Tuesday, May 29, 2012

The Finer Points of Warfare: up in Flame

BareNakedIslam: "More sinister than Stuxnet, Flame computer virus strikes Iran and other enemies of Israel"

Stuxnet has an even more ominous successor. Iranian security experts report a virus far more dangerous than the Stuxnet worm has struck the country’s computer systems. Dubbed the “Flame,” the virus is one that has struck not only Iran, however, but a number of other enemies of Israel as well. The country with the largest number of machines infected by Flame is believed to be Iran, following by the West Bank, and Sudan and Syria after that. Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, and Egypt have also been affected. (...) >>>

May 29, 2012

Verdict on #DigiNotar hack -

EFF: "A Post Mortem on the Iranian DigiNotar Attack"

More facts have recently come to light about the compromise of the DigiNotar Certificate Authority, which appears to have enabled Iranian hackers to launch successful man-in-the-middle attacks against hundreds of thousands of Internet users inside and outside of Iran. (...) EFF has been worried about structural flaws and systematic insecurity in the CA ecosystem for some time now, and our SSL Observatory project has been studying and documenting these problems. Sadly, they have now been demonstrated in a more pointed way. (...)

The problem we face with Certificate Authorities is not just that there are particular vulnerabilites in any one CA. Rather, the massive structural crisis is that, as the SSL Observatory has shown, there are many hundreds of certificate authorities and an attacker only needs to break into one of those order to start issuing fraudulent certificates. Furthermore, these CAs appear to exist within around fifty countries' jurisdictions. Any one of these countries could conceivably compel a CA to create fraudulent certificates for purposes of espionage or for spying on that country's citizens. The DigiNotar hack has merely underlined how fragile the certificate authority system really is. Anyone who values the privacy and security of their communications and financial transactions online should take steps to protect themselves.

Statements have appeared strongly suggesting that the DigiNotar attacker is the same person who attacked Comodo earlier this year. The Tor Project has published extensive updates on the scope of the attack, including the list of the 531 fraudulent certificates issued by DigiNotar. This list shows that the attacker was prepared to facilitate spying against many major Internet sites. The attacker claims to be an individual Iranian who has chosen to help the government monitor individuals' communications. Additionally, he claims to have compromised four additional as-yet-unspecified certificate authorities. If true, the Iranian government may still have the power to forge new certificates in the name of these other authorities. (...) >>>

Sept. 15, 2011

Updates on the cyber war mullahs dated Aug. 30 -

Tweeps can follow @cinnamon_carter and @hkashfi  -

F-Secure: "DigiNotar Hacked by Black.Spook and Iranian Hackers"

(...) DigiNotar's portal has been hacked. Somebody claiming to be an Iranian Hacker has gained access. This would look like a smoking gun. Obviously this has to be connected somehow to the rogue certificate. But if you keep looking, you'll find this page from https://www.diginotar.nl/Portals/0/owned.txt: (...)

Another Iranian hacker group? If you keep digging deeper, you'll find that although these web defacements are still live right now, they are not new. Much worse: they were done years ago. (...) >>>

Sept. 10, 2011

Update Sept. 5: Intel is now trickling through as to the extent of the hacking of Dutch Internet certificate authority DigiNotar, most probably by Iran. A Kaspersky Lab Expert has a break down of most of the important takeaways from this incident:
The damage sustained to the Dutch (government) IT infrastructure is quite significant. A lot of services are no longer available. Effectively, communications have been disrupted. Because of this one could make an argument the attack is an act of cyberwar. 
Stuxnet had a huge impact. However, there didn't seem to be a sense of urgency to put cyberwar and cybersecurity on most of the political agendas. This incident will clearly put cybersecurity and cyberwar on the political agenda.
The Dutch govt meanwhile is playing it down, telling corporations, go ahead, please file your tax declaration!

Pomoland: "DigiNotarGate! Islamofascists Stole Dutch SSNs. So What?"

