swilling geek who gets his jollies breaking
into computers and planting destructive computer viruses.
If that's what you think, you would be wrong about much of the hacker
community, according to Arquilla, a leading expert on Internet and
cyber terrorism threat assessment.
Arquilla, who helped develop the offensive cyber weapons used by the
U.S. military in Kosovo, in Afghanistan and in the Gulf War, describes
the U.S. hacker community as an intelligent, motivated and patriotic
band of cyber warriors whose computer skills go far beyond simply
They aren't paratroopers, but they are ready and willing to wage war
against cyber terrorists, said Arquilla, who is in regular contact
with some of the elite members of the hacker community.
"They are the cyber frontiersmen. ... Particularly since 9-11 they
want to serve their country," Arquilla said.
Skeptics contend hackers are untrustworthy lot who, among other
things, have broken into Pentagon computers and sent damaging computer
viruses swirling through government and business computer systems.
It's true that an organized group of hackers once roamed around
military computer systems for weeks at a time and some hackers even
obtained administrative control of military computers and could have
wrought great havoc, Arquilla said.
"The real question is why didn't they do more damage," Arquilla said.
" ... They didn't because that's not what turns them on."
The government needs to adopt "a less poisonous" attitude toward
hackers and find a way to use their talents for the public good,
Arquilla told the three dozen members of the local World Affairs
Council who attended his lecture held at Rockwell Scientific Co.
In an interview earlier this year on "Frontline," the PBS public
affairs program, Arquilla put it this way:
"We have to re-examine that punitive approach to the hacking
community, and try, instead, to turn it into something that can be
useful, and perhaps even to reform some of these people away from
their own illegal actions."
National security depends on it, said Arquilla, who has written
several books on the threat of cyber terrorism and the role of
information technology in waging war.
Networked communications systems give the United States a great
advantage on the battlefield. The network uses information technology
to multiply the power and efficiency of weapons systems. It allows the
military to attack with precision and speed. But the network also is
vulnerable to disruption of the communications network.
Al Qaeda and other terrorist groups have their own hacker training
programs and are developing "weapons of mass disruption" that could
prove just as deadly as bombs and bullets.
We need the help of the elite hackers to prepare defensive and
offensive weapons that will be needed in what Arquilla believes is an
inevitable cyber attack.
"The clock is ticking," he said.
-- Roger Harris is the editor of Fast Forward. Questions, comments and
criticisms can be e-mailed to Rharris -!
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