Friday, April 23, 2010

The Cyber War Is ...

The cyber war is personal.
The cyber war is not about countries attacking the infrastructure of other countries.
The cyber war is not about mass panic and destruction.
The cyber war is not a fiction of Richard Clark

The cyber war is in your phone

Recently we have discovered that your cell phone company is more than happy to provide the information about your location to anyone who has the technological acumen to request it. The researchers in the above article were “able to track a German journalist talking to a confidential informant in Serbia and follow his travels back to Germany, as well as obtain the informant's phone number.” I suspect that several governments would like to have that ability, and probably do now that the story is a few days old. Want to be a whistle blower for some egregious corporate action; make sure you leave your cell at home. Anybody staying in a safe house for whatever reason should probably consider disposing of their cell.

KDDI, A Japanese phone company has developed technology that can tell what you are doing from the motion of your cell phone allowing your boss to know exactly where and what you are doing.

The cyber war is on your home network

Next comes word that the Google street view car also collects WiFi network and MAC address information. So now Google can provide your computer's physical location by performing a simple lookup of the MAC address that is present in all network packets.

Facebook has once again changed privacy settings under the guise of providing users more control.

The cyber war is not about nothing to hide

As noted on
Think you have nothing to hide? As yourself if you would answer these questions if posed by some stranger in a parking lot:

1. Where do you sleep?
2. Where do your kids sleep?
3. When are you home?
4. When are your kids home without you?
5. When is nobody home?
6. Where do you work?
7. When are you at work?
8. Where do you bank?
9. When do you go to the bank?
10. Where do you go on Saturday night?
11. Where were you on X date last year?
12. What schools do your kids go to?
13. How do they get home from school?

Do these make you uncomfortable? If so, you may in fact have 'something to hide'.
The cyber war is about you

The cyber war is the war waged on you by those that would use your data for their own gain; by those who would rather not spend money on security; by those that believe you have nothing to fear if you have nothing to hide. You are the collateral damage in the cyber war.

In short the Cyber war is between you and those that wish to know everything about you. There are only two responses:

  1. Become a neo-luddite and shun most technological advances. But with the advent of RFID chips in numerous credit cards and passports, this response is only practical if you can function in a cash/barter only economy and don't care to travel very far.
  2. Demand changes to laws and enforcement of existing legal prohibitions.
  • In the states, we should lobby for a change in ownership of data. You should own the data about you and you should be seen as having granted access to your data to companies that currently hold that data.
  • An international definition and recognition of a right to privacy would go a long way toward curbing abuses of the system.
  • Penalties should be imposed on companies that leak data. If it is too expensive to implement the security then perhaps the price of the service is too low. This is the market at work. If you can not provide a good or service at a price that customers will pay then you don't need assistance from government to drop your cost, you need a new product or business model.


Fitzpatrick, Michael, “Mobile that allows bosses to snoop on staff developed”,

Gruteser, Marco and Dirk Grunwald, "A Methodological Assessment of Location Privacy Risks in Wireless Hotspot Networks",

Mills, Elinor, “Legal spying via the cell phone system”,

Orlowski, Andrew, “Google Street View logs WiFi networks, Mac addresses”,

Singel, Ryan, “Richard Clarke’s Cyberwar: File Under Fiction”,

Sutter, John, “What you should know about Facebook's changes”,

Warren, Jonathan, “RFID Chips in New Forms of ID Facilitate Massive Scams, Security Breaches",

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