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Some sideways thinking about cyberwarfare

A post I published this morning on +O'Reilly Radar.  Here's the crux of the piece:

"What if we thought of JP Morgan’s recent trading losses not simply as a “bad bet” but as the outcome of a cyberwar between JP Morgan and hedge funds?  More importantly, what if we thought of the Euro’s current troubles in part as the result of a cyberwar between the financial industry and the EU?

"When two nations with differing goals attack each other, we call it warfare.  But when financial firms attack each other, or the financial industry attacks the economy of nations, we tell ourselves that it’s “the efficient market” at work.  In fact the Eurozone crisis is  a tooth-and-claw battle between central bankers and firms seeking  profit for themselves despite damage to the livelihoods of millions."

Read the whole thing:
When we hear the term “cyberwarfare” we think of government-backed hackers stealing data, or releasing viruses or other software exploits to disrupt another country's capabilities, communications, or ...
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Tim, you are right with the term war, however, you are wrong with the term cyber.

The examples you pointed out are definitely within a war-zone, still, it has nothing or only very little to do with cyber.

Simply call it an economic war - that's what it actually is.

And since globalization is bringing everyone closer together, meanwhile we do have a global economic war.

Besides: You wouldn't believe how many members of senior management of any company acting globally have read Sun Tzu's 'The Art Of War': This book - as old as it is - holds quite some precious advice on how to operate in a global economy.


Some call it economic war, some call it capitalism...
+Gregor S. I'm not sure about the "not very little to do with cyber". Most of the financial wars these days are carried out by bots and program trading.  That very much makes them cyberwars in my book.
+Tim O'Reilly Let's put it that way:
Without cyber, companies definately had a problam acting globally.
As such, sure cyber is involved.
However, cyber here is just a means to achieve the overall goal: Eliminate your opponents and get their market-shares.

If this could be achieved w/o cyber but with drums from the jungle, you'd then have to call it a drums-of-the-jungle-war.

You are shedding some light on the medium being used, I'm talking about the motivation.
Interesting and quite hitting home. I agree though, that it's not just cyber war but instead and furthermore an economic war with all means available, e.g. trade sanctions, tariffs, patent claims, etc. Maybe it's time to revisit the, until now quite elusive 5th generation warfare, which is intriguingly well-outlined in another Chinese book, Unrestricted Warfare. (EDIT: Qiao Liang and Wang Xiangsui, 1999)
Lets agree that cyber warfare is one of the battlegrounds for economic warfare. as it will be in almost any kind of future warfare.
Funny, I don't see it as anything but a bunch of gambling-addictive con arts out to fooling themselves and stealing from the rest of us through fraudulent means.
One problem is that people tend to think of war as justifying measures which would otherwise be considered beyond the pale, so we really don't want to recast the regular course of capitalism as war.

(I didn't think of this point myself; I heard it from James Barksdale, commenting on the term "browser war", when I was at Netscape.)
Agreed, cyber warfare is the new born lane, and or other extension to 
the new growing trend of these sorts It will get crazier and more complex. We are at the birth stages of whats coming next.
Remember liberties vs security. 
Securities vanishing in value coincident with the liberties that inalienable ones the United States was founded on?

The even bigger question is if the losses were synthesized by the hedge funds. LIBOR was fixed to siphon money.  Imagine if this bank were targeted as a rival alters the ticker flow to create that loss?

Who audits the ticker?

#economic   #LIBOR   #fiat   #cyberwarfare   #JPMorgan   #hedgefunds   #oreillyblog   #surface  
None of the financial businesses add value; only goods and services do. Everything else is just fast-talk to distract you from the fact that they are just printing money.
I wouldn't go with the term cyber- either.  Everything is done electronically today, cyberwar is the destruction of, and manipulation through the electronic systems.  This is just a dilution of the term.

