Category Archives: CND

We live in a world where a few top-quality hackers can accomplish a considerable amount of damage at the national and strategic level.

Cyberwar Case Study: Georgia 2008 ( http://smallwarsjournal.com/blog/journal/docs-temp/639-hollis.pdf )

Read the whole thing, then come back and think about:

. . . There was another historically unique and critical aspect to the fighting – the emergence of synchronized cyberspace domain actions as an intelligence indicator for strategic, operational, and tactical level military operations. Unlike the (alleged) Russian cyberattack upon Estonia in 2007, the (alleged) Russian cyberattack on Georgia was accompanied by physical domain combat between Russian and Georgian military forces. The (alleged) Russian network attack operations in virtual cyberspace occurred prior to hostilities and later mirrored (apparently synchronized with) Russian combat operations in the land warfighting domain.7 These attacks included various distributed denial of service (DDOS) attacks to deny/disrupt communications and information exfiltration activities conducted to accumulate military and political intelligence from Georgian networks. These attacks also included web site defacement for Russian propaganda purposes.8 One of the first elements of Georgian society that were attacked was a popular hacker forum – by attempting to take out Georgian hackers, Russian-supported hacker militia preemptively tried to forestall or mitigate a counter-attack (or returning fire) from Georgian hackers.9 What is not widely known is that pro-Georgian hackers made limited but successful network counter-attacks against Russian targets.10 Hacker wars between (often quite talented) patriotic amateur hackers, cyber militias, and organized criminal gangs have become a widely accepted de facto form of nation-state conflict over the past twenty years (for example: Israeli vs Arab/Muslim (Sept 2000), India vs Pakistan, US vs China (April-May 2001), Russian vs Estonia (April-May 2007), etc…). These non-governmental national assets are generally used for the traditional purposes of imposing one nation’s will and conditions upon another.

Two and a half years later and we can only allege? That’s the plausible deniability irregular information operators offer.

One of the first targets of enemy Civilian Irregular Information Operators will be friendly Civilian Irregular Information Operators.

What are some of the operational and intelligence lessons that can be drawn from these conclusions? First, for Russia or China to employ their people’s patriotic ‘hacker militia’ to conduct a network attack against a target nation-state, they must engage them first – to motivate and ‘sell’ them on the concept; steer them toward appropriate targets; synchronize those cyberspace operations with combat activity in the physical realm; and discuss the most effective cyberspace tactics, techniques and procedures (TTPs) to be used. The patriotic hackers and cyber militias need to be focused by the aggressor government against the opponent‟s center of gravity and their activities to be synchronized with attacks against that center of gravity from the other domains. These hackers and cyber militias need to understand the opponent‟s center of gravity in order to develop cyberspace domain approaches and techniques to effectively attack it. These preliminary cyberspace activities often create an identifiable signature that can be tracked and monitored in advance of combat operations. Nations need to monitor hacker chat rooms and communications of potential aggressor nations in order to intercept and understand this activity.

How would the United States employ our people’s patriotic ‘hacker militia’?
What arm of the fedgov.mil octopus could engage them, motivate and ‘sell’ them on the concept, steer them toward appropriate targets; synchronize those cyberspace operations with combat activity in the physical realm; and discuss the most effective cyberspace tactics, techniques and procedures (TTPs) to be used?

Nobody in our .gov/.mil could overtly engage them without suffering political retribution from Legislative/Executive branch elements that do not want American patriotic hacker militias engaged. That leaves former or retired .gov/.mil beyond the reach of retribution, and contractors that don’t get much political oversight.

