Date: December 30, 2011
Source: Fox News
Abstract: In the growing battle for the future of the Web, some of the biggest sites online -- Google, Facebook, and other tech stalwarts -- are considering a coordinated blackout of their sites, some of the web’s most popular destinations.
No Google searches. No Facebook updates. No Tweets. No Amazon.com shopping. Nothing.
The action would be a dramatic response to the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), a bill backed by the motion picture and recording industries that is intended to eliminate theft online once and for all. HR 3261 would require ISPs to block access to sites that infringe on copyrights -- but how exactly it does that has many up in arms. The creators of some of the web's biggest sites argue it could instead dramatically restrict law-abiding U.S. companies -- and reshape the web as we know it.
A blackout would be drastic. And though the details of exactly how it would work are unclear, it's already under consideration, according to Markham Erickson, the executive director of NetCoalition , a trade association that includes the likes of Google, PayPal, Yahoo, and Twitter.
“Mozilla had a blackout day and Wikipedia has talked about something similar,” Erickson told FoxNews.com, calling this kind of operation unprecedented.
"A number of companies have had discussions about that," he said.
With the Senate debating the SOPA legislation at the end of January, it looks as if the tech industry’s top dogs are finally adding bite to their bark, something CNET called "the nuclear option ."
"When the home pages of Google.com, Amazon.com, Facebook.com, and their Internet allies simultaneously turn black with anti-censorship warnings that ask users to contact politicians about a vote in the U.S. Congress the next day on SOPA,” Declan McCullagh wrote, “you’ll know they’re finally serious.”
“This type of thing doesn’t happen because companies typically don’t want to put their users in that position,” Erickson explained. “The difference is that these bills so fundamentally change the way the Internet works. People need to understand the effect this special-interest legislation will have on those who use the Internet.”
The polarizing movement has many critics but also equally strong and diverse support, including most major media companies as well as businesses like 3M, Adidas, Burberry, CVS and more. News Corp., the parent company of FoxNews.com, also supports the law.
"SOPA targets foreign websites that sell counterfeit drugs and stolen copies of Hollywood movies -- not such American Web sites as YouTube or your favorite blog," wrote Richard Bennett, senior research fellow at the Information Technology & Innovation Foundation, in an editorial in the New York Post .
The law is necessary to deal with those sites, he said.
"Internet criminals selling bogus drugs or pirated movies simply set up shop in China or a distant island republic, knowing that they won't be harassed by law enforcement regardless of how many U.S. lives or jobs they endanger."
But opposition to the legislation has grown substantially louder in recent weeks as the vote looms.
On November 15, Google, Facebook, Twitter, Zynga, eBay, Mozilla, Yahoo, AOL, and LinkedIn wrote a letter to Washington warning of SOPA's dangers. "We are concerned that these measures pose a serious risk to our industry's continued track record of innovation and job-creation, as well as to our Nation's cybersecurity," the letter argued
Google co-founder Sergey Brin himself has loudly denounced the bill. “While I support their goal of reducing copyright infringement (which I don't believe these acts would accomplish), I am shocked that our lawmakers would contemplate such measures that would put us on a par with the most oppressive nations in the world,” Brin wrote on Google+ social networking site earlier this month.
Others have taken a more proactive approach, voting with their dollars against those who support the bill. GoDaddy.com, one of the largest domain registrars on the Internet, stands to potentially lose thousands of customers on Thursday, Dec. 29, or “Dump GoDaddy Day,” the culmination of an ongoing boycott of the company.
Microblogging site Tumblr generated 87,834 calls to Congress with its own anti-SOPA campaign -- a total of 1,293 total hours spent talking to representatives.
Hollywood and the recording industry have maintained the bill's necessity in the name of piracy. "Rogue Web sites that steal America's innovative and creative products attract more than 53 billion visits a year and threaten more than 19 million American jobs," the U.S. Chambers of Commerce wrote in a letter to the editor of The New York Times.
But Erickson believes this is “just the tip of the iceberg in terms of response.”“People take the Internet very personally," Erickson told FoxNews.com. “It’s a very important part of their lives" (Fox News, 2012).
Title: The Devastating Impact Of An Electromagnetic Pulse…Can It Happen?
Abstract: While driving home from work, your engine suddenly dies. You quickly shift into neutral and coast to a stop. As you reach for your cellphone to call for help, you notice that all of the other cars are stopped too. As this surreal scene unfolds before your eyes, you notice that the cell phone is dead too.
What you haven’t yet realized, but are soon to discover, is that ALL of the modern conveniences upon which your life depends have suddenly and completely vanished. ALL of them.
Electromagnetic pulses are huge outbursts of atmospheric electricity which produce intense magnetic fields that can result in ground currents massive enough to burn out power lines and electrical equipment throughout the effected area.
The two main sources for EMP are super-sized solar storms and atomic weapons.
An atomic weapon detonated between 25 and 500 miles above earth could wipe out most electrical devices and the power grid.
On July 9, 1962, the Atomic Energy Commission detonated a 1.4-megaton Hydrogen Bomb resulting EMP shorted out streetlights in Oahu, Luckily,it left the electronic grid intact.
Our sun has an eleven year solar cycle which is due to hit It’s maximum activity level in 2012. Solar flares could wipe out the power grid for years and possibly decades.
The last solar storm large enough to cause that kind of damage occurred in 1859.
Yousaf Butt of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics in Cambridge, Massachusetts says, “We are almost guaranteed a very large solar storm at some point”. Solar physicist Bruce Tsurutani, of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory agrees that such an event is inevitable in the next 10 to 100 years.
What can we do to prepare for such an event?
People can protect electronic equipment by constructing a metallic shielded enclosure, commonly called a “faraday cage” to protect such items as, an emergency, hand-crank radio; solar panels; batteries and spare electronic parts.
Eliminating the occurrence of an EMP, or any other catastrophe, is not within your power but insuring that, no matter what happens, you and you’re family have enough to eat, certainly is.
The most important and least expensive thing anyone can do to prepare for any emergency, is to have a supply of storable food and a source of clean water. So stop worrying about the things you can’t control and take responsibility for your greatest dependency, food. Do it today!
Q & A
Q 1.) There’s a lot of talk these days about the potential for an Electromagnetic Pulse (EMP) and the effects it might have on our world. Is the possibility of an EMP something about which we should be concerned?
A 1.) Well George, you know me, I believe we should all be prepared for whatever mother nature sends our way. In the case of EMP, yes, we should be concerned and there are things we can do to prepare. The important thing is that we take our “concern” and direct it constructively rather than getting stuck in fear. The best way to do that is to understand the phenomenon and then determine the steps that can be taken to lessen it’s impact. Here’s a simple explanation of EMP…
Electromagnetic pulses are huge outbursts of atmospheric electricity which produce intense magnetic fields that can result in ground currents massive enough to burn out power lines and electrical equipment throughout the effected area. Any unshielded electronic equipment is rendered instantly useless. That includes our power grids, electronic ignition in cars and other machinery, generators, solar panels, cell phones, satellite communications, refrigerators, water pumps, fuel pumps, and just about anything you can imagine that requires electricity.
Q 2.) Wow, that sounds as if it could be catastrophic! Please explain how something like that could happen. What would have to happen to produce an Electromagnetic Pulse?
A 2.) Well George, there are two sources for an Electromagnetic Pulse. The first is an EMP caused by a nuclear detonation and the second is an EMP caused by a Coronal Mass Ejection (CME), more commonly known as a sun-spot.
Although both are cause for concern, I believe that the first is less likely than we are led to believe by the mainstream media. The second source of EMP, the sun, is a greater concern and, in fact, some scientists believe it to be a certainty within the next 10 to 100 years.
Q 3.) Why is the sun-spot scenario more likely than the nuclear explosion? It seems to me that our world is pretty unstable politically. Why aren’t you more concerned about the nuclear option?
A 3.) On July 9, 1962, the Atomic Energy Commission detonated a 1.4-megaton Hydrogen Bomb, known as the Starfish Prime, over the Pacific ocean, at an altitude of 250 miles, about 900 miles southwest of Hawaii. The device was at least 70 times more powerful than the bomb detonated over Hiroshima in 1945. Although the resulting EMP shorted out streetlights in Oahu, it left the electronic grid intact.
