Friday, December 26, 2014

hit "pause" in the cyber war

Let me get this straight. Some evil-doer hacked into Sony's computers and did a lot of damage,  Enough that many in the media called him/her/them "terrorists." President Obama labeled the action "cybervandalism" and was excoriated by Republicans for weakness in the face of a serious threat. The FBI attributed the attack to North Korea, and then that isolated country suffered two denial of service attacks -- origin unspecified -- that cut their links to the Internet.

What next? How about "pause"? Why should the United States Government get all hot and bothered about an attack on a Japanese company that is distributing a stupid comedy that includes the assassination of the current North Korean leader as the main story line? Why should the U.S. Government treat this action as anything even approaching terrorism? Sony should have had better security for its business and intellectual property. It's now not even clear that North Korea perpetrated the attack [which would say something about the American government's cyber skills].

Private companies have their own interests in better security. The government has a role in ensuring that critical infrastructure companies, most of which are privately owned, have strong cyber security. Part of the problem Congress hasn't acted is that Republicans don't want to force companies to strengthen security and don't want to pay tax money for that purpose. And companies demand protection from lawsuits if their security measures fail. Something has to give, because better security is important.

But not by government for an entertainment company. And certainly not to the point of cyber war against a foreign government.

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