Russian-oriented hackers/militia took out news and local government web sites specifically in the areas that the Russian military intended to attack in the ground and air domains. The Federal and local Georgian governments, military, and local news agencies were unable to communicate with Georgian citizens that were directly affected by the fighting. This provided an intelligence indicator of the ground and air attack locations. It created panic and confusion in the local populace, further hindering Georgian military response. This effect also provides a future aggressor nation with an opportunity to conduct military deception operations via feints and ruses to mislead the target nation population, government, and military. A sudden „blackout’ of cyberspace activities in a specific region may provide an indicator of a tactical or operational level conventional attack. Or it could be used as a sophisticated cyberspace operation as part of a larger deception plan, creating a feint in the cyberspace domain to lure opposing forces into believing an attack is imminent in another warfighting domain. Use of patriotic hackers and cyberspace militia themselves might be a deception effort to attract the target nation‟s attention away from the aggressor nation‟s top-quality military and intelligence community cyberspace operators that quietly conduct the main effort in the overall cyberspace domain operation.

Are we even allowed to use MILDEC anymore? Could any U. S. MILDEC’ers work by, with and through American patriotic hackers and cyberspace militia?

In future combat, aggressor nation patriotic hacker militia can be called upon to conduct cyberspace fire & maneuver operations performed directly in support of forces in other domains, They could also be extensively utilized to conduct deception efforts in cyberspace in support of operations in the other domains or to act as a distraction for other cyberspace operations conducted by government professionals against target nation high value targets (HVT).

UPDATE 012911: This Week at War: Lessons from Cyberwar I

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Estonian Civilian Irregular Information Defense Group

Volunteer Cyber Army Emerges In Estonia

Maybe it won’t be an all-volunteer Cyber Army.

Conscripting Cyber Experts to Protect IT Infrastructure

There is enough national unity in Estonia to have a Cyber Defense League. In America, the usual suspects would beat it to death through PSYOP in the media and LAWFARE in the courts.

Small Wars Council discussion here.

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Cyber guerrillas can help US

http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/d3dd7c40-ff15-11df-956b-00144feab49a.html#axzz179p6Blrv

Evgeny Morozov’s “cyber guerrillas” are referred to as Civilian Irregular Information Operators on this blog, but we are both talking about non-state actors. 

Morozov essentially wants somebody to persuade, change and influence the sophomoric Julian Assange to collaborate with traditional media, redact sensitive files, and offer those in a position to know about potential victims of releases the chance to vet the data and turn Wikileaks into a new Transparency International.

I want him dead.

Morozov thinks that would create a global movement of anti-American politicised geeks clamouring for revenge.

Possibly.

Are there enough pro-American politicised geeks to counter vengeful anti-American politicised geeks?

Are there any U. S. .mil /.gov Information Operators capable of  countering vengeful anti-American politicised geeks working by, with and through pro-American politicised geeks?  No real way of knowing.  Bound to be some who are capable of it, but of those, how many are willing to risk their careers associating with politically incorrect  pro-American politicised geeks?

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Filed under CNA, CND, IA, Idea War, IW, Morale Operations, PSYOP Auxiliaries, Resisters

Utah Data Center

Balfour Beatty/DPR/Big-D, Salt Lake City, Utah, was awarded on Sept. 24 a $479,000,000 firm-fixed-price construction contract for the Utah Data Center. The Utah Data Center is an Office of the Director of National Intelligence military construction project. The project will consist of building a data center and all associated ancillary requirements. Work is to be performed in Camp Williams, Utah, with an estimated completion date of Jan. 15, 2014. Bids were solicited on the World Wide Web with no bids received. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Baltimore District, Baltimore, Md., is the contracting activity (W912DR•10•C•0094)

Camp Williams?

Army-funded Utah data center to be used by NSA for cybersecurity operations

UPDATE 01042011 Thursday ceremony to begin construction at $1.2 billion NSA center

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Cyber Operations Planner 2

This is the kind of job .mil is seeking contractors to do for them. Not the point of contact, so don’t ask this disgruntled former employee of that particular component of the Military-Industrial Complex for help getting this gig. Blogged here because civilian contractors hired to be cyber operations planners for Regulars are Civilian Irregular Information Operators.

