As Congress Debates CISPA, Companies Admit No Real Damage From Cyberattacks

from the the-truth-is-so-inconvenient dept

Since the beginning of the cybersecurity FUDgasm from Congress, we've been asking for proof of the actual problem. All we get are stories about how airplanes might fall from the sky, but not a single, actual example of any serious problem. Recently, some of the rhetoric shifted to how it wasn't necessarily planes falling from the sky but Chinese hackers eating away at our livelihoods by hacking into computers to get our secrets and destroy our economy. Today, Congress is debating CISPA (in secret) based on this assumption. There's just one problem: it's still not true.

The 27 largest companies have now admitted to the SEC that cyberattacks are basically meaningless and have done little to no damage.
The 27 largest U.S. companies reporting cyber attacks say they sustained no major financial losses, exposing a disconnect with federal officials who say billions of dollars in corporate secrets are being stolen.

MetLife Inc., Coca-Cola Co. (KO), and Honeywell International Inc. were among the 100 largest U.S. companies by revenue to disclose online attacks in recent filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Citigroup Inc. (C) reported “limited losses” while the others said there was no material impact.
So what's this all really about? It goes back to what we said from the very, very beginning. This is all FUD, engineered by defense contractors looking for a new way to charge the government tons of money, combined with a willing government who sees this as an opportunity to further take away the public's privacy by claiming that it needs to see into corporate networks to prevent these attacks.

If this was a real problem, wouldn't we see at least some evidence?


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    icon
    rw (profile), Apr 10th, 2013 @ 5:58am

    It is a real problem...Congress itself.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2.  
    icon
    Akari Mizunashi (profile), Apr 10th, 2013 @ 6:05am

    So, what's being said is CISPA stands for Chinese Instigating Senate Paranoia Act.

    Yep, I can see that.

    Seriously, something is wrong with our government.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3.  
    icon
    Ninja (profile), Apr 10th, 2013 @ 6:16am

    This is all FUD, engineered by defense contractors looking for a new way to charge the government tons of money, combined with a willing government who sees this as an opportunity to further take away the public's privacy by claiming that it needs to see into corporate networks to prevent these attacks.

    Same tactics, new 'subjective' realm. And we thought Governments evolved slowly.

    Except that it's harder since there's more awareness and information spreads more easily.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 10th, 2013 @ 8:05am

    Devil's Advocate:
    There are multiple example of financial loss from hacks. Whether this is due to paying employees extra, consultants, or legal fees, it is still a loss. If you need an example, see the Sony breach:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PlayStation_Network_outage#Legal_action_against_Sony

    Was the damage due to IP, not in the least, but there was damage to both the company fiances, as well as image. Although, the image part could of well been deserved.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5. This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
     
    identicon
    out_of_the_blue, Apr 10th, 2013 @ 8:07am

    Er, Mike, "secrets" can be stolen, yet still have their secrets.

    "The 27 largest U.S. companies reporting cyber attacks say they sustained no major financial losses, exposing a disconnect with federal officials who say billions of dollars in corporate secrets are being stolen."

    EXACTLY as you little pirates can steal content yet the owners still have their data! -- The industrial kind of data, however, requires more than lounging back while being entertained by it.

    I'm SOLELY making the connection above to try and get some mileage out of this dullness, NOT any other disagreement.

    But now I'm asking for Mike's solution to the manifestly growing fascism of the surveillance state. Otherwise, just yet more complaining from Moaning Mike. -- What's the point? We all KNOW the problems, Mike. Now let's find who's merging gov't and corporations, who's committing what crimes, and think on how we get them under control.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 10th, 2013 @ 8:23am

    Re: Er, Mike, "secrets" can be stolen, yet still have their secrets.

    ""EXACTLY as you little pirates can steal content yet the owners still have their data!""

    NO, the content was not stolen. If the content was stolen the owners wouldn't have their data as it wouldn't be there due to the fact that it was stolen. The data that you moan about being stolen is in fact COPIED and that is not the same as being stolen.

    Flawed and failed logic once again on your part.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7.  
    icon
    gorehound (profile), Apr 10th, 2013 @ 8:24am

    All about two things is CISPA the shit:

    1.Corruption and Money hungry Politicians sniffing up the Asshole of DOD Contractors

    2.All about the Control of the Internet..........the probably greatest tool ever invented for Activism.And Worldwide Governments and the Greedbag Politicians are getting scared.

    So, they pile on the Fearmongering and get Millions of Sheep to sign on to their own doom.
    Read History Books as this happens over and over again.
    Not that it would ever happen but have any of you really studied the Rise and the Tactics of the Nazi Party in Germany ? Watch a great documentary or go to the Library and read about the use of Scapegoats,Fearmongering,Propaganda, Etc.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 10th, 2013 @ 8:28am

    Re:

    Then why didn't they report this 'damage'...

    maybe it was because these companies already employ people full time to handle this kind of thing, and the overtime pay is a "limited loss" as they have indicated. if "billions" are being lost, why can't even one company come out and say "this cost us $250,000".

