RUSSIA, CHINA, NORTH KOREA AND ISLAMIC NATIONS PREPARE TO ATTACK AMERICA!!!!!!!!!!
I HAVE BEEN WARNING OF THE DANGER AND OF THE FOOLS RUNNING OUR COUNTRY IGNORING THE SHANGHAI COOPERATION WHICH OS A TREATY IN WHICH ALL NATIONS AGREE TO WORK TOGETHER IN NEXT WAR AGAINST AMERICA!
This includes North Korea, Iran as well as all Islamic countries with Russia and Chins!
HOW CAN YOU IGNORE AND ENTER BUSINESS WITH PEOPLE WHO OPENLY STATE THEY WANT TO DESTROY YOUR LAND SND KILL YOUR PEOPLE EVEN WHEN YOU WATCH THEM WORK TOWARD THAT END!
THE LIBERAL ANTI AMERICAN LEFT CAN!!
To attack a nation you evaluate their defenses and design or plan a way to defeat them in order to get to the people on the land.
In case of America God provided a natural barrier to allow time for us getting the Gospel out to the world. That time has come to an end. The agents of our enemies on the left have elected and protected an enemy agent as president who has put policy in place to prevent the gospel from leaving our shores.
Immigration policy makes it easy for any one of the enemies belief to enter while preventing Americans from escaping or leaving to another place. Obama has isolated our Protestant faith to America as the anti God world plans to attack!
Now policy has been completed. Our military secrets have been provided to our enemies by the left making it possible to design systems to take out our defenses.
First! China developed a way to destroy our eyes or satellites. Russia and China announce they are preparing to take them out!
Second! Is our defenses preventing any approaching military. The sea provided a large area to detect and stop an enemy. With the plans provided Russia developed a system that turns our ships and aircraft off! Rendering them useless at defending themselves much less our country or troops abroad. This was tested a few days ago when a Russian ship turned an American ship off, rendering it and all its systems useless against an attack.
Now if we do not want to send our people to a senseless death we should bring them home and use the ship as a sandbag to hide behind!
(They have managed to get to our beaches around America. They have bases in Mexico and are prepared to invade but last is our internal systems.)
Last before they invade is all our communication and defense systems in our country as well as support for food and water as well as medical supplies. Working with Islamic nations and the left bringing in groups to prepare for the attack. They announce they can now shut down all and I mean all systems within our nation!
China and Russia are planning to take down US military satellites with missiles, spacecraft and lasers, Air Force general warns
A U.S Air Force general has claimed countries such as China and Russia are planning to shoot down American military satellites with missiles, spacecraft and even lasers.
General John Hyten, head of Air Force Space Command made the comments while pleading with Congress to increase spending to protect military satellites.
He told the house Armed Service strategic sub -committee that foreign states want to curb American space systems and the threat posed to them had now reached tipping point.
According to the Free Beacon, General Hyten said: ‘Adversaries are developing kinetic, directed-energy, and cyber tools to deny, degrade, and destroy our space capabilities.
‘They understand our reliance on space, and they understand the competitive advantage we derive from space. The need for vigilance has never been greater.’
The four-star general also added that a new military command centre was monitoring threats to satellites posed by missile launches, covert killer robot satellites and ground-fired lasers that can destroy objects in space.
Lieutenant General David Buck, who testified alongside General Hyten then confirmed that China and Russia pose the most serious threat to space systems.
Their comments came as Douglas Loverro, outlined U.S. plans to deter future attacks.
DEFENSE SHIPS AND AIRCRAFT
Is this why Keshe Was Poisoned?
[Editorial note: We are told the story is a month old. If any of this is true, then this is a huge issue, not just the lack of follow up but the lack of follow up itself.
For those of you who have never heard of a magrav, and that includes the scientific community, an Iranian scientist with very unconventional views, is being credited with supplying the technology that did what some day could not be done. We interviewed him about this assertion.
