Cyberwar is here and now

If you want to know the true state of the internet, don't listen to politicians and pundits. Ask the computer security professionals.

According to 87% of 517 IT security professionals who attended the RSA Conference 2019, the world is currently in the middle of a cyber war.

“It’s clear that security professionals feel under siege,” said Kevin Bocek, vice president of security strategy and threat intelligence at Venafi. “With the increasing sophistication and frequency of cyber attacks targeting businesses, everyone is involved in cyber war.”

Last year saw the two biggest DDoS attacks in history, reaching 1.35 and 1.7 terabits per second. Of course, cybercriminals, not the Kremlin, is responsible for the lion's share of these attacks.

Cybercriminals are increasingly motivated by data theft, rather than solely direct monetary theft. Of all attacks in 2018, 42% were motivated by access to information, 41% by financial profit, 15% by hacktivism, and 2% by cyberwar, the report found.

Washington went officially on the offensive last fall. This was only an official move. Edward Snowden proved that we've been on the offensive since 2001.

This means these agencies will be able to go after the overseas sources of attacks more proactively. These activities can be risky, as cybercriminals may position their attacks from a neutral third party or a non-hostile country, making it more complicated for the U.S. to engage in cyber battles. These back-and-forth attacks can also cause damage to the infrastructure that supports the internet, particularly telecommunications providers.

There's no evidence that offensive cyberattacks achieve anything, and the fuzzy line between state actors and private actors reminds me of the disastrous GWOT.
OTOH, we've likely attacked Venezuela recently.

In the case of Venezuela, the idea of a government like the United States remotely interfering with its power grid is actually quite realistic. Remote cyber operations rarely require a significant ground presence, making them the ideal deniable influence operation. Given the U.S. government's longstanding concern with Venezuela’s government, it is likely that the U.S. already maintains a deep presence within the country's national infrastructure grid, making it relatively straightforward to interfere with grid operations. The country’s outdated internet and power infrastructure present few formidable challenges to such operations and make it relatively easy to remove any traces of foreign intervention.

Widespread power and connectivity outages like the one Venezuela experienced last week are also straight from the modern cyber playbook.

"Winning" a cyberwar would be a Pyrrhic victory for the U.S., because it could also destroy the internet in the process. We could cripple our high-tech industry.

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An internal U.S. Navy review concluded that the service and its various industry partners are "under cyber siege" from Chinese hackers who are building Beijing's military capabilities while eroding the U.S.'s advantage, The Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday.

Chinese hackers have repeatedly hit the Navy, defense contractors, and even universities that partner with the service.

"We are under siege," a senior Navy official told The Journal. "People think it's much like a deadly virus — if we don't do anything, we could die."
In one high-profile incident last year, Chinese government hackers stole important data on U.S. Navy undersea-warfare programs from an unidentified contractor. Among the stolen information were plans for a new supersonic anti-ship missile, The Washington Post reported in June, citing U.S. officials.

That and a second breach led Navy leadership to order the review.

The Journal described the findings of the internal Navy cybersecurity review as "dire," adding that the report "depicts a branch of the armed forces under relentless cyberattack by foreign adversaries and struggling in its response to the scale and sophistication of the problem."

The Navy and the Pentagon reportedly "have only a limited understanding of the actual totality of losses that are occurring," meaning the situation could be even worse than the Navy fears.

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Not Henry Kissinger's picture

...ICE patterns formed and reformed on the screen as he probed for gaps, skirted the most obvious traps, and mapped the route he'd take through Sense/Net's ICE. It was good ICE. Wonderful ICE...

...His program had reached the fifth gate. He watched as his icebreaker strobed and shifted in front of him, only faintly aware of his hands playing across the deck, making minor adjustments. Translucent planes of color shuffled like a trick deck. Take a card, he thought, any card.

The gate blurred past. He laughed. The Sense/Net ice had accepted his entry as a routine transfer from the consortium's Los Angeles complex. He was inside. Behind him, viral subprograms peeled off, meshing with the gate's code fabric, ready to deflect the real Los Angeles data when it arrived.