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9.  
    identicon
    Dreddsnik, Apr 10th, 2013 @ 8:32am

    Re:

    " Not that it would ever happen but have any of you really studied the Rise and the Tactics of the Nazi Party in Germany ? "

    Yes, I have, pretty extensively. I see the same parallels. The problem is that it's an undiscussable subject, like racism. You mention race in a debate, you are accused of racism simply by suggesting that it's a possible component. The same goes for bringing up Nazi Germany ( Godwin's law ). It doesn't matter that the material IS relevant, mentioning it is taboo. Unfortunately this makes it very easy to miss the fact that history could be repeating itself. It's sad.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 10th, 2013 @ 8:32am

    It's also combined with politicians who want campaign contributions and revolving door favors from these defense contractors. Wouldn't it be nice to get a nice easy high paying job that requires no skills or effort after you leave office?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 10th, 2013 @ 8:34am

    Re: Re:

    Actually, they did:
    http://www.forbes.com/sites/insertcoin/2011/05/23/sony-pegs-psn-attack-costs-at-170-million/

    Whether the losses are real or fabricated to appease stock holders is up for debate though.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12.  
    icon
    Anonymous Howard (profile), Apr 10th, 2013 @ 8:37am

    Re:

    From the wikipedia link:
    Sony "failed to encrypt data and establish adequate firewalls to handle a server intrusion contingency, failed to provide prompt and adequate warnings of security breaches, and unreasonably delayed in bringing the PSN service back online."


    So, how are lack of encryption, network security and customer support is anyway fault of "chinese hackers" ?

    If a bank that keeps your money leave open their safes, open its doors and turn off security cameras, and then someone steals the money, whose head would you want to see on a spike?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 10th, 2013 @ 8:37am

    Re:

    What we really need to look out for is

    A: Who do these contractors donate to and are those who receive donations from these contractors the ones pushing for these laws. Of course, when these laws are negotiated in secrecy that maybe difficult.

    B: Which politicians go working for these defense contractors after their term is up.

    This should not be tolerated at all. This is what the politicians are looking forward to. They're looking for new ways to obtain campaign contributions and find cushy jobs after leaving office and they see cyber defense as a new and innovative way to do it. It's not about defending the American people from an imminent cyber attack. It's about what do the politicians get out of it.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  14.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 10th, 2013 @ 8:38am

    Re: Er, Mike, "secrets" can be stolen, yet still have their secrets.

    I stopped reading at "pirates" because it became apparent your comment had little to do with facts and discussion and everything to do with adhom attacks.
    Discussions are about contributing and you are not.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  15.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 10th, 2013 @ 8:38am

    what is happening here is that Congress dont want anyone to know the companies that are going to be given massive contracts to 'protect all from cyber attacks' whilst paying nice back handers to those in Congress. add to that the secret interpretations that will be used against anyone that is suddenly disliked for whatever reason and can be whipped into court on God knows what trumped up charges! this whole debacle is a farce! Congress ought to be ashamed of itself! definitely the way to project the democratic ways of the USA, i dont think!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  16.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 10th, 2013 @ 8:39am

    Off-topic: I love the little green bar you put on comments that have been made by you. Nice addition.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  17.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 10th, 2013 @ 8:39am

    Re:

    Oh, never mind. They are for new comments apparently.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  18.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 10th, 2013 @ 8:40am

    At least it's not as bad as the TSA with Dr. Thick finger.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  19.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 10th, 2013 @ 8:40am

    Re: Re:

    Still a nice addition. Credit where it's due.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  20.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 10th, 2013 @ 8:40am

    Re:

    The green bar indicates the comments are recent.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  21.  
    icon
    Rikuo (profile), Apr 10th, 2013 @ 8:45am

    Re: Er, Mike, "secrets" can be stolen, yet still have their secrets.

    "Dear" AJ

    Fuck off. You're not welcome

    Yours
    People who can actually argue and debate.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  22. This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
     
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 10th, 2013 @ 8:48am

    Re: Re: Er, Mike, "secrets" can be stolen, yet still have their secrets.

    It's still stolen from the standpoint that you have unlawfully taken the creative output of another without due compensation. The fact that the creator still has the content doesn't excuse that or make you less honorable than any other chain-snatching hotboy.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  23.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 10th, 2013 @ 8:48am

    Re: Re: Re: Er, Mike, "secrets" can be stolen, yet still have their secrets.

    *more* honorable

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  24.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 10th, 2013 @ 8:54am

    Re: Re:

    I was basically just commenting on:
    The 27 largest U.S. companies reporting cyber attacks say they sustained no major financial losses, exposing a disconnect with federal officials who say billions of dollars in corporate secrets are being stolen.

    As far as lack of security, this was an extreme case of that. A large number of systems however are vulnerable to attack, just download the latest version of Kali Linux and do a quick search on Shodan to realize that Sony isn't unique in that regard.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  25.  
    icon
    Rikuo (profile), Apr 10th, 2013 @ 8:58am

    Re: Re: Re: Er, Mike, "secrets" can be stolen, yet still have their secrets.