Adamus had met with Keshe and the head of our energy program, Jim Hanke along with Mike Harris, has been investigating. I talk with the guy, he is not unreasonable but then again, I am a simple blogger and not a rocket scientist although I do employ rocket scientists or, more appropriately, work “with” them.
There is much more we can write here but suffice it to say that Keshe and his wife were poisoned. Seemingly he has the technology to overcome even that. We do know governments have banned him but are also secretly examining everything he works on. Some of the defense implications projects he has made “open source” were perhaps unseen by him, not by me… Gordon Duff ]
Russian Sukhoi Su -24 with the newest jamming complex paralyzed in the Black Sea the most modern American combat management system “Aegis” installed on the destroyer “USS Donald Cook”. Pavel Zolotarev, Deputy Director, Institute of USA and Canada, shares details about this version which is being actively discussed in the Russian media and by bloggers.
US destroyer “Donald Cook” with cruise missiles “Tomahawk” entered the neutral waters of the Black Sea on April 10. The purpose was a demonstration of force and intimidation in connection with the position of Russia in Ukraine and Crimea. The appearance of American warships in these waters is in contradiction of the Montreux Convention about the nature and duration of stay in the Black Sea by the military ships of countries not washed by this sea.
In response, Russia sent an unarmed bomber Su- 24 to fly around the U.S. destroyer. However, experts say that this plane was equipped with the latest Russian electronic warfare complex. According to this version, “Aegis” spotted from afar the approaching aircraft, and sounded alarm. Everything went normally, American radars calculated the speed of the approaching target. And suddenly all the screens went blank. “Aegis” was not working any more, and the rockets could not get target information. Meanwhile, Su-24 flew over the deck of the destroyer, did battle turn and simulated missile attack on the target. Then it turned and repeated the maneuver. And did so 12 times.
Apparently, all efforts to revive the “Aegis” and provide target information for the defence failed. Russia’s reaction to military pressure from the United States was profoundly calm, feels the Russian political scientist Pavel Zolotarev:
The demonstration was original enough. A bomber without any weapons, but having onboard equipment for jamming enemy radar, worked against a destroyer equipped with “Aegis”, the most modern system of air and missile defence. But this system of mobile location, in this case the ship, has a significant drawback. That is, the target tracking capabilities.
They work well when there is a number of these ships which can coordinate with each other somehow. In this case there was just one destroyer. And, apparently, the algorithm of the radar in the “Aegis” system on the destroyer did not load under the influence of jamming by the Su-24. It was therefore not only a nervous reaction to the fact of flying around by the Russin bomber which was common practice during the Cold War.
The reaction of the Americans was due to the fact that most modern system, especially its informative or radar part, did not work adequately. Therefore, there was such a nervous reaction to the whole episode.
After the incident, the foreign media reported that “Donald Cook” was rushed into a port in Romania. There all the 27 members of the crew filed a letter of resignation. It seems that all 27 people have written that they are not going to risk their lives. This is indirectly confirmed by the Pentagon statement according to which the action demoralized the crew of the American ship.
What are the possible consequences of the incident provoked by the U.S. in the Black Sea? Pavel Zolotarev forecasts:
I think that Americans are somehow going to reflect on improving the system “Aegis”. This is a purely military aspect. In political terms, there is hardly any likelihood of demonstrative steps by either side. That is enough. Meanwhile, for Americans it is a very unpleasant moment. In general, the missile defence system which they deploy involves huge expenditures.
They have to prove each time that it is necessary to allocate funds from the budget. At the same time, the ground component of the ABM was tested in ideal conditions and showed a low efficiency. This fact is concealed by the Pentagon. The most modern component, the sea-based system “Aegis” also showed its shortcomings in the present case.
The system with which the Russian Su-24 shocked the American destroyer “Donald Cook” has the code name “Khibiny”. This is the name of the mountain range on the Kola Peninsula in the Arctic Circle. “Khibiny” is the newest complex for radioelectronic jamming of the enemy. They will be installed on all the advanced Russian planes .
