Fighting Cold War II In Cyberspace With "He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named"?
In Harry Potter, the most evil of villains was referred to as "He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named." The inference being that saying the name aloud would strike fear in the hearts and minds of the general public -- but, more importantly would also would wreak additional menace and havoc at the hands of the evil wizard, Voldemort. This analogy holds true today with a new Cold War and a new enemy.
How many were fascinated with the movie "Salt," or the current FX TV drama "The Americans." From post-World War II to the tearing-down of the Berlin Wall, it was us (or U.S.), the good guys, against them, the Evil Empire. From 1947 to 1991 there was a sustained state of political and military tension between these two Superpowers. The Cold War was so named because the two major opponents were in possession of nuclear weapons and thereby threatened each other with mutual assured destruction— removed from direct military hand-to-hand combat.
Today, we're fighting a new enemy on the Internet, whose name the government has chosen not to disclose in any public addresses. Why? Because attempts at treaties and conventions will go nowhere, and by naming our nemesis publicly, there would be an American backlash exerting internal strife to the current administration's threats from the outside. So, there's been no covert disclosures from the lips of those who rule from Washington, D.C.
More threatening than the build-up of nuclear arsenals is the formidable cyber-warfare machine that has been growing in size and strength for over a decade. China is today's Voldemort, but instead of being armed with black magic, this nation's weaponry is composed of political "hactivists." And the reason the U.S. keeps their activities on the "down-low" is because in the words of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton: "How do you get tough with your banker?”
How do you get tough with a country who is our major lender, and whose debt it will take us at least another decade to pay off? Satirized in the graphic novel, "Facebucks & Dumb F*cks," the fictional character "Z-Man" (aka Mark Zuckerberg) uncovers this dilemna when he stumbles across Uncle Sam, down on his luck, with a debt of $13 trillion. Three short years later, that debt has risen another $3 trillion.
One analysis on the topic underscores the tactics used by the Chinese in hacking U.S. computer servers. The Chinese use 'patriotic hackers' to attack enemies like the U.S. -- (by first) keeping the opposition busy defending its systems (and) secondly by giving their local talent an opportunity to vent steam. "In other words, the purpose is to keep native-born hackers busy and away from attacks on Chinese government creations," adds DelawareOnline.com
As Cold War II begins to heat up, evidence is surfacing in various fields. Chinese firms and state agencies have been implicated in a host of hacking attacks on targets ranging from leading industrial and technology firms, to the Pentagon and other US government agencies, to The New York Times and Coca-Cola.
In November, 2012, 14 U.S. intelligence agencies released a report which said that Chinese hackers are targeting trade secrets in biotechnology, nanotechnology and clean energy, among other cutting-edge industries.
In 2010, my report, titled, "China's 'Internet Of Things' To Become Semantic Web Superpower?" points to the next evolution of the Web and the technology that China has embraced. Similar to the nuclear arms race of Cold War I, todays's competition between Superpowers is Semantic Technology. Considered by many as the next Industrial Revolution, the 'Internet of Things' is the first step in attaching sensors, barcodes and IP addresses to every 'thing' that occupies space in our material world - and it appears that China could very well be its supreme leader.
Is Cold War II as overstated as Cold War I? For all those who are fans of the TV show "The Americans," it's somewhat unsettling to revisit a time period where things could have gone very wrong based on human impulse, over-reaction and miss-assessment of incoming data from both parties. And ironically, back then, things seemed a lot more black and white than they are today. Perhaps, it's best for the U.S. government to continue to label our enemy "He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named," less we add fuel to a fire that is already past low simmer. You thoughts readers?
Happy Chinese New Year!