By Noah Shachtman
November 03, 2008
The Air Force is fed up with a seemingly endless barrage of attacks on
its computer networks from stealthy adversaries whose motives and even
locations are unclear. So now the service is looking to restore its
advantage on the virtual battlefield by doing nothing less than the
rewriting the "laws of cyberspace."
It's more than a little ironic that the U.S. military, which had so much
to do with the creation and early development of internet, finds itself
at its mercy. But as the American armed forces become increasingly
reliant on its communications networks, even small, obscure holes in the
defense grid are seen as having catastrophic potential.
Trouble is that even a founding father can't unilaterally change things
that the entirety of the internet ecosystem now depends on. "You can
control your own networks, rewrite your own laws," says Rick Wesson, CEO
of the network security firm Support Intelligence. "You can't rewrite
But the Air Force Research Laboratory's "Integrated Cyber Defense"
program, announced earlier this month, is part of a larger military
effort to accomplish just that. "The 'laws' of cyberspace can be
rewritten, and therefore the domain can be modified at any level to
favor defensive forces," announces the project's request for proposals.
Some of the rewrites being considered:
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