[ISN] Join the U.S. Hacker Corps; see the world

From: InfoSec News (isn@private)
Date: Wed Oct 22 2003 - 01:10:05 PDT

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    Roger Harris 
    October 20, 2003
    What this country needs aren't bigger bombs and deadlier bullets. What 
    it needs is a Corps of Hackers devoted to protecting the nation's 
    computer infrastructure from cyber invasion. 
    So says cyber terrorism expert John Arquilla.
    Computer hackers are an untapped and unrecognized military resource, 
    Arquilla said in a recent speech to The World Affairs Council of 
    Ventura County. 
    Money and effort now spent tracking down hackers and throwing them in 
    prison with bank robbers and drug peddlers would be better spent 
    recruiting hackers for national security work, said Arquilla, 
    co-director of the Center on Terrorism & Irregular Warfare at the 
    Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey. 
    This may not seem like a great idea if your mental picture of a hacker 
    is a bleery-eyed sugar-swilling geek who gets his jollies breaking 
    into computers and planting destructive computer viruses. 
    If that's what you think, you would be wrong about much of the hacker 
    community, according to Arquilla, a leading expert on Internet and 
    cyber terrorism threat assessment. 
    Arquilla, who helped develop the offensive cyber weapons used by the 
    U.S. military in Kosovo, in Afghanistan and in the Gulf War, describes 
    the U.S. hacker community as an intelligent, motivated and patriotic 
    band of cyber warriors whose computer skills go far beyond simply 
    They aren't paratroopers, but they are ready and willing to wage war 
    against cyber terrorists, said Arquilla, who is in regular contact 
    with some of the elite members of the hacker community. 
    "They are the cyber frontiersmen. ... Particularly since 9-11 they 
    want to serve their country," Arquilla said. 
    Skeptics contend hackers are untrustworthy lot who, among other 
    things, have broken into Pentagon computers and sent damaging computer 
    viruses swirling through government and business computer systems. 
    It's true that an organized group of hackers once roamed around 
    military computer systems for weeks at a time and some hackers even 
    obtained administrative control of military computers and could have 
    wrought great havoc, Arquilla said. 
    "The real question is why didn't they do more damage," Arquilla said. 
    " ... They didn't because that's not what turns them on." 
    The government needs to adopt "a less poisonous" attitude toward 
    hackers and find a way to use their talents for the public good, 
    Arquilla told the three dozen members of the local World Affairs 
    Council who attended his lecture held at Rockwell Scientific Co. 
    In an interview earlier this year on "Frontline," the PBS public 
    affairs program, Arquilla put it this way: 
    "We have to re-examine that punitive approach to the hacking 
    community, and try, instead, to turn it into something that can be 
    useful, and perhaps even to reform some of these people away from 
    their own illegal actions." 
    National security depends on it, said Arquilla, who has written 
    several books on the threat of cyber terrorism and the role of 
    information technology in waging war. 
    Networked communications systems give the United States a great 
    advantage on the battlefield. The network uses information technology 
    to multiply the power and efficiency of weapons systems. It allows the 
    military to attack with precision and speed. But the network also is 
    vulnerable to disruption of the communications network. 
    Al Qaeda and other terrorist groups have their own hacker training 
    programs and are developing "weapons of mass disruption" that could 
    prove just as deadly as bombs and bullets. 
    We need the help of the elite hackers to prepare defensive and 
    offensive weapons that will be needed in what Arquilla believes is an 
    inevitable cyber attack. 
    "The clock is ticking," he said. 
    -- Roger Harris is the editor of Fast Forward. Questions, comments and 
    criticisms can be e-mailed to Rharris@private His phone 
    number is 645-1050. For those who prefer snail-mail, the address is 
    P.O. Box 6711, Ventura, CA 93006.
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