tagged w/ Cyberwar
The purpose of this game is to simulate in some simple form the shifting and complex strategic relationships between press, government, and Wikileaks during period.During the game, each player will possess a certain number of credibility counters -- which represents the social capital and public standing that allows the players the flexibility to act. The objective of Open Secrets is to be the player with the highest number of credibility counters at the end of the game
http://www.makeahistory.com/index.php/free-stuff/43089-open-secrets-the-game-of-wikileaksThe purpose of this game is to simulate in some simple form the shifting and complex... more
Cyber-threats are the new pretext to justify expansion of power and profit for the public-private National Security State
NSA headquarters Maryland
The National Security Agency (NSA) headquarters in Fort Meade, Maryland. Among other forms of intelligence-gathering, the NSA secretly collects the phone records of millions of Americans, using data provided by telecom firms AT&T, Verizon and BellSouth. Photograph: NSA/Getty Images
As the US government depicts the Defense Department as shrinking due to budgetary constraints, the Washington Post this morning announces "a major expansion of [the Pentagon's] cybersecurity force over the next several years, increasing its size more than fivefold." Specifically, says the New York Times this morning, "the expansion would increase the Defense Department's Cyber Command by more than 4,000 people, up from the current 900.
The Pentagon's rhetorical justification for this expansion is deeply misleading. Beyond that, these activities pose a wide array of serious threats to internet freedom, privacy, and international law that, as usual, will be conducted with full-scale secrecy and with little to no oversight and accountability. And, as always, there is a small army of private-sector corporations who will benefit most from this expansion.
Disguising aggression as "defense"
Let's begin with the way this so-called "cyber-security" expansion has been marketed. It is part of a sustained campaign which, quite typically, relies on blatant fear-mongering.
In March, 2010, the Washington Post published an amazing Op-Ed by Adm. Michael McConnell, Bush's former Director of National Intelligence and a past and current executive with Booz Allen, a firm representing numerous corporate contractors which profit enormously each time the government expands its "cyber-security" activities. McConnell's career over the last two decades - both at Booz, Allen and inside the government - has been devoted to accelerating the merger between the government and private sector in all intelligence, surveillance and national security matters (it was he who led the successful campaign to retroactively immunize the telecom giants for their participation in the illegal NSA domestic spying program). Privatizing government cyber-spying and cyber-warfare is his primary focus now.
McConnell's Op-Ed was as alarmist and hysterical as possible. Claiming that "the United States is fighting a cyber-war today, and we are losing", it warned that "chaos would result" from an enemy cyber-attack on US financial systems and that "our power grids, air and ground transportation, telecommunications, and water-filtration systems are in jeopardy as well." Based on these threats, McConnell advocated that "we" - meaning "the government and the private sector" - "need to develop an early-warning system to monitor cyberspace" and that "we need to reengineer the Internet to make attribution, geolocation, intelligence analysis and impact assessment - who did it, from where, why and what was the result - more manageable." As Wired's Ryan Singel wrote: "He's talking about changing the internet to make everything anyone does on the net traceable and geo-located so the National Security Agency can pinpoint users and their computers for retaliation."
As usual, though, reality is exactly the opposite. This massive new expenditure of money is not primarily devoted to defending against cyber-aggressors. The US itself is the world's leading cyber-aggressor. A major purpose of this expansion is to strengthen the US's ability to destroy other nations with cyber-attacks. Indeed, even the Post report notes that a major component of this new expansion is to "conduct offensive computer operations against foreign adversaries".
It is the US - not Iran, Russia or "terror" groups - which already is the first nation (in partnership with Israel) to aggressively deploy a highly sophisticated and extremely dangerous cyber-attack. Last June, the New York Times' David Sanger reported what most of the world had already suspected: "From his first months in office, President Obama secretly ordered increasingly sophisticated attacks on the computer systems that run Iran's main nuclear enrichment facilities, significantly expanding America's first sustained use of cyberweapons." In fact, Obama "decided to accelerate the attacks . . . even after an element of the program accidentally became public in the summer of 2010 because of a programming error that allowed it to escape Iran's Natanz plant and sent it around the world on the Internet." According to the Sanger's report, Obama himself understood the significance of the US decision to be the first to use serious and aggressive cyber-warfare:
This significant expansion under the Orwellian rubric of "cyber-security" is thus a perfect microcosm of US military spending generally. It's all justified under by the claim that the US must defend itself from threats from Bad, Aggressive Actors, when the reality is the exact opposite: the new program is devoted to ensuring that the US remains the primary offensive threat to the rest of the world. It's the same way the US develops offensive biological weapons under the guise of developing defenses against such weapons (such as the 2001 anthrax that the US government itself says came from a US Army lab). It's how the US government generally convinces its citizens that it is a peaceful victim of aggression by others when the reality is that the US builds more weapons, sells more arms and bombs more countries than virtually the rest of the world combined.
