Risk
10/14/2010
04:10 PM
John Foley
John Foley
Commentary
Connect Directly
LinkedIn
Twitter
Google+
RSS
E-Mail
50%
50%

The Case For Wiretapping The Internet

The directors of National Intelligence and the FBI say tech-savvy extremists pose a growing threat, setting the stage for a national debate over the need for Internet eavesdropping.




Slideshow: Who's Who In U.S. Intelligence
(click for larger image and for full slideshow)

Two top intelligence officials last week warned that tech-savvy terrorists are using the Web to recruit for, plan, facilitate, and even accelerate their criminal acts. Their comments set the stage for what's likely to become a heated national debate over wiretapping the Internet.

James Clapper, the new U.S. director of national intelligence, and Robert Mueller, the director of the FBI, gave a sobering account of the growing use of the Web by violence-prone adversaries. Their statements take on added significance in light of the Obama administration's push for legislation, being drafted now, that would force communications service providers to establish the capability to intercept and unscramble communications traveling over their networks. Clapper and Mueller spoke at the Bipartisan Policy Center's State of Domestic Intelligence Reform conference.

In his first public presentation since taking over as director of national intelligence in August, Clapper pointed to the "ever-growing popular use of online social media and blogs by violent extremist groups" and said that virtual communities have become as important as physical communities in fostering the radicalization of young people.

Clapper cited two challenges: "Always ensuring appropriate protection of privacy while still allowing for the proper dissemination of U.S. persons' information necessary to uncover and disrupt threats to the homeland. And second, ensuring that the U.S. government has the necessary legal and policy framework to allow discovery of critical information across departmental and agency data sets." You can read a transcript of his remarks here.

Consistent with the mission of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI), Clapper's speech emphasized the need to integrate intelligence data and, as appropriate, share that information across intelligence and law enforcement agencies. He described the FBI as the country's primary agency for conducting counterterrorism and counterintelligence operations within the U.S.

FBI director Mueller was even more blunt in his portrayal of the Internet as a medium for those who would wreak havoc on America. "The Internet has become a primary platform for communication," he said. "It has also become a tool for spreading extremist propaganda, and for terrorist recruiting, training, and planning. It is a means of social networking for like-minded extremists...including those who are not yet radicalized, but who may become so through the anonymity of cyberspace. In other words, the Internet has become a facilitator, even an accelerant, for terrorist and criminal activity."

Previous
1 of 2
Next
Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Cartoon
Current Issue
Dark Reading Must Reads - September 25, 2014
Dark Reading's new Must Reads is a compendium of our best recent coverage of identity and access management. Learn about access control in the age of HTML5, how to improve authentication, why Active Directory is dead, and more.
Flash Poll
Video
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2012-5619
Published: 2014-09-29
The Sleuth Kit (TSK) 4.0.1 does not properly handle "." (dotfile) file system entries in FAT file systems and other file systems for which . is not a reserved name, which allows local users to hide activities it more difficult to conduct forensics activities, as demonstrated by Flame.

CVE-2012-5621
Published: 2014-09-29
lib/engine/components/opal/opal-call.cpp in ekiga before 4.0.0 allows remote attackers to cause a denial of service (crash) via an OPAL connection with a party name that contains invalid UTF-8 strings.

CVE-2012-6107
Published: 2014-09-29
Apache Axis2/C does not verify that the server hostname matches a domain name in the subject's Common Name (CN) or subjectAltName field of the X.509 certificate, which allows man-in-the-middle attackers to spoof SSL servers via an arbitrary valid certificate.

CVE-2012-6110
Published: 2014-09-29
bcron-exec in bcron before 0.10 does not close file descriptors associated with temporary files when running a cron job, which allows local users to modify job files and send spam messages by accessing an open file descriptor.

CVE-2013-1874
Published: 2014-09-29
Untrusted search path vulnerability in csi in Chicken before 4.8.2 allows local users to execute arbitrary code via a Trojan horse .csirc in the current working directory.

Best of the Web
Dark Reading Radio
Archived Dark Reading Radio
In our next Dark Reading Radio broadcast, we’ll take a close look at some of the latest research and practices in application security.