Dutch Internet safety certificate authority DigiNotar has been hacked by Iran. Entirely. Not just the commercial department, but also the 'hermetically separated' section that provides safety certs for the Dutch govt. DigiNotar has foreign companies and governmental agencies as its clients too. It will take some time to figure out the total damage involved. This is the conclusion of forensic ICT company, Fox-IT (govt statement (PDF)). DigiNotar, the Home Office, Logius (SSN management agency) and GovCERT have maintained until last night that Iran's islamohackers have not been able to get to the state certs. But in an unusual midnight presser the Home Secretary has admitted that the govt certs have been compromized as well. (...) >>>

Sept. 4, 2011
Debunking "collateral murder" -

The leftie MSM just too happy to uncritically present the dishonest Wikileaks propaganda without context. By the way, it's remarkable how the coming of Obama hasn't changed anything about the anti Americanism rage -

WikiLeaks: anonymous whistle-blowingImage by inju via Flickr
Line of Departure: "When Context is Wiki Collateral Damage", by Jamie McIntyre

Many people wonder if the future of journalism is represented by small independent bloggers and advocacy groups… and some might be tempted to point to a recent posting by the WikiLeaks Web site as an example. The website released a cockpit video Monday from a 2007 engagement in Iraq, in which an apache helicopter crew fires on a group of unidentified men, and then a passer by driving a van who attempts to rescue the wounded. From all the available evidence this appears to be a tragic mistake. The cockpit conversation makes clear the Apache pilots convince themselves the groups is armed with AK-47s and RPGs before opening fire with their 30 mm cannons. (...)

Let me add one more point about the term “collateral damage.” Collateral damage is what occurs when a legitimate target is hit, in accordance with the laws of war, and unavoidably someone or something not part of the target is also hit. It’s regrettable and unavoidable. It is not the same thing as “unintended or mistaken civilian casualties” that result from a mistakenly identified target. Innocent Iraqis walking down a street who are mistaken for armed combatants and killed are NOT collateral damage. They are unintended civilian casualties. That is unless the forces who fired on them KNEW they were non-combatants, which WOULD be a war crime. The term “collateral damage” is often bandied about pejoratively by critics to imply a culture of callousness and carelessness among the U.S. military.

While there are exceptions, most American military I know, hold innocent civilian life in high regard. (...) Before condemning U.S. troops as wonton, cold-blooded child-killers, try for a moment to understand the deadly dangerous mission America has given them, and how good people can make terrible mistakes in the fog of battle. (...) >>>

Apr 7, 2010

The pirate swarm model -

Professional Soldiers: "UK speedboat floats into Iran’s arms", by Guy Dinmore

Has a record-breaking British powerboat become the “ultimate toy” for an Iranian playboy or – as US investigators fear – is it now equipped with the world’s fastest torpedoes aimed at sinking an aircraft carrier in the Gulf? In spite of efforts by the Obama administration to stop it falling into the hands of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards, the Bradstone Challenger – a high-performance powerboat built with support from a US defence contractor – is believed to be under new and dangerous ownership.

The unusual journey of the Bladerunner 51 powerboat began in 2005 when a team led by UK adventurer Neil McGrigor took it from a Florida boatyard and smashed the Italian-held record for the fastest circumnavigation of Britain. The time of 27 hours and 10 minutes, at an average speed of 61.5 mph including fuel stops, still stands.

Advertised for sale the next year through a broker “as the ultimate toy for someone looking for something a little bit special”, the 51ft craft caught the eye of the Iranians. Initial attempts to buy it were blocked by the UK Department of Trade and Industry. As the Financial Times has learned from defence and industry sources, Iran did not give up. (...) >>>

Apr 5, 2010

Afghanistan's Fallujah looming -

Strategy Page: "Fallujah In Afghanistan"

For several weeks now, U.S. and NATO commanders have been talking to the media about Operation Moshtarak. This is basically a battle for control of the town of Marjah. This is a Taliban controlled city in Helmand province (where most of the worlds' heroin supply comes from.) There are 80,000 civilians in Marjah, and at least 2,000 Taliban gunmen (and a similar number of people working for the drug gangs). The place is a major base for the Taliban, as well as the drug gangs that keep the Taliban supplied with cash and opium. Now, normally, you want to have the element of surprise when you attack a town. And with all their helicopters and warplanes, the foreign troops can obtain surprise. But in the case of Marjah, NATO doesn't want to surprise the civilian inhabitants of the city, but to warn them, and encourage them to get out. (...) >>>

Feb. 7, 2010

The Soviet Waterloo:

Veterans for Academic Freedom: "Strategic failures of the Soviet war in Afghanistan", by M. E. Leclerc

