Donald Trump Has A Plan for CyberWar

In a meandering, 100-minute-long telephone interview with The New York Times last week, Donald Trump elaborated on some of the bold and belligerent foreign-policy prescriptions he’s hinted at in the past.

He touched on nuclear weapons, spying and the fight against ISIS, bringing his tried-and-true “we’re losing” doom and gloom to each topic. His proclamations of decline seem to be designed to support what he said outright on Twitter last week, after a bombing in Pakistan killed dozens and injured hundreds: “I alone can solve.”

When confronted with a question about cyberwarfare, Trump leaned on the same tactics, while displaying a profound unfamiliarity with the issue.
David Sanger, one of the two Times journalists interviewing Trump, asked the candidate if the US should use cyberweapons as an alternative to conventional weapons or nukes, and if so, how often.

Trump said he didn’t think cyberweapons are an alternative to nuclear weapons “in terms of ultimate power.” He tacked back to discussing nukes—“I will tell you, I would very much not want to be the first one to use them, that I can say”—until Sanger asked him again how he would use the US cyber-arsenal as president.

And that’s when the Trump kicked into full woe-is-us mode. Here’s his answer, in full:

First off, we’re so obsolete in cyber. We’re the ones that sort of were very much involved with the creation, but we’re so obsolete, we just seem to be toyed with by so many different countries, already. And we don’t know who’s doing what. We don’t know who’s got the power, who’s got that capability, some people say it’s China, some people say it’s Russia. But certainly cyber has to be a, you know, certainly cyber has to be in our thought process, very strongly in our thought process. Inconceivable that, inconceivable the power of cyber. But as you say, you can take out, you can take out, you can make countries nonfunctioning with a strong use of cyber. I don’t think we’re there. I don’t think we’re as advanced as other countries are, and I think you probably would agree with that. I don’t think we’re advanced, I think we’re going backwards in so many different ways. I think we’re going backwards with our military. I certainly don’t think we are, we move forward with cyber, but other countries are moving forward at a much more rapid pace. We are frankly not being led very well in terms of the protection of this country.

Trump appears to be making three points here: first, that the US is “obsolete in cyber”; second, that the US can’t even tell where attacks are coming from; and third, that “the power of cyber” is “inconceivable” and should figure “very strongly in our thought process.”

That latter point is hard to argue with. Cyberweapons are indeed mind-bending: Look no further than Stuxnet, a US and Israeli cyberattack that caused Iranian nuclear centrifuges to spin out of control and destroy themselves. It was a landmark moment for state-on-state cyberattacks.

But his first two points are, as far as conventional wisdom goes, far wide of the mark. The US is in fact believed to have the most powerful arsenal of cyberweapons of any country. Its specific capabilities are a closely guarded secret, but the government is likely hoarding knowledge of vulnerabilities and security flaws that it could use to inflict damage on other countries’ computer systems—sort of like a reserve of warheads ready to be deployed.

And while attributing cyberattacks to a country or an individual is indeed one of the more difficult aspects of cyberwarfare—far trickier than figuring out where a missile was fired from, for example—the US has gotten pretty good at it. Soon after Sony Pictures Entertainment became the victim of a massive hack in 2014, for example, US officials pointed fingers at North Korea. The government was able to come to that conclusion because it had been spying on North Korean networks since 2010, The New York Times reported.

More recently, the Justice Department has embarked on a name-and-shame campaign, bringing public charges against foreign state-sponsored hackers who attack US government and private sector computers. It began in 2014, when the department placed five members of China’s People’s Liberation Army on a list of most-wanted cybercriminals for stealing trade secrets. In the past two weeks, two Syrians and seven Iranians have been charged and added to the list.

When Trump bemoans an “outdated” the US cyber-arsenal, he might be thinking instead of the sorry state of America’s cyber-defenses. Its shortcomings were made incredibly clear by the Chinese attack on Office of Personnel Management servers in 2015, when hackers gained access to the private information of 22 million people. Numerous other attacks on government systems and email servers have proved the government’s difficulty keeping digital information safe.

Trump certainly isn’t the only presidential candidate without a meaningful cybersecurity and cyberwar platform. A Wired summary of the contenders’ positions showed that all of them have painted their positions in very broad strokes, if they’ve even taken one.

But whoever takes over the Oval Office in 2017 will be handed more than just the country’s nuclear codes. The next high-stakes raid may not involve an elite team of Navy Seals, but rather hinge on vulnerabilities in an enemy’s computer code—so presidential hopefuls had better start wrapping their head around the “inconceivable power of cyber.”

Ein News: http://bit.ly/1S4QdmZ

« UK Investigatory Powers Bill Will Cost £1bn To Implement
Were Brussels Terrorists Trying To Build 'dirty bomb' »

Perimeter 81

Directory of Suppliers

CYRIN

CYRIN

CYRIN® Cyber Range. Real Tools, Real Attacks, Real Scenarios. See why leading educational institutions and companies in the U.S. have begun to adopt the CYRIN® system.

CSI Consulting Services

CSI Consulting Services

Get Advice From The Experts: * Training * Penetration Testing * Data Governance * GDPR Compliance. Connecting you to the best in the business.

Clayden Law

Clayden Law

Clayden Law are experts in information technology, data privacy and cybersecurity law.

Authentic8

Authentic8

Authentic8 transforms how organizations secure and control the use of the web with Silo, its patented cloud browser.

Jooble

Jooble

Jooble is a job search aggregator operating in 71 countries worldwide. We simplify the job search process by displaying active job ads from major job boards and career sites across the internet.

Cylance Smart Antivirus

Cylance Smart Antivirus

An antivirus that works smarter, not harder, from BlackBerry. Lightweight, non-intrusive protection powered by artificial intelligence. BUY NOW - LIMITED DISCOUNT OFFER.

DigitalStakeout

DigitalStakeout

A simple and cost-effective solution to monitor, investigate and analyze data from the web, social media and cyber sources to identify threats and make better security decisions.

XYPRO Technology

XYPRO Technology

XYPRO is the market leader in HPE Non-Stop Security, Risk Management and Compliance.

Perimeter 81

Perimeter 81

Perimeter 81 is a Zero Trust Network as a Service designed to simplify secure network, cloud and application access for the modern and distributed workforce.

BackupVault

BackupVault

BackupVault is a leading provider of completely automatic, fully encrypted online, cloud backup.

CloudSigma

CloudSigma

CloudSigma, a pure-cloud IaaS provider offers flexible and innovative cloud hosting solutions for companies of all sizes both in Europe and the US.

Cipher Tooth

Cipher Tooth

CipherTooth is a superior system for delivering secure content over the Internet.

Netsafe

Netsafe

Netsafe is an independent, non-profit New Zealand organisation focused on online safety. We help people stay safe online by providing online safety education, advice and support.

Telecommunications & Digital Government Regulatory Authority (TDRA)

Telecommunications & Digital Government Regulatory Authority (TDRA)

TDRA focuses on regulating the telecommunications sector and enabling government entities in the field of smart transformation. It is responsible for the overall digital infrastructure in the UAE.

Acceptto

Acceptto

Acceptto offers the first unified and continuous authentication identity access platform with No-Password.

Clone Systems

Clone Systems

Clone Systems is an award winning global cloud based managed security as a service provider.

Nucleus Security

Nucleus Security

Nucleus is a leading Vulnerability Management platform for Large Enterprises, MSPs/MSSPs, and Application Security Teams that want more from their vulnerability management tools.

Templar Shield

Templar Shield

Templar Shield is a premier information security, risk and compliance technology professional services firm serving North America.