While smaller nuclear devices could possibly cause localized EMP damage, rogue nations or terrorists intent on creating an EMP large enough to effect the entire continent of North America, with a high-altitude nuclear blast would require a weapon larger than the Starfish Prime and a missile large enough to take it at least 25 miles high.
If a nation were to initiate such a launch, it would result in massive nuclear retaliation from America’s current stockpile of 5,000 warheads, many of which are aboard submarines and far away from the EMP effects that would be produced by the blast. Even if that rogue nation supplied a terrorist group with the weapon and missile rather than launch it themselves, they would still face retaliation as the bombs origins would be quickly determined through nuclear forensics. It would be national suicide and regardless of how fanatical our enemies might be, they are unlikely initiate their own annihilation.
The other, and more likely source of a massive EMP is our own sun. It has an eleven year cycle of solar storms which is due to hit it’s maximum activity level in 2012. During the peak of this cycle, the occurrence of solar super-storms becomes much more frequent.
Q 4.) If the sun has an eleven year cycle, why didn’t we have damage from an EMP in 2001, 1990 or 1979? Has anything changed to make this year more dangerous than past cycles?
A 4.) The last solar storm large enough to cause that kind of damage occurred in 1859, prior to the existence of the power grid which has only been around for less than 1% of human history. A super solar-storm of sufficient size has not happened in that time but scientists believe it’s a matter of when, not if.
Yousaf Butt of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics in Cambridge, Massachusetts says, “We are almost guaranteed a very large solar storm at some point”. Solar physicist Bruce Tsurutani, of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory agrees that such an event is inevitable in the next 10 to 100 years.
Q 5.) So Steve, what can people do to prepare for an Electromagnetic Pulse? Should we expect the government to re-institute the old “duck and cover” program from the ’50s?
A 5.) There’s not much that we as individuals can do to protect our power grids. That will have to be done by the electric utilities, with or without the assistance of government. However, people can protect themselves from the worst effects of an EMP with minimal expense and a little pre-planning.
Small items such as emergency, hand-crank radios, computers, spare parts for the electronic ignition system in cars and generators can be protected with a simple, home-made device called a “faraday cage”.
Anyone interested in learning how to build one can visit
www.faraday-landing-page.com for detailed instructions (Infowars, 2012).
BBC: Let’s Kill the Internet And Start Over
Date: February 18, 2012
Source: Prison Planet
Abstract: Viewpoint: The internet is broken – we need to start over … Last year, the level and ferocity of cyber-attacks on the internet reached such a horrendous level that some are now thinking the unthinkable: to let the internet wither on the vine and start up a new more robust one instead. On being asked if we should start again, many – maybe most – immediately argue that the internet is such an integral part of our social and economic fabric that even considering a change in its fundamental structure is inconceivable and rather frivolous. I was one of those. However, recently the evidence suggests that our efforts to secure the internet are becoming less and less effective, and so the idea of a radical alternative suddenly starts to look less laughable. – BBC/ Prof Alan Woodward, Department of Computing, University of Surrey
Dominant Social Theme: Look, can we talk? The Internet is paedophiles’ best friend and a virus manufacturer besides. If we get rid of it, we’ll all be a lot safer. And especially the children. Good Lord, the children! The children!
Free-Market Analysis: It is clear to us by now that the Anglosphere power elite is increasingly desperate to shut down the Internet any way it can. This article posted at the BBC (whether or not the author understands he’s been enlisted on behalf of a larger Western elite agenda) is a good example of a sub dominant social theme within the context of this aim.
The power elite wants to run the world, and what we call the Internet Reformation has badly dented their plans. How does one run a secret, super-duper conspiracy to create a New World Order when one’s every move is plastered on the Internet the very next day?
It’s next to impossible. The elites have invested heavily in making their global operations “user friendly.” They’ve tried to pretend that increasingly authoritarian Western governments and global facilities such as the IMF and UN have agendas that are entirely supportive of human rights and individual prosperity.
Nothing could be further from the truth. What the Internet has shown us with increasing clarity over this past decade is that Western banking elites and their enablers and associates will stop at nothing in their quest for ultimate power.
They wish for one-world government (the UN), a one-world military (NATO), a one-world court (the recently formed Soros-sponsored International Criminal Court), a one-world central bank (the IMF), etc.
The exposure of the elite’s goals and its methodologies – its dependence on the corrupt counterfeiting practices of central banks for the trillion-dollar torrents of capital necessary to build world government – has led to an upswell of indignation and scrutiny around the world.
As a result, many of the elite’s dominant social themes are beginning to founder and fail. The elites had high hopes apparently for installing a carbon currency around the world based on the fraudulent message of global warming. But the Internet helped reveal emails that exposed the fraud.
The so-called war on terror has long been revealed to be both fraudulent and unpopular. Creating a so-called long war to generate the kind of chaos that is necessary to move the world toward global governance is perhaps a good idea from an elite standpoint … but not one that has worked out well.
As elite memes have degraded, the attacks on the Internet have stepped up. This article from the BBC is a good example of the kind of spurious justifications that are now being put forward to create a groundswell of support for the removal of a (somewhat) free and independent Internet.
We need to understand the root of the problem. In essence, the internet was never intended to be a secure network. The concept was developed by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (Darpa) as a means of allowing a distributed computer system to survive a nuclear attack on the US. Those who designed the Internet Protocol (IP) did not expect that someone might try to intercept or manipulate information sent across it.
As we expanded our use of the internet from large, centralised computers to personal computers and mobile devices, its underlying technology stayed the same. The internet is no longer a single entity but a collection of ‘things’ unified by only one item – IP – which is now so pervasive that it is used to connect devices as wide-ranging as cars and medical devices …
While not a popular view, I think that the current internet can only survive if adequate global governance is applied and that single, secure technology is mandated. This is obviously fraught with the much rehashed arguments about control of the internet, free speech, and so on. Then there is the Herculean task of achieving international agreement and a recognised and empowered governance body …
I think the answer lies somewhere in the middle. We can have areas of the internet that are governed by a global body and run on technologies which are inherently secure, and we can have areas which are known to be uncontrolled. They can coexist using the same physical networks, personal computers and user interface to access both but they would be clearly segregated such that a user would have to make a clear choice to leave the default safe zone and enter what has been described as “the seediest place on the planet”.
This article is composed within the parameters of a typical elite dominant social theme. These are the promotional memes that the elites use to create ever-more authoritarian government. The idea is to frighten people into giving up control to specially prepared globalist entities.
In this case, the Internet itself is presented as a scary place, “the seediest place on the planet.” It is not, of course. It is, at root, simply a collection of electrons, and most of the abuses of privacy are likely taking place at the behest of Western intelligence agencies.
This is the part of the story that Dr. Woodward leaves out. Whether it is Facebook, Google, YouTube or Yahoo, US, European and British Intel agencies have apparently penetrated every part of these electronic facilities and are aggressively (and usually illegally) mining personal data from them.
One could make the argument, in fact, that without the intelligence abuses, the Internet would not have nearly so many difficulties. The chances are that many of its vulnerabilities were put in place by the very agencies that now claim the Internet is an unsafe place.
How the Internet’s electrons came to be characterized as “unsafe” is a puzzle we will leave to future historians. But what is more certain to us is that the Internet Reformation is beginning to have a significant impact on the elites and their plans for a New World Order.
Articles like this one, when combined with recent US legislation aimed at shutting down the current Internet using the tool of copyright violations, begin to provide us with a sense of the panic that the elites must be currently feeling about the exposure of their activities.Conclusion: It also seems to confirm our hunch that the Internet was not some sort of elite plot to impose technological dominance on people but a Hayekian example of spontaneous social order. The old men who must run the affairs of the Anglosphere elites apparently didn’t see it coming and still have no idea what to do about it (Prison Planet, 2012).
Title: ‘Anonymous’ Hackers Plan To Shut Down The Internet This Saturday
Date: March 28, 2012
Abstract: Notorious hacker group Anonymous has previously stated its intentions to shutdown the Internet on Saturday, March 31st, as a form of protest. “To protest SOPA, Wallstreet, our irresponsible leaders and the beloved bankers who are starving the world for their own selfish needs out of sheer sadistic fun, on March 31, anonymous will shut the Internet down,” the group stated last month. “Remember, this is a protest, we are not trying to ‘kill’ the Internet we are only temporarily shutting it down where it hurts the most.” Operation Global Blackout 2012looks to shut down the Internet by disabling its core DNS servers, thus making websites inaccessible. Cyber security experts claim that it is unlikely that such an attack would be effective, however, and there is really no need to fear. Read on for more.
