Fear Mongering and Cyber War

For some time the United States government has been beating the cyber war drum. We’re lead to believe that foreign nations are going to hack into all of the nation’s networks and cause destruction and mayhem. In fact, according to Mike Rogers, the scary foreign hackers are already inside of your computers:

The House Intelligence Committee is warning that “time is running out” before the next major cyberattack: The Russians, Iranians, Chinese and others are likely already on your computer.

“You have criminal organizations trying to get into your personal computer and steal your personal stuff. And by the way, the Chinese are probably on your computer, the Russians are probably on your personal computer, the Iranians are already there,” House Intelligence Committee chairman Mike Rogers (R.-MI). told Fox News.

One is left to wonder what Mr. Rogers means by the Russians, Chinese, and Iranians. Does he means hackers living in those countries or agents of those countries’ governments? From his statement I’m left to believe he means the government agents of those countries. In all likelihood nobody inside of the governments of Russia, China, or Iran give two shits about the data on your personal computer. There are two things to consider: breaking into a computer requires effort and having access to all data on all personal computers would leave one with so much data to sift through that their efforts would be rendered worthless. If the Russians, Chinese, or Iranians are going to sink resources into compromising systems they are probably going to expect a good payoff. Breaking into one of my systems isn’t going to give them much of value so they are unlikely to sink resources into attempting to compromise my systems. Most of your are likely in the same boat as me. The real threat to most people are regular malicious hackers who want to create botnets. Those hackers generally work for themselves or a non-state crime syndicate.

I believe it’s also worth pointing out the language Mr. Rogers used. He said the Russians and Chinese are probably in your computer but knows for a fact that the Iranians already are. Isn’t it strange that the nation the United States government has been trying to declare war on for the last several decades is known, for a fact, to be in your computer but the most technologically advanced nation of the three, China, is potentially in your computer? It’s almost as if Mr. Rogers is trying to drum up fear of Iran specifically.

We all know what this is about though:

Rogers believes the Cyber Intelligence and Sharing Protection Act (CISPA) can help counter that threat. The bill was introduced last year and passed the House, though it failed to make it through the Senate following a groundswell of concern from privacy activists.

Be afraid you stupid serfs! Allow us in the state to pass laws that grant us the ability to spy on your communications so we can protect you from the scary people are aren’t from around here!

What Rogers wants is the legal ability for the United States government to compromise your system. He wants the exact thing he’s using to strike fear into the hearts of Americans. Computers are a good tool for the state to use to generate fear. A majority of computer users lack a good understanding of the underlying technology and people tend to fear what they don’t understand. This is why foreign states are also good tools to use to generate fear, most Americans have very little knowledge of foreign countries. Combining the two makes for a very effective tool to generate fear that can be used to sucker the public into supporting most government control over their lives.