Friday, August 15, 2008

Sometimes it's scary being right.

I'm certainly not the first person to talk, as I do in Irreconcilable Differences, about information warfare as a force multiplier in a real war. Gibson did it in Neuromancer, and I lifted the term from Ghost in the Shell: SACC. And yet I didn't expect to see infowar being a force so soon. Even if the Russians didn't coordinate the DDOS attack on the Georgan web infrastructure, as THIS article suggests, if there is any strategic or tactical advantage that results from doing so, someone will next time.

The advantage here would be compromising the ability of a government to address its people. A savvy operator could probably extend that to disrupt net-based telephony fairly easily. It seems like so very little, and yet if my government can't keep me informed, and I can't phone THEM and tell them "Say, there are tanks coming up my street," that seems like a tactical/stratiegic advantage.

More concerning is the fact that particularly American forces command and control is increasingly dependent on net based communication. Admittedly, this is a different kettle of fish entirely - hardened and encrypted network, satellite communications, etc etc. I certainly hope it's secure. Severing command and control is a huge tactical/stratiegic advantage.

The response to the Russian/Georgan cyberwar will be interesting, too. It's going to be an interesting few years while worst and sloppiest (and most widely distributed worst and sloppiest) operating systems become strategic liabilities and (maybe) are systematically expunged from the net. They make DDOS attacks possible. It will also be interesting to see the extent of liability for the corporations that made these operating systems.

It's scary being right, sometimes. When you write semi-dystopian cyberpunk, sometimes the things you predict are the last things you actually want.


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