“The Anonymous hackers can certain cause local pockets of disruption, but these disruptions are going to be localized to networks where their attack machines are located, or where their ‘reflectors’ are located”, said Robert Graham of Errata Security. “It’s unlikely they could take all of them down, at least for any period of time. On the day of their planned Global Blackout, it’s doubtful many people would notice.”
Graham does issue a cautionary note, however. “Just because I say Anonymous can’t do it doesn’t it mean it can’t be done,” the security expert said on Errata’s blog (BGR, 2012).
Title: Infected PCs May Lose Internet In July
Date: April 21, 2012
Source: USA Today
Abstract: For computer users, a few mouse clicks could mean the difference between staying online and losing Internet connections this summer.
This image provided by The DNS Changer Working Group (DCWG) shows the checkup webpage. It will only take a few clicks of the mouse. But for hundreds of thousands of computer users, those clicks could mean the difference between staying online and losing their connections this July.
This image provided by The DNS Changer Working Group (DCWG) shows the checkup webpage. It will only take a few clicks of the mouse. But for hundreds of thousands of computer users, those clicks could mean the difference between staying online and losing their connections this July.
Unknown to most of them, their problem began when international hackers ran an online advertising scam to take control of infected computers around the world. In a highly unusual response, the FBI set up a safety net months ago using government computers to prevent Internet disruptions for those infected users. But that system is to be shut down.
The FBI is encouraging users to visit a website run by its security partner, http://www.dcwg.org, that will inform them whether they're infected and explain how to fix the problem. After July 9, infected users won't be able to connect to the Internet.
Most victims don't even know their computers have been infected, although the malicious software probably has slowed their web surfing and disabled their antivirus software, making their machines more vulnerable to other problems.
Last November, the FBI and other authorities were preparing to take down a hacker ring that had been running an Internet ad scam on a massive network of infected computers.
"We started to realize that we might have a little bit of a problem on our hands because … if we just pulled the plug on their criminal infrastructure and threw everybody in jail, the victims of this were going to be without Internet service," said Tom Grasso, an FBI supervisory special agent. "The average user would open up Internet Explorer and get 'page not found' and think the Internet is broken."
On the night of the arrests, the agency brought in Paul Vixie, chairman and founder of Internet Systems Consortium, to install two Internet servers to take the place of the truckload of impounded rogue servers that infected computers were using. Federal officials planned to keep their servers online until March, giving everyone opportunity to clean their computers. But it wasn't enough time. A federal judge in New York extended the deadline until July.
Now, said Grasso, "the full court press is on to get people to address this problem." And it's up to computer users to check their PCs.
This is what happened:
Hackers infected a network of probably more than 570,000 computers worldwide. They took advantage of vulnerabilities in the Microsoft Windows operating system to install malicious software on the victim computers. This turned off antivirus updates and changed the way the computers reconcile website addresses behind the scenes on the Internet's domain name system.
The DNS system is a network of servers that translates a web address — such as www.ap.org — into the numerical addresses that computers use. Victim computers were reprogrammed to use rogue DNS servers owned by the attackers. This allowed the attackers to redirect computers to fraudulent versions of any website.
The hackers earned profits from advertisements that appeared on websites that victims were tricked into visiting. The scam netted the hackers at least $14 million, according to the FBI. It also made thousands of computers reliant on the rogue servers for their Internet browsing.
When the FBI and others arrested six Estonians last November, the agency replaced the rogue servers with Vixie's clean ones. Installing and running the two substitute servers for eight months is costing the federal government about $87,000.
The number of victims is hard to pinpoint, but the FBI believes that on the day of the arrests, at least 568,000 unique Internet addresses were using the rogue servers. Five months later, FBI estimates that the number is down to at least 360,000. The U.S. has the most, about 85,000, federal authorities said. Other countries with more than 20,000 each include Italy, India, England and Germany. Smaller numbers are online in Spain, France, Canada, China and Mexico.
Vixie said most of the victims are probably individual home users, rather than corporations that have technology staffs who routinely check the computers.
FBI officials said they organized an unusual system to avoid any appearance of government intrusion into the Internet or private computers. And while this is the first time the FBI used it, it won't be the last.
"This is the future of what we will be doing," said Eric Strom, a unit chief in the FBI's Cyber Division. "Until there is a change in legal system, both inside and outside theUnited States, to get up to speed with the cyber problem, we will have to go down these paths, trail-blazing if you will, on these types of investigations."
Now, he said, every time the agency gets near the end of a cyber case, "we get to the point where we say, how are we going to do this, how are we going to clean the system" without creating a bigger mess than before (USA Today, 2012).
Title: How To Avoid July 9 'Internet Doomsday': Fix The DNSChanger Malware
Date: April 23, 2012
Source: Fox News
Abstract: The lingering effects of an online advertising scam are affecting hundreds of thousands of Internet users -- and the FBI’s final fix for the problem may leave them without Internet access.
The problem began when international hackers ran an online advertising scam to take control of infected computers around the world. The FBI set up a safety net months ago using government computers, but that system will shut down July 9. At that point, infected users won’t be able to connect to the Internet.
Long Arm of Scofflaw
An online ad scam is having some unintended ramifications: The fix may prevent as many as 360,000 from getting online. Several sites will show if you're infected:
DNS Changer Working Group: can discern whether you’re infected and explain how to fix the problem.
DNSChanger Eye Chart: if the site goes red, you’re in harm’s way. Green means clean.
The FBI website: type in the IP address of your DNS server to find out if it is infected.
"We started to realize that we might have a little bit of a problem on our hands because ... if we just pulled the plug on their criminal infrastructure and threw everybody in jail, the victims of this were going to be without Internet service," said Tom Grasso, an FBI supervisory special agent. "The average user would open up Internet Explorer and get `page not found' and think the Internet is broken."
The FBI touts the DNS Changer Working Group’s website , which can discern whether you’re infected and explain how to fix the problem. But there are other ways.
Testing for the presence of the malware is easy. Because it redirects your web traffic from “good” to “bad” sites, a simple test at the DNSChanger Eye Chart can readily discern where it sends you. If the site goes red, you’re in harm’s way. Green means clean.
The FBI also has a lookup form on its website, PCMag.com reports. The user can type in the IP address of the DNS server configured on the machine to find out if it is one of the malicious ones identified by law enforcement authorities.
Title: Web War II: What A Future Cyberwar Will Look Like
Date: April 30, 2012
Abstract: How might the blitzkrieg of the future arrive? By air strike? An invading army? In a terrorist's suitcase? In fact it could be coming down the line to a computer near you.
Operation Locked Shields, an international military exercise held last month, was not exactly your usual game of soldiers. It involves no loud bangs or bullets, no tanks, aircraft or camouflage face-paint. Its troops rarely even left their control room, deep within a high security military base in Estonia.
These people represent a new kind of combatant - the cyber warrior.
One team of IT specialists taking part in Locked Shields, were detailed to attack nine other teams, located all over Europe. At their terminals in the Nato Co-operative Cyber Defence Centre of Excellence, they cooked up viruses, worms, Trojan Horses and other internet attacks, to hijack and extract data from the computers of their pretend enemies.
The idea was to learn valuable lessons in how to forestall such attacks on military and commercial networks. The cyber threat is one that the Western alliance is taking seriously.
It's no coincidence that Nato established its defence centre in Estonia. In 2007, the country's banking, media and government websites were bombarded with Distributed Denial of Service (DDOS) attacks over a three week period, in what's since become known as Web War I. The culprits are thought to have been pro-Russian hacktivists, angered by the removal of a Soviet-era statue from the centre of the capital, Tallinn.
DDOS attacks are quite straightforward. Networks of thousands of
infected computers, known as botnets, simultaneously access the target website,
which is overwhelmed by the volume of traffic, and so temporarily disabled.
However, DDOS attacks are a mere blunderbuss by comparison with the latest
digital weapons. Today, the fear is that Web War II - if and when it comes -
could inflict physical damage, leading to massive disruption and even death.
