MAD in Cyberspace

Rod Beckstrom gives a talk (video and transcript) about "Mutually Assured Destruction," "Mutually Assured Disruption," and "Mutually Assured Dependence."

Posted on June 25, 2013 at 6:24 AM • 4 Comments

Comments

JacobJune 25, 2013 9:19 AM

Interesting. Video link down.

First thought is that the paper lays out basics. Nation states and industry will seek equilibrium in this Wild West of code, access, and of course money/influence. This will play out in interesting ways. I see some real problems with lone wolves, small groups, and the genuinely bad guys. I know the larger players may very well do bad things, but specifically the smaller ones could punch above their weight. That's the problem. Individuals and small groups can be tied into group think just like the larger ones. Thiene has given some great lectures, etc. at defcon and in his writings.

I'm sure that part of data mining from large players is part of an effort to find the people with skills to cause harm. I'm sure Everyone at defcon, black hat, and others as well as cert training are put on lists. Colleges as well. It only makes sense to try to learn who these people are. Recruit or keep an eye on them?

Snowden shows however that only one out of 500k? People with clearance or just access can cause a great deal of damage. The u.s. has to come to grips with the fact that these young people may have agendas that are difficult to ferret out. Everyone (heiarchy of needs) wants to achieve. They also want to be the good guys whatever that may mean. We the older generation fed them science fiction, great struggles/causes, injustices in the world and then let them face reality with unemployment and high student debt. Is it any wonder of them haven't gone over the edge of cliff? Especially the smart ones, they feel the disconnect between the world they want and what they see. I can't remember the German word right now
Weltschmerz?

Anyway the modern world is facing a real problem along these lines in my opinion. Older people have enough time and experience to discuss and see the grey areas that are really almost the whole length of bell curve, the young people lack a great deal. The biggest one on display right now is that it is just as important to do the right thing in the right way as is to do it in the first place.

Past struggles showed a willingness to put yourself on the line facing the firehoses or legal system. Too many are not showing a real understanding of history and let the law of unintended consequences play out. Their actions may actually make things worse in regard to what they are fighting. Imagine if the civil rights movement had chosen guerrilla warfare tactics?

I know I'm an old fart when I say these things but other than telling the kids to get off my cyber grass what else can I do but try to get their attention? ;)

Nick PJune 25, 2013 5:01 PM

Bruce, thanks for writing about this. I read the transcript. Great article. It's also a viewpoint I think the lay people in America could understand. Many of them already think the Cold War paranoia was ridiculous and the terror boogieman wore off a bit compared to right after 9/11. Now, they're to buy into the hacker boogieman?

I think presenting the case in the way the author did here might make it easier to counter all the scaremongering. I'd like to see more of these kind of arguments use in TV debates.

Peter TJune 27, 2013 2:07 AM

The way as cyber warfare affecting the average people is very much the same as they were affected by the threat of a nuclear war in the 50's. It is a real and imminent threat, the people feel depressed about it because they are totally helpless. Everyone can be hacked = everyone can be nuked. You can never hide or get out. Desperately, you are trying to build a shelter in the backyard while know that it wouldn't make any difference.

Luckily enough, we have never seem a full scale nuclear war and I can only hope we will never see a full scale cyber way either.

Wesley ParishJune 27, 2013 2:08 AM

I'm tempted to say, "Nothing new to see here, move along!"

Except that some of those points - mutually assured destruction fuguing into mutually assured disruption fuguing into mutually assured dependence - have been staring people in the face for ages. I myself, after an admittedly cursory examination of the post WWII Mutually Assured Destruction system in the late eighties - by cursory I mean I did not have access to the detailed records of any of the parties to that mess - found myself thinking that the USA and the USSR should celebrate the bombing of Nagasaki as Interdependency Day, because it became hard to tell where the US and the Soviet political systems began and ended. Did the Politburo do such-and-such because of dealings in the US Congress or in the White House? Did the White House make such-and-such a statement, a declaration, in response to the Politburo's decisions?

The Internet merely embeds that interdependence into everybody's economic life, instead of leaving it outside, disownable, in the corridors of politics.

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