Works as an Operations Analyst at the Army’s Regional Computer Emergency Response Team located at Ft. Gordon, Ga. Responsible for functions pertaining to planning, coordinating, executing, tracking, and reporting of unit operations. Supports the deployment of teams on short-notice and preplanned missions in response to computer security events at Army posts, camps, and stations around the world. Supports the development and maintenance of Tactics, Techniques and Procedures and Standard Operating Procedures. Coordinates vertically and horizontally across internal and external organizations. Responsible for matters that concern training, planning, coordination of missions, operations and plans.
Coordination based on customer needs and requirements. Evaluate and recommend uses of resources required by customer missions in order to complete successfully.

Essential Functions: Preparation, coordination, authentication and distribution of SOP, Operations Plans, Operations Orders, fragmentary orders (FRAGOs), warning orders, review of plans and orders of other departments. Reviews, disseminates and explains plans and orders of other departments to team members. Reviews customer OPLANs and OPORDs for completeness. Ensures necessary support requirements are provided when and where required for the customer. Will be responsible to complete various reports, status updates, and conduct briefings on a variety of subjects. Mission planning and data entry utilizing various mission planning and reporting software applications.

Basic Qualifications:

Exceptional communication skills, strong writing skills. Experience with Military Staff organization and operations policies and procedures is desired. Microsoft Office expertise, Military Decision Making Process (MDMP), and the Joint Operation Planning Process (JOPP), Strong customer interface skills required. Demonstrated ability to schedule and manage support requirements in a dynamic work environment. Secret Clearance required and must be clearable to TS/SCI. Bachelors Degree and 2 years experience, Masters degree and 0 years of experience, or 6 years of relevant experience in lieu of a degree.

Preferred Qualifications:

Experience in performing duties as Battle Captain are highly desired. Functional experience in S3 Operations with experience in developing Operation Orders (OPORDs), Operation Plans (OPLANs), FragmentaryOrders (FRAGOs), and Warning Orders (WARNOs) is desired. Experience with Military Staff organization and operations policies and procedures is desired. Bachelors Degree and 2 years experience, or Masters degree and 0 years of experience preferred

A Department of the Army Civilian GS-13 doing this exact same job would be a Civilian Regular Information Operator, likely a member of Local 2017, American Federation of Government Employees, AFL-CIO, and damn hard to be shed of once his services are no longer required.

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Beam Me Up, Scotty

New Air Force Cyberspace badge guidelines released

The Air Force’s Chief of Warfighting Integration and Chief Information Officer said the new badge reflects the importance of cyber operations. “The Air Force’s cyberspace operators must focus on operational rigor and mission assurance in order to effectively establish, control, and leverage cyberspace capabilities. The new cyberspace operator badge identifies our cyberspace professionals with the requisite education, training, and experience to operate in this new critical domain. The badge symbolizes this new operational mindset and the Air Force’s commitment to operationalize the cyberspace domain,” said Lt Gen William T. Lord.

And there really are Cyber Space Cadets.

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National Defense University Blogging About Civilian Irregular Information Operators

Deterring Chinese Cyber Militias with Freedom Militias

US defenses are insufficient to stop Chinese cyber attacks. The US-China Economic and Security Review Commission estimates that Chinese cyber attacks cost the US hundreds of billions of dollars annually. By way of comparison, this is substantially more than the entire Chinese military budget.
What is needed is a threat that is both capable of forcing China to take notice and that it will believe the United States would execute. Such a threat exists. While China’s regime does not appear willing to be deterred by conventional diplomatic or legal complaints, it has demonstrated considerable concern about threats to its censorship apparatus.
The most effective way to threaten Chinese censorship would be for US and partner nations to develop their own cyber militias. Rather than stealing intellectual property and disabling public institutions, however, Western militias would aim at finding ways to bypass Chinese firewalls to spread internet freedom.

There already are American cyber militias. Pretty much the entire Psychological Operation effort intended for the American domestic target audience is entrusted to them. American cyber militia Computer Network Exploitation is a specialty of Internet Anthropologist Think Tank.