Cyberwar Glossary I
Botnet: Geographically-dispersed network of infected computers which can be controlled remotely without their owners' knowledge, and used to attack other computers or networks
Distributed Denial of Service attack (DDOS): A means of knocking websites offline by overwhelming them with bogus traffic
Trojan Horse: Malicious software masquerading as something legitimate. Some Trojans even appear to be anti-virus software
Virus: Malicious computer programme designed to make a computer or network malfunction
Worm: A type of virus that can replicate itself. Worms can multiply sufficiently to consume a computer's available memory or hard disk (BBC, 2012).
Title: Preparing For World Web War I
Date: May 7, 2012
Abstract: In the 1984 hit sci-fi movie The Terminator, the artificial intelligence network Skynet becomes self-aware and initiates a nuclear world war against humankind. In the real world of the early 21st Century, the nations of the world are preparing for very different sorts of cyber-war threats, which could arise from terrorists, hactivists, rogue states or organized crime. The U.S.-dominated North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) in 2008 even established the NATO Co-operative Cyber Defense Centre of Excellence in Talinn, Estonia, which held cyber-war-games in late March.
NATO’s choice of locale was intentional: In what is called Web War I, Estonia’s banking, media and government websites were shut down by Distributed Denial of Service (DDOS) attacks over a three-week period in 2007, probably initiated by pro-Russian hacktivists angered by the removal of a Soviet-era statue from downtown Tallinn.
While Web War I opened many people’s eyes to the dangers, the 2010 Stuxnet virus focused the issue more sharply. Stuxnet, which spread over the world while causing little damage to most computers, was designed, probably by Israeli or American security agents, to infect and disable the uranium enrichment machinery used by Iran in its nuclear program. This cyber-war effort was successful, likely delaying Iran’s progress by about 2 years.As more and more high-tech systems are integrated into the Internet, the list of targets potentially vulnerable to cyber-attack likewise grows. Richard Clarke, who advised President Bill Clinton and tried to advise both presidents Bush on counter-terrorism and cyber-security, points out that “Sophisticated cyber attackers could do things like derail trains across the country…They could cause power blackouts - not just by shutting off the power but by permanently damaging generators that would take months to replace. They could do things like cause [oil or gas] pipelines to explode. They could ground aircraft” (AllGov, 2012).
Title: 'Leak It All!' Anonymous Calls For Fight Club-Style 'Project
Date: June 5, 2012
Abstract: Anonymous are set to activate the dormant cells of a global 'Fight Club’ to battle corruption by calling on supporters to leak a massive cache of state and corporate secrets for the world to see.
“Imagine you purchase a USB drive. Imagine you take it to your work place. Imagine you collect evidence of illegality and corruption. Imagine together we expose all lies. Imagine we leak it all.”
Those ominous words scrolled across the crimson backdrop of a glowing Anonymous logo in a video released Tuesday by the hacktivist collective.
But instead of a Fight Club-inspired Project Mayhem bent on wiping the debt slate clean by bombing the credit card industry to the ground, Anonymous are set to disinfect the world one thumb drive at a time.
Fight Club was the 1999 film adaptation of the book of the same name. In it, disgruntled men engaged in bare-knuckle underground fights and anti-corporate sabotage to wage “spiritual war” against the modern era.
And while the first rule of Fight Club was not to “talk about Fight Club,” Anonymous hopes the "Leak it All" campaign will spread like wildfire.
During a 10 day period from 12-12-2012 to 12-21-2012, the collective says “the World will see an unprecedented amount of Corporate, Financial, Military and State leaks that will have been secretly gathered by millions of CONSCIENTIOUS citizens, vigilantes, whistle blowers and insiders worldwide.”
Due to the decentralized nature of the movement, it is difficult to tell exactly how much widespread support the campaign will gather over the next six months.
The Anonymous campaign could come as a response to the 2010 funding blockade against the whistleblower organization WikiLeaks. Last October, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange said the banking blockade had destroyed 95% of WikiLeaks' revenues, forcing the organization to suspend operations.
However, despite its financial troubles, WikiLeaks began publishing The Global Intelligence Files – “more than five million emails from the Texas-headquartered 'global intelligence' company Stratfor” – this past February.
But with WikiLeaks on the rocks, the most recent Anonymous campaign could usher in a golden age of grassroots document disclosure and anti-corruption muckracking (RT, 2012).
Title: 'End Of The World As We Know It': Kaspersky Warns Of Cyber-Terror
Date: June 6, 2012
Abstract: After his eponymously-named lab discovered Flame, "the most sophisticated cyber weapon yet unleashed," Eugene Kaspersky believes that the evolving threat of “cyber terrorism” could spell the end of life on Earth as we know it.
Doomsday scenarios are a common occurrence in 2012, but coming from a steely-eyed realist like Eugene Kaspersky, his calls for a global effort to halt emerging cyber threats should raise alarm bells.
A global Internet blackout and crippling attacks against key infrastructure are among two possible cyber-pandemics he outlined.
"It's not cyber war, it's cyber terrorism, and I'm afraid the game is just beginning. Very soon, many countries around the world will know it beyond a shadow of a doubt,” Kaspersky told reporters at a Tel Aviv University cyber security conference.
“I'm afraid it will be the end of the world as we know it," he warned. "I'm scared, believe me."
His stark warning came soon after researchers at Kaspersky Lab unearthed Flame, possibly the most complex cyber threat ever. While the espionage toolkit infected systems across the Middle East, Iran appears to have been its primary target.
Flame seems to be a continuation of Stuxnet, the revolutionary infrastructure-sabotaging computer worm that made mincemeat of Iran’s uranium enrichment facility at Natanz in 2009-2010.
As Flame is capable of recording audio via a microphone, taking screen shots, turning Bluetooth-enabled computers into beacons to download names and phone numbers from other Bluetooth enabled devices, Kaspersky is certain that a nation-station is behind the cyber espionage virus.
While Kaspersky says that the United States, Britain, India, Israel, China and Russia are among the countries capable of developing such software, which he estimates cost $100 million to develop, he did not limit the threat to these states.
"Even those countries that do not yet have the necessary expertise [to create a virus like Flame] can employ engineers or kidnap them, or turn to hackers for help.”
Like Stuxnet, Flame attacks Windows operating systems. Considering this reality, Kaspersky was emphatic:"Software that manages industrial systems or transportation or power grids or air traffic must be based on secure operating systems. Forget about Microsoft, Linux or Unix."
Kaspersky believes the evolution from cyber war to cyber terrorism comes from the indiscriminate nature of cyber weapons. Very much like a modern-day Pandora’s Box, Flame and other forms of malware cannot be controlled upon release. Faced with a replicating threat that knows no national boundaries, cyber weapons can take down infrastructure around the world, hurting scores of innocent victims along the way.
Kaspersky believes that it necessary to view cyber weapons with the same seriousness as chemical, biological and even nuclear threats. Mutually assured destruction should exclude them from the arsenals of nation states.
The apocalyptic scenario he painted is fit for the silver screen. No surprise then, that it was a film that converted him to the idea that cyber terrorism was a clear and present danger.
By his own admission, Kaspersky watched the 2007 Film Live Free or Die Hard with a glass of whiskey in one hand and a cigarette in the other shouting: “Why are you telling them [how to do this]?”
The film’s plot revolves around an NYPD detective played by Bruce Willis, fighting a gang of cyber terrorists who are targeting FBI computer systems.
"Before Die Hard 4.0, the word cyber terrorism was a taboo in my company. It could not be uttered aloud or discussed with the media. I tried to keep the Pandora’s Box closed. When the film hit the screens, I canceled that ban,"Kaspersky admitted (RT, 2012).
Title: Atomic Scientists Compare Cyberwar To Development Of Nuclear Bomb
Date: June 15, 2012
Source: Fox News
Abstract: Cyberbombs are the new atom bombs.
The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists warned Friday that the race to build and deploy cyberweapons -- secret programs only recently discovered by security researchers, the extent of which is not yet fully known -- closely resembles the race to build the first nuclear weapons.
“The parallels with the invention and first use of atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki are eerie,” wrote Kennette Benedict, the Bulletin’s executive director. The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists was established in 1945 by scientists, engineers, and other experts who had created the atomic bomb as part of the Manhattan Project.