Recently the complex has undergone regular testing exercises on the ground in Buryatia. Apparently, the tests which were conducted under conditions as close to real as possible, were successful.
Russian Jamming System Blocks All NATO Electronics Inside Bubble 600 Km in Diameter over Syria
This latest revelation follows the earlier report of the Russian cruiser mounted S-300 missile defense system deployed in the shore of Latakia. Both of these systems amount to what NATO’s supreme commander General Philip Breedlove described as the Russian A2/AD (anti-access/area denial) bubble in Syria.
(Update October 26, 2015: Russia overrides Middle East Cyber waves)
By Webster Tarpley
New Russian Jamming System Near Latakia Blocks All NATO Electronics Inside Bubble 600 Km in Diameter; Radar, Satellites, Communications All Disrupted; System Shifts Military Balance in Favor of Russia
A series of ominous developments over recent days, suggests that the neocon war party and its allies among the humanitarian bombers is gaining power over the US government, and is increasingly pushing President Obama aside.
When asked at a public appearance about whether US boots on the ground would be needed in Syria, Secretary Of State John Kerry replied: “Will we need to put enablers on the ground? I think so. The president hasn’t made the decision yet.”
On the same day, under tremendous pressure from utopian Secretary Of Defense Ashton Carter, Obama conceded a virtually open-ended commitment of US forces in Afghanistan. These developments come in the wake of earlier bellicose outbursts by both Carter and Kerry. And at the United Nations, humanitarian bomber Samantha Power has violated all norms of diplomatic decency by refusing to join in condemning the shelling of the Russian Embassy in Damascus in the midst of a pro-Putin and pro-Assad demonstration as an act of terrorism — obviously, out of concern for the tender sensibilities of the terrorist groups supported by the CIA.
From the combat zone in northern Syria comes news of the deployment of a new Russian electronic jamming system which can reportedly blind radar, disrupt electronic guidance systems, and interfere with satellite imagery as well. As a result, NATO is effectively blinded inside a bubble of 600 km in diameter centered on the Russian base at Latakia, reports, Thierry Meyssan from Damascus.
Russian Secret Weapon Deployed in Syria
The technology in question seems similar to the KRET Richag-AV system, although it apparently functions on a larger scale. A tactical version of this system was presented to journalists in the Russian city of Back in April 2015. As Sputnik reported then:
“The Richag-AV system, mounted on the Mi-8MTPR1 (a variant of the Mi-8MTB5-1 helicopter) is said to have no global equivalent. Its electronic countermeasures system is designed to jam radar, sonar and other detection systems in the aims of defending aircraft, helicopters, drones, ground and naval forces against air-to-air and surface-to-air defense systems within a radius of several hundred kilometers. It can be mounted on units from any branch of the armed forces, including helicopters and airplanes, as well as ground and ship-based forces. The Mi8-MTPR1-based Richag-AV platform, using multi-beam antenna arrays with DRFM technology, is designed to actively jam and thus ‘blind’ radar systems in order to defend against radio-electronic guided weapons systems. In a combat situation, the system would operate as part of an aviation shock attack group aimed at breaking through virtually any defense system, blinding everything up to and including the US MIM-104 ‘Patriot’ anti-aircraft missile system.”[i]
NATO supreme commander and US Air Force General Philip Breedlove was probably talking about this new KRET system when he addressed the German Marshall Fund on Monday, September 28. Here Breedlove had warned that Russia was creating an “A2/AD bubble” over the Syrian coast, and the eastern Mediterranean. A2/AD is the abbreviation for anti-access and area denial. Breedlove pointed out that Russia has already established such bubbles over the Baltic Sea at the Russian exclave of Kaliningrad, and also over the Crimea and the black Sea.
