Friday, November 21, 2008

Worm Spreading Fast in Pentagon Computers: (not) in the News

I've been impressed, over the years, at what is "news," and what isn't.

Today, for example, I found quite a bit about topics like these: I have no problem with the first item. Americans are naturally interested in where the first family's children will go to school. Personally, I think it's smart to have them go to a private school. For security reasons, if nothing else.

The second news item has been handled a few ways. The Los Angeles Times didn't do anywhere near as much hand-wringing and/or gloating over how America won't be so powerful, 17 years from now.

Actually, that report seems to say that things are going to be different in 17 years. No surprises there. Today isn't just like 1991, and there's no indication that change is going to stop now.

From what I got out of the summaries, and a really quick glance at the report, America may lose a little ground, but the big changes include China, Russia, India, and Brazil becoming more powerful players in world affairs. Bottom line, there are other big kids on the block.

Another Day, a Few More Details About the Pentagon Worm

I had to dig a little, to find more information about the worm that's in the Pentagon computers.

Although quite a few news services are using the more familiar term, "virus," what's working its way through the Department of Defense networks is a worm: a self-replicating bit of code that sends copies of itself around a network, and can do other things when it's not replicating.

From the sounds of it, this is almost certainly a deliberate attack: not some bozo downloading the wrong Beyoncé video. The Pentagon is being very careful about what they let the news media tell us - and whoever is behind this. I'd love to know more about this, but I'm willing to wait. "National security" is a phrase that got a bad reputation several decades back, but sometimes it is a good idea not to tell a hacker what did, and didn't work in the latest attack.

One detail that isn't public is just what the worm is. Apparently, it's shown up in networks outside the American military's: so whatever marks this as a probable attack may be something in the way it got started in the Pentagon.

I also found out that Wired seems to have broken the story. I really ought to pay more attention to that publication.

Defense Department Computer Network Being Eaten by a Worm - and This isn't News?!

I might have missed something, but ABC, NBC, CBS, and CNN don't seem to be covering this story. Why, I don't know. I'd like to think that the news editors are sophisticated enough to realize that malware spreading in America's military computer networks is a problem, and could affect American citizens: but I can't see why it isn't being mentioned.

  • "Global Trends 2025: A Transformed World"
    Office of the Director of National Intelligence (November 2008)
    • (Hardcopy may be purchased from the Government Printing Office (ISBN 978-0-16-081834-9)
    • Available in PDF format online
In the news:


AI said...

Interesting post. Have linked to and followed up with my own interpretation of events related. See December 7 post

Brian, aka Nanoc, aka Norski said...

AI / Otto,

Thank you!

I'm (finally) catching up on email, comments, and posts. I'll revisit December 7 'anon' - not, I hope, in the Shakespearean sense.

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Note! Although I believe that these websites and blogs are useful resources for understanding the War on Terror, I do not necessarily agree with their opinions. 1 1 Given a recent misunderstanding of the phrase "useful resources," a clarification: I do not limit my reading to resources which support my views, or even to those which appear to be accurate. Reading opinions contrary to what I believed has been very useful at times: sometimes verifying my previous assumptions, sometimes encouraging me to change them.

Even resources which, in my opinion, are simply inaccurate are sometimes useful: these can give valuable insights into why some people or groups believe what they do.

In short, It is my opinion that some of the resources in this blogroll are neither accurate, nor unbiased. I do, however, believe that they are useful in understanding the War on Terror, the many versions of Islam, terrorism, and related topics.