User Answers

STEPPING UP CYBER WARFARE: THE AGE OF THE CYBER FALSE FLAG

This has been an unusual week for articles, especially on the subject of cyber warfare, for a number of people sent me articles about different cyber-warfare attacks. What I want to do today is to bring them to your attention, along with some (very) high octane speculation.

First, Mr. J.S. sent along this article about Chinese cyber attacks on American naval vessels (USS Fitzgerald, anyone?):

US ships targeted by Chinese cyber attackers, report alleges

And of course, no week should go by without a story about the Russians meddling in... well, just about everything, this time, in American power grids, according to this story shared by Mr. S.D.:

In a first, U.S. blames Russia for cyber attacks on energy grid

That story sort of reminds me about the speculation I advanced in my book The Third Way, about the French mole inside the KGB's technical acquisitions division, the "Farewell" case, as the French security services codenamed their mole. In that book I advanced the hypothesis that the gas pipeline explosion that occurred in the Soviet Union was caused by software that had been modified, and then dangled in front of the KGB to steal, with disastrous results.

Then there was this story about petroleum safety systems in Saudi Arabia being hacked(shared by Mr. H.B.):

A Cyberattack in Saudi Arabia Had a Deadly Goal. Experts Fear Another Try.

There's an adage that says something to the effect that "two is a coincidence, three is a pattern." And if that be true, then what we're looking at is a pattern of increased cyber-warfare taking place, and given the distribution of these stories geographically, the pattern appears to be global. Now, I for one have no doubt at all that pretty much any nation in the top tier of economic powers in the world is spying on its "allies," and may be involved in more aggressive types of electronic and cyber warfare. Consider only the story about the USA listening in to Mad Madam Merkel's phone calls, which means probably that they're listening in to everyone else's, and vice versa. There have even been stories lately about the entire planet's openness to "hackability" from extra-terrestrials. We'll get back to that in a moment, or at least, get back to a more generalized speculation.

What also caught my eye in these articles, however, was yet another pattern, and that pattern is what is fueling today's high octane speculation. What I noticed in these stories, and if one thinks about it, pretty much every story on hacking lately (including those corporate hacks of the past few years), is the paucity of information and evidence to substantiate the claims being made. And that gives me concern, for in a climate where fewer and fewer people trust their respective governments, why should such stories be believed? After all, they've lied about everything from the murder of President Kennedy to there being weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. So my advice to the power elites: drain the swamp you've created, and restore some earned trust, before we take you seriously.

But I do propose to take these stories seriously, just for the sake of my high octane speculation. Suppose, for a moment, that one wanted to ratchet up tensions all over the world, and suppose one was not any of the aforementioned major economic powers. Suppose, in fact, that one were not a nation-state in any conventional sense of the word at all, but rather, a kind of extra-territorial entity, like a major multi-national corporation, a rogue group like Anonymous (and admittedly, the distinction between rogue groups and some major multi-nationals is becoming fuzzier), or any group with highly polished cyber expertise, and the technology to back it up. Such a group might be able to hack into some nation's systems, and make it look like some other party was responsible. In short, one might be looking at a cyber-version of the classic false flag. And of course, nothing is to prevent those nation-states with such capabilities from doing the same thing: launching cyber attacks on a target nation, and making it look like some other nation was behind it. Indeed, one can imagine such cyber-attacks on one's own nation by one's nation, with the blame being shifted elsewhere.

However one parses this speculation, it adds up to two things: an increase in such activity, and an increase of confusion on who is doing what to whom, unless some meatier details are provided.

See you on the flip side...

11 thoughts on “STEPPING UP CYBER WARFARE: THE AGE OF THE CYBER FALSE FLAG”

  1. Let’s not forget that Uber amounts of stolen Cryptos have been funding the Hacker community. Hence, my educated guess that it is more profitable to be a hacker now, then in any time previous.. Therefore, their numbers have grown.. So, a Non State Entity can field an army of hackers w/ anonymity and ease.

  2. Adding to your above list of potential cyber-attacks, there was a mysterious ‘run-away’ of a turbine at a Russian power plant in 2009 that might have been initiated by a version of StuxNet. Were there any Siemens controllers at the facility?

    “The 2009 Sayano–Shushenskaya hydroelectric power station accident occurred… when turbine 2 of the Sayano–Shushenskaya hydroelectric power station near Sayanogorsk in Khakassia, Russia, broke apart violently. The turbine hall and engine room were flooded, the ceiling of the turbine hall collapsed, 9 of 10 turbines were damaged or destroyed, and 75 people were killed. The entire plant output, totaling 6,400 MW and a significant portion of the supply to the local electric grid, was lost, leading to widespread power failure in the local area, and forcing major users such as aluminium smelters to switch to diesel generators.” (Wikipedia)

    Major article:
    http://www.powermag.com/investigating-the-sayano-shushenskaya-hydro-power-plant-disaster/

    I think that the PTB have a fear-o-meter. When the grazing sheeple have lowered fear levels, they raise their heads and begin to look around. Dangerous. So, the PTB generate some incident (cyber or physical) to raise the fear level and get the sheeple moving-along into the chute…

  3. With the Saudi Arabia attack could some Houti from Yemen be behind that one. As for the other cyber attacks what the saying if you can’t do the time don’t do the crime.

  4. Are there any peoples’ champions in this cyber warfare?
    Are all they all factions outside the nation-state paradigm?nation-state players in a battle against the non-state actors.
    Is there any public power factions within the mix?
    Are is just a bunch of private concerns cyber rattling w/each other for a bigger slice of the global public pie?

  5. It’s rather humorous, you have basically described a particular tribe, who believe they are destined to rule the universe. They are backed by the richest families on the planet and don’t seem to care who they attack as long as it fits their agenda. Their most common tactic is blaming everyone else for the crimes of which they are guilty. They have been a pox on humanity their entire existence. They are most definitely “extra territorial”, lack any morals, and have no empathy for anyone other than themselves. But then, we are not allowed to even think, let alone discuss such possibilities.

  6. Keep in mind that a possible contributing factor to “the paucity of information and evidence” presented in those article is the fact the current generation of journalists are the flag bearers for the increasing ranks of the “literate ignorants”
    Couple the shallowness of their training to intellectual laziness to the increasing complexity of technologies involved in cyber warfare to the corporate exigencies for expidiency, rapido presto, one has news devoid of substance.

  7. If one reads IT Security blogs and forums, there are very definitely ways of determining patterns and origins of cyber attacks; the problem is that these discussions and analyses tend to speak in opaque jargon specific to the field so interpretation is a challenge for the outsider.

    Spoofing, identity theft, distributed denial of service, etc. attacks are the bread and butter of the IT Security world… many people who work in IT security are also hackers. A few IT “geeks” that I have known personally have indicated it is relatively easy to learn to hack.

    What does all this mean? “False flags”. i.e. false attribution attacks have been going on since the beginning of the internet by all sorts of players from thieves to spies… the fact that the internet’s structural “robustness” is built from a widely distributed network of multiple nodes means it’s a medium which is almost tailor made for these type of activities.

  8. Along with the excuse of the Russians did it, cyber-attacks are the new “my dog ate my homework.”

    And, following the Zio/pinko Alinsky playbook, you can blame your enemies for your own incompetence! Win-win all around, what’s a sociopath not to like?

    1. The big ones often square,
      hello she quipped, briefly
      Facebook, Ahah! Stocks are liquid,
      Centrifugal neediness; Plato comes home!!

      See? I can do it too!

Comments are closed.