The Jawa Report are outstanding American cyber militia Computer Network Attackers and counterpropagandists, specializing in monitoring and taking down Jihadi websites.

Most of the conservative and libertarian blogosphere would love to be involved in disseminating information that annoys the Chicoms and spreads internet freedom behind the Great Firewall. But who amongst the .gov/.mil Regulars dares to work by, with and through Irregular Information Operators in the current political environment?

Also at GlobalSecurity.org

Countering the Cyber Jihad, 2006/04/28

Geek Battalion, 2006/05/01

Virtual Cyber Militias Must Run with the Ball OGAs Dropped, 2007/09/15

The Unorganized Cyber Militia of the United States, 2007/09/26

Wedges and Mauls, 2007/09/30

Irregular Restrictive Measures — Blogospheric Computer Network Attack, 2007/10/11

Plausibly Deniable Cat Herders, 2007/10/19

People’s Information Support Team, 2008/02/24

Fuzzy Bunny Slippers IO — The Rise of Pajamahadeen, Virtual Militias, and Irregular Information Operators, 2008/05/22

Red Chinese Cyber-Militia, 2008/05/29

Civilian Irregular Auxiliary Counterprogandists Contributed To Victory, 2008/11/22

Public Affairs and Information Operations, 2008/12/31

eResistance in Moldova, 2009/04/07

The amateurization of cyberwarfare, 2009/08/09

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CJCSI 6504.01

Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Instruction 6504.01, Information Assurance and Computer Network Operations, dated 1 APR 10,  is out.  Irregulars who want to impress Regulars by larding their conversation with the latest buzz words should memorize these: 

 
 
 

Cyberwar 

War using cyberspace operations to achieve sensational yet bloodless results for friendly forces while seeking to inflict massive inconvenience on the adversary in a manner that offers the most photogenic and telegenic depiction for domestic and international public audiences. 

 
 

Cyberwarrior 
 
Uniformed and non-uniformed personnel of the Department of Defense, civilian resources, and other government agencies (OGA) conducting fullspectrum cyberwarfare operations. 

 

Make sure you get to p. 11. 

H/T:  InfowarMonitor

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Private Military Company Recruiting Mercenary Cyber Warriors

Contractor Seeks ‘Cyber Warriors’ to Help Defend U.S.

National cybersecurity is a hugely growing field, with the crude but effective shutdown of U.S. and South Korean government Web sites over July 4 weekend coming as the latest example of our weaknesses.

A report released just this past Wednesday found that the federal government is woefully behind in cybersecurity, with the lack of trained personnel the biggest problem.

Cyber Warriors Wanted

  • Information Operations/Information Assurance
  • Software engineers/developers – JAVA/J2EE/, JAVA/XML, C++
  • FPGA expertise
  • Software security engineers
  • Test engineers
  • Software testers
  • Systems administrators – Linux, Solaris, Unix, Red Hat, VMware (Certifications are preferred)
  • Systems engineers – CNO, CNA, CNE, NOC, Requirements management
  • NOC is Network Operations Center. Had to look that up.

    How many military Information Operations can be conducted without the involvement of non-military information operators?   And of those non-military information operators, how many are Government Employees?

    H/T: Bill Austin

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    Buccaneer.com

    INFOSEC Privateering as a Solution to Cyberspace Threats by Michael Tanji

    There are only a few courses of action available when it comes to addressing cyber threats. The first is the maintenance of the status quo: victim hood. Note that organizations that deal with cyber threats all have “response” in their name and you will realize that INFOSEC today is almost entirely reactive.

    The second course of action has the government building the capability to bring law and order to cyberspace. This is unlikely if for no other reason than the stateless nature of the Internet precludes exercising dominion by any single nation. Consider that the Department of Justice’s cyber crime budget for 2005 was projected to be roughly $300 million dollars and a similar program within Homeland Security’s was much less.6 Contrast cyber defense spending to the tens of billions of dollars malicious actors are estimated to be making and you will understand the priority cyber threat has on Capitol Hill.7

     

    The final option – outsourcing – has private-sector enterprises performing the tasks necessary to defend national interests online. Unlike the government the private sector has ample resources and a strong motivation to succeed: reducing threats means less risk which translates into higher profits.

