President Joe Biden (D) has an Executive Order out that, among other things, asks private industry pretty please to adapt to the continuously changing threat environment, ensure its products are built and operate securely, and partner with the Federal Government to foster a more secure cyberspace.

Clarion Intelligence Network Director Ryan Mauro has another idea, sort of.

Make no mistake about it, a defensive strategy towards the cyber threat is not going to work. There’s going to have to be an offensive strategy.

But he doesn’t go far enough, either.

It’s time for the US to do things like having its own Wikileaks, so that when Putin does something, guess what appears on the internet? A bunch of his own secrets, showing how corrupt he is—that will deter them.

No. That’s a mouse remonstrating with a hawk. The mouse insists the hawk’s ways are wrong. The hawk insists the mouse is lunch.

We need to make a serious response—rather, a serious collection of responses—to a cyber attack, which Mauro does correctly characterize as no difference, when you commit an attack, whether using a bomb or cyber strike.

No, our offensive response must be a sharp escalation—done faster than the attacker can respond—and across a broad spectrum. Our response must include a prompt cyber response that includes those secrets being exposed, but that also simultaneously shuts off electrical grids and penetrates and corrupts attacker national databases. Our response also longer-term penalties, even if they take some time to produce effect: immediately emplaced economic bars against government officials, oligarchs and their enterprises, and governments of the attacking nation or of the nation hosting the attackers. The response must continue: location of the equipment used to originate the cyber attack and the corruption of that equipment with malware (of which there is much on the dark net; no need to reveal our own malware capabilities).

The only real conundrum here is that our response must not be so all-out that it gives away our full capabilities before we’re in an actual war.

4 thoughts on “Patty-Cake

  1. Proportionate response has always failed – it merely ratchets up the game. Si vis pacem, para bellum.

    • No, proportionate response does, indeed work–if it’s really proportionate.
      A true proportionate response answers the threat represented by the attack–the attacker–not the attack itself, which is merely an example of the threat. Thus, to be properly proportionate, the response must be strong enough to destroy the attacker’s ability to attack again.
      Having to defend against the attacker a second time is an unacceptable risk, given that the second outcome could well be utterly disastrous to the victim.
      See, for instance, (shameless plug).
      Eric Hines

        • No, this isn’t then.
          Germany wasn’t destroyed, Nazi Germany was. Japan wasn’t destroyed, Fascist Japan was.
          Rome had no material alternative with Carthage had no alternative because society and politics had not evolved much from Ur by then.
          Eric Hines

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