The former CIA Director, George J. Tenet, has said what he thinks needs to be done
to improve Internet security:
The way the Internet was built might be part of the problem, he said. Its open architecture allows Web surfing, but that openness makes the system vulnerable, Mr. Tenet said.
Access to networks like the World Wide Web might need to be limited to those who can show they take security seriously, he said.
—Tenet calls for Internet security
By Shaun Waterman
UNITED PRESS INTERNATIONAL
Published December 2, 2004
Well, that would exclude most governments from using the web.
He also says the Internet is a potential Achilles heel, and warns that
… al Qaeda remains a sophisticated group, even though its first-tier leadership largely has been destroyed.
It is "undoubtedly mapping vulnerabilities and weaknesses in our telecommunications networks," he said.
This makes me wonder several things.
- Is this "undoubtedly" the same sort as that Saddam undoubtedly had WMD?
Some evidence would be useful here.
- Suppose there is actually evidence for OBL mapping Internet vulns.
How exactly is destroying it before he can a solution?
- Wouldn’t it make more sense to map them ourselves first, and fix them?
Sure, it would be expensive to add redundancy in certain cases, but compared to what?
He also said:
"I know that these actions will be controversial in this age when we still think the Internet is a free and open society with no control or accountability," he told an information-technology security conference in Washington, "but ultimately the Wild West must give way to governance and control."
He said this at an event from which he excluded the press, which makes
one wonder whether it is the Internet he is worried about or is it a free and open
society that is worrisome to him.
Meanwhile, several people have told me that it’s a common mantra inside Microsoft
to say that the Internet is the terrorist’s best friend. I don’t think that’s right, unless you
want to extend the same argument to anything else that has free and anonymous
communications, such as the Interstate Highway System.
What I think is the terrorist’s and criminal’s best friend is software that ships out
of the box with vulnerabilities turned on and that has design flaws that prevent
fixing easily exploited bugs. Mr. Tenet seems to agree on that subject:
Mr. Tenet called for industry to lead the way by "establishing and enforcing" security standards. Products need to be delivered to government and private-sector customers "with a new level of security and risk management already built in."
Maybe that’s what his whole talk was about. It’s too bad we’ll never know,
due to his exclusion of the press.