Reengineering the Internet for cybersecurity?

by on March 1, 2010 · 6 comments

White House cybersecurity chief Mike McConnell had a 1,400-word piece in the Washington Post on Sunday in which he stressed a public-private partnership as the key to a robust cyber-defense. One paragraph caught my attention, though:

We need to develop an early-warning system to monitor cyberspace, identify intrusions and locate the source of attacks with a trail of evidence that can support diplomatic, military and legal options — and we must be able to do this in milliseconds. More specifically, we need to reengineer the Internet to make attribution, geolocation, intelligence analysis and impact assessment — who did it, from where, why and what was the result — more manageable. The technologies are already available from public and private sources and can be further developed if we have the will to build them into our systems and to work with our allies and trading partners so they will do the same.

I’m not sure what he’s talking about, and I’d love if a knowledgeable reader would chime in. I’m not sure how such a spoof-proof geolocation system would work without a complete overhaul of how the internet works.

  • safely anonymous

    I bet he's referring to this http://csis.org/files/media/csis/pubs/081208_se… see also http://itknowledgeexchange.techtarget.com/secur

    I'd use my name, but like free speech. :)

  • http://jerrybrito.com Jerry Brito

    Thanks very much for those pointers!

    I've got such conflicting feelings about anonymity. It facilitates both great and terrible impulses.

  • http://www.cato.org/ Jim Harper

    I attended a 25-person dinner on cybersecurity chaired by McConnell a few months ago. I was not impressed by his knowledge of cybersecurity, but his capability at threat exaggeration was unrivaled. I'm sure he's a great business builder for Booz Allen, but I would not take his advice on cybersecurity.

    Thanks, sa, for the pointer to one of few commentaries that doesn't trip over itself to commend the CSIS report. I expected much better when I read it, and was disappointed. I gave some expression to that, particularly the report's question-begging leap to regulation, here:

    http://democrats.science.house.gov/Media/file/C

  • http://www.cato.org/ Jim Harper

    When anonymity is the default, you can identify yourself. When identification is the default, you can't truly make youreself anonymous.

  • MikeRT

    Regulations are certainly needed in some spaces, such as requiring that power plants not place any critical system on an Internet-connected network. Of course, the actual amount of regulations needed would probably amount to five to ten pages of enforcing basic security practices on critical infrastructure, something which is decidedly unsexy to the likes of Booz Allen and McConnell.

  • MikeRT

    Regulations are certainly needed in some spaces, such as requiring that power plants not place any critical system on an Internet-connected network. Of course, the actual amount of regulations needed would probably amount to five to ten pages of enforcing basic security practices on critical infrastructure, something which is decidedly unsexy to the likes of Booz Allen and McConnell.

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