     


    I’m loving this.  Read the whole thing.  Non-state actors are eating our lunch in the infowar and the regularly constituted authorities of my beloved Westphalian nation-state have neither the mandate, the resources, nor the political will to capture or destroy enemies in cyberspace.  Those of us who still think America and Americans and American minds and American intellectual, virtual, and physical property are still worth protecting are rapidly realizing the limits of .gov.  

    I’m old.  Meatspace analogies make sense to me.  The Bad Guys in cyberspace are numerous but most of them don’t work well together.  Cyberspace is Major Dundee meets The Road Warrior.  Rustlers, horse thieves, and raiders under every rock, plus invading armies.  Irregulars, a cyber Magnificent Seven, can do more than cavalry that never comes.  

    You don’t have to sit around and bitch that Bush hasn’t asked you to buy War Bonds or conserve food.   Mobilize yourself.  You don’t even have to get off your ass. 

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    Filed under CNA, CND, Electronic Counter Media, G-2, IA, InfoPaladins, IW

    iWar can extend the franchise of offensive action to an unprecedented number of amateurs, whose sole qualification is their connection to the internet.

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    Battle Command Knowledge System

    Q I wonder, consistent with OPSEC, do you guys plan to make any of this stuff available to the public?

    COL. GALVIN: Partly the communities are behind AKO, so the members are comprised of those in uniform, civilians in DOD, and also contractors. And then you get retirees and family members have various levels of access, as well. So, no, there’s no immediate opening to the general public because we put “for official use only”- type information in these communities and try to keep it at that level of discussion.

    The Triumph of IA. 

    The military arc of the blogosphere will slowly shrink as the .mil walls go up and the NIPR loses connectivity to the .com world and the troops are herded into DKO and the credibility of Muddy Boots IO is sacrificed. 

     Soldiers’ Online Chats Produce Valuable Army Knowledge, Colonel Says

                  

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    Terrorist Internet Exploitation

    Combating Enemies Online: State-Sponsored and Terrorist Use of the Internet

    They use the Internet to:

    • Wage psychological warfare by spreading disinfor­mation, delivering threats to instill fear and help­lessness, and disseminating horrific images. For example, the grisly murder of Daniel Pearl was videotaped by his captors and posted on several terrorist Web sites.
    • Create publicity and spread propaganda.

    • Gather intelligence. Details about potential targets– such as transportation facilities, nuclear power plants, public buildings, ports, and airports — and even counterterrorism measures are avail­able online. For example, the DHS maintains a password-protected online site called Tripwire, which provides information on how to counter improvised explosive devices (IEDs).

    • Fundraise. Many Islamic charitable organizations allow users to make a zakat contribution online. Some terrorist organizations use front companies and charitable organizations under their control to receive such donations.

    • Recruit and mobilize supporters through chat rooms, cyber cafés, and bulletin boards.

    • Communicate and coordinate with operatives and supporters. Two terrorist cells in Florida and Canada, which were recently disrupted, passed mes­sages via the Internet.

    • Share information, such as how to manufacture and use weapons, including bomb-making techniques.

    • Plan attacks. To preserve their anonymity, the 9/11 attackers used the public Internet services and sent messages via free Web-based e-mail accounts.

    .gov & .mil aren’t the only Blue Force in this battle space.

    The Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) publicizes extremist messages on the Internet, including terrorist Web sites, discussion forums, and blogs. After MEMRI published a comprehensive survey of Islamist Web sites in 2004, many them were closed down by their hosting ISPs.

    Even the digitally challenged can help take down jihadi web sites. There are things YOU could be doing, if you wanted to.

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    Cyberspace as a Combat Zone: The Phenomenon of Electronic Jihad

    I missed this when it came out.  Maybe you did too, so here it is.

