Cybersecurity

White House to Announce New Cyber Threat Intelligence Integration Center. Is This An Acceptable Use of the Prefix 'Cyber'?

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One of my favorite obscure websites takes the form of a simple questionnaire that answers the question posed by its URL, WillUsingThePrefixCyberMakeMeLookLikeAnIdiot.com

I thought of this site this morning when I read that the Obama administration plans to establish what The Washington Post describes as "a new agency to combat the deepening threat from cyberattacks." 

Whitehouse.gov

According to the Post, the past few years have seen "a series of significant cyber-incidents" affecting "U.S. companies and government networks, [and] increasing the profile of the threat for policymakers and industries." The agency's task, the Post reports, "will be to fuse intelligence from around the government when a crisis occurs.

Lisa Monaco, a presidential adviser on counterterrorism, will announce the new agency, dubbed the Cyber Threat Intelligence Integration Center, in a speech today.

Here's how she explained the administration's decision to create the new agency: "The cyberthreat is one of the greatest threats we face, and policymakers and operators will benefit from having a rapid source of intelligence," she told the Post. "It will help ensure that we have the same integrated, all-tools approach to the cyberthreat that we have developed to combat terrorism."

So I got to wondering: Is this an acceptable, non-idiotic use of the prefix "cyber"? There was only one way to find out. I called up WillUsingThePrefixCyberMakeMeLookLikeAnIdiot.com and plugged in Monaco's likely answers.

Question number one: Are you a science fiction author? No, though I suppose it's possible that Monaco secretly dabbles in anonymous Star Trek fanfic or something. 

Question number two: Are you about to use IM to talk dirty to someone? Again, not that I know of. I'm not aware of any stories of government officials spending time making online sexy talk, although there was the EPA employee who looked at porn all day. But we'll assume the answer is no. 

Question number three: Are you using "cyber" to replace the word "computer" or "network" for a bad or nonexistent reason? (E.g. "cybersecurity" instead of "network security.") Actually, yeah, kind of. Now that you mention it. It's definitely in the zone of "bad or nonexistent." We'll go with yes on this one.

Question number four: Are you using the term to saber-rattle and/or fear-monger in order to secure funding for your corner of the military industrial complex? I suppose one could argue that the center's title should be exempt because cyber is used as a word and not a prefix, but that seems a little silly. (If anything, promoting cyber to its own word is even worse.) There's really no point in arguing here. This is definitely a yes.

I put all these responses in, and here's the answer I got: "Actually, you will probably not look like an idiot to the credulous legislators you're bullying into handing you money. But the rest of us think you're a dangerous moron."

This answer seems directed more at contractors and defense department project managers, but otherwise it seems more or less on target in its basic sentiment. 

And, in fact, the Post's report indicates that, as the answer I got suggests, some security bureaucrats love it, but other folks think the idea is dumb:

"It's a great idea," said Richard Clarke, a former White House counterterrorism official. "It's overdue."

Others question why a new agency is needed when the government already has several dedicated to monitoring and analyzing cyberthreat data. The Department of Homeland Security, the FBI and the National Security Agency all have cyber-operations centers, and the FBI and the NSA are able to integrate information, noted Melissa Hathaway, a former White House cybersecurity coordinator and president of Hathaway Global Strategies.

"We should not be creating more organizations and bureaucracy," she said. "We need to be forcing the existing organizations to become more effective — hold them accountable."

Indeed, given the dramatic rise in federal data* security breaches over the past several years, the government might consider getting its existing house in order before building an addition.

*See? I didn't have to say "cyber." 

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  1. OH SURE, SUDERMAN! DISAPPEAR THE ONE WITH THE COMMENTS!

    SUDERMAN’S A CYBER ABORTO-TERRORIST!!!!!11!!11one1!

  2. Obama’s strategy appears to be focused on breaking as many things as he can before me moves out of the White House. Talk about your disgruntled tenants.

