Internet Spies, Government Hackers

After October 1 thousands of US military hackers and spies will get down to their cyber war activities.

The declarations for taking cyber defense measures can be heard more and more often in the US. US analysts state that information and communication networks, on which the national infrastructure depends on, are becoming vulnerable for cyber criminals.

Cyberspace defense issue is urgent not only for the US. “The statistics revealed that cybercriminals have upped the ante and are becoming more sophisticated and creative, distributing more aggressive forms of malware” -Defence IQ website states.

“Our statistics show that Trojans and rogueware (‘fake’ antivirus programs) amounted to almost 85 per cent of all malware activity in 2009. 2009 was also the year of Conficker, though this belies the fact that worms ranked at just 3.42 per cent of last year’s malware creation”, the magazine read.

“The Conficker worm has caused serious problems in both domestic and corporate environments, with more than 7 million computers infected worldwide, and it is still spreading rapidly”. (1)

However it seems that the US is too concerned with the problem of cyber defense in comparison with other countries. On April 26, the CIA unveiled its plans to new initiatives in the fight against Web-based attacks. The document outlines the plans for the next five years and director of the CIA Leon Pannetta said that it was “vital for the CIA to be one step ahead of the game when it comes to challenges like cyber space security” (2).

In May 2009, the White House approved Cyberspace Policy Review (3), submitted to the US president by the members of a special commission. The document summed up the state of things in the US cyberspace and national information security.  It was proposed to a appoint cyber security policy official responsible for coordinating the US cyber security policies and activities.

The report outlined a new comprehensive framework to facilitate coordinated responses by government, the private sector, and allies to a significant cyber incident. The new system of coordination would enable Federal, State, local, and tribal governments to work with industry to improve the plans and resources they have in place in advance to detect, prevent, and respond to significant cyber security incidents. The initiative also implies providing US counter intelligence with more technical and functional options and training of new cyber defense specialists.

The last but not least – in mid 2010, on the territory of the Lackland air base in Texas the construction of the first specialized cyber intelligence center for a 400 personnel began. The 68th Network Warfare Squadron and 710th Information Operations Flight were moved to San Antonio. This place was chosen because of it is close to other cyber military facilities – Air Force Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance Agency, Texas Cryptology Center of the USNational Security Agency, united information operations command and the US Air forces cryptology support. It will function in the interests of the US Space command, US Air Forces command and US Air Forces’reserve.

Numerous publications in the US mass media show that the reform of the national cyber defense forces as well as the introduction of the doctrine and strategy of the cyber war are soon to be completed. As for the US cyber strategy we can assume that it is in line with the general concept of the US global leadership.

William Lynn III in his article “ThePentagon’s Cyberstrategy”, published in Foreign Affairs journal (September/October 2010), outlined five basic principles of the future strategy:

– Cyber must be recognized as a warfare domain equal to land, sea, and air;

– Any defensive posture must go beyond “good hygiene” to include sophisticated and accurate operations that allow rapid response;

– Cyber defenses must reach beyond the department’s dot-mil world into commercial networks, as governed by Homeland Security;

– Cyber defenses must be pursued with international allies for an effective “shared warning” of threats; and

– The Defense Department must help to maintain and leverage U.S. technological dominance and improve the acquisitions process to keep up with the speed and agility of the information technology industry (4).

When commenting this article analysts point out that “The capabilities being sought would allow U.S. cyber-warriors to “deceive, deny, disrupt, degrade and destroy” information and computers around the globe”. (5)

Gen. Keith Alexander, the head of the Pentagon’s new Cyber Command(ARFORCYBER) said: “We have to have offensive capabilities, to, in real time, shut down somebody trying to attack us,” Earlier Keith Alexander compared cyber attacks with weapons of mass destruction and according to his recent statements the US is planning offensive application of the new warfare.

While Washington is accusing other countries of aiding and sponsoring cyber terrorism (Statistic shows that most of cyber attacks against US informational systems were made from China), the US special forces are training new personnel for cyber wars.