    “Allah has commanded us in various Koranic verses to wage war against the unbelievers… Electronic jihad utilizes methods and means which inflict great material damage on the enemy and [which also] lower his morale and his spirits via the Internet. The methods of [hacking] have been revealed [to us] by expert [hackers] on the Internet and networks… many of whom engage in purposeless and meaningless sabotage. These lethal methods will be harnessed [for use] against our enemies, so as to inflict the greatest [possible] financial damage [upon them] – which can amount to millions – and [in order] to damage [their] morale, so that [they] will be afraid of the Muslims wherever they go and even when they are surfing the Web.” [16]

    Does anybody in the West repair damaged morale?

    H/T:  Galrahn

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    Better Late Than Never

    .gov Marching into Cyberspace not so much like Blucher at Waterloo as Crockett at the Alamo.

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    IO Doctrine for Dummies

    FM 3-0 :

    7. Dealing with information is hard. The bad people don’t play by the rules and they lie… a lot. One screw-up on our part and all the not so bad people get all upset because the bad people make a big deal about it. We need to spend a lot of time telling the not so bad people why we are different than the really bad people. Usually they don’t get it. Meanwhile the media people are busy trying to uncover the giant government conspiracy that we are supposed to be running. Also every hacker and pedophile out there is trying to screw up our computers and radios. This makes it really hard. Meanwhile the Air Force and Navy are wondering what’s wrong, since it’s not so hard for them. Once in a while, somebody on our side figures out what we should be doing. This is called Knowledge Management.

    Got it? 

    Humor is one of our strengths.

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    Filed under CND, Info Warriors, Lawfare, Moonbats, Old Media, PSYOP

    Today’s conflicts are not only won on the battlefield, but through the use of websites and blogs, over the airwaves and on the front pages of our newspapers.

    I didn’t hate Donald Rumsfeld. 

    This is a time in which warfare is being waged in the realms of space and cyberspace. In China, the recent test of an anti-satellite missile has shown that our network of satellites could be vulnerable to an attack that could cripple both U.S. military and civilian communications. Small bands of organized hackers earlier this year demonstrated by their attacks on Estonia, that the governments and financial institutions of advanced nations can be paralyzed through cyber attacks.

    These enemies have learned a crucial lesson about warfare in the 21st century — a lesson others seem slow in understanding. Today’s conflicts are not only won on the battlefield, but through the use of websites and blogs, over the airwaves and on the front pages of our newspapers. Through skillful propaganda operations, the enemy successfully leverages their asymmetric attacks to encourage potential recruits to join their violent cause and to try to convince those of us in free nations to give in to hopelessness, self-doubt and despair.

    Their decentralized networks have been able to effectively employ the tools of the Information Age, while the U.S. government remains ponderous, muscle-bound and unable to respond in real time to the deceits of these enemies. To succeed in this first struggle of the 21st century, we will need fresh thinking and capabilities well beyond the Defense Department. If free people are to meet the challenges posed by what will be a long struggle against violent extremists, we will need all elements of national power, private as well as public — diplomatic, economic, as well as intelligence and military to work in concert. We will need to rethink and rearrange our domestic and global institutions designed for the Industrial Age to better suit the Information Age.

    Emphasis mine.  He makes sense to me.

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    Countering the Cyber Jihad

    The war got personal for many bloggers and readers of blogs today.  Not only is there a war of ideas going on in cyber space, there is a kinetic war of electrons being waged.  While trying to educate my knuckle-dragging, computer illiterate self on cyber war, I ran up on this from The Jawa Report.  

    The military lacks the tools to fight the internet jihad.

    The solution?  There is no government solution.  The only people really equipped to counter the online threat are hackers themselves.  These cyber pirates have the necessary knowlege, tools, and experience in infiltrating and taking down websites.  With minimum investment in equipment, with the assurance that they will not be prosecuted for activities which are normally considered illegal, and with the promise of a reward for each website taken down, these cyber pirates would be turned into cyber privateers.  There skills which are normally deemed socially unacceptable, can be used to the advantage of winning the long war against militant Islam.