‘While Russia’s stated goal in moving into Syria is to fight the Islamic State, NATO’s top commander believes Russia’s new presence includes the first pieces of an intricate layer of defensive systems deployed to hinder U.S. and coalition operations in the region. “As we see the very capable air defense [systems] beginning to show up in Syria, we’re a little worried about another A2/AD bubble being created in the eastern Mediterranean,” said Breedlove to an audience at the German Marshall Fund Monday. A2/AD stands for anti-access/area denial. During the early stages of warfare, A2/AD could have been a moat around a castle, or spikes dug into the ground—anything to keep the enemy off a certain swathe of territory. In the 21st century, however, A2/AD is a combination of systems such as surface-to-air missile batteries and anti-ship missiles deployed to prevent forces from entering or traversing a certain area—from land, air or sea. According to Breedlove, the introduction of an A2/AD bubble in Syria would be Russia’s third denial zone around Europe. The first and oldest he said, was in the Baltics where the Russian naval base in Kaliningrad has robust anti-air capabilities. The second zone—originating from Russian-occupied Crimea—covers the Black Sea. “Russia has developed a very strong A2/AD capability in the Black Sea,” said Breedlove. “Essentially their [anti-ship] cruise missiles range the entire Black Sea, and their air defense missiles range about 40 to 50 percent of the Black Sea.”
In addition, the Russian military had provided a demonstration of their ability to blind even the sophisticated Aegis phased array radar, which is part of the equipment of modern US cruisers and destroyers. This incident came during the Crimean crisis of spring 2014, when the US sent a destroyer into the Black Sea. This ship was repeatedly buzzed up by a Russian Sukhoi-24 jet fighter, which was able to cripple the radar guidance the systems of the vessel. Here is a summary of the incident from Live Leak:
“The US destroyer USS Donald Cook, equipped with Tomahawk cruise missiles entered the neutral waters of the Black Sea on April 10, 2014. The purpose was a demonstration of force and intimidation in connection with the position of Russia in Ukraine and Crimea. The appearance of American warships in these waters is in contradiction of the Montreux Convention about the nature and duration of stay in the Black Sea by the military ships of countries not washed by this sea. In response, Russia sent an unarmed bomber Su- 24 to fly around the U.S. destroyer. However, experts say that this plane was equipped with the latest Russian electronic warfare complex. According to this version, Aegis spotted from afar the approaching aircraft, and sounded alarm. Everything went normally, and the American radars calculated the speed of the approaching target. But suddenly all the screens went blank. Aegis was not working any more, and the rockets could not get target information. Meanwhile, Su-24 flew over the deck of the destroyer, did battle turn and simulated a missile attack on the target. Then it turned and repeated the maneuver. And did so 12 times.”[iii]
Russian SU-24 fighter: blinded Aegis radar on US destroyer in Black Sea, knocked out guidance for Tomahawk cruise missiles.
US Aegis destroyer firing cruise missile: shut down by new Russian jamming system
These developments only add to the urgency of a purge of the Obama cabinet, starting with Ashton Carter and John Kerry. In order to retain his authority, Obama needs to carry out some high profile firings, with special emphasis on warmonger officials who have insisted on going off the reservation. Obama would also be well advised to cancel the Trident Juncture ’15 NATO exercise in the Atlantic and the Mediterranean. This drill presents too much danger of collisions between NATO and Russian forces and should not be held. Beware above all a flight forward by crazed neocons.
INTERNAL SYSTEMS IN AMERICA!
We have heard leaks which have been covered up by this administration to protect their policy by preventing people from becoming aware of the approaching danger. Islamic spies taking pictures, and doing different things at everything from power plants to water pumping stations and even train and vehicle choke points in preparing for some attack that is quickly dismissed by the left.
Now the Islamic nations or Persia who loves to boost of their abilities states that they now have ability to shut down every electronic system in America.
This means when an attack comes we may not know for the first day or so! Until word teaches us! The possibility is that most families will be hungry and thirsty about the time they hear our nation is under attack. That is if they can not see the smoke rising from a city.
