General James Cartwright, vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, recently made this statement to the press:
“Every time somebody spends a couple hundred dollars to build a virus, we’ve got to spend millions. So we’re on the wrong side of that. We’ve got to change that around,” he said.
He said part of the answer was in building up the military’s offensive response capabilities.
“How do you build something that convinces a hacker that doing this is going to be costing them and if he’s going to do it, he better be willing to pay the price and the price is going to escalate, rather than his price stays the same and ours escalates,” Cartwright said.
“We’ve got to change the calculus.”
I urge you to think long and hard about what “offensive capabilities” means in this regard.
He is openly stating that they are planning on unleashing destructive web based capabilities into the wild.
This will not end well.
Consider your home PC, all nice a cozy, humming along just fine. However, unbeknownst to you a hacker has taken control of your PC through a virus and has incorporated it into a botnet that he controls. If that teenager decides to take a crack at a government system using his botnet and the government has some backdoor tricks that they colluded with Microsoft to create, your home PC might be turned into a pile of rubble.
The losers in this mess will not be the hackers. They don’t bother to use their own systems when making attacks. The losers will be the general public, who may wake up to find their archive of home videos and music burned to a crisp by a US government retaliatory attack against a teenage botnet operator.