Militarizing Cyberspace

Welcome to the brave new world of war.

Militarizing Cyberspace
By William J. Astore
[Introduction by Tom Engelhardt]
Be depressed. Be very depressed. You thought that cyberspace -- a term conjured up long ago by that neuromancer, sci-fi author William Gibson -- was the last frontier of freedom. Well, think again. If the U.S. Air Force has anything to say about it, cyber-freedom will, in the not so distant future, be just another word for domination. [...]

Recently, looking for new realms to bomb, it launched itself into cyberspace. The Air Force has now set up its own Cyber Command, redefined the Internet as just more "air space" fit for "cyber-craft," and launched its own Bush-style preemptive strike on the other military services for budgetary control of the same.

If that's not enough for you, it's now proposing a massive $30 billion cyberspace boondoggle, as retired Air Force Lt. Col. William Astore writes below, that will, theoretically, provide the Air Force with the ability to fry any computer on Earth. And don't think the other services are likely to take this lying down. Expect cyberwar in the Pentagon before this is all over. In the meantime, think of cyberspace, in military terms, as a new realm for nuclear-style strategy, with its own developing version of "first-strike capability," its own future versions of "mutually assured destruction," its own "windows of vulnerability" to be closed (while exploiting those of the enemy), and undoubtedly its own "cyber-gaps." [...]

Attention Geeks and Hackers

Uncle Sam's Cyber Force Wants You!

Part of the Air Force's new "above all" vision of full-spectrum dominance, America's emerging cyber force has control fantasies that would impress George Orwell. Working with the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), the Department of Homeland Security, and other governmental agencies, the Air Force's stated goal is to gain access to, and control over, any and all networked computers, anywhere on Earth, at a proposed cost to you, the American taxpayer, of $30 billion over the first five years.

Here, the Air Force is advancing the now familiar Bush-era idea that the only effective defense is a dominating offense. According to Lani Kass, previously the head of the Air Force's Cyberspace Task Force and now a special assistant to the Air Force Chief of Staff, "If you're defending in cyber [space], you're already too late. Cyber delivers on the original promise of air power. If you don't dominate in cyber, you cannot dominate in other domains."

Oh boy, just what we need, more gov't/military domination.

Original Post
And of course the Chinese are already out there on the internets waging guerilla actions.

China's Cyber-Militia
by Shane Harris
Chinese hackers pose a clear and present danger to U.S. government and private-sector computer networks and may be responsible for two major U.S. power blackouts.

Computer hackers in China, including those working on behalf of the Chinese government and military, have penetrated deeply into the information systems of U.S. companies and government agencies, stolen proprietary information from American executives in advance of their business meetings in China, and, in a few cases, gained access to electric power plants in the United States, possibly triggering two recent and widespread blackouts in Florida and the Northeast, according to U.S. government officials and computer-security experts.
Lawmakers Say Capitol Computers Hacked By Chinese
WASHINGTON "” Multiple congressional computers have been hacked by people working from inside China, lawmakers said Wednesday, suggesting the Chinese were seeking lists of dissidents.

Two congressmen, both longtime critics of Beijing's record on human rights, said the compromised computers contained information about political dissidents from around the world. One of the lawmakers said he'd been discouraged from disclosing the computer attacks by other U.S. officials.
U.S. military to patrol Internet
WASHINGTON, June 30 (UPI) -- The U.S. military is looking for a contractor to patrol cyberspace, watching for warning signs of forthcoming terrorist attacks or other hostile activity on the Web.

"If someone wants to blow us up, we want to know about it," Robert Hembrook, the deputy intelligence chief of the U.S. Army's Fifth Signal Command in Mannheim, Germany, told United Press International.

In a solicitation posted on the Web last week, the command said it was looking for a contractor to provide "Internet awareness services" to support "force protection" -- the term of art for the security of U.S. military installations and personnel.
Oh great, soon we'll be dealing with Blackwater types doing "contract" security work for the gov't on the webs.
Oddman, are you like a "watchdog?"

I don't think I've seen you do much here except post stories. Do you have other communities where you disseminate info as well?

I'm just curious, do not take this as a disparagement, but you seem to have a kind of agenda to spread news.
Originally posted by John Maddox Roberts:
Originally posted by BlueShift:
Yes, really.

Design looks too busy for my taste - one conventional motif layered atop another atop another. Cyberware demands a more minimalist approach to design.

But given the latest approvals for FISA, the lightning bolt wings are not entirely inappropriate.
Originally posted by Boogerhead:
Apparently everyone from Estonia to Google are pitching in to help Georgia.

"In a sense," notes Jim Stogdill, "they must be saying 'we can't keep our sites up, but we don't think [Russian hackers] can take down Blogspot, given Google's much better infrastructure and ability to defend it.'"

Cyberdefense advisors have been dispatched.
I was just thinking "How Gibsonesque would it be if instead of Russia, some third party were behind the cyber attacks?"

Then clicking through the related stories in the link, I found this one related to Estonia's recent denial of service attacks.
Originally posted by Boogerhead:
Apparently everyone from Estonia to Google are pitching in to help Georgia.