Its scientists also keep track of the doomsday clock, which warns of nuclear annihilation.
An expansive New York Times report on June 1 said President Obama was responsible for a ramp-up in cyberattacks on Iran’s main nuclear enrichment facilities, via cyber worms, viruses and digital Trojan horses with esoteric names such as Stuxnet and Flame.
The 1945 rush to build the atomic bomb was partly a race to beat others, she noted. In modern times, government leaders again are responsible for urging scientists to invent new weapons, the consequences of which are poorly understood. As in the '40s, scientists are warning of the potential dangers, Benedict noted, yet despite those warnings, these weapons are being built and unleashed without warning or discussion.
“This may be another watershed moment, when, as Albert Einstein put it in 1954, ‘everything has changed save our way of thinking, and thus we drift toward unparalleled catastrophe,’" Benedict wrote.
Security analysts speaking with FoxNews.com have also characterized Stuxnet, Flame and others as cyberweapons, though most have been hesitant to dissect the geopolitical ramifications.
“Flame is a cyberespionage operation,” Roel Schouwenberg, a senior security researcher with Kaspersky Labs, told FoxNews.com in late May.
The Flame virus is sort of a Swiss Army knife spy tool that can evolve and change to deal with any situation that has been discovered on the loose in several Middle Eastern countries, yet it isn’t necessarily a declaration of war, Schouwenberg said.
“It’s very clear that there’s a lot of development in this area," he said. "Every government is allocating more resources to cyberoffense. But can we call it a war? I’m not sure.”
Benedict lumps Stuxnet and its ilk together as part of a new era in “warfare,” though she doesn’t label these actions as “acts of war” either.
But she noted the irony of the first acknowledged military use of cyberwarfare: to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons.
“A new age of mass destruction will begin in an effort to close a
chapter from the first age of mass destruction,” Benedict wrote (Fox News, 2012).
Obama's Doomsday Cyberattack Scenario Unrealistic, Experts Say
Date: July 20, 2012
Abstract: President Barack Obama on Friday (July 20) used the Wall Street Journal editorial page to urge the Senate to pass the revised Cybersecurity Act of 2012, which would set security standards for critical-infrastructure industries .
Obama led his argument with a dire, if hypothetical, scenario.
"Across the country trains had derailed, including one carrying industrial chemicals that exploded into a toxic cloud. Water treatment plants in several states had shut down, contaminating drinking water and causing Americans to fall ill," he wrote.
The president's opinion piece, placed on an editorial page usually hostile to his administration, was aimed at Senate Republicans who had opposed an earlier version of the bill on the ground that it would create a new regulatory bureaucracy.
"Our nation, it appeared, was under cyber attack," the president wrote. "Unknown hackers, perhaps a world away, had inserted malicious software into the computer networks of private-sector companies that operate most of our transportation, water and other critical infrastructure systems."
The original version of the bill, co-sponsored by Sens. Joseph Lieberman (I-Conn.), Susan Collins (R-Maine), Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.) and Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), would have authorized the Department of Homeland Security to inspect and assess private-sector facilities designated as "critical infrastructure," such as power plants, water-treatment facilities and financial networks.
The bill would have forced designated entities to comply with government-set cybersecurity standards.
"To their credit, many of these companies have boosted their cyber defenses," Obama wrote. "But many others have not, with some lacking even the most basic protection: a good password. That puts public safety and our national security at risk."
Meeting stiff opposition from conservatives, the bill in its original form could not garner the 60 votes needed to break a Senate filibuster. So Thursday (July 19), Lieberman introduced a watered-down version of the bill that removes the mandatory provisions and instead makes compliance with new cybersecurity standards voluntary.
The revision offers inducements for companies that choose to comply, such as protection from liability relating to a security incident.
"We are going to try carrots instead of sticks as we begin to improve our cyber defenses," Lieberman said in a statement. "This compromise bill will depend on incentives rather than mandatory regulations to strengthen America's cybersecurity. If that doesn't work, a future Congress will undoubtedly come back and adopt a more coercive system."
Is it even Necessary?
"Foreign governments, criminal syndicates and lone individuals are probing our financial, energy and public safety systems every day," Obama wrote.
Digital security experts are divided over whether the bill is necessary, and even whether the dramatic scenes depicted by Obama in his opinion piece are even possible.
"Has a major attack happened? No," said Steve Santorelli, a security researcher at Team Cymru in Lake Mary, Fla., who's worked in the past for Microsoft and Scotland Yard. "Are they scanning and exploring? Almost certainly someone is, but it's not clear exactly who or why."
"There's going to be an attack on specific trains loaded with what just happen to be specifically dangerous chemicals so that it or they jump the rails and cause a catastrophe?" asked George Smith, an expert on national-security technology at GlobalSecurity.org in Washington. "This belongs strictly to the last 'Die Hard' movie."
"They could have run a simulation based on the plot of 'Independence Day,'" said Julian Sanchez, a research fellow specializing in technology at the libertarian Cato Institute in Washington. "That would not be a 'sobering reminder' that alien invasion is 'one of the most serious economic and national security challenges we face.'"
"There is little to zero evidence reservoirs and water systems can be significantly damaged by cyberattack, even if one grants the minor possibility of remote trifling with pumping systems," Smith said. "Water purification and supply is a nationally distributed matter. There is no way to universally degrade it in the United States."
Maybe for Power
Plants it Is
But attacks on the electrical grid and other utilities dependent upon supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) software may be closer to reality.
"The 2008 Florida blackout was not malicious, but could have been," said Joe Weiss, an engineer and power-industry security consultant based in northern California.
Weiss was referring to a sudden power outage in February 2008 that began with an explosion at a substation near Miami and left 2 million people without power all the way up to Tampa and Orlando.
"An engineer at a substation removed overload protections while doing diagnostics," Weiss said. "A SCADA operator remotely actuated equipment, and it blew up."
A SCADA system at an Iranian nuclear facility was the target of Stuxnet, the successful U.S.-Israeli engineered worm that is the world's first publicly known cyberweapon.
Despite the fact that the facility's computers were not connected to the Internet, Stuxnet got in and changed the software on programmable logic controllers (PLCs) operating uranium-processing centrifuges, causing them to spin out of control and setting back the Iranian nuclear program by more than a year.
"Many of the fundamental problems are caused by software vulnerabilities in PLCs that are impossible to fix," Santorelli said. "They were never designed to be secure because the folks that developed them, like everyone else, never really saw this threat coming when the systems were built a generation ago,
""It's sobering to think that the same PLCs that Stuxnet attacked are also in the rides that we take our kids to in theme parks every weekend," Santorelli added.
Why not Just Unplug It?
"Last year, a water plant in Texas disconnected its control system from the Internet after a hacker posted pictures of the facility's internal controls," Obama wrote in Friday's opinion piece. "More recently, hackers penetrated the networks of companies that operate our natural-gas pipelines."
The solution seems obvious: Disconnect critical-infrastructure facilities from the Internet. But it turns out it's not that easy.
"Many of these systems are remotely administered by vendors and plant operators to cut down on staffing and cost," said Anup Ghosh, chief executive office of Fairfax, Va., software security firm Invincea and a research professor at George Mason University. "They are remotely administering and updating via the Internet.
"Sometimes SCADA networks are indirectly connected to the Internet when the operators on office networks," Ghosh added, "bridge the connection between Internet and SCADA control networks inadvertently."
In any case, even without an Internet connection, there's always a way in, Sanchez said.
"Every system needs some procedure for receiving external updates and patches, which creates a vulnerability," Sanchez said. "In most cases, you almost certainly want an air gap between the SCADA [system] and any network ... [but] it's very rarely possible to isolate a system completely even if it's not directly online."
The Carrot or the Stick?
The experts were divided about whether forced security upgrades or voluntary compliance was better for critical-infrastructure industries. Ghosh and Sanchez endorsed the voluntary approach proposed by the revised Lieberman bill.
"Providing incentives for critical infrastructure providers seems like a good approach," Ghosh said, "as long as the incentives are not overly proscriptive. Better would be results-oriented incentives that allow for companies to innovate with new techniques to meet desired ends."
"The difference between a mandate and an inducement is often a matter of semantics," Sanchez said. "You can call a requirement 'mandatory' with a specified penalty, or you can offer liability protection — but then refusing to do what's needed to qualify for that exemption probably raises your insurance costs."
