By Cat Astronaut
With cyber threats from nation-state actors like China and Russia on the rise, the commanding general of U.S. Cyber Command has created a special task force to figure out how to open this PDF.
“I’ve been trying to open this thing for like 30 minutes, but the farthest I’ve gotten is that screen where it says ‘Please wait…’” Gen. Paul Nakasone said. “Is China trying to prevent me from opening this PDF? Did Russia put a backdoor into my computer to make it impossible to figure this darn thing out? This task force will get to the bottom of it.”
Task Force OpenDoc will include cybersecurity experts from all of the military services as well as the National Security Agency and the Department of Homeland Security. Many of these organizations have had long-standing internal task forces investigating how to open this PDF, as well as many other PDFs, with little success. TF OpenDoc will combine their efforts into a whole-of-government approach to opening PDFs, officials said.
“We have no idea how deep this rabbit hole will lead us,” Nakasone said. “Once we get the PDFs open, then what? How do we save them? And God forbid we have to upload one to Microsoft Teams.”
Once Cyber Command figures out how to open the PDF, their next task will be to train the entire force on the cyber skills required to hack into these mysterious documents.
“Russia may already be inside not only our PDFs, but our Word and Excel documents, too,” DoD Chief Information Officer John Sherman said as he painstakingly thumbed his keyboard one key at a time. “If it ever comes to the point when we can’t open Outlook, it would create such cyber chaos that I would have to call in my 14-year-old niece to pick up the pieces.
“She’s really good with computers.”
Marine Corps Commandant Gen. David Beger said his service is less concerned about TF OpenDoc’s primary mission of opening PDFs. The more pressing cyber issue, he says, is creating a cyber M4 carbine so Marines can digitally fire and maneuver.
“What I want to know is: can we shoot a PDF? Can we bracket it with artillery? How much C-4 does it take to blow one up?” he said. “No matter how many PDFs we open, until we have cyber weapons that let us go pew pew bang bang and throw rounds downrange, I don’t think we can compete with Russia in cyberspace.”
Cat Astronaut is a demobilized mobile infantryman and the creator of medieval and fantasy satire site Ye Olde Tyme News.