Trump Joins Clinton In Pushing For Cyberwar

from the well,-that's-just-great dept

We’ve noted a few times in the past our serious concerns about Hillary Clinton’s hawkish and tone deaf views on cybersecurity, in which she wants the US to go on the offensive on cyberattacking, even being willing to respond to attacks with real world military responses. She seems to ignore the fact that the US has a history of being some of the most aggressive players on offense on such things (Stuxnet, anyone?), and doesn’t seem to recognize how escalating such situations may not end well at all.

Of course, her opponent, Donald Trump has been totally incomprehensible on cybersecurity during the course of his campaign. There was his first attempt to respond to questions about cybersecurity in which it’s not clear he understood the question, and started talking about nuclear weapons instead. Or the time he took a question on cybersecurity and answered by talking about the latest CNN poll. Or, of course, who can forget his debate performance on the topic, where his key insights were that his 10 year old was good with computers and a 400 lb. hacker may be responsible for the DNC hacks.

It appears that the Trump campaign finally decided that maybe Trump should say something marginally coherent on the subject, and sent him out earlier this week with a prepared teleprompter speech, which Trump actually managed to get through without going too far off script. And… it’s basically the same kind of bullshit as Clinton — pushing for more aggressive and offensive cyberattacks.

?I will also ask my secretary of Defense and joint chiefs to present recommendations for strengthening and augmenting our Cyber Command,? Trump said of his cybersecurity plan. ?As a deterrent against attacks on our critical resources, the United States must possess, and has to, the unquestioned capacity to launch crippling cyber counterattacks, and I mean crippling. Crippling. This is the warfare of the future. America?s dominance in this area must be unquestioned, and today it?s totally questioned.?

There was also the kind of hilarious claim that the government has not made cybersecurity issues a priority, which is laughable if you’ve been paying attention to, well, anything in the “cybersecurity” policy space over the past few years. You could say that their priorities within that realm are screwed up. Or that the government seems to mainly use “cybersecurity” as a cloak to hide NSA surveillance efforts. But to argue that it’s not been a priority is clearly false.

And, really, having our own side launching “crippling” cyberattacks (as with Clinton’s plan) doesn’t seem like the most effective plan. These kinds of things only escalate. Being an aggressor here seems particularly shortsighted. Taking out, say, China’s internet, may show strength, but for what purpose? Will it really stop Chinese computer attacks on US infrastructure? Doubtful. Cybersecurity is mostly a defensive game, and it should remain that way. Encrypt everything possible. Disconnect critical infrastructure from the wider network wherever possible, and do everything to stop attackers from getting in, taking down, or mucking with systems.

This hawkish talk about offensive attacks in response to inbound online attacks is probably poll-tested to sound good as “being tough,” but it’s really stupid actual policy.

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Comments on “Trump Joins Clinton In Pushing For Cyberwar”

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I.T. Guy says:

“Of course, her opponent, Donald Trump has been totally incomprehensible on cybersecurity during the course of his campaign.”

Of course, her opponent, Donald Trump has been totally incomprehensible on “The Cyber” during the course of his campaign. FTFY. 🙂

So… what we are finding out is… there is not much of a difference in the two after all.

TasMot (profile) says:

A CyberWar is like a Boat

I’ve heard a saying that a boat is just a hole in the water that you keep throwing money in. This Cyberwar is just going to be another “war” like the war on drugs, where our tax dollars are going to disappear down a dark hole, never to be seen again (well except as some corporate executives private jet).

Once it starts (and I’m guessing that it already has, Stuxnet anybody) it will never end. It will just be talking points, secret interpretations of secret laws and a very big bill for taxpayers. There will never ever be the part of the story that says “The End”.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: A CyberWar is like a Boat

“This Cyberwar is just going to be another “war” like the war on drugs, where our tax dollars are going to disappear down a dark hole, never to be seen again (well except as some corporate executives private jet).”

And this “war” will be waged against us, the citizens, taxpayers and potential draftees.

Roger Strong (profile) says:

“You know what? The fact that somebody can dot the i’s and cross the t’s on a foreign leader’s geographic location then allows them to put our military in harm’s way.”
Libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson, defending his unfamiliarity with world affairs

By Johnson’s reckoning, a President who is pig-ignorant about internet matters might be a good thing.


Anonymous Coward says:

Collossal Ignorance of Consequences

I think of Stuxnet as an ill-conceived proof-of-concept app with which the U.S and “friends” foolishly demonstrated that pretty much any system, air-walled or otherwise, CAN BE HACKED, if the would-be hacker has nation-state level resources, and that was before the new-&-improved vulnerabilities associated with the Internet of Things.

Dismembered3po (profile) says:

Define "Interesting..."


Weanwhile, at the Kremlin, Putin leaves the treaty we negotiated to reduce stockpiles of weapons-grade plutonium, introduces a bill in the parliament to halt talks on Syria unless we reduce our military presence in countries that joined NATO after 2000. (

Trump and Clinton decide just to piss him off more?

John Mayor says:


Simply put, our “Cybersecurity Stakeholders”, include: our Business Primary Sector, our NGO+NPO Primary Sector and our Bureaucratic Primary Sector!… and therefore, ALL THREE PRIMARY SECTORS must be at the proverbial table!… and!… ALL THREE PRIMARY SECTORS must have an “equal vote” re the setting of our “Cybersecurity Principles”, and the setting of our “Cybersecurity Policies” to be adopted, and implemented! Politicians!… however!… should be an AFTERTHOUGHT!
Please!… no emails!

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