However, when Weiss was asked whether the watering-down of the bill made it useless, he replied, "Honest to God, if you want to keep the lights on and the gasoline flowing, yes, it is."
"This bill continues the status quo, and the status quo is not protecting the grid," he added.
A Heavy but Firm Hand
Sanchez and Weiss also had different opinions over whether more industry regulation was needed.
"The North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC) already sets enforceable cybersecurity standards for electric utilities," Sanchez said. "The natural gas, petroleum, and chemical industries all have programs to establish and disseminate best practices for the relevant SCADA networks. And DHS and other government agencies have their own programs already."
To Weiss, the utilities, and especially self-regulating umbrella organizations such as NERC, are part of the problem.
"Electrical utilities are not securing anything. They are in a compliance game," he said. "The billing system in an electric utility is more secure than the actual power plant, and that includes nuclear plants.
"Utilities have self-defined every shortcut you can think of," Weiss continued. "Seventy percent of power plants don't have to be looked at for cyber. They've self-defined out of being critical. All you need to do is look at the public record to see what's considered critical and what's not."Which plants are designated as critical and which aren't is a matter of public record," he added. "The industry has created a road map for hackers" (TechNewsDaily, 2012).
Title: Former FBI Cyber Cop Worries About A Digital 9/11
Date: July 25, 2012
Source: USA Today
Abstract: In April, an obscure U.S. government agency slipped a hair-raising disclosure into its monthly newsletter: Hackers had successfully penetrated the networks of several natural gas pipeline operators.
Here was a rare public acknowledgement that hackers are currently laying the foundation for a critical-infrastructure attack -- the nightmare scenario that keeps cybersecurity pros up at night.
The natural gas attackers got in through "convincingly crafted" emails that appeared to be internal and went to a "tightly focused" list of targets, according a Department of Homeland Security cybersecurity team. The campaign lasted three months before it was discovered.
In his opening keynote Wednesday at Black Hat -- one of the largest annual gatherings of security researchers -- Shawn Henry, the FBI's longtime top cybercrime official, cited the natural gas intrusion as an example of the escalating stakes of cybersecurity.
"The adversary knows that if you want to harm civilized society -- take their water away, do away with their electricity," Henry said. "There are terrorist groups that are online now calling for the use of cyber as a weapon."
The attacks that the public finds out about are "the tip of the iceberg," said Henry, who recently retired after a 24-year career with the Federal Bureau of Investigation. "I've seen below that waterline. I've been circling below it for the last five years."
What he's seen there is a growing army of patient, sophisticated hackers who are siphoning off some of America's key military and commercial intellectual property. Awareness is increasing, but companies are still in denial about the scale of the problem, he thinks.
The nightmare scenarios get the headlines, but cybercrime is a growing problem for businesses and consumers.
"I still hear from CEOs, 'Why would I be a target?'" Henry said. "We worked with one company that lost $1 billion worth of IP in the course of a couple of days -- a decade of research. That is not an isolated event. ... Your data is being held hostage, and the life of your organization is at risk."
For small businesses, the effects of a breach can be fatal. Henry recalled investigating one company -- he wouldn't name names -- that went under after a break-in.
"They were a small company with $5 million in capital that made short-term loans," he said. "They were hacked, lost their money, and were out of business Monday morning because they didn't have any capital."
So what can companies do? Echoing the words of many government officials -- including FBI Director Robert Mueller, who predicts that cybercrime will soon eclipse terrorism as his agency's top priority -- Henry called for greater public-private collaboration and information sharing.
"This is probably the first time in history that civilians are on the front lines of the battle every day. That's you," Henry told the crowd. This year's Black Hat, the largest in the event's 15-year history, drew 6,500 registered attendees.
Federal lawmakers are considering a spate of new cybersecurity bills aimed at encouraging -- or mandating -- greater disclosure by companies when their systems are breached, and requiring stronger defenses from those who oversee high-risk infrastructure like the electric grid. President Obama recently penned an op-ed in support of the proposal, which he called a necessary response to "an urgent national-security challenge."
Henry sees progress, but he's not optimistic that it will happen quickly enough.
"I believe that people will not truly get this until they see the physical implications of a cyber attack," he said to reporters after his speech.
He drew a parallel to the risk posed by Osama bin Laden -- a threat that regional anti-terrorism specialists began flagging many years before top U.S. officials took their concerns seriously.
"We knew about Osama bin Laden in the early '90s. After 9/11, it was a worldwide name," Henry said. "I believe that type of thing can and will happen in the cyber environment. And I think that after it does, people will start to pay attention" (USA Today, 2012).
Title: Cybergeddon - Universal - HD Gameplay Trailer
Date: September 19, 2012
Source: Cybergeddon Productions, LLC
Rep. Norm Dicks Warns Of 'Cyber 9/11'
Date: October 11, 2012
Source: Seattle Times
Abstract: As he retires from Congress, Norm Dicks is warning that America is vulnerable to a cyberattack that could shut down power grids, freeze money supplies, cripple transportation systems and imperil nuclear plants.
Dicks says the nation needs more protections against a rogue attack on computer systems that could amount to a "cyber 9/11" or "electronic Pearl Harbor."
The Kitsap Sun reports ( http://is.gd/XzhRRF) Dicks delivered his warning Wednesday night in a speech to technology leaders in Bremerton.
Dicks blamed his colleagues in Congress for concerns about privacy trumping the threat of cyberwar. He says he hopes Congress acts before it's too late.Dicks is a member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence and ranking member of the Defense Subcommittee of the House Committee on Appropriations (Seattle Times, 2012).
Cyber Threat Is Pre 9/11 Moment
Date: October 12, 2012
Abstract: The United States must beef up its cyber defenses or suffer as it did on September 11, 2001 for failing to see the warning signs ahead of that devastating terrorist attack, the Secretary of Defense told a group of business leaders in New York Thursday night.
Calling it a “pre-9/11 moment,” Leon Panetta said he is particularly worried about a significant escalation of attacks.
In a speech aboard a decommissioned aircraft carrier, Panetta reminded the Business Executives for National Security about recent distributed denial of service attacks that hit a number of large U.S. financial institutions with unprecedented speed, disrupting services to customers.
And he pointed to a cyber virus known as Shamoon which infected the computers of major energy firms in Saudi Arabia and Qatar this past summer. More than 30-thousand computers were rendered useless by the attack on the Saudi state oil company ARAMCO. A similar incident occurred with Ras Gas of Qatar. Panetta said the attacks were probably the most devastating to ever hit the private sector.
The secretary did not say who is believed responsible for those attacks, but senior defense officials who briefed reporters on the speech, said the United States knows, however they would not divulge the suspect.
And he warned America's critical infrastructure - its electrical power grid, water plants and transportation systems - are threatened by foreign actors.
"We know of specific instances where intruders have successfully gained access to these control systems," Panetta said. "We also know they are seeking to create advanced tools to attack those systems and cause panic, destruction and even loss of life."
For its part, Panetta said the Defense Department is "aggressively ... putting in place measures to stop cyber attacks dead in their tracks." The steps he outlined included both defensive and offensive responses.
He cited efforts to stop malicious code before it infects systems and investments in forensics to help track down who is responsible.
But defense isn't the only answer. "If we detect an imminent threat of attack that will cause significant physical destruction or kill American citizens, we need to have the option to take action to defend the nation when directed by the president," Panetta said.
Panetta also said the Defense Department is in the process of finalizing rules of engagement in cyberspace. In a telephone briefing with reports, a senior defense official would not provide any details about the proposed rules but did stress they involve what the response would be to a cyber attack on the United States "that would rise under international law to the level of armed attack."
Panetta's comments never used the word "offensive" and the senior defense officials who briefed reports about the speech under the condition of anonymity, were also reluctant to use the word. One official said it was important "to keep the maximum number of options on the table." Another official stressed the United States was prepared to take action if threatened, but added the Pentagon had previously acknowledged it has offensive cyber capabilities.
Cyber security is ultimately a team effort, and Panetta said the Defense Department was working closely with the State Department, the Department of Homeland Security, the FBI and others to protect the nation. He called on Congress to pass comprehensive cyber-security legislation now.