IRAN HAD BUILT AN ARMY OF CYBE-PROXIES TO MAKE POSSIBLE AN ATTACK ON AMERICA AND ISRAEL!!!!
The long-term threat of cyber-warfare is something many Westerners prefer to ignore. But America’s enemies are working overtime, and the biggest threat is not China.
Katherine Archuleta, the now ex-director of the U.S. government’s Office of Personnel Management (OPM), probably never expected that she would have to resign after only two years of service. Insisting that she was “as angry as anyone” about the recent hack of OPM’s computer system, which according to ABC “potentially exposed the personal information of tens of millions of people,” she crusaded valiantly for her job despite opposition from Republicans and Democrats alike. The cyber-attack that so angered Archuleta and members of Congress was subsequently attributed to China by Director of National Intelligence James Clapper. If he is correct, the OPM hack is the latest in a long list of Chinese cyber-attacks. They started in 2009 with the successful hack of U.S. military contractors’ computers, which was undertaken in order to steal the plans for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter. They moved on to leading energy companies such as Marathon Oil, ExxonMobil, and ConocoPhillips. Then came a campaign against large media outlets like The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times.
China is not alone in using cyber-attacks against the United States. Iran has been linked to attacks against billionaire casino tycoon Sheldon Adelson’s Las Vegas Sands Corp. Numerous banking institutions, including Bank of America, Citigroup, Wells Fargo, U.S. Bancorp, PNC, Capital One, Fifth Third Bank, BB&T, and HSBC have also been victims. In addition, Iran has attacked Saudi Aramco, Saudi Arabia’s national petroleum and natural gas company.
But while the U.S. and the rest of the world have concentrated on the illicit cyber-activities of expansionist regimes like China and rogue states like Iran and North Korea, there is a small but growing list of private cyber-actors—often supported by the aforementioned regimes—that has been largely ignored.
When it comes to supporting these private cyber-actors, Iran is the worst offender. And the longer we wait, the more powerful they will grow.
While groups like the Chinese military’s PLA Unit 61398 are directly managed by nation-states, private actors are more difficult to combat. They cannot be held directly accountable or controlled in the same ways as state actors. Nor are they monitored properly by the nations and groups they target.
When it comes to supporting these private cyber-actors, Iran appears to be one of the worst offenders. And this support could have terrible consequences. Since Iran may not have direct control over its cyber-proxies, it is possible for its leaders to deny or obfuscate responsibility for their actions, as it does with the terrorist acts of Hezbollah, Hamas, and the Houthis. But cyber-proxies are, in the long run, a major threat to the West. And the longer we wait, the more powerful they will grow.
Iran’s cyber-breakout was fast and sudden. Within the last few years, Iran has managed to build a cyber-capability that rivals the United States, China, Russia, the United Kingdom, and Israel, who are the most dominant actors in cyberspace. According to intelligence documents released by Edward Snowden in 2013, Iran has been ramping up its surveillance of the United States government. One of these documents, written by Gen. Keith Alexander, former director of the National Security Agency, describes the threat as serious enough for the U.S. to request Britain’s assistance in containing the damage from “Iran’s discovery of computer network exploitation tools”—a technical term for cyber-weapons.
Iran’s rapid development of its cyber-capabilities stems from the fact that it had an excellent, if inadvertent, teacher named Stuxnet. Stuxnet was a virus allegedly developed in 2007 by the United States and Israel. It was part of Operation Olympic Games, which sought to sabotage Iran’s nuclear weapons program. In another document leaked by Snowden, the NSA stated that Iran “has demonstrated a clear ability to learn from the capabilities and actions of others,” including from “Western attacks against Iran’s nuclear sector.” In other words, Stuxnet taught Iran how to use cyberspace to its advantage.