  3. The word cyber is so early aughts.

    1. I would have said 80s. Anyone currently under 40 has almost always laughed at the use of cyber for anything other than chat room simulated sex with a man pretending to be a woman.

      1. exceptions, of course, for cybermen. Now, if we created an agency to battle the inevitable menace of the cybermen and daleks… I could get behind that.

        1. I wouldn’t trust the folks at Torchwood if I were you.

      2. Cybernetics is still a real thing.

        1. That’s known as ‘human augmentation’ or ‘transhumanism’ to the cool kids nowadays.

          1. No, that’s something else (cyborgenics?). Cybernetics is about studying complicated systems.

  4. Everyone needs more cyber in their diet.

    Remember when people called email “E-mail”? How embarrassing.

  5. Ya know, when the chart of the existing web of agencies with a hand in cyber has become to big for even a table top, you don’t need a ‘fusion cell’ or ‘integration center’, you’d actually do better to just excuse a few players from the room.

  6. Look, Suder-Man, what happens on the Information Superhighway, stays on the Information Superhighway.

    1. I do like the being confronted with the menacing problem of information superhighwaymen.

          1. What is this vapor? [Virtually shoots victim’s avatar.]

            1. Damnit, now I gotta start all the way back at the beginning….*sigh*

  7. Another new agency ought to solve all the problems.

    1. As long as it’s streamlined into DHS. It’s more efficient because it’s streamlined.

      1. Synergies, it’s all about the synergies, synergistically tied together while synergizing the synergistics.

      2. These? These are speedholes!

    2. I just don’t understand why government keeps getting more expensive.

  8. Bureaucracy is kind of like hoarding. When your house gets so full of useless shit that you can’t walk through it anymore, you can either (A) build more rooms to hold more shit, or (B) throw a bunch of shit out. (B) involves making difficult (for the hoarder) choices, so those with enough funds always choose (A). Choice (A) is especially preferable if you are using someone else’s money to do it with.

  9. Weel, cyber derives ultimately from the Greek kybernetes, which means “steersman.”

    1. Weel? Maybe I mean “Well.” Who knows? That was so long ago.

    2. Bears kyberete in the winter, too.

      1. Maybe I should cyber that cyber-site that tells me whether or not my cyber-use of the cyber-prefix ‘cyber’ makes me look like a cyber-idiot.

        1. It’s okay if you pronounce it as kyber instead of syber.

          1. It’s like “keltic” or the Bahston “Sell-tickets”.

            All the cool Kelts pronounce it Kelt…

            1. Typical that Bostonians get the name wrong.

              1. What do you know? You probably call all fizzy soft drinks “coke”.

                1. Not if they’re not Coke. Celtic Coke.

            2. I recently discovered why Celtic languages use “C” for the “k” sound. Apparently when the first Bible was being printed in Welsh they used C instead of K because K was so uncommon in English and they didn’t want to make a whole bunch more K pieces of type. Thought that was interesting. Apparently they used Ks a lot before that and a lot of people were annoyed that someone decided to change it to C.

              In Greek, of course, “C” is used to transliterate kappa. So all those Greek rooted “C” words should really be pronounced with a “K” sound. And “Y”s are upsilons and would be pronounced like “u” and not “i” in classical Greek.

              1. what a bunch of cynts they were!

          2. I’m gonna pass on that.

          3. I am King of the Khyber Rifles!

    3. Also the root for “government”.

  10. Yeah, well, no one will be laughing when CYBERdine Systems creates the One Circuit Board to Rule Them All?.

  11. I’m not aware of any stories of government officials spending time making online sexy talk,

    What, Anthony Weiner already fell down the memory hole?

    1. Good point.

  12. I, for one, welcome our new cyber-overlords.

  13. “The cyberthreat is one of the greatest threats we face, and policymakers and operators will benefit from having a rapid source of intelligence,” she told the Post. “It will help ensure that we have the same integrated, all-tools approach to the cyberthreat that we have developed to combat terrorism.”