Over the summer, the Senate came up short when opponents of the Lieberman-Collins cyber bill blocked it from coming up for a final vote. A group of mostly Republican senators and the Chamber of Commerce opposed the bill because they believed it required too much of the private sector.
Panetta urged the business leaders to work with government to support stronger cyber defenses."We must share information between the government and the private sector about threats to cyberspace," Panetta said, adding everything would be done to protect civil liberties and privacy (CNN, 2012).
Defense Secretary Warns Of 'Cyber-Pearl Harbor'
Date: October 12, 2012
Abstract: The threats of train derailment, contaminated water supplies, a crippled power grid and other infrastructure nightmares in the United States loom on the horizon, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said yesterday (Oct. 11).
In what he described as a "cyber-Pearl Harbor," Panetta said the recent attacks against the websites of major U.S. banks were further evidence that the nation is becoming increasingly vulnerable to crippling attacks delivered digitally.
"Imagine the impact an attack like this would have on your company," he said. "While this kind of tactic isn't new, the scale and speed with which it happened was unprecedented."
Panetta's speech at the Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum in New York comes after Democratic senators failed to muster the 60 votes required to defeat a proposed Republican filibuster against the Cybersecurity Act of 2012.
Under that legislation, operators of private-sector infrastructure deemed critical would have to adopt a set of standards established, in part, by the government.
The proposed order could affect energy , water, transportation operations or any other systems that, if compromised, could result in catastrophic death or damage.
Panetta reprimanded Congress for failing to pass the legislation, which was sponsored by Sen. Joe Lieberman, I-Conn., and strongly backed by the White House.
"If we detect an imminent threat of attack that will cause significant physical destruction in the United States, or kill American citizens, we need to have the option to take action against those who would attack us, to defend this nation when directed by the president," Panetta said. "The fact is, that to fully provide the necessary protection in our democracy, cybersecurity [legislation] must be passed by the Congress."
In spite of his dire warning, Panetta said the U.S. had made "significant advances" in detecting the origins of cyberattacks.
"Potential aggressors should be aware that the United States has the capacity to locate them and hold them accountable for actions that harm America or its interests," he said.
Panetta blamed Iran for the Shamoon attack on the Saudi computers. Lieberman has blamed Iran for the attacks on American banking websites.Both accusations may be premature. There is more evidence that the U.S. and Israel have attacked Iran with cyberweapons at least twice in the past five years, first with the Flame spyware and then with the Stuxnet worm that sabotaged an Iranian uranium-processing facility (TechNewsDaily, 2012).
Staged Cyber 9/11 Now In The Offing?
Date: October 14, 2012
Source: Zen Gardner
Abstract: This cyber false flag sabre rattling has been going on for some time. The alternative research community is all over the various possibilities for what the PTBs might use next to get humanity scurrying into their next stage of control.
They also probably get a sadistic kick out of all the things we try to second guess.
We don’t want to be guilty of bringing things into our reality by visualization and intention, but I maintain it’s been smart to be aware and even envision different scenarios to keep ourselves alert and prepared.
Who knows. It may just push them back and keep them from absolute total abandon in the execution of their obvious Machiavellian plans.
Leon Panetta looks the perfect stooge. I mean perfect. The spiritual plastic surgery on his brow to give him the “perma-cern” look even outdoes Joe Lieberman’s “I’m just a helpless Zionist protecting my persecuted people” look.
Anyway, Leon the Mafioso peon comes out with this script the other day, as if any half awake and partially warm human being couldn’t read his drippy, lying intent:
“In a blunt admission designed to prod action, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta Thursday night told business executives there has been a sudden escalation of cyber terrorism and that attackers have managed to gain access to control systems for critical infrastructure.
In a speech in New York City, Panetta said the recent activities have raised concerns inside the U.S. intelligence community that cyber terrorism might be combined with other attacks to create massive panic and destruction on par with the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks.
“These attacks mark a significant escalation of the cyber threat. And they have renewed concerns about still more destructive scenarios that could unfold,” he said. “For example, we know that foreign cyber actors are probing America’s critical infrastructure networks.
“They are targeting the computer control systems that operate chemical, electricity and water plants, and those that guide transportation throughout the country,” he added. “We know of specific instances where intruders have successfully gained access to these control systems. We also know they are seeking to create advanced tools to attack these systems and cause panic, destruction, and even the loss of life.”’ Source
Nothing New, Lyin’
Like the buildup to 9/11, this cyber terrorism “threat”, mostly Mossad facilitated like 9/11 and the vast majority of so-called terrorist actions, has been deftly used to cripple nuclear facilities for years via the Stuxnet virus, still ruthlessly roaming the webesphere.
These people are beyond unscrupulous, and know they are way above any kind of law enforcement.
Welcome to the hell called the modern politico-society grid.
Built to control. Built to intimidate whole nations and peoples. Built to slaughter and kill indiscriminately.
The prelude to this apparent “possibility” for the obvious purpose of totally fascist internet censorship, has been “fishing trips” for public reaction, and has been going on for some time.
Now Joltin’ Joe
the Infiltrator and Internet Freedom Traitor
This fascist Zionist bastard’s been pounding on this issue more than any other. Seems the lowest scum take on personal assignments for their overlords at whatever cost to keep their rubber-faced propped-up jobs. (One look at NWO gorgin’ Gore and you’ll get the picture.)
Just sickening scum. And to think they’re considered “leaders”. Talk about a madhouse.
Here’s the frikking story:
“Lawmakers will adjourn for a summer break without passing a cyber security bill which legislators warned is imperative to pass due to an “imminent threat” of more sophisticated cyber attacks facing the country.
In recent days the Obama administration ratcheted up the fear, warning that without this legislation the nation’s security is at risk, vulnerable to a far-reaching cyber attack, a sentiment echoed throughout this week’s debate in the Senate.
“We don’t want a cyber 9/11,” Sen. Barbara Mikulski, D-Md., said, “right now, our adversaries are watching us. We’re debating, protecting America from cyber attacks, and it looks like we’re doing nothing, that when all is said and done, more gets said than gets done. Our adversaries don’t have to spy at us. They can just look at the senate floor and say ‘what the heck are they doing’?”’ Source
Here’s another example from a year ago:
“Cofer Black, veteran
CIA spook and former vice chairman of the mercenary outfit Blackwater, sees
parallels between the terrorism threat that emerged before the September 11
attacks nearly ten years ago and the emerging cyber threat we supposedly
confront now, according to Reuters.
Black worked nearly 30 years for the Directorate of Operations at the CIA, now known as the National Clandestine Service. As former CIA employee John Stockwell noted, the unit has “engineered covert action operations in virtually every corner of the globe,” resulting in violent coups and countless people killed. In 2007, it was revealed that more than 50 percent of the National Clandestine Service has been outsourced to private firms.
Black mounted the stage at a Black Hat conference in Las Vegas to make his prediction. “Your world, which everyone thought was college pranks … has morphed into physical destruction,” he told the nearly 6,000 hackers and security professionals at the conference, reports the Wall Street Journal. “Guess what: It is your turn whether you know it or not.”
Black’s comments fall on the heels of a suggestion by former CIA and NSA boss Michael Hayden that a “digital Blackwater” may be required to combat the threat of cyber terrorism.
“We may come to a point where defense is more actively and aggressively defined even for the private sector and what is permitted there is something that we would never let the private sector do in physical space,” Hayden said. “Let me really throw out a bumper sticker for you: how about a digital Blackwater?
Cofer Black also said the cave-dwelling terror group al-Qaeda will go cyber. “They will enter the cyber world because it’s comparatively remote, comparatively safer than strapping on a bomb,” he said.
Get the Picture?
These bastards are twitching at the trigger to pull off the next stage, however they do it. I still maintain that like a boxer they’ll continue to use a combination of fear-inducing events to keep everyone on their heels, much like the 9/11 buildup with supposed al CIAda bombings of embassies and ships and whatnot, similar to the American shooting set ups going on now.
It apparently works pretty well with an apathetic, drugged down populace.
But we’re on to them. A real lot of people are on to them. And it makes a damn difference.
Never Forget That –
Love Does Rule
Here I go again, but our conscious awareness of what these f-ers are up to is extremely powerful. The more we inform, the more we empower. The more we empower, the more they in turn empower. We pass it on…..furiously.
We can lay down the meme for Truth and Love in our everyday activity and change everything!
