Political Rants by Judy @ 1:17 PM

Wednesday at an information-technology security conference in Washington, former CIA Director George J Tenet is calling for new security measures to protect against terrorist attacks on the USA via the internet.

Quoth Tenet:

I know that these actions will be controversial in this age when we still think the Internet is a free and open society with no control or accountability, but ultimately the Wild West must give way to governance and control.

[The Internet] represents a potential Achilles’ heel for our financial stability and physical security if the networks we are creating are not protected.

[al Qaeda] is undoubtedly mapping vulnerabilities and weaknesses in our telecommunications networks.

Tenet believes that the open architecture of the internet which allows activities such as web surfing, Google searches and a myriad of blogs, including this one, makes the system more vulnerable. Modernization of industries by creating connections to the internet makes the industries, in turn, open to attack. It is Tenet’s opinion that “intelligence services, military organizations and non-state actors,” are researching the feasibility of expoiting these vulnerabilities.

The Department Of Homeland Security has the accountability to protect the internet from terrorism. But the former Director of the National Cyber Security Division, Amit Yoran, resigned last October, amid rumors of frustration and clashes with superiors, after giving a single day’s notice of his intent to leave.

Under Yoran, the National Cyber Security Division was responsible for implementing recommendations in the Bush Administration’s National Strategy To Secure Cyberspace. As part of this initiative, Homeland Security established a cyberalert system that warns of virus alerts and Internet attacks as they occur, along with detailed instructions on protection. They also mapped the Governement’s networked devices and began routinely identifying US computers and networks that were victims of attacks and break-ins.

Tenet would like to go beyond identification. He says that access to networks like the World Wide Web might need to be limited to those who can show they take security seriously. That might eliminate quite a few home users, whose virus-laden computers are used as zombies in various types of attacks, from any access to the Internet.

Tenet’s suggestion to limit access does not go against the National Strategy To Secure Cyberspace, which states:

The federal government could not—and, indeed, should not—secure the computer
networks of privately owned banks, energy companies, transportation firms, and other parts of the private sector. The federal government should likewise not intrude into homes and small businesses, into universities, or state and local agencies and departments to create secure computer networks. Each American who depends on cyberspace, the network of information networks, must secure the part that they own or for which they are responsible.

The federal government need not intrude anywhere in order to exclude.

One wonders how it would be determined who is serious about security, and thus worthy of access to the Web? One also wonders how many more freedoms must be given up in the name of national security?

The national press was excluded from this event at Tenet’s request. Wonder why?

Miscellaneous Musing by Judy @ 6:39 AM
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Anyone who’s ever been on call knows what it’s like to have the phone ring in the middle of the night and find someone at the other end of the wire who expects you to instantly wake up and begin to make sense when talking about technical issues. It’s been awhile for me…

Thursday, 4:30 AM: brrrrring, brrrrring, brrrrring Hello? Hi. I hate to call you, but…


So at 5:00 AM I woke # 1 son and told him that I had to go to work, I would call him to make sure he woke up at the usual time, and I would be back to take him to school in time for his first final (end of term). I figured that by that time I could have other people in there looking at the code.

By 5:30 AM I was at work and looking into the problem. By 5:45 AM, the person who had called me was there. By 6:15 AM we knew how to fix it.

Time out to call # 1 son. Yes, he is up. I know he is vertical because he goes into my bedroom to turn off my alarm clock, forgotten in the rush at 5:00 AM. Don’t even sit back down, I tell him. Go make coffee and get ready and I’ll be home in an hour. OK, he says.

By 6:50 AM, the fix was applied and I was back on the road.

At 7:15 AM I walk in my front door and say, “Hello!” No answer. This does not bode well. “Hello?” No answerer. Come to # 1 son’s door. “Hello?” # 1 son leaps off of his bed, where he’s obviously been spending the time since I called snoozing away.

“It’s time to go to school,” Said I.


Oh, yes… it can. And there followed an extreme amount of drama, accompanied by wailing and gnashing of teeth. But, fortunately also accompanied by getting ready for school in record-setting time.

And, although he professed his undying hatred of me, school, and the world (in that order, I think), he did have the good grace not to blame me because he went back to sleep. Although he did say that by going into work at 5:00 AM, I screwed up his carefully laid plans to get up and drink a pot of coffee (already made and which I reheated on my way out the first time to drink in the car) so he would be awake for finals.

I reminded him that it’s good to be flexible.

By afternoon, finals had gone OK and I had gone from Wicked Witch Of The West to “What was it were you doing at 5 in the morning??? That sucks!” And I was a relatively decent human being once again, if slightly inept, in the eyes of # 1 son.

The problem with coming in early, of course, is that doesn’t mean I get to leave early. And that’s why there was a dearth of bloggage here yesterday.

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