“KILL SWITCH” TEST? OR SOMETHING ELSE?June 5, 2019
V.T. spotted this story: it appears that last Sunday google cloud went down. That sparked some speculation from Zero Hedge: was someone testing the alleged "internet kill switch"?
As one can tell from the screen captures that accompanied the article, the outage took down google cloud and several other sites that use it, and the outage covered a significant portion the northeastern United States, a portion of southeastern Canada, and some of western Europe.
Doubtless we'll inevitably hear that this was caused by our good old friend, the glitch ex machina, that serve-all explain-nothing "explanation" usually resorted to by the powers that be to pretend like they're not alarmed, and have everything under control. Zero Hedge, however, is at least raising the issue, and it's the same issue I and others have been trying to warn people about: cyber systems simply are not secure; with enough expertise and know-how, they can be hacked.
What concerns me here is a very different question, and that's the assumption that is implicit in the title of the Zero Hedge article: "Did the government just test the internet kill switch?" But why need it be the US government? Virtually any government might sponsor cyber-warfare, and Russia and China are known to have large contingents of cyber-warfare experts in their intelligence "communities," and one may make a fair assumption that most other major powers do too. Nor should one rule out the possibility that major corporations and other extra-territorial and non-state actors are doing this type of work as well. This leads me to my next point and high octane speculation of the day:
I've entertained the idea in previous such "hacking events" that someone appeared to be reconnoitering the architecture of the internet, learning gateways, crucial nodal points, network connections, and so on, and that's the impression I get from this story. Almost any entity with a commercial or national security interest would be interested in known as much as possible about the exact structure and architecture of the internet, particularly is it was developing cyber warfare and counter-warfare capabilities; maximizing damage to a potential opponent, and minimizing blowback damage to oneself, would be a necessity of such a program, and that, in turn, would necessitate events such as this. Nor would this activity be limited merely to the standard image of cyber-warfare of a team of computer geeks sitting in front of their monitors, typing and wreaking chaos. Internet architecture includes the hardware: the cables, gateway computers, satellites, and so on. In this respect, I've speculated that the attacks on internet cable both in the San Francisco-Bay area, and in Arizona, a couple of years ago, may also have been a part of this effort.
All of this makes me suspect that it is not the US government testing things. And there's a final, all-important reason that I suspect one should cast suspicion on other actors: the up-coming JEDI contract. Last week I blogged about this important but little-talked about subject: the US military in effect wants to move a significant amount of its data and command-control functions to "the cloud." The contract will be worth billions to whomever is awarded it. But this recent attack on the googlecloud only exposes the vulnerabilty of cyber systems, the very last thing that one would think the US military would want to expose right now. Of course, it is possible that some such test of security was being conducted, but again, it would seem to defeat the purpose.
So, I'm left with yet another data-point in my (admittedly "out there") speculation that someone appears to be reconnoitering the architecture of the internet; literally creating a map of the structure.
The real question is who, and for what ultimate purpose?
That I'll leave up to you.
See you on the flip side...