    How much brain damage would I have to suffer in order to think to myself “Hey, we’ve done such a great job on the terrorism front that we should use that approach for fighting computer hackers”? As much as an average Congressman or merely as much as a shotgun blast applied directly to the forehead?

    1. Drink 112 shots of Banker’s Club Vodka in 20 minutes and you’ll be approaching the level of brain damage.

    2. The most idiotic thing to me is the desire for an Internet “kill switch”. Isn’t shutting the whole thing down pretty much the worst case scenario? I suppose it is natural for authoritarian control freaks to want power over things they can’t control.

  14. The US government cannot manage a simple website project like Healthcare.gov. Why on earth would anybody think it is competent in IT security?

    1. Dood, they are gonna regulate the internet as a public utility. After completely fucking up Healthcare.gov in every way imaginable they are ready for the big time.

      What kinnath said with the second comment.

      1. Dood, they are gonna regulate the internet as a public utility. After completely fucking up Healthcare.gov absolutely everything they touch in every way imaginable they are ready for the big time.

        (Slightly more comprehensive version.)

    2. Well, to be fair, Healthcare.gov was a pretty basic website so they hired a guy who said he was very familiar with basic. This time they’ve hired a really smart guy, one who says he knows Pascal personally.

      1. Blaising a new trail, so to speak.

  15. I blame Al Gore for inventing the Internet in the first place.

    1. The National Information Infrastructure for the Information Superhighway to Hell.

    2. Maybe ManBearPig can destroy the internet too. I’m super serial.

  16. my best friend’s sister makes $61 hourly on the computer . She has been without a job for 8 months but last month her income was $15147 just working on the computer for a few hours. this page…………..

    ????? http://www.netpay20.com

  17. my best friend’s sister makes $61 hourly on the computer . She has been without a job for 8 months but last month her income was $15147 just working on the computer for a few hours. this page…………..

    ????? http://www.netpay20.com

  18. Since I wasn’t here last week, what kind of discussion went on about ignorant do-gooder SJW Kayla Mueller?

    1. She’s supposedly confirmed dead now. Her parents got a picture of her corpse thoughtfully emailed to them by ISIS.

      No indication of date or cause of death.

    2. Since when does volunteering for DWB make you an ignorant do-gooder?

      1. Yeah, why denigrate the woman?

        1. When I heard the news of her death today I honestly thought to myself “I bet there’ll be someone on the H&R blog making fun of her for her silly desire to help people.”

          I think that’s what Virginia Postrel was talking about…

      2. It’s unfortunate that she’s dead. She didn’t deserve it, at all. I hope however she died, it was quick.

        Having said that… it takes a certain kind of… (trigger warning) balls to wander about the streets of Aleppo, Syria, alone as a young white girl.

        If this is how Doctors without Borders operates and advises its volunteers, I’m not surprised they were sending back doctors infected with Ebola to stand at the Soup Tourine counter at Trader Joes.

        1. It’s terrible what happened to her, whatever the cause of death was. I’d think twice about putting someone like her in range of ISIS. They’re very bad people.

        2. And just so the usual rabble doesn’t get confrused, I actually think Dr’s w/o Borders has some culpability here, not the young girl. She’s a young girl.

          I’d seriously be asking DrswoBorders what their security policy is, do they provide security, escorts, or do they really allow young female volunteers to catch buses in Aleppo, solo-a-mano– which is what the stories I’ve read suggests she was doing.

          1. You’re not wrong there. Sadly though I think the kind of people with idealistic, altruistic personalities and those with very good practical organizational ones might not overlap very well.

            1. Certainly not the young volunteers. They’re exactly the types to believe that if there’s goodness in your heart and you approach the world with humility and understanding, that no one in the world would ever do you harm.

              The experienced people running Dr’s should know better. I’m really shocked she walked out of a hospital by herself and was riding the bus in Aleppo.

            2. Sadly though I think the kind of people with idealistic, altruistic personalities and those with very good practical organizational ones might not overlap very well.

              Isnt that the “nice” version of “ignorant do-gooder”?

