back to article En garde! 'Cyber-war has begun' – and France will hack first, its defence sec declares

France’s defence secretary Florence Parly today declared: “Cyber war has begun.” And she said the Euro nation's military will use its “cyber arms as all other traditional weapons… to respond and attack,” as well as setting up a military bug bounty program. Parly made her pledges during a speech to the Forum International de …

  1. Ima Ballsy
    Holmes

    And .....

    Some one will show up with a real TANK of a hack and the Frenchies will throw up their hands and surrender ....

    1. Kiwi Silver badge
      Paris Hilton

      Re: And .....

      Not to up on your history are you?

    2. Christoph Silver badge

      Re: And .....

      If you really must claim that a nation is entirely defined by one past event in history, better get ready for the French to conquer most of Europe like they did under Napoleon.

      Makes just as much sense as your pathetic sniping.

    3. Potemkine! Silver badge
      1. Tom Paine Silver badge

        Re: And .....

        *embarrassed liberal coughs discreetly

        "glorious military history" is oxymoronic. It's the organised killing of men women and children, often in grotesquely violent and horrific means.

        If war's so glorious, why aren't politicians falling over themselves at election time to promise war more and more war?

        1. YARR

          If war's so glorious, why aren't politicians falling over themselves at election time to promise war more and more war?

          Winning wars may be glorious (if the cost to you was worth it), but starting them generally isn't.

          The strategy of avoiding war but encouraging / money-lending to others, then siding with the victor just before they win can be materially beneficial.

    4. julian_n

      Re: And .....

      How sad that this Bush era nonsense persists. After all, when it comes to Iraqi WMD Chirac was correct and Blair and Bush were lying through their teeth.

      However, at the risk of going historical on this, France lost more people in both World Wars than UK did.

    5. Captain Scarlet Silver badge
      Stop

      Re: And .....

      I think Blitzkrieg was more than showing up in a single tank.

      Us from the Empire fled back to blighty as well remember?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: And .....

        Us from the Empire fled back to blighty as well remember?

        That's correct, but rather overlooks the fact that we started the war in response to German aggression against another European state, not to mention the hundreds of thousands of British and Empire soldiers who died in to liberate France. Much the same as twenty or so years previously.

        For f*** all gratitude, I might add.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: And .....

          "For f*** all gratitude, I might add."

          Seriously? What about the following French-British partnerships, like the Suez Canal intervention? Or more successful ones, like Concord or Ariane? about France overwhelmingly voting in favour of welcoming the UK in the EEC when they asked to get in?

          What, exactly is the kind of gratitude you'd have expected? France did not let the UK down after 1945.

  2. SNAFUology
    Stop

    Simple

    DOH: Do not put anything IMPORTANT on or connected to the Internet

    Big #SNAFU

    Most do, then use it as an excuse to: appeal for more money / tool up / start a fight / call for allies involvement / gain political ground / gain foreign resources...

    eh....

    1. julian_n

      Re: Simple

      I must agree I do wonder at times . . .

      Eh Boris we need a new ICBM. Better dig a deep hole for it. And lay on extra power feed from the power grid. Oh, and don't forget to Internet enable the launch system.

    2. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: Simple

      >DOH: Do not put anything IMPORTANT on or connected to the Internet

      Does it have to be?

      Has France just announced that your national airline's fleet of Airbus could be turned into a weapon if you become an enemy of France?

      And how much of an "enemy" do you need to become to justify the use of cyber weapons? Do you have to invade French soil, or is failing to support France in some trade dispute make you an economic enemy?

    3. Tom Paine Silver badge

      Re: Simple

      I have some shock news for you.

      1. in a large organisation with huger numbers of different data communication systems, which DOES have to be able to communicate with untrusted networks (How'd you think people email the army? How'd you think soldiers use email, come to that?) -- it's not really a five minute job to make sure an airgap really is airgapped

      2. You do not have to have military equipment connected to the internet to be vulnerable to a good hard cyberring from an adversary. A couple of recent examples you may have heard of --

      * https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_Olympic_Games

      * https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/jan/28/fitness-tracking-app-gives-away-location-of-secret-us-army-bases

      * https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Russian_interference_in_the_2016_United_States_elections

  3. revenant

    Britain's " muted line about its offensive cyber capabilites"

    I'm quite happy with that approach - what benefit is there in boasting/threatening like the French do? As long as we do have the capabilities, of course.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Britain's " muted line about its offensive cyber capabilites"

      Most people don't seem to realise that the information war started in the late 90's/early 2000's (in earnest).

      Most of it is fairly low key so as not to expose capabilities, every now and again an action is taken which hits the news, but not often. It's the fastest changing battlefield in human history and will likely remain so for the foreseeable future.

      1. julian_n

        Re: Britain's " muted line about its offensive cyber capabilites"

        It was long before that. The French had their SCSSI laws and sniffed everything - until Duncan Campbell told the world about Eschelon.

    2. Nick Kew Silver badge

      Re: Britain's " muted line about its offensive cyber capabilites"

      Different approaches. I find that kind of honesty from a politician kind-of refreshing.