"In a sense," notes Jim Stogdill, "they must be saying 'we can't keep our sites up, but we don't think [Russian hackers] can take down Blogspot, given Google's much better infrastructure and ability to defend it.'"

Cyberdefense advisors have been dispatched.

When I read that post for the first time, I just got the feeling like I'd been flung ten feet closer to the future.

Little Estonia, the at the leading edge of cyberdefense.

I can imagine the international wargames, training other countries.
Some analysis of the most recent outbreak of military(?) hostilities in cyberspace.

The Fog of Cyberwar in Georgia
Here's what's not known: whether these attacks were directed by the Russian military, as Georgia's Foreign Minister has speculated, by shadowy criminal gangs, or just by kids with a grudge against Georgia and too much free time.

The last of these scenarios is looking increasingly likely. [...]

Look too hard for shadowy political forces and esoteric technology and, he notes, "we risk underestimating the great patriotic rage of many ordinary Russians, who, having been fed too much government propaganda in the last few days, are convinced that they need to crash Georgian Web sites.

What's frightening about the online attacks against Georgia is not that they're organized by shadowy Kremlin forces, but that they're coming from a loosely organized group of individuals.

It's easy to understand why the press and the military would misunderstand the situation in Georgia as a new type of military attack.

The truth may be more intriguing and frightening.

We've entered an era where individuals can organize their own "cyberwar" campaigns online, in concert with or in opposition to their governments.
Cyberpunk jihadis go at each other

This September 11, everyone waited with baited breath for the yearly nyah nyah nyah; video rant from Al Qaeda.

More worrisome was that there might be a pep talk to coordinate a pre election attack in the US.

But something happened with the Alqaeda websites that usually deliver the videos: They went off line.

It was assumed that either the US military/security services took them offline, or maybe just a western cyberpunk who got mad decided to do a little work on his own. [...]

But the story gets stranger and stranger. Soon jihadi discussion group sites started getting hacked. Then other sites got hacked in return.

The 1000 year old Sunni/Shiite cyberbattle was on.

From the Washington Post.
In September, hackers targeted what Iranian news media estimated to be 300 Shiite sites, many of them operated by Shiite religious leaders in Iran. Targets included the official site of Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani, the leading Shiite cleric in Iraq. For several days, visitors to that site were connected instead to a YouTube video featuring American talk-show host Bill Maher mocking what he said were the cleric's edicts, or fatwas, on sexual matters.

In retaliation, Iranian hackers hit back

The two main Sunni radical propaganda sites, and, have been down most of the time since September 11.

According to StrategyPage... a lot of the hacking is not done by hard radicals but ordinary hacker geeks who got annoyed at each other.

Since it is more a low level geek war that has more to do with local religious rivalries than with real terrorism, the western cyberterror experts are sitting back and leaving the kids do their own thing.

Even in the Middle East, not everything is politics or religion. Some things are just done for the heck of it.
Huh, just ordinary hacker kids waging a low level geek war against those who annoy them.
WASHINGTON – The mighty U.S. arsenal of nuclear weapons, midwived by World War II and nurtured by the Cold War, is declining in power and purpose while the military's competence in handling the world's most dangerous arms has eroded. At the same time, international efforts to contain the spread of such weapons look ineffective.

Defense Secretary Robert Gates, for one, wants the next president to think about what nuclear middle-age and decline means for national security.

Gates joins a growing debate about the reliability and future credibility of the American arsenal with his first extensive speech on nuclear arms Tuesday. The debate is attracting increasing attention inside the Pentagon even as the military is preoccupied with fighting insurgencies in Iraq and Afghanistan. The unconventional tools of war there include covert commandos, but not nuclear weapons.

It's not military cyberspace, but still... let's just say that if I were Gibson, I'd be PISSED that some punk journalist or thinktank hack printed the expression "nuclear middle age" before I did.

Still, 'menopausal missiles' is still up for grabs.
Twitter dubbed terrorist tool by US military
The Federation of American Scientists has posted a report conducted by the 304th Military Intelligence Battalion and delivered to the U.S. Army, outlining potential mobile device and service threats that terrorists may use to coordinate future attacks. Twitter, the social network and microblogging site, accounts for two pages in the report, and outlines potential ways terrorists might use Twitter to plan and execute attacks.

The report, which was originally brought to national attention by Noah Schatman of Wired, notes that Twitter has already been used in several instances to report on events that have happened before the mainstream news media picks up on them, and also events at the Republican National Convention earlier this year where protestors organized via Twitter. [...]

According to the report, "Twitter has also become a social activist tool for socialists, human rights groups, communists, vegetarians, anarchists, religious communities, atheists, political enthusiasts, hacktivists and others to communicate with each other and to send messages to broader audiences."

So, now atheist vegetarians are on the same watch list as potential terrorists?
Originally posted by RUR:
the Air Force's stated goal is to gain access to, and control over, any and all networked computers, anywhere on Earth

Ha. Easier said than done.

If I remember right, Case in Neuromancer "saw the military nodes in cyberspace in heights he knew he may never reach" when he connected for the first time after surgery. Quote may not be exact.

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