    AJ, Mike has stated that you are unwelcome on this site and that he doesn't want you viewing his content. You are copying his content without compensation.
    BTW, WTF is a chain-snatching hotboy?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  26.  
    icon
    BentFranklin (profile), Apr 10th, 2013 @ 9:34am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Sony is not an American company.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  27.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 10th, 2013 @ 9:37am

    Re: Er, Mike, "secrets" can be stolen, yet still have their secrets.

    You do realize you and trolls like you increase the value of these comments area and give a bunch of us a good laugh right?

    YOU are one of the best added values of this blog and the only reason a lot of us come down to the comments section is to look for that "This comment has been flagged" marker since we know comedic gold is hiding a click away.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  28. This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
     
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 10th, 2013 @ 10:12am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Er, Mike, "secrets" can be stolen, yet still have their secrets.

    AJ, Mike has stated that you are unwelcome on this site and that he doesn't want you viewing his content.

    Mike has never said anything like that. Without the 2-3 non-toadies that comment, this place would be nothing more than a vacuous, self-reinforcing circle jerk.... like Insider Chat.

    You are copying his content without compensation.

    WTF are you babbling about?

    BTW, WTF is a chain-snatching hotboy?

    A pre-adolescent, low level, urban street dealer who also engages in stupid, high risk/low return street crimes.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  29.  
    icon
    Rikuo (profile), Apr 10th, 2013 @ 10:15am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Er, Mike, "secrets" can be stolen, yet still have their secrets.

    Yes he has. I remember him distinctly saying to you, AJ, that he wants $1000 a month from you to view his website. And yet, you continue to copy the articles here onto your computer without due compensation.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  30. This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
     
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 10th, 2013 @ 10:34am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Er, Mike, "secrets" can be stolen, yet still have their secrets.

    Yes he has. I remember him distinctly saying to you, AJ, that he wants $1000 a month from you to view his website. And yet, you continue to copy the articles here onto your computer without due compensation.

    You'll say anything in order to get that pat on the head, won't you? What a pathetic, ingratiating little ass licker you are.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  31.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 10th, 2013 @ 10:35am

    Re: Er, Mike, "secrets" can be stolen, yet still have their secrets.

    that's obvious you little anti-pirate, the govt. and the corporations. Take off your blinders.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  32.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 10th, 2013 @ 11:06am

    Re: Er, Mike, "secrets" can be stolen, yet still have their secrets.

    Focus on the topic, not attacking the people writing it, douschenozzle.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  33.  
    icon
    Suzanne Lainson (profile), Apr 10th, 2013 @ 12:15pm

    The relevant part for me

    I don't know enough about cybersecurity to yet know what is happening. But based on what I have read, I don't think the government is acting independently on this issue. I believe private enterprise is calling the shots in one way or another: either to gain government contracts and/or to get the government to set up protections for private enterprise.

    This is the part of the article that stands out for me. It hasn't been established which is more true.

    Cyberattacks Abound Yet Companies Tell SEC Losses Are Few - Bloomberg: "Those mixed messages have triggered a debate over whether Washington is overstating the damage from cyber attacks or whether companies are understating its impact -- or not disclosing the attacks at all. It also raises questions about whether some companies are painting more alarming scenarios for politicians than for their investors."

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  34.  
    icon
    Alana (profile), Apr 10th, 2013 @ 8:42pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Er, Mike, "secrets" can be stolen, yet still have their secrets.

    You must be talking to the mirror.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  35.  
    icon
    uRspqF7L (profile), Apr 19th, 2013 @ 5:21am

    Since Mike is now a Wall Street expert and understands how SEC filings work, I hesitate to say anything, but here goes.

    1) Do companies ever downplay risks to business in their SEC filings? Yes. Much of the time. Most of the time, even. It's actually mentioned in the story. This means particularly things that don't have direct material impact--for example, stealing IP that may allow someone else to be build products a company was going to build itself, but may not, in the current reporting period, cause a direct material harm. Over time, these losses would be expected to be greater than direct financial theft, but they are hard to account for and companies have a huge incentive not to speculate on such losses.

    2) Several of these companies mention that the greatest impact now is the huge amounts of money they must spend on digital security. The security industry is smaller than the top 100 companies. Those top 100 companies have huge economic power. Do you think that if they believed the threat was fake, they would continue to spend so much money to defend against it just to please the defense industry's FUD?

    3) this site loves to extol the work of torrenters and hackers. Can you honestly say for a second that these operations are not direct contributors to the FUD you blame on defense contractors? Anonymous videos are NOT meant to produce FUD? Anonymous and their allied groups continually take on the appearance of paramilitary groups ("Ops" etc.)--we should presume they are just kidding?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here
Get Techdirt’s Daily Email
Save me a cookie
  • Note: A CRLF will be replaced by a break tag (<br>), all other allowable HTML will remain intact
  • Allowed HTML Tags: <b> <i> <a> <em> <br> <strong> <blockquote> <hr> <tt>
Follow Techdirt
A word from our sponsors...
Essential Reading
Techdirt Reading List
Techdirt Insider Chat
A word from our sponsors...
Recent Stories
A word from our sponsors...

Close

Email This