Threats to privacy and internet freedom
Back in 2003, the Rumsfeld Pentagon prepared a secret report entitled "Information Operations (IO) Roadmap", which laid the foundation for this new cyber-warfare expansion. The Pentagon's self-described objective was "transforming IO into a core military competency on par with air, ground, maritime and special operations". In other words, its key objective was to ensure military control over internet-based communications:
It further identified superiority in cyber-attack capabilities as a vital military goal in PSYOPs (Psychological Operations) and "information-centric fights":
And it set forth the urgency of dominating the "IO battlespace" not only during wartime but also in peacetime:
As a 2006 BBC report on this Pentagon document noted: "Perhaps the most startling aspect of the roadmap is its acknowledgement that information put out as part of the military's psychological operations, or Psyops, is finding its way onto the computer and television screens of ordinary Americans." And while the report paid lip service to the need to create "boundaries" for these new IO military activities, "they don't seem to explain how." Regarding the report's plan to "provide maximum control of the entire electromagnetic spectrum", the BBC noted: "Consider that for a moment. The US military seeks the capability to knock out every telephone, every networked computer, every radar system on the planet."
Since then, there have been countless reports of the exploitation by the US national security state to destroy privacy and undermine internet freedom. In November, the LA Times described programs that "teach students how to spy in cyberspace, the latest frontier in espionage." They "also are taught to write computer viruses, hack digital networks, crack passwords, plant listening devices and mine data from broken cellphones and flash drives." The program, needless to say, "has funneled most of its graduates to the CIA and the Pentagon's National Security Agency, which conducts America's digital spying. Other graduates have taken positions with the FBI, NASA and the Department of Homeland Security."Cyber-threats are the new pretext to justify expansion of power and profit for the... more
“I think the capabilities are available in cyber to virtually cripple this nation, to bring down the power grid system, to impact on our governmental systems, to impact on Wall Street on our financial systems, and literally to paralyze this country..."
http://www.infosecisland.com/blogview/20772-Defense-Department-Finalizing-Cyberwar-Operations-Guidelines.html“I think the capabilities are available in cyber to virtually cripple this... more
North Korean Students that show aptitude are selected from elementary schools and are groomed in cyber warfare throughout their college years. They constantly hone their skills and even attend foreign colleges to learn the latest security techniques...
http://www.infosecisland.com/blogview/20532-North-Koreas-Cyber-War-Forces.htmlNorth Korean Students that show aptitude are selected from elementary schools and are... more
The data Symantec published reinforces evidence from an earlier investigation conducted by AlienVault, which described an orchestrated sprear-phishing campaign most likely targeting information on US drone technology which utilized malware-infected PDF documents to deliver the Sykipot payload...
http://www.infosecisland.com/blogview/19722-Symantec-Chinese-Connection-to-Attacks-on-Defense-Contractors.htmlThe data Symantec published reinforces evidence from an earlier investigation... more
Thanks to a hacker group in India, Infosec Island has source material that demonstrates wide spread cyber espionage on the part of the Indian Government which the hackers may publish. This is a historically significant development for those of us who track cyber espionage...
http://www.infosecisland.com/blogview/19390-First-Documented-Case-of-Cyber-Espionage.htmlThanks to a hacker group in India, Infosec Island has source material that... more
While it is reported that intercepting unencrypted drone communication data streams had first been known to US military since the mid-1990's, this exploitation continued on into 2009 where militant laptops were found with drone data and unencrypted video feeds from Predator drones...
https://www.infosecisland.com/blogview/18778-How-the-RQ-170-Was-Hijacked.htmlWhile it is reported that intercepting unencrypted drone communication data streams... more
“Effective cyber defense requires us to continually test and improve our crisis management and decision-making procedures. This exercise was a great opportunity to promote the practical implementation of NATO’s new Cyber Defense Policy adopted last June..."
https://www.infosecisland.com/blogview/18814-Exercise-Tested-NATO-Procedures-for-Cyber-Defense.html“Effective cyber defense requires us to continually test and improve our crisis... more
Section 954 of the the FY 2012 defense authorization act states that “Congress affirms that the Department of Defense has the capability, and upon direction by the President may conduct offensive operations in cyberspace to defend our Nation, allies and interests..."
