January 12

The first shots in Cyberwar I

Yeah. This is just about as likely.
Yeah. This is just about as likely.

Last month, allegedly, North Korea hacked Sony.

Right.

I’m sorry. I just don’t buy it. I mean, I know Sony has a pretty lackadaisical view of security (like just about every major company in the US that is not a bank, a university, or an actual computer security firm), but, come on. North Korea? I’d wager they have more goats per capita than hackers, and tech that is probably ten years (or more) out of date. They get most of their stuff from China and Russia, the former which has an active interest in keeping them a bit backwards and the other who is still trying to recover from eighty years of bad management at the hands of Faux Communist dictators. They lack the means, the opportunity, and probably the motivation.

That aside, there is a MUCH more dangerous group that has been able to fly under the radar that has the  financial backing, the motivation of religious zealotry, and the opportunity afforded by stupid proxy wars waged by the ORB Party (Oil Robber Barron, also known as the GOP).

Consider this: None of the attackers on September 11th were from Afghanistan or Iraq. Yet, we have spent between $4 and $6 TRILLION on wars, nearly a half million people have died, and the only people benefiting have been Halliburton and oil companies. We all know this; it’s not like it is a huge secret. Yet we keep ignoring it, because the information is just too painful and crazy for us to deal with.

Meanwhile, the power vacuum caused by us lopping off the heads of these two states has allowed some rather nasty groups to crop up. ISIS/ISIL, for example.

I won’t go into the background and history of these, as much better educated and informed people can provide a much better view of the situation, and that is not the point of this post, anyway.

The issue is that these groups have a lot of financial backing, whether in the form of oil money, opium/other drug money, or other sources. The lawlessness of the area allows for equipment to be brought in. Oddly enough, some of the efforts of the West to bring Internet connectivity have also helped provide an avenue for their new method of attack.

Cyberwar. Before I continue, I am going to digress for a moment to discuss the term.

I hate the prefix ‘cyber’. It is overused, badly used, misused, and often flogged into meaninglessness. Cyber comes from the term cybernetic, which denotes the marriage of man and machine. It specifically denotes “the science of communication and control theory that is concerned especially with the comparative study of automatic control systems (as the nervous system and brain and mechanical-electrical communication systems).”

Okay. Digression over.

Now. The event that has prompted this post is this:

CENTCOM Twitter Account Hacked By Individuals Claiming To Be Part Of ISIS

Couple of things to remember with this:

First, Twitter is civilian technology on a civilian network. This is not the government being hacked. This is a civilian network being hacked.

Second, the source of the hack is not confirmed as of the writing of this post.

Finally, the account was compromised for less than an hour before it was taken down, presumably by Twitter.

However, this could very well be the first shot in a larger “cyber”war. *goes to wash hands after typing “cyber”*

If it is, then I have a feeling that ISIS/ISIL (if they really are behind this) will be a catalyst, but not a major combatant of the war, and will be poorly remembered. Ever hear of the Black Hand? No? Not surprising. They only fired the first shots in what would become the first global conflict in history, spawning two major wars that killed 80-90 million people and whose effects are felt even today.

The thing is that an actual Digital War (sweet relief!) will be a horror to those who do not know what is going on, which will be just about everyone born before 1975 (With some exceptions, don’t get me wrong). We rely so heavily on accurate and reliable computer data systems that, when these systems become fallible due to malicious attacks, we will become disoriented. The only thing that has saved us thus far is a quirk of human psychology, which is the same quirk that keeps society from tearing itself apart from selfishness. Humans really are not that bad when it comes right down to it. The problem now is that a small group can effectively hurt a much, much larger group. Imagine twenty talented, organized “black hats” taking out something that could hurt hundreds of thousands of people or millions overnight (And you thought five hundred in Washington hurting 310,000,000 over the course of their terms was bad!).

Now, transpose that on to an entity that wants to harm the western world in some way. I don’t do details, because I am not here to scare you, nor to give blueprints to the “bad guys,” but it is conceivable that a small group, with enough funding and skill, could cause major damage. With enough attacks, it could be used in warfare. The US government, as well, I am sure, as many other governments, are working on this if they do not already have electronic warfare groups in place.

The big question remains. Is the US ready to defend itself, both governmental and private sector? Sony wasn’t. But, then again, Sony’s sin was false pride.


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Posted January 12, 2015 by zalpha in category "Security", "Thoughts

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