10 February 2000
Date: Thu, 10 Feb 2000 14:01:48 EST
Subject: Alternate -- Non-Pack Journalism -- View of the Great Hack of 2000
This is an excerpt from my article in Computer Fraud and Security Bulletin, February 2000.
At a 6 October 1999 hearing of the Senate Subcommittee on Technology, Terrorism, and Government Information, Senator Bob Bennett of Utah . . . suggested that Department of Defense penetration "Red Teams" should be used to break into the computers of certain private industry areas. That suggestion prompted Michael Vatis, the director fo the FBI's National Infrastructure Protection Center (NIPC), to remark that some industry officials would welcome this but others would be averse because they "would not want to know the answer" to how weak their security really is. Vatis also said the idea of a Department of Defense Red Team penetrating civilian agencies of the government was a "good idea."
The hacking of EBay, ETrust, Yahoo!, and other less than critical .com sites comes at a very convenient time for a lot of people who could only rely on future predictions and not actual events to push their dubious agenda. However, not being to sell Aunt Martha's antique tea set on EBay for a few hours does not costitute a major national security incident. Neither does not being able to plop down a few hundred dollars on the shares of some penny stock Ponzi scheme or not being able to read porno messages sent to an alternate screen name account on Yahoo mail.
The FBI -- the agency that always prides itself on getting the bad guy -- readily admits it may never find the culprits. Maybe they need not look any further than Fort Meade or Kelly Air Force Base.
Historical Time Capsule Redux:
February 27, 1933, Berlin
The German Parliament (Reichstag) burned down. A Dutch Communist with a history of mental illness named Marinus van der Lubbe is found at the scene and charged with arson. Karl Ernst, head of the Brown Shirts in Berlin, when asked by a fellow Dutch right-winger whether his men were responsible for the fire answered, "If I said Yes, I'd be a bloody fool, if I said no I'd be a bloody liar."