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[] Arquilla: Hacker für die USA!,

Join the U.S. Hacker Corps; see the world

Roger Harris 
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 
Ventura County. 

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 -!
- VenturaCountyStar -
 com -
  His phone 
number is 645-1050. For those who prefer snail-mail, the address is 
P.O. Box 6711, Ventura, CA 93006.

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