Never, ever give up. We’re up against a non-empathetic force that knows not the power of Love and Truth.
Resist with conscious awareness, Truth and loving interaction.
We know we’ll be fine, but while we’re here our job is to help the rest.
Much love. Keep on helping.Love, Zen (Zen Gardner, 2012).
Threat Of ‘Spectacular’ Cyberattack Looms: Official
Date: November 16, 2012
Abstract: The U.S. is facing unprecedented cyber threats. And businesses and government are at risk, said Eric Rosenbach, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Cyber Policy in an interview with CNBC.
"I read my intel brief every morning at 5:30 a.m. and it's never a very good news story at all," Rosenbach said. "There are a lot more attacks, and I hate to admit it but I fear that there will be some type of spectacular attack against the United States or one of our allies before there is comprehensive legislation and real appreciation to take this seriously."
Just one month ago, Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta made headlines when he warned that the U.S. is in a "pre-9/11 moment" or a "Pearl Harbor" scenario, referring to a potential chain of cyberattacks against the country.
Rosenbach, Panetta's right-hand man on cyber-security, echoed that chilling warning ─ to prepare for a digital 9/11. (Read More: Panetta Warns of Dire Threat of Cyberattack on U.S.)
Congress failed to push the Cyber Security Act of 2012, a bill that enabled the federal government to take control of all communication capabilities—including the cybersecurity standards of water, power, and utility companies—during a cyber emergency, through the Senate in August. ( Read More: 10 Ways Companies Get Hacked )
The bill failed again on Wednesday when Democrats and Repbulicans found themselves in diagreement over the role government agencies should play when it comes to protecting businesses in cyber emergencies.
"The bill is far from perfect, but it's highly preferable to no action at all." said Rosenbach, "We have to come up with standards that help us patch some of the holes in the critical systems that we need, particularly for critical infrastructure information."
The administration has wrestled with the idea of updating cyberlaws as the tools and weapons in cyberspace have increased in numbers and grown ever more sophisticated.
The black market for cyberweapons, which can be used to attack critical infrastructure, banks, or personal networks, is growing rapidly, Rosenbach said. (Read More: SEC Left Computers Vulnerable to Cyberattacks: Sources)
"I think about the fact that you can go out there and purchase a specific type of cyberweapon and use that against the United States, and they don't even have to be a nation anymore to develop a weapon like that — those are more like the dark web pages," Rosenbach said. "I can't give a specific name, it's classified information. But if you have the weapon and you know the vulnerabilities of the U.S. infrastructure, that makes me nervous." (Read More: Cyberattacks Up Sharply, Suppliers Targeted: Lockheed )
Over the last six months, massive security breaches — such as the attack on Saudi Aramco, the world's largest oil company, and attacks against U.S. financial services companies, including PNC Financial, Wells Fargo, JPMorgan Chase, and Bank of America, — have shown that government and businesses are not prepared for such cyberattacks. (Read More: Hackers in Iran Responsible for Cyberattacks: US )"CEOs need to understand the mounting threat, consider the risk and plan accordingly," Rosenbach said. "You are naive if you are not factoring some aspects of cyberrisk into your business plan" (CNBC, 2012).
Title: U.S. Homeland Chief: Cyber 9/11 Could Happen
Date: January 24, 2013
Source: Yahoo News
Abstract: Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano warned on Thursday that a major cyber attack is a looming threat and could have the same sort of impact as last year's Superstorm Sandy, which knocked out electricity in a large swathe of the Northeast.
Napolitano said a "cyber 9/11" could happen "imminently" and that critical infrastructure - including water, electricity and gas - was very vulnerable to such a strike.
"We shouldn't wait until there is a 9/11 in the cyber world. There are things we can and should be doing right now that, if not prevent, would mitigate the extent of damage," said Napolitano, speaking at the Wilson Center think tank in Washington and referring to the September 11, 2001, attacks.
Napolitano runs the sprawling Homeland Security Department that was created 10 years ago in the aftermath of September 11 and charged with preventing another such event.
She urged Congress to pass legislation governing cyber security so the government could share information with the private sector to prevent an attack on infrastructure, much of which is privately owned.
A cyber security bill failed in Congress last year after business and privacy groups opposed it. The measure would have increased information-sharing between private companies and U.S. intelligence agencies and established voluntary standards for businesses that control power grids or water treatment plants.
Business groups said the legislation was government overreach. Privacy groups feared it might lead to Internet eavesdropping.
New cyber legislation is being considered, but it is unclear whether it will get through the gridlocked Congress.
President Barack Obama is expected to soon issue an executive order that would set up a voluntary system to help protect some critical infrastructure and offer incentives to companies that participate.
But without a new law, companies cannot be granted any kind of legal immunity for sharing information with the government and within the industry about potential threats.
Officials have pointed to recent hacking attacks on U.S. banks as a sign that the cyber threat is real and growing."The clarion call is here and we need to be dealing with this very urgently," said Napolitano. "Attacks are coming all the time. They are coming from different sources, they take different forms. But they are increasing in seriousness and sophistication" (Yahoo News, 2013).
Title: Fmr. CIA Official: Cyber War ‘More
Sinister Than Nuclear Age’
Date: February 19, 2013
Abstract: The U.S. believes that cyber warfare could begin to threaten the underpinnings of its relationship with China, New York Times journalist David Sanger told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour on Tuesday.
Sanger and two colleagues reported in the New York Times on Tuesday that a secretive unit of the People’s Liberation Army, the Chinese military, is responsible for most of the many Chinese cyber attacks on U.S. corporations and infrastructure.
“This is, diplomatically, I think one of the most complicated problems out there,” Sanger said. “The fact that your adversary would know that you could get into their systems and turn them on or off at any time – whether it was cell phones or air traffic control or whatever – might well affect your future behavior. So it doesn’t mean that they’re going to do it, or there’s out-and-out war, but it does mean that they have a capability to do this by remote control.” The New York Times reported last month that the newspaper was the victim of Chinese hackers – brought on, they believe, by a report on the finances of Prime Minister Wen Jiabao.
An internet security firm hired by the paper to investigate that attack has released a new report on Chinese hacking, and that report alleges the deep involvement of the Chinese military.
In fact, the security company, Mandiant, says that the attacks originate from a single 12-story building on the outskirts of Shanghai.
“It’s got thousands of people working in it,” Sanger said. His colleague, David Barboza visited the site, but was not allowed inside.
The Chinese government hotly denies all the allegations in the Mandiant report, calling them “baseless,” “irresponsible and unprofessional.”
“If it’s not coming from this building,” Sanger said, “then you’ve got to believe it’s coming from the noodle shops and restaurants that surround this building.”
Chad Sweet, a former CIA and Homeland Security official who now runs his own global security firm, said that the standoff between the U.S. and China envisages a bleak future.
“We’re essentially facing a new Cold War – a cyber Cold War,” he told Amanpour. “The destructive capacity is equal to that of a nuclear warhead… But what makes it more sinister than the nuclear age is that there’s no easily identifiable plume.”
In other words, it is very difficult to attribute a cyber attack to a source or exact retribution.
“The old ‘Mutually Assured Destruction’ doctrine,” he said, “is quite difficult to implement in the modern age.”
Sweet said that he did not believe China would “pull the trigger” unless its “back was up against the wall” – for example if the U.S. threatened China’s claim over Taiwan.
But just as in the Cold War, both sides are quickly building up capacity.
“On this, American hands are not clean,” Sanger said. “That is how the U.S. got into the Iranian nuclear program.”
He is referring to the Stuxnet computer virus that the U.S. launched at Iran’s nuclear centrifuges, a story he broke last year.
Sweet claimed that the Chinese and American attacks are fundamentally different, because China allegedly targets civilian infrastructure, while the U.S. targets military installations.
Because of the nature of these programs, it is impossible to verify the extent or intent of either the U.S. or China’s cyber warfare or capability.
Sanger said that during his reporting on the Stuxnet virus, he learned of a prescient Situation Room meeting early in the Obama administration.“President Obama said to some of his aides in the Situation Room several years ago,” Sanger recounted, “that he was worried that once the U.S. went down this road, other countries might use it as a pretense to launch their own attacks, presumably not with the discipline and the rules the U.S. has. Well I think that’s probably pretty much exactly what’s happened” (CNN, 2013).