Ever since then, Iran has invested heavily in developing its own cyber-capability. It has done so in order to protect against threats like Stuxnet and execute attacks of its own. The U.S. Army’s Strategic Studies Institute chronicled the rise of the Iranian cyber force last year:
In late-2011, Iran invested at least $1 billion dollars in cyber technology, infrastructure, and expertise. In March 2012, the IRGC [the elite Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps] claimed it had recruited around 120,000 personnel over the past three years to combat “a soft cyber war against Iran.” In early-2013, an IRGC general publically claimed Iran had the “fourth biggest cyber power among the world’s cyber armies.”
The latter claim has been substantiated by an Israel-based think tank, the Institute for National Security Studies, in its report on the matter.
The relatively inexpensive nature of computers and the wealth of students who are easily trainable in the arts of cyber-warfare have made cyber-capability increasingly attractive to rogue regimes like Iran. In contrast to the Iranian nuclear program, which has drawn the attention of world powers and forced Iran to negotiate with the United States in order to gain relief from heavy sanctions, Iran’s cyber-force draws much less attention and cannot be monitored as easily as a nuclear program. Worse still, it seems that Iran’s surreptitious development of its cyber-capabilities will only expand. Ian Bremmer, president of the global consulting firm Eurasia Group and editor-at-large at Time magazine, recently tweeted, “In 10 years’ time, Iran’s cyber capabilities will be more troubling than its nuclear program.”
Iran is adept at building terrorist and other illicit networks around the world. Its cyber-capabilities are no different. It uses the inexpensive method of training and collaborating with proxies in the art of cyber-war. It may also have collaborated with North Korea, which infamously attacked Sony in response to the film The Interview. It is possible that Iran assisted North Korea in developing the cyber-capability necessary to carry out the Sony hack. While acknowledging that there is no definite proof of this, Claudia Rosett of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies raised the question in The Tower earlier this year.
More importantly, Iran is sponsoring the cyber-capabilities of terrorist organizations in Lebanon, Yemen, and Syria. The first indication of this was from Hezbollah. The group’s cyber-activity came to the attention of the U.S. in early 2008, and it has only become more powerful in cyberspace since then. An attack that had “all the markings” of a campaign orchestrated by Hezbollah was carried out against Israeli businesses in 2012.
Lebanon’s neighbor, Syria, is home to the Syrian Electronic Army (SEA), which employs cyber-warfare in support of the Assad regime. There are rumors that indicate it is trained and financed by Iran. The SEA’s mission is to embarrass media organizations in the West that publicize the atrocities of the Assad regime, as well as track down and monitor the activities of Syrian rebels. It has been very successful at both. The SEA has attacked media outlets such as The Washington Post, the Chicago Tribune, the Financial Times, Forbes, and others. It has also hacked the software of companies like Dell, Microsoft, Ferrari, and even the humanitarian program UNICEF
The group has carried out its most devastating cyber-attacks against the Syrian opposition, often using the anonymity of online platforms to its advantage. For example, its hackers pose as girlsin order to lure opposition fighters into giving up seemingly harmless information that can lead to lethal crackdowns. The SEA’s sophisticated use of cyberspace developed in a very short time, and it is reasonable to infer that this was due to Iranian training. Iran has long supported the ruling Assad regime in Syria and would be happy to support those who support him.
In recent months, a group called the Yemen Cyber Army (YCA) has arisen, hacking into systems that belong to Saudi Arabia. The YCA supports the Houthi militia, which is fighting the Yemenite government and the Saudis; the Houthis are, in turn, supported by Iran. Thus far, the YCA has attacked Saudi Arabia’s Foreign, Interior, and Defense Ministries. They have also hacked the website of the Saudi-owned newspaper Al-Hayat. Messages from the group indicate that they are sponsored by Iran, and might even be entirely composed of Iranians.
Like a computer virus that starts small but steadily grows and mutates undetected, becoming deadly to the system it infects, Iran has managed to expand its cyber-presence across the Middle East. And like a virus, Iran’s mutated cyber-capabilities are as dangerous as the original.
