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Computer Security: the Achilles' Heel of the Electronic Air Force?

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Journal article

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The KGB officer addressed the select group of Soviet officials with his usual tone of secrecy but an unusual air of excitement Comrades, today I will brief you on the most significant breakthrough in intelligence collection since the breaking of the unbreakable Japanese and German cyphers in World War II the penetration of the security of American computers. There is virtually if not literally no major American national defense secret which is not stored on a computer somewhere. At the same time, there are few if any computers in their national defense system which are not accessible, in theory if not yet in fact, to our prying. Better still, we don t even have to wait for them to send the particular information we want so we can intercept it we can request and get specific material of interest to us, with virtually no risk to our agents. The Americans have developed a security kernel technology for solving their problem, but we need not be concerned they recently discontinued work on this technology. They are aware of the potential for a computer security problem, but with their usual carelessness they have decided not to correct the problem until they have verified examples of our active exploitation. We, of course, must not let them find these examples. Your first reaction to this scenario may be, Preposterous But before you reject it out of hand, recognize that we know it could happen. The question is Will we apply sound technology and policy before it does happen To be sure, there are things we do not know about the probability of success of such an effort, but we can rationally assess the most salient controlling factors.

Subject Categories:

  • Computer Systems Management and Standards
  • Military Forces and Organizations

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