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Thread: Dissertation v. National Security

  1. #1
    Cyburbian El Feo's avatar
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    Dissertation v. National Security

    I read this article in the Washington Post, and thought the folks here might find it pretty interesting.

    This guy seems worried about getting a job - I tend to think he might be set for life instead.

  2. #2
    Cyburbian
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    Whoa.... Now that shouldn't be published, at least not completely. And companies should hide some data... man... that kind of info could destroy the US (and would also be a very hard hit to the rest of the world) if it falls to the wrong hands of course.

    At least it helps to find the huge security holes that are in the system..... and hopefully it can be fixed.

  3. #3
    Cyburbian SGB's avatar
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    I suspect that as we ponder this article and the subject disertation, much of the base information used in the disertation is rapidly being removed from the internet.

    Now if only they can find also those pesky mirror sites & servers.......
    All these years the people said he’s actin’ like a kid.
    He did not know he could not fly, so he did.
    - - Guy Clark, "The Cape"

  4. #4
    Cyburbian jordanb's avatar
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    Telegeography has been selling such data for years. Their almanics are obscenly expensive though. About all this guy did, from the looks of it, is prove that telegeography's maps are overpriced.

    At any rate, what does this give terrorists? So their bombs nock out some fiber on purpose instead of accidently when they blow up the bank's lobby. If anything, this'll draw them away from population centres as they'll be spending all of their time blowing up fiber substations in Ohio instead of cafes and bus depots.

    If they wanted to nock out power substations surely the could just look for a big fenced-off steel structure full of transformers and cable with "Property of [Powerco]" written on it.?

    Besides, isn't the Internet supposed to be redundant?

  5. #5
    Cyburbian Jeff's avatar
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    While I don't think it should be published, I have to wonder, if all of this comes from public info, I bet the bad guys know alot of it already.

  6. #6
    Corn Burning Fool giff57's avatar
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    If this type of data is not shared, the terrorists will not need to blow anything up, some contractor with a back hoe will take it out in no time

  7. #7
    Cyburbian Emeritus Chet's avatar
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    The data he's using is NOT difficult to get.

    We've had homeland security briefings, and as a result are limited in what GIS shape files and attributes we'll be pushing out on the web. Utility information is a biiiiig no-no.

    I agree it should be restricted. And like the article recommends, share it with the prof, burn his copy, and classify the rest.

  8. #8
    Cyburbian El Feo's avatar
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    I wasn't quite sure what to make of this at first. It's already in the public domain, so like Mike D., I'm betting a lot of the baddies know this already. And while I appreciate jordanb's perspective, my concern is not that this information would enable the terrorists to knock out a few isolated substations or bank fiber optics cables, but that it would enable them to be effective in doing so.

    I found a response to this story via Instapundit that's I think sums up why I now guess I think this is not as big a deal as I initially thought.

    I still say this guy has nothing to worry about come jobhunt time.

  9. #9
    Cyburbian Cardinal's avatar
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    This information is often published by the companies who own the infrastructure because they see an advantage in having it known. Do you want to get a major client? Show them that you have a well-developed fiber backbone with POPs in every city in which they have facilities. It is a way of making sales.

    When I wrote the economic development plan for my city I researched power and telecommunications capabilities. I've mapped the SONET rings on which we are located. I obtained a listing of telecommunications companies serving Wisconsin from the Public Service Commission. I visited web sites for companies to identify their nearest POP. I obtained a map of the electrical transmission grid serving southern Wisconsin. It is all public information, and it all serves a legitimate purpose. If it is not available, how can we do our job and how can businesses function?

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