In the first place, there is a fundamental problem with the way Iran is handling its cyber-influence. In empowering proxies with cyber-capability, it is employing a method very close to a foreign policy tactic called “orchestration.” Kenneth Abbot, a Jack E. Brown Professor of Law at Arizona State University, explains that orchestration is
A mode of governance widely used by intergovernmental organizations (IGOs) and other governance actors. … IGOs engage in orchestration when they enlist intermediary actors on a voluntary basis, by providing them with ideational and material support, to address target actors in pursuit of … governance goals. Orchestration is thus both indirect (because the IGO acts through intermediaries) and soft (because the IGO lacks control over intermediaries).
Although Iran’s use of proxies is not an exact replica of orchestration because the proxies are not intermediaries, the point is that Iran’s approach is indirect and soft, so as to give Iran plausible deniability of involvement.
While Iran’s approach is soft, the effects of Iran’s proxies on cyberspace are anything but. And these proxies could be as dangerous as their sponsor. Since orchestration is an entirely voluntary and soft method of governance, one of the few measures Iran can use to ensure obedience is the threat to cut off technical support. But as actors like the SEA and the YCA grow stronger and more sophisticated, they lose the need to rely on Iran. As a result, the orchestration-like relationship may dissolve over time while the danger remains.
The United States and the West would also find it difficult to control these proxies, especially using the means they have employed to control Iran. Non-state actors do not have an “address.” They are spread across countries and jurisdictions, making them hard to target or sanction. Such sanctions would also be less effective, since private cyber-actors have fewer assets than a state actor. For example, the U.S. State Department would be unable to freeze their assets, because there would little or no assets to freeze. As a result of this, private cyber-actors could prove impossible to contain or suppress by conventional means.
For the most part, the United States and its allies do not see these private cyber-actors as a real threat, certainly not on the level of nation-states like Iran, China, Russia, and North Korea. One reason appears to be that attacks from states like China are part of a global strategy, while proxies like those employed by Iran concentrate on local areas. A perfect example would be the case of the SEA, whose primary role is to stifle internal dissent. Even if cyber-actors like the SEA are able to reach beyond their borders and attack regional allies or the U.S. itself—as was the case with the SEA’s attacks on American news organizations like the Associated Press, The New York Times, CNN, and even The Onion—the Obama administration tends to see these attacks as unsophisticated and “clearly a nuisance” rather than a serious threat.
But this ignores a problem that could turn deadly in certain circumstances. The idea that private cyber-actors are not a threat because they tend to be “local” in nature not only ignores the danger as “not our problem,” but also ignores the fact that it could very quickly become our problem. Illicit cyber-activity in the Middle East causes instability, which harms U.S. interests. If the U.S. is drawn into a fight directly or through groups like the Syrian rebels, it could see itself devastated by attacks against its cyber-infrastructure, either at home or abroad. In addition, nations like China also use their cyber-capabilities to quell internal dissent. Yet China uses the same capabilities to strike the U.S. The two are not mutually exclusive.
Clearly, “local” problems can easily become international problems. The SEA, for example, has grown sophisticated enough to hack into the U.S. Army’s public website, a move on par with ISIS’s penetration of the U.S. Army’s CENTCOM Twitter page. Even the SEA’s earlier overseas attacks had some teeth. A hack of The Washington Post caused the stock market to tip downwards, because a fake post claimed that President Obama had been “injured” in an attack. All of this is more than just a “nuisance.”
The historical record also proves that the “nuisance” argument often turns out badly. President George W. Bush ignored al-Qaeda for this very reason. Before 9/11, Bush was more concerned with Iran, Iraq, and North Korea than with the issue of non-state terror, as his former counterterrorism chief has confirmed. Another more recent example is ISIS, which was once a small group of terrorists to which the U.S. paid little attention.
