t byfield on Fri, 8 Oct 1999 02:32:17 +0200 (CEST)

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<nettime> 'cyberterrorism' article, 'open source' authoring

Jane's Intelligence Review Lauds Slashdot Readers as Cyberterrorism
The Media 
Posted by Roblimo 
on Thursday October 07, @12:00PM EDT 
from the give-yourselves-a-big-pat-on-the-back dept.

Last week the editors of the internationally respected magazine, Jane's
Intelligence Review, asked Slashdot readers to preview an article on
Cyberterrorism they had planned to run. But so many of you said
(rightfully) that the article was lame, and so many of you had intelligent
things to say on the subject, that the Jane's editors decided to trash the
original piece and write a whole new one based entirely on your comments!
And, in an unprecedented act of generosity, Jane's is going to *pay* those
of you whose words make it into the final story, which is being written by
Deputy Editor Johan J Ingles-le Nobel. Please click on the "Read More"
link below to get the whole scoop directly from Jane's - including info on
how to collect your money if you are one of the folks Jane's decides to

Open source meets open source
What happens when you throw together open source intelligence
(intelligence from non-classified sources) and the online open source
movement? Jane's Intelligence Review (JIR), a leading specialist security
analysis did just this, and the results were an eye-opener for all parties
concerned. Writes Johan J Ingles-le Nobel, JIR Deputy Editor: 

When you're confronted with a prospective article about cyberterrorism, as
a journalist you know this is a massive emerging topic and that it will
make a great story. After all, you've got to be both blind and deaf to
have missed the unprecedented emergence of this thing known as the
Internet, and that the day will come when, like anything else, it comes to
be seen as a tool in the armoury of those that seek to harm and terrorise.
Yet the very nature and vocabulary of the subject precludes a thorough
understanding unless you're a programmer in the first place. Buffer
overflows, denial of service, CGI, 128 bit encryption - such words are all
anathma to the layman, yet crucial to a good article on the issue. 

"JIR's choice at this point, upon receiving the article, was tough.  It's
great to get copy from someone you know to be very good on terrorism on
this subject, but upon reading the article left me with more questions
than answers - and questions that only qualified people could answer
properly.  I'm not referring to shallow 'such and so defaced a website'
type of answers, but thoughtful responses metered with specialist
knowledge. So what better way to find answers than to go online, to seek
out expertise on the subject? 

Unfortunately, finding good information online is not nearly as easy as it
should be. Thankfully, months earlier I'd noticed a link to Slashdot
posted on a web-hosting service owned by a friend of mine, and having
followed the link, bookmarked it a long time ago. Thus, upon receiving the
article and personally researching cyberterrorism to find out a bit more
on the subject and having been alerted to the fact that a) Linux is the
best 'programmer's' o/s environment, b) many webservers use Linux and c)
you're looking at expertise in both these areas for sensible answers,
there was really no choice but to ask the guys that actually do this stuff
for advice. 

In retrospect, I'm delighted that I did. 250+ comments and 35 emails from
psychologists to network analysts, and from Sun engineers to Cambridge
Dons later, The responses have been insightful and knowledgable, with many
excellent points made. I've even had a lot of 'thank-you' type letters
from computer security professionals for trying this approach. Of course,
when you ask for feedback you get feedback - and since roughly 99% of the
posters slammed the article, even saying things like 'we'd expect better
from Jane's', I've informed the author that we're not going to run with
it.  Instead I'm going to cull your comments together and make a better,
sharper feature out of it - I'll be getting in touch with several of you
for more specific details or for more clarification. The article will thus
go into December issue (published middle of November), I'll arrange to
have it put onto the free section of the Jane's Intelligence Review
website (yes, you do all get to see it, of course), and if you find your
comments included, contact me at johan.ingles@janes.co.uk for payment at
our usual lineage rates (yes, of course you get paid - after all, we are

In summary: wherever you may be and whatever you may do, a big 'thanks,
guys' comes your way from just south of London, England. 

Johan J Ingles-le Nobel,
Jane's Intelligence Review.

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