https://www.infosecisland.com/blogview/18769-Congress-Sanctions-Offensive-Military-Action-in-Cyberspace.htmlSection 954 of the the FY 2012 defense authorization act states that “Congress... more
"This [activation] is a tribute to the belief in the notion that our nation requires assured freedom of maneuver in cyberspace in this era of persistent conflict and the advent of the increasingly more sophisticated threats to our security," said Maj. Gen. Mary A. Legere...
https://www.infosecisland.com/blogview/18709-Army-Officially-Activates-First-Dedicated-Cyber-Brigade.html"This [activation] is a tribute to the belief in the notion that our nation... more
Iranian Ambassador Mohammad Hassan Ghadiri discusses the potential for state sponsored attacks on the White House, FBI, CIA, and nuclear power plant systems within the US. The video shows the ambassador talking also asking about how to further the attacks by making certain contacts...
https://www.infosecisland.com/blogview/18708-Iranian-Ambassador-Discusses-Cyber-Attacks-on-US-Targets.htmlIranian Ambassador Mohammad Hassan Ghadiri discusses the potential for state sponsored... more
"Right now we have the worst of worlds. If you want to attack me you can do it all you want, because I can't do anything about it. It's risk free, and you're willing to take almost any risk to come after me," said James Cartwright, a former vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff...
https://www.infosecisland.com/blogview/18683-Handful-of-Chinese-Hackers-Responsible-for-Majority-of-Attacks.html"Right now we have the worst of worlds. If you want to attack me you can do it... more
Cyber warfare took place long before the release of Stuxnet, but its release caused the world to realize the benefits of using a domain of warfare with limited entry costs and the possibility of non-attribution, which is the ability to operate without positively being connected to an operation...
https://www.infosecisland.com/blogview/18675-The-Control-Systems-Community-and-Cyber-Warfare.htmlCyber warfare took place long before the release of Stuxnet, but its release caused... more
With all the SCADA hacking lately we have to let reason guide us, and emphasize temperance while we develop our own defensive capability in the digital age. It's too easy to just say "strike the attacker" but much harder when that attacker is a virtual ghost in the fabric of cyberspace...
https://www.infosecisland.com/blogview/18378-Collision-of-Physical-and-Digital-Defenses.htmlWith all the SCADA hacking lately we have to let reason guide us, and emphasize... more
"Two U.S. government satellites have each experienced at least two separate instances of interference apparently consistent with cyber activities against their command and control systems... The techniques appear consistent with authoritative Chinese military writings..."
https://www.infosecisland.com/blogview/18279-Malicious-Cyber-Activities-Directed-Against-US-Satellites.html"Two U.S. government satellites have each experienced at least two separate... more
Governments, businesses, military, all rely on communications. Moreover, information collected and collated from intercepted diplomatic, military, commercial and financial communications offers potential competitors an advantage on the negotiation table or battlefield...
https://www.infosecisland.com/blogview/18237-Chinese-Intelligence-and-Cyber-Reconnaissance-Infrastructure.htmlGovernments, businesses, military, all rely on communications. Moreover, information... more
It’s pretty damned hard to determine who did what and where on the net. Digital forensics only gets you so far - compromised machines can be tampered with in so many ways to make it look like someone did something, and these guys want to launch cruise missiles against nation states over a DDoS?
https://www.infosecisland.com/blogview/18232-Neuromancing-The-Cyberwars.htmlIt’s pretty damned hard to determine who did what and where on the net. Digital... more
“Why go to all this trouble to deploy a simple key-logger? Given that there are additional drivers waiting to be discovered, we can liken Duqu to a sophisticated rocket launcher – we have yet to see the real ammunition appear..."
https://www.infosecisland.com/blogview/18229-Duqu-May-Actually-Be-An-Advanced-Cyber-Weapon.html“Why go to all this trouble to deploy a simple key-logger? Given that there are... more
A pre-emptive information strike would only cause the Iranians to involuntarily spasm and deploy suicide teams to attack US and other targets worldwide. Anything less would just be posturing for political purposes and could possibly result in more senseless deaths...
https://www.infosecisland.com/blogview/18063-Should-We-Strike-Iran-How-About-the-Information-War.htmlA pre-emptive information strike would only cause the Iranians to involuntarily spasm... more