-Neuromancer, by William Gibson.

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The current working assumption appears to be that our Shroedinger's Cat system is still alive. But what if we all suspect it's not, and the real problem is we just can't bring ourselves to open the box?

@Not Henry Kissinger
for the profit of the big chief holding company? Who'd have guessed? The echoes are abounding.

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May we be united and strong -- laurel

The US is behind the Venezuelan grid failures. All that talk about an attack on Vermont wasn't just bs, it was testing the presentation - to see how people would respond to the story, as propaganda, as a scare tactic. (People were not sufficiently afraid of the scare tactic, so they are demonstrating.)
Or it could be practice. Rachel Madcow's paranoid ranting might actually be a warning - "So your state wants to do single payer? Well look what 'THE RUSSIANS!!!' did to North Dakota." Or maybe they just want a justification for WW3. See the post above about the Navy and the "Chinese Government Hackers". If we lose a cyberwar by wasting all our resources defending ourselves from Russian vaporware we will lose the real war when it comes. And only Mark Zuckerburg wants the Chinese to rule the world. (He thinks he'll be just fine designing and administering their social credit system.)If I were the Navy I would seriously consider recommending a preemptive war now.

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A PROUD Hillary hater since 1993

you ain't the navy.

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May we be united and strong -- laurel

Mark from Queens's picture

is the hope that one day all the great Left hacktivists are able to erase and destroy forever all the digital banking, trading and financial records in the world, including property deeds, etc.

Then we'll start from scratch with some basic fundamental things. During the transition period people will be able to bring to their local councils their bank records for community review to debate how much should be reinstated.

(This part would be up for debate) Nobody whosoever will be allowed to have total personal wealth exceeding either 7 or 8 digits, absolutely nobody with 9 digits or more. Everybody else would start with at least 6 digits and up, along with a guaranteed basic income from the state.

Lots of private property, especially that previously held by predatory capitalists, will be confiscated and turned into affordable living spaces for the poor. All multi-room mansions will become property of the people, for the express use by the poor as rotating summer vacation homes, as well as for group/community events and people's conventions.

That's a daydream I often as I pass by yet another oligarch mansion or a robber baron home from the old days: convert these greedy edifices into public spaces.

Just dreaming aloud here...

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"If I should ever die, God forbid, let this be my epitaph:


- Kurt Vonnegut

Hawkfish's picture

@Mark from Queens works out to mid 6 figures

With round numbers:
$100e12 / 333e6 = $300K

Income (GNI) is about $58K. That includes people who have been working all their life and newborns, so there will be some variance, but if we target a Gini of say 0.2 like Sweden, that seems reasonable.

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We can’t save the world by playing by the rules, because the rules have to be changed.
- Greta Thunberg

It seems that one of the reasons people fell for Russiagate was just the general lack of knowledge of cyber security or basic techniques such as spear phishing, or just phishing in general. What people do know comes from TV and Hollywood dramas that show how brilliant, genius hackers who with several flicks of the wrist, gain access to every stop light or nuclear plant. I don't blame people for not knowing, but this lack of knowledge has been exploited by deep state narratives or self serving cyber companies, academics, etc. This is what allowed Maddow to claim that Russia could at any moment freeze you to death by shutting down power generation. Of course, experts in power generation said "good luck to the Russians, not really possible".

Most of the companies I have been with got wise, and started requiring seminars about the various ways hackers, etc, try to get to sensitive company data. But the amount of attempted daily intrusions by cyber criminals for even moderately sized company is huge. To this day, one of the largest break ins was of Target, and to this day, can't figure who did it, but we know immediately and identify Russians--strange that. And the Target hack looked to be profitable--people were taught with multiple phone Target credit cards using stolen numbers/ids.

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they ef'd up Iran's centrifuges they've been having wet dreams. About the only ones TPTB can really screw up are it's own citizens. What we didn't give to China and Israel, they've been taking anyway.

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