    I wish I was smart enough to hack.  If you are reading this, be aware that the enemy has the capability to prevent you from reading this.  They can reach out and touch everyone with a computer.  The armed forces can’t protect you from this.  They can’t protect you from  sedition and psychological operations designed to demoralize you.  Like the Militia of Flight 93, the Civilian Information Militia will have to rise to the occasion.

    BLOGS DOWN: HACK ATTACK

    Craig Martelle left this comment over at Threatswatch:

    The Denial of Service attack is reported to have originated out of Saudi Arabia. The clash of civilizations is on, and we’re losing. The first bastion of truth in the war of ideologies – the conservative bloggers – is taken off line by what appears to be the Islamist threat. The MSM has conceded through self-censorship – no bad words are printed about extremist Islam and the threat it poses. We are in a war – a big war. And few people seem to notice. I’m sorry it’s an election year, but “ineffectual” is a term that applies to Republicans and Democrats. No politician can see further than the polling stations.

    This DoS attack against us directly in the blogosphere only confirms our assessment. We are indeed at war – in the clash of civilizations, which right now is mostly an information war. Let’s see if the MSM, the legacy media as they may be called, picks up on this DoS attack and identifies it for what it is – a demonstration of superior firepower in the information battle of the larger campaign against the free world. Although this sounds sensationalist, if you look at current events through these goggles, many things become much clearer and the inexplicable disappears. Take a a look with an open mind and you’ll see.

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    China’s Restless Hackers

    From Strategy Page:

    April 18, 2006: China has organized a civilian Cyber War force. It’s called the “Red Hackers Alliance” (RHA) and is officially a network security organization, composed of patriotic Chinese network security experts. China does have a major problem with network security, as the average Chinese PC user is much less well equipped, in terms of protective software, and expertise. Computer viruses and worms that are a minor nuisance in the West, are often major problems in China.

    The RHA has a paid staff, including university trained network security experts. Officially, the RHA provides training and advice about network security. But the RHA is has also apparently absorbed the thousands of Chinese hackers who used to belong to informal hacker organizations. These groups often openly launched Cyber War attacks against foreign targets. One of the more notorious examples of this was in the Spring of 2001, when outraged Chinese hackers went after American targets in the wake of a Chinese fighter crashing, after colliding with an American P-3 patrol aircraft. American hackers fought back, and apparently there was more damage on the Chinese side. 

    In the wake of the 2001 incident, the Chinese hacker organizations began to disband, even though they were the source of more serious, espionage related, hacking. The government apparently liked the talent of the Chinese hackers, but not their lack of discipline. Although the older hacker groups had liaison with the government, this was not enough to prevent “adventurism.” The RHA is apparently the solution to that problem, and is yet another addition to China’s growing Cyber War apparatus. 

    China has over 20,000 people involved in monitoring people using the Internet in China, as well developing Cyber War weapons and defenses. This effort to organize Chinese hackers, for a network security effort, may be more successful than attempts to control their more playful activities. Hacking is all about spontaneity and, well, some misbehavior. 

    China does not want to alienate it’s hacker community. Having the hackers on your side, in such an enthusiastic fashion, is rare, and a major advantage. But at the same time, ongoing government efforts to control Internet use angers many hackers. If the RHA officials lean on the hackers too much and too often, China may find that it has created a monster it has angered, and cannot control.

    Civilian Information Operators.  Shutting down hostile web sites.  The cyber war version of going kinetic.  America needs a capability like this. 

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    The Mysterious Botnets of China

    Cyber Criminals are developing weapons and tactics that are providing real-life examples of what Cyber War would be like.It is feared that the thousands of botnets controlled by gangs in China, may be a “military reserve” for the Chinese Cyber War organization. A lot of the online gang activity seems to come out of China, and the Chinese government has relationships with hacker groups, and perhaps some of the gangs as well.

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