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Stupidity: A Real Cyberthreat.

  • From: Jerry Pasker
  • Date: Thu Jan 19 12:42:29 2006


[subject change since this is a change of subject, was "Re: The Backhoe: A Real Cyberthreat?"]

The biggest threat to Cyber security is stupidity, followed only by indifference. Period. There. Someone was bound to say it, so I said it first.

Now, in an attempt to get my NANOG "Header to Content" size ratio to 1, I'll rant on a little for your entertainment, enjoyment, annoyance, or hatred. :-)

Terrorists want to kill people. Did anyone die when those two fibers were cut? Did it cripple the US Economy? Did it close the stock markets? When the markets opened the next day, did stock prices fall across the board for weeks and months on end? Not exactly. Will people put bumper stickers on their cars that say "Remember 1/9?" or "Remember Buckeye and Reno Junction" No. Not one person will do that.

[most] Religious extremists tend to site religious verses saying things along the lines of it being acceptable to kill those who do not belive or who oppose their religion. [just like Christianity during the crusades] I'm pretty sure there's nothing in the Koran that says anything about "taking away their internet and cell phones, and knocking out their power." [so they can live like we do] This is something that the DHS knows, but doesn't want to admit too loudly. Why? Because it's easy to say "We're doing more to prevent cyber attacks. See? We took away the fiber maps! We accomplished something! This is bound to help out!" [now give us more money so we can afford to do more things like that]

They say that, to throw us [the public, and Congress that pays for their department to exist] a bone every now and again. It's nearly impossible for them to say "you're safer today than you were yesterday!" Well, they could say it, but it would be laughed at by the majority of the population. [more so than they are now] How are they supposed to calm people's fears? With a statement like: "See? You aren't being attacked by terrorists today! We must be doing our job!"

The graphic in the Wired story from FortiusOne showing fiber optic backbones and how they clump also shows just how many other fiber routes exist. It also shows where terrorists should go looking for fiber to cut. Look at THAT map. Go look for, and follow the signs. Failing that, make a few phone calls, and have the stuff marked so it can be found to cut it. It's really that easy. But why even do that? We already cut enough of it without any help from terrorists. Just in case no one was paying attention, the score is: Lack of information + guy on backhoe = 675,000 cuts per year: Terrorists = ZERO. It's up to carriers to either diversify or feel the wrath of the backhoe. Fortunately [for carriers that have an outage] and unfortunately [for long term reliability], the general population is forgiving and forgetful enough that when outages do occur and their life is back to 'normal' they just don't care enough to want to pay higher prices for that extra infrastructure.

The part that wasn't mentioned, is something I'm most interested in. How much did the outage cost Sprint? And is it worthwhile for them to use install or lease different fiber routes to prevent that type of revenue loss in the future? [My guess would be.... "No"] Marketing will make up for lost customers, and trying to convince people to forget that it ever happened, and rate increases and/or insurance will make up for any lost revenue.

-Jerry




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