Opinion: Intercepts: The Hacker Equation

It started out simple enough: Early last year, Air Force Maj. Gen. John "Soup" Campbell, commander of the Joint Task Force for Computer Network Defense, placed the number of "attacks" against DOD networks at 250,000 each year.

But in November 1999, Lt. Gen. David Kelley, director of the Defense Information Systems Agency, talked about a 300 percent increase in the number of "unauthorized intrusions."

Intrusions skyrocketed, according to Kelley, from 5,844 in 1998 to 18,433 through November 1999. (Campbell reported last week that this number topped off at 22,144 for all of 1999.) This year the numbers got more complicated. In March, Lt. Col. LeRoy Lundgren, program manager for the Army's National Security Improvement Program, said the Army alone denied as many as 285,000 network queries last year because of questionable methods used in the queries. The Interceptor guesses "network queries" are somehow similar to "attacks."

Enter the Justice Department. According to Justice, the number of hacking cases throughout the government nearly doubled last year, reaching 1,154, up from 547 in 1998. One look at these numbers and you have to wonder if these guys even know that DOD is part of the federal government.

Then, of course, there are "incidents" and "intrusions" to deal with. Lt. Gen. William Campbell, the Army's chief information officer, last week told a crowd at the Association of the U.S. Army's annual symposium on information assurance and battlefield visualization that the Army experienced 3,077 "incidents" during fiscal 1999 and 58 "intrusions." For fiscal 2000, those numbers had reached 2,230 and 40, respectively, by April 4.

But "Soup" Campbell told the same crowd that in fiscal 1998 a total of 5,844 incidents were reported to the Pentagon by DOD commands. In fiscal 1999, that number reached 22,144, and during the first three months of this year, that number had already surpassed 5,993, Campbell said.

Confused? I am.

Serving Campbell Soup at the CIA

"Soup" Campbell told the Interceptor last week that he's received orders to report in June to CIA headquarters, where he will take over as the director of military support. Speaking at the AUSA symposium, Campbell also said the JTF-CND recently added legal counsel to its official structure.

"I never thought I'd need a lawyer to do my business," Campbell said, referring to the lack of legal guidelines governing computer network attack and defense.

Hey, don't knock it, Soup. Legal counsel is highly underrated in this world of error-prone databases and outdated hard-copy maps.

Fortunately, I hear that there's no shortage of lawyers in Langley, Virginia.

Go West, Young Man

My E-Ring listening post in the heart of the Pentagon has picked up several low-level signals indicating that Paul Brubaker, the Defense Department's acting deputy chief information officer, plans to leave his position in a matter of weeks.

A strong supporter of the Navy/Marine Corps Intranet proposal, Brubaker has apparently succumbed to "dot-com fever," according to sources, and will be zapping himself out to the West Coast after he checks out of DOD. One N/MCI insider said he hoped the move "is not a harbinger of the future" for the beleaguered program.Intercept something? Send it to the Interceptor at antenna@ fcw.com.

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Dan Verton

PC World
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Crucial Ballistix Elite 32GB Kit (4 x 8GB) DDR4-3000 UDIMM

Learn more >

Gadgets & Things

Lexar® Professional 1000x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards

Learn more >

Family Friendly

Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive 

Learn more >

Stocking Stuffer

Plox Star Wars Death Star Levitating Bluetooth Speaker

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles


GGG Evaluation Team

Kathy Cassidy


First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.

Anthony Grifoni


For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.

Steph Mundell


The Fujitsu LifeBook UH574 allowed for great mobility without being obnoxiously heavy or clunky. Its twelve hours of battery life did not disappoint.

Andrew Mitsi


The screen was particularly good. It is bright and visible from most angles, however heat is an issue, particularly around the Windows button on the front, and on the back where the battery housing is located.

Simon Harriott


My first impression after unboxing the Q702 is that it is a nice looking unit. Styling is somewhat minimalist but very effective. The tablet part, once detached, has a nice weight, and no buttons or switches are located in awkward or intrusive positions.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?