              1. More “naive do-gooder” I think.

          2. I actually think Dr’s w/o Borders has some culpability here, not the young girl. She’s a young girl.

            Actually, she wasn’t. She was an adult woman. Monumentally stupid, or insanely brave, for any Western woman to go that part of the world, IMO.

            She strikes me as an intensely na?ve idealist who somehow simultaneously believed that medieval barbarian were doing all kinds of bad things there, but if she went nothing bad would happen to her.

        3. It should be noted that the bus trip in question was her going to visit a friend, not part of her DWB duties. If I drive into a slummy part of Philadelphia after work tonight and get mugged, is that my employer’s fault for not forcing me to go home and then confining me to my house for my own good?

    3. This seems…overly harsh.

  19. Honestly, I don’t think its the word “cyber” that they are misusing.

    I think its the word “intelligence:.

    1. HIYO!!!!

      YES!

      YOU ARE COORECT, SIR!! HAHA!

      /Ed McMahon

  20. You know, as I was sitting here browsing the internets, I thought to myself, “We need a new agency… when was the last time we created a new agency?”

    1. They probably created a few just while you thought that sentence.

      1. We need a new agency to create agencies. Let the system become sentient.

        1. “We need a new agency to create agencies.”

          That should be cabinet level.

  21. This is why we need (and will continue tO have) police unions, arbitration etc

    I won’t hold my breath for her to get charged with perjury
    Race card perjury is extra special

    Body cameras couldn’t protect him from a false complaint but police use of cell phone tracking technology did

    Booya cell phone tracking technology – exonerating the innocent and helping to convict the guilty (helps us catch them too)

    http://fox2now.com/2015/02/09/…..d-up-dead/

    1. If there’s a good reason for police unions its that police management is sometimes as or more awful than the rank and file. That’s about it though.

    2. I love the other headlines.

      Man identified as having ‘sociopath behavior’ became police commander

      Former Kinloch official says she was assaulted by police

      After police seize license plates, citizens see them on officer’s car

      Bathroom camera cop now faces allegations of abusing teen subjects

      I suppose the thick blue wall is encircling them as well, once again proving that there is no such thing as a good cop, because if there was then they wouldn’t consistently defend bad cops.

    3. Interesting article. Nothing whatsoever to do with police unions or arbitration…or even etc.

      You remind me of a quotation I read once: “Every word he utters is a lie, including and and the”.

    4. Go fuck yourself, fake Dunphy.

      1. Fake? He seems authentic. Unquestioning acceptance of cops’ innocence, idiotic use of slang, assumption that one questionable complaint exonerates all police abuse everywhere for all time. Yep. It’s Dunphy

        1. I don’t think so. Old Dunphy was all of that too. But less insane and angry. He used to actually engage and discuss things other than how awesome police, police unions and body cameras are. Now it just seems like performance art.
          I suppose it could be the same person and just went insane sometime in the last year or two.

          1. He did admit to having a prescription pain killer addiction (which is OK for cops since they something something, but not for peasants). Maybe he’s drugged up or something.

            1. Could be.

              As I recall, it’s also OK for cops to demand other people’s prescription records from pharmacies without a warrant.

          2. The official dunphy story is that he now comments using dictation software, which accounts for the change in style.

            Honestly, I don’t care.

            I stopped reading his comments shortly after he reappeared.

  22. …dubbed the Cyber Threat Intelligence Integration Center.

    The big shtick.

  23. Intelligence Integration

    Q. Why are cops often seen in pairs?
    A. That’s how they comply with ‘eight years of education’ requirement.

  24. Actually, you will probably not look like an idiot to the credulous legislators you’re bullying into handing you money.

    But the rest of us think you’re a dangerous moron.

    I like that website.

  25. You know what I really hate? Those official Whitehouse photos. Here’s Obama laughing and some assholes who think that being in a photo with the president will help their careers or something. They always have that deep focus too so that there can be more people in the background acting like twee little cunts.

    Apologies for the hate speech.

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