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OMRF's Information Support Group <[log in to unmask]>
Todd Walker <[log in to unmask]>
Thu, 24 Apr 2003 09:58:26 -0500
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OMRF's Information Support Group <[log in to unmask]>
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Sounds interesting, sometimes television documentaries
about technology are good, at least when they are done
by PBS...  8PM tonight on OETA.  Below is the blurb
they sent me:

- This Week: "Cyber War!,"
Thursday, Apr. 24 at 9pm EST on PBS (check local listings)
- Inside Frontline: A note from producer Michael Kirk
- Live Discussion: Chat with the producer on Fri. at 11 a.m. ET

+ This Week ...

It wasn't your father's war game. For four days last week, specialists
from the United States military academies and the National Security
Agency engaged in the third annual Cyber Defense Exercise, in which a
team of hackers from the NSA attempted to penetrate the computer
defenses of each academy, while teams of cadets did their best to thwart

But as the military becomes ever more adept at cyber warfare, what of
the nation's homeland cyber security? After Sept. 11, as most
intelligence gathering shifted to finding Al Qaeda cells throughout the
world, one group at the White House led by Richard Clarke -- former head
of counterterrorism under President Clinton -- decided to investigate
the threat of attacks from cyberspace. What they found was not

In "Cyber War!," this Thursday, Apr. 24 at 9pm on PBS (check local
FRONTLINE investigates just how vulnerable the Internet is to both
virtual and physical attack, and how the Internet could be used to
launch a major assault on the nation's critical infrastructure. Some,
such as Clarke, believe that major cyber attacks are imminent. And yet
he and others have had only limited success in convincing Washington
that cyber security needs to be a top priority.

We hope you'll join us on Thursday night, and on our website following
the broadcast, where you'll find extended coverage and a chance to share
your views, at

Wen Stephenson
Website Managing Editor


+ Inside FRONTLINE ...

[Award-winning FRONTLINE producer Michael Kirk, who wrote, produced, and
directed "Cyber War!," most recently produced last February's "The War
Behind Closed Doors," about the birth of the Bush Doctrine and the march
to war with Iraq, and last October's "The Man Who Knew," about FBI agent
John O'Neill's frustrated efforts to make Al Qaeda a priority in the
late-90s. Here, Kirk offers some thoughts on what he learned in the
process of making this latest documentary.]

. . . .

Producer-reporter Jim Gilmore and I went into a secure building in the
shadow of the White House last fall.  We were scanned, given badges, and
met at the elevator.  Doors were unlocked with secret codes and we were
put in a private conference room.  We were given a briefing about how Al
Qaeda, China, Russia, and others were waging war against the United
States using computers and the Internet.

Two hours later, as we headed for Reagan National Airport, I called our
associate producer Corey Ford and asked him to quickly buy
supersensitive firewall for all of our computers. The briefing had
certainly gotten my attention, and for the next six months Jim and I
would spend a great deal of time trying to find out whether we really
needed to worry about war in cyberspace.

   From that initial meeting we've gone out to find the physical side of
the Internet -- nodes and servers all over America; we've met and
marauded through the secure Internet with a secretive high-end hacker;
we've watched "red teams" assault power-grid control systems; and we've
learned about viruses and probes designed to map and take down the Web.
We've talked to the people who think Al Qaeda can use the Web to attack
America (many think they can) and we've heard arguments from others who
believe that in a time where we're all worried about weapons of mass
destruction, the worst cyber war threatens are weapons of mass

The effect of that first briefing, and all the interviews and
information we've gathered since, has made me much more aware of the
security of my own computer. I've also learned that many view their
computer as a personal space -- a private world where they keep their
thoughts, their best (and worst) ideas. The computer has become a kind
of extension of who we are and what we know, in a really personal way.
So it makes sense that the idea of enemies using our own private
computers in a cyber war would at least make us very uneasy, and
potentially make us incredibly paranoid.

I hadn't really thought about that notion until we screened this
documentary the other day for some of the staff at FRONTLINE.  I
noticed, as the program went on, actual anxiety creeping in. After they
saw the film, staffers told us they felt a real fear of violation --
almost as if they themselves were being harmed -- when the program
talked about "probes" and "pings," and "malicious code," "Trojan horses"
and, worst of all, "zombies."

That experience convinced me that our program could be extremely useful
in raising awareness about an important threat that affects us all and
will surely change the way we view and think about our wired world and
the relationship of our computers to it.

--Michael Kirk