The command – made up of 1,000 elite military hackers and spies under one four-star general – is the linchpin of the Pentagon’s new strategy and is slated to become fully operational Oct. 1.- Washington Post reports (6). The Defense Department has “15,000 networks and 7 million computing devices in use in dozens of countries, with 90,000 people working to maintain them and it depends heavily on commercial industry for its network operations” (7). Attracting allies and private companies working in the sphere of IT and security the US plans to establish the new order in the global cyber space.

Considering all this what may we expect? It is quite likely that we may expect spying by means of tabs and backdoors in software sold by well-known companies such as Microsoft, as well as an informational blockade, limiting access to alternative sources of information. Thus from October 1, all the achievements of the informational age can be challenged.

Notes

(1) http://www.defenceiq.com/article.cfm?externalID=2718
(2) http://www.defenceiq.com/article.cfm?externalID=2460
(3) http://www.whitehouse.gov/assets/documents/Cyberspace_Policy_Review_final.pdf
(4) William J. Lynn III W. Defending a New Domain: The Pentagon’s Cyberstrategy.// Foreign Affairs. September/October 2010.
http://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/66552/william-j-lynn-iii/defending-a-new-domain(29.08.2010)
(5) Webster S. Pentagon may apply preemptive warfare policy to the Internet. August 29, 2010.
http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2010/0829/pentagon-weighs-applying-preemptive-warfare-tactics-internet/ (30.08.2010).
(6) Nakashima E. Pentagon considers preemptive strikes as part of cyber-defense strategy. Washington Post. August 28, 2010.
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/08/28/AR2010082803849_pf.html
(7) Daniel L. Lynn Outlines Cyber Threats, Defensive Measures. American Forces Press Service.
http://www.defense.gov/news/newsarticle.aspx?id=60600


3 comments to Internet Spies, Government Hackers

  • I’d like to donate this comment to the dialogue on this topic:

    We Are Seriously Running Out of Bad Guys – Intelligence Agencies and Regulators Run Amuck

    You know we have a serious problem with run-away government in that we have too few bad guys and too many enforcement folks. Seriously, it’s a huge problem, just ask any small business person about all the inspectors that harass them and threaten to fine them for some ordinance, rule, or regulation. And we have far too many regulatory agencies doing exploratory type enforcement with far too many inter-agency folks, combined with too many concerned citizen groups, and too many Industry association volunteers, and lawyers.

    But the problem doesn’t just stop there, we have far too many Intelligence Agencies, and too many good guys chasing too few bad guys. Indeed, with our technology, it’s like we don’t even need them anymore, as the computer profiling algorithms scan all the data and keep catching the bad guys. Unfortunately, these systems are also creating too many false positives. How do I know all this? Because, I am in the know, and if you don’t see it too, it’s because you are in denial.

    Worse, with all the global intelligence information share, we have foreign intelligence agencies also finding false positives and turning in Americans to our intelligence agencies. As the coordinator of an Internet style think tank, I am literally blown away by all the false inquiries we get from intelligence agency folks trying to be sneaky? I mean hey, it’s nice to see them get their practice and all that, but, it would also be nice if they’d please stop wasting our time, and the American tax dollars.

    What we need is better computer systems that do not spit out so many false positives. Also, when someone checks out as “Okay” well then, it’s time to put them on the good-guys list. I’ve talked to many business people, they complain about the same things. And really if someone was an “Evil Doer” they’d be hiding within the intelligence agencies anyway, they’d be highly connected.

    Data mining the Internet, and all the records now available to the government via “fusion centers” and government records is all well and good, but not if we as a nation are chasing ghosts. After all, at some point someone who is an innocent citizen is going to be framed just to justify the on-going efforts of all this non-sense. I believe that’s what’s been happening in fact. And unfortunately, as this is done, we seem to be creating animosity and discontent in our society, creating a self-fulfilling prophesy.