As to the financial manipulations, this is nothing new.  Just read the history of kings who needed to deal with a merchant class.  From the Russian Czars to the Danish Kings, once someone can act with extraterritoriality, and have significant amounts of money they become difficult to control and threaten the existing regime. I do think that it is valuable to bring up, and it will need to be dealt with, if there is time. Of course most of those who should have dealt with it probably have a financial interest in things remaining as they are. The best chance you have is that there are a lot of people invested in the euro, and they own pitchforks (metaphorically speaking).
+Nate Laskey : If you are trying to figure out the comparative barter value of two items algorithmically, you are in effect trying to convert one one-dimensional value (say, 1 1985 DeLorean) to another one-dimensional value (say, 1 hour of work as a C developer). Because there will be very many exchanges which have never been done before (perhaps no C developer has ever purchased a DeLorean before), there will always be a dimensionless number at the heart of the algorithm to serve as a conversion factor.

We call that dimensionless conversion factor a "currency."

[Edit: added name of user I was replying to; minor grammatical correction.]
+Tim O'Reilly  I'm not sure that we benefit from expanding the definition of the word and adding further ambiguity to an already ambiguous word.  Perhaps time to coin a new word?
+Rene Miller , I'm no linguist, but the prefix cyber- comes from cybernetics, which was fist used to describe automated computer control.  (It's a greek root.)  Modern parlance seems to be cyber- refers to anything computerized. You could use the term cyber-economics (though that would probably be wrong in it's usage), and I would take it as computer automated economics. 
+Nate Laskey Looks like something Google might be working on with some type of ranking algorithm. Everything from our web site to a keywords leading to our web sites are being ranked, and some day myself included. Seems a natural progression to me.
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Its like ACTA. The European and U.K courts abolished it in voting of 300+ to 39. So they went behind our backs and are now trying to get approved by some scumbags who only care about money for themselves. The scary part is, ACTA might actually be approved! It would mean total censorship of the entire internet. YouTube, Google+, Facebook and many other social/sharing websites would be banned, permanently
I feel that "cyber crime" is a much more accurate descriptor given the nature of the parties and methods involved.

After all, the intentions behind the Zeus bot, and those behind the nefarious use of otherwise legitimate trading programs, now appear to be the same -- to steal.

Stealing is a crime that is generally not considered an act of war (the theft of land by nation states being the exception).
Another fantastic post, +Tim O'Reilly. I like the way you think.

I would love to see another post where you expand this idea by analyzing the details of a single example: "[Investor] attacked the economy of a nation by taking X position, and it ended up causing collateral damage to Y. Therefore, cyberwar."

That is to say, I like the analogy of comparing these deals to cyberwar, but I'm curious about the specifics of the transactions that qualify as "attacking a nation." Is it merely that when a hedge fund shorts a currency or deals in credit default swaps, they cause collateral damage that wouldn't have occurred otherwise?
"When two nations with differing goals attack each other, we call it warfare.  But when financial firms attack each other, or the financial industry attacks the economy of nations" we call it industrial espionage.

It has been well known about since it was first recorded in 1712 when Father Francois Xavier d'Entrecolles managed to learn the secrets of making Chinese porcelain. Adding the word "cyber" to it is just a buzz word, like "thinking out side the box" and "revolutionary". Mindless buzz words.

Times change and with the times, the tools change. But in the end its all the same. Using a modern day calculator doesn't turn math in "cyber" math. Using computers to get an upper hand in questionable ways of business doesn't magically turn it into a whole new thing.

For more understanding about how industrial espionage works and how it's not limited to just one business against another I would highly suggest you read about the Cold War. Granted, it used massive computers to help understand risks and possible outcomes as well as help fight against the competition, so I guess you'll want to call it the Cyber Cold War. Right there with the Cyber World War 2 and its code breaking machine Enigma Machine.
Any sufficient level of stupidity is indistinguishable from malice.

Or ... Do not ascribe to malice that which can be attributed to stupidity. 

The point being, while you may be right, the Occam's Razor approach is that these people don't know what the hell they are doing.

But what the hell, it looks good on paper (napkin). 
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