The threat of private cyber actors is even more pressing because, if not handled properly, they could set off a major war with little effort. With the pro-Houthi YCA attacking Saudi Arabia with impunity and the increasing likelihood that Israel and Hezbollah will go to war very soon, it wouldn’t take much to set off a conflagration. There are many different scenarios that could play out. Saudi Arabia or Israel could massively retaliate against an attack by a private cyber-actor sponsored by Iran, sparking a cyber-war that could result in a regional showdown if tensions get too high. What started as a cyber-conflict could turn into a very real war.
A U.S. company might respond to a cyber-attack in a similar way, sparking a war between the U.S. and the culprits. As Shane Harris points out in his new book @War: The Rise of the Military-Internet Complex, companies and institutions are responding to cyber-attacks with “hack-backs,” attempting to retrieve stolen information or retaliate against an attacker by stealing their data. Hack-backs are becoming a serious problem even within the U.S., where they are illegal unless explicitly authorized. Harris quotes a former NSA official saying, “It is illegal. It is going on. … It’s happening with very good legal advice. But I would not advise a client to try it.” Harris concludes that “A single act of self-defense could quickly escalate into a full-fledged conflict.”
It would be even easier for the military to get involved based on the standards of the new U.S. Army Law of War Manual. Maj. Gen. (ret.) Charles J. Dunlap, Jr., former Deputy Judge Advocate General of the Air Force, explained in a June blog post for the website Lawfare how an attack in cyberspace might be considered an act of war: The Department of Defense’s new policy is significant, he said, “because it shows that the U.S. defense establishment is plainly of the opinion that actual violence in no longer … necessarily required to constitute a legally-sufficient rationale for self-defense, cyber or otherwise.”
The U.S. military monitors a simulated electronic warfare test at Eglin Air Force Base. Photo: Capt. Carrie Kessler / U.S. Air Force / Wikimedia
Attacks against critical infrastructure—such as the electrical grid—that cause mass panic or significant damage to the execution of vital functions could be construed as sufficient to invoke the legal justification of self-defense. In fact, the electrical grid would be a perfect target: Downing the grid would cause mass panic and looting while shutting down other aspects of critical infrastructure across the United States, from the New York Stock Exchange to emergency services provided by hospitals. And according Cheryl A. LaFleur, commissioner of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, these threats are real and definitely possible for a savvy cyber actor to carry out.
Adding to the chaos is the problem of attribution. Hackers can make an attack appear as if it came from somewhere else, meaning that a well-intentioned hack-back could end up “hacking back” the wrong country or institution. There is also the possibility of a proxy taking action against the military capabilities of the United States in order to aid its sponsor.
At the moment, China appears to be the most dangerous cyber-threat on the horizon. But the threat from Iran is also serious, given the increasing sophistication of Iran’s capabilities and, by extension, those of its proxies. By training private hackers, possibly without clear and firm direction, Iran is orchestrating the distinct possibility of a global cyber-war.
At the moment, however, private cyber-actors and proxies are not on America’s radar due to their relative obscurity. Yet it is often the danger we don’t monitor that ends up causing the most damage. How then, can the U.S. and its allies act to contain this threat?
In this case, Israel provides a glimmer of hope in an otherwise grim situation. It has had some success in countering Iran’s cyber proxies. And it was Israel, after all, that allegedly collaborated with the U.S. to create Stuxnet, which caused significant damage to Iran’s nuclear program. According to the Israel National Cyber Bureau, Israel is the second-largest exporter of cyber-related materials, making it a leader in cyber-defense. It has also become very good at securing itself against attacks by all types of cyber-actors. In fact, Israel was named one of the most cyber-secure countries in the world a few years ago. Clearly, as the cyber-threat develops, the alliance between Israel and the U.S. will be essential to the cyber-security of both countries.
Even so, Iran is developing just as quickly as Israel—if not even more quickly—and when sanctions are lifted as part of the recently signed nuclear deal, Iran will have far more substantial resources to devote to cyber-warfare. This is a threat that the U.S., Israel, and the entire free world can no longer ignore.