    That’s a problem, it’s a common “group think” or mass mob mentality of paranoia, and the news media exacerbates it all as they amplify non-events into the greatest chaos and controversial catastrophe of the week. This is not healthy, and it’s a real problem, we don’t need to go down this road. You see, if we want this great nation to succeed, we need to get back to our roots and realize that freedom of speech, liberty, and yes, that includes online venues is why America is great.

    There is far too much duplication, too many regulations, too much intelligence agency funding (Washington Post is already calling it the Intelligence Industrial Complex), and we have too many paranoid folks in our government. If we allow this to continue, we need not fear the Russian and Chinese Spies, the terrorists, or the drug cartel gangs, we need to fear our selves, and the “FEAR” that is causing it all.

    Just an observation, be well my fellow Americans, and think about this from a philosophical standpoint, I think you will realize that this is a challenge we need to work on.

  • DONNIE CLAYTON BARBE

    AMERICA IS ONE NATION UNDER GOD AND I HOPE IT STAYS THAT WAY. I'M JUST A VIETNAM VET. PART INDIAN AND DISABLED,PLUS I LIVE 10 MILES FROM TOWN. I'M JUST ONE FROM A SHARE CROPPERS FAMILY FROM LOWER ALABAMA WITH 11 KIDS. I SERVED IN VIETNAM AS A FOOT SOLDIER AND IN GERMANY WITH THE 3/2 ACR. AMBERG. THE POLICE, SHERIFF DEPT. AND FEDS ARE TAKING OVER THE INTERNET AND EVERY PART OF OUR LIVES. THE FEDS ARE IN EVERY COMPUTER IN AMERICA,AND TRACKING EVERYONE BY COMPUTER, CELL PHONES, AND GPS. OBAMA PASSED THE GUN CONTROL LAWS AGAINST ALL VETERANS. THEY TOOK MINE FOR NO REASON. THE SHERIFF DEPT. INVADED MY HOME TOOK MY GUNS WITH NO CHARGE. THEN THEY TOOK ME TO THE EAST ALABAMA MEDICAL CENTER,OPELIKA,AL. WHICH WAS THE WRONG HOSPITAL. I SHOULD HAVE WENT TO THE VA. HOSPITAL. THIS RUN UP A BILL I COULD NOT AFFORD. OBAMA PASSED THE THOUGHT CRIME BILL, BUT IT HAD ALREADY BEEN IN USE FOR MANY YEARS. NOW WE HAVE TO WORRY ABOUT THE FOOD WE EAT NANO FOOD AND THEY ARE MAKING NANO SEEDS. WE ALL NEED TO READ, THE HISTORY OF THE MORMONS, THE HISTORY OF THE CHATOLICS, THE HISTORY OF THE BLACK PANTHER, THE HISTORY OF GOVERNMENT CONTROL, THE HISTORY OF THE SLAVES, THE HISTORY OF MIND CONTROL. THANK YOU. DONNIE CLAYTON BARBER 950 LEE RD.453 WAVERLY,AL.36879. PHONE 3348874342. E-MAIL donniecbarber@aol.com

  • Gea Vox

    I totally agree with Lance, it often strikes me, and many outside the US, that Americans have always been easily manipulated to a level of paranoia – of the “reds under the beds” McCarthyist persuasion – that borders on the downright pathological.

    One can only conclude that the end of the Vietnam war and the fall of the USSR were blows to many in your Administration and even common citizenry, because, as the above article suggests, it robbed you of a lovely, great, big Enemy.

    Thank be the gods for Iraq, North Korea, Iran and Afghanistan hey? Without them you’d have a scary number of veterans walking civvystreet without any jobs to go to.

    How else can the likes of Monsanto justify buying themselves Blackwater/Xe, the largest private Army on Earth? The lucrative market of “Security Services” for Companies seeking to impose US technology to those who neither want it nor can afford it – like useless, “mule” GMO seeds to populations that actually had been pretty well for several thousands of years – has even attracted the likes of Bill and Melinda Gates, who are prepared to bankroll Monsanto, with the shrewd assistance by that other Corporation in which they have sunk much of the cash from their divesting themselves of Microsoft shares: Goldman Sachs.

    Go figure it!

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