      What does irk me is hypocrisy and humbug. As in those who perpetrate stuxnet and many false flags yet persistently point the finger at "baddies" elsewhere and whine.

      1. Tom Paine Silver badge

        Re: Britain's " muted line about its offensive cyber capabilites"

        Geopolitics and inter-state messaging is a bit more subtle than that. Some of the related topics are touched on by Dave Aitel now and then (and many others of course, I just don't have time to keep up)

        https://cybersecpolitics.blogspot.com

    3. macjules Silver badge
      Angel

      Re: Britain's " muted line about its offensive cyber capabilites"

      It will be years before they can come up with a name for the new armed force, so no worries yet. So far they have got as far as "force de frappe du contre-espionnage français sur internet".

    4. Tom Paine Silver badge

      Re: Britain's " muted line about its offensive cyber capabilites"

      what benefit is there in boasting/threatening like the French do?

      For the same reason nuclear states are generally quite happy to have that status be publicly known. Its not much of a deterrent if the adversary only finds out you have an ICBM capability when you launch an all-out retaliatory strike in response to their incoming wave of surprise attack warheads, is it now?

      1. YARR

        Re: Britain's " muted line about its offensive cyber capabilites"

        For the same reason nuclear states are generally quite happy to have that status be publicly known

        ... but with nukes you win by not using them.

        Apparently "cyberwarfare" is being conducted by agencies representing democratic tax-payers, without their consent. So-called "ethical" hackers are involved in this undeclared war against unspecified "enemies", and the taxpayers don't even know who started it, how it was started or if they themselves might be an "enemy" or a target of an "enemy". How will the tax-payers know if their representative agency loses said cyberwar?

        What benefit is there from engaging in offensive cyberwarfare as opposed to purely defensive measures? Is neutrality a choice?

  4. W Donelson

    Good intentions, scary result probably.

  5. amusedscientist

    plus ca change ....

    Espionage? Moi?

    https://foreignpolicy.com/2013/07/02/espionage-moi/

  6. The Nazz Silver badge

    Cynical, who moi?

    What's French for "fucking good luck with that then"? Foolish woman.

    Let's also hope that they are well prepared for any others forms of hacking their citizens could be exposed to.

  7. herman Silver badge

    There are good mathematicians in France. Whether they boast about it or not, is quite immaterial. Most cryptologists prefer to keep quiet because they don't like questions and don't want to accidentally get on the wrong side of an official secrets act. However, the security of a system lies with the keys. You should be able to give your crypto systems to your enemies and still be sure that they won't be able to read your messages. This is why the algorithms of most crypto systems and their test vectors are published for review by anyone.

  8. Anonymous South African Coward Silver badge
    Trollface

    Good way to start an ever-escalating cyber war - haxx0r some d00fus' PC in China/USA/wherever, and launch a nice cyberattack at the French from that server... withdraw promptly (erasing all evidence of your haxx0ring) and watch the ever-escalating war unfold until the WWW is in ruins and devastation.

    Hopefully this scenario will not happen - but the probability is high - that somebody will launch an attack by proxy and let somebody else do the fighting.

  9. Silas

    Good job the important bits were in English, eh Gareth?

  10. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge
    Holmes

    'Cyber-war has begun'

    The icon says it all.

    Better late than never to the party, mes amis, but do not think it is in any way a conventional defence/attack space with enemies easily identified and vanquished or indeed, that prime opposition and dynamic competition are in any way defeatable. And if truth be told, it is cyber wars are raging and the status quo is suitably terrified for it does not command and control either stealthy disruptive or wonderfully creative services in those theatres of virtual operation.

    And the route of least resistance to supply the best return on investment to mitigate that very particular and peculiar reality deficit? Buy up/in stellar cyber war assets with perfect secret agent services?

    1. Sir Runcible Spoon Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Re: 'Cyber-war has begun'

      "Better late than never to the party"

      I was about to post that they were a bit late to the party, for some reason ministers (of whatever country) appear to be blissfully unaware it's been going on for nigh on 20 years (that I'm aware of).

  11. Chairman of the Bored Silver badge
    Joke

    I hope...

    ...the Maginot Command Line is no longer several hundred km, er, characters too short. Be a shame if the Germans or someone did another buffer overflow on that particular input field.

  12. Aodhhan Bronze badge

    Whoa!

    First Brexit and now France has declared cyber war.

    The first nation to openly declare it's a cyber bully!!

    Does this really shock anybody? It doesn't take a lot of balls to be a cyber bully.

    CIA and MI6 can now take a break. The French are "en garde" !! :)

  13. cbars

    Bug bounty

    Ok so you discover a hole in the French infrastructure (which either everyone is allowed to do, or it's a crime unless you're on the list c.f. USA). Do you sell to the French or to [insert popular enemy country name here]?

    If everyone is allowed to do it, the odds are better that you get a notification (because your enemies will be looking anyway!)

    However it's also more likely that someone from France sells to the enemy.

    All in I'd say it's still better to leave this open to all, as if we're not running under the assumption that *most* people are half-way decent then there isn't much point. Time will tell I suppose.

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