As the first Soviet units deployed into Afghanistan on December 27 1979 the world waited to see how once more the emerging superpower conduct another operation, further cementing its grip in the region, including and continuing on the path to expansion of its republics. The belief that Soviet military superiority would prevail in this theatre of operations was shared by the Soviets themselves, and for good reason. After conducting effective campaigns in the Ukraine (1945-1951), East Germany (1953), Hungary (1958), Czechoslovakia (1968) and occasionally exercising military pressure in Poland the Soviet Union felt confident that their methodology would be equally successful. Their rapid, brutal incursions, the elimination and replacement of local governments with a pre-assembled facsimile had been tested and considered the standard. (...) >>>

Dec. 29, 2009

73wire: "U.S. Engages In Digital Warfare", by Gerald Biolchini

Reports have recently made it into the public domain that back in May of 2007 President George W. Bush authorized the National Security Agency (NSA) to launch a sophisticated cyber attack on the cellular phones and computers of insurgents in Iraq. This cyber attack created the ability for U.S. forces to plant false information that lead to the deception of insurgents. Multiple senior level officials have reportedly told media sources that this attack helped turn the tide of the war in Iraq. (...) >>>

Nov. 16, 2009

Terrorism, is it crime or warfare? As the Obama Admin is preparing to bring a number of 911 perpetrators to New York for a civil trial, Caroline Glick explains why it is a mistake to treat terrorism as a law enforcement issue instead or warfare (around the 4:30 mark). Here another article on the same issue: crime versus war. It's a very important distinction.

PJTV: "A Not-So-Kosher Pickle: Hillary Fouls Attempt to Regain Israel's Trust" (video)

Nov. 14, 2009

Another shifting definition:

The Washington Times: "EDITORIAL: No substitute for victory - The president equivocates on the Afghan war"

President Obama isn't sure if victory is the U.S. objective in Afghanistan. On July 23, ABC's Terry Moran asked the president to define victory in Afghanistan. He responded, "I'm always worried about using the word 'victory' because, you know, it invokes this notion of Emperor Hirohito coming down and signing a surrender to MacArthur." Fidelity to history requires us to note that Emperor Hirohito did not sign the Japanese articles of surrender on the Battleship Missouri on Sept. 2, 1945, and was not even at the ceremony.

Historical accuracy aside, Mr. Obama was trying to reiterate part of what George W. Bush said on many occasions during his presidency: The war on terrorism is not a conventional war, and it will not be won by conventional military means. When President Bush made this point in an August 2004 interview with NBC's Matt Lauer, he was excoriated by Democrats, who accused the president of defeatism. Perhaps those same critics would be interested in weighing in this time, too. (...) the Obama administration generally eschews the word "war." Defense jargon du jour indicates that our country has shifted from "fighting a war" to "engaging in overseas contingencies." This renders the whole question of victory moot. Wars are won or lost; contingency operations just come and go. (...) >>>

July 27, 2009

BBC: "Governments hit by cyber attack"

A widespread computer attack has hit several US government agencies while some South Korean government websites also appear to be affected. The US Treasury Department, Secret Service, Federal Trade Commission and Transportation Department were all hit by the attack that started on July 4. In South Korea, the presidential Blue House and Defence Ministry, National Assembly appear to have been hit. US officials have not released details of the attack. Ben Rushlo, head of internet technologies at web performance firm Keynote Systems described it as a "massive outage". (...) >>>

July 8, 2009

WorldNet Daily: "Chinese bugs threaten missile defense? - Report says 'malicious' computer elements awaiting activation"

Sophisticated electronic equipment built by the Chinese technology giant Huawei for Britain's telecommunications system could contain deliberately installed "bugs" that could be activated to damage the system that controls the nation's alerts for incoming missiles, according to intelligence analysts (...) Also targeted could be the nation's air traffic control system and a whole range of other vital telecoms and utilities that allow Britain to function. The discovery comes from an intelligence-led MI5/MI6/GCHQ worldwide investigation that has found that 1,295 computers in more than 100 countries – including many belonging to embassies in London and Washington, Paris, Berlin and as far apart as Madrid and Tokyo – have been compromised. (...) >>>

June 5, 2009

Strategic Studies Institute: "State and Nonstate Associated Gangs: Credible "Midwives of New Social Orders", by Dr. Max G. Manwaring - FEATURE

The monograph examines contemporary populism and neopopulism, 21st century socialism, and a nonstate actor (al-Qaeda) seeking regional and global hegemony. They are: first, paramilitary gang permutations in Colombia that are contributing significantly to the erosion of the Colombian state and its democratic institutions, and implementing the anti-system objectives of their elite neo-populist sponsors; second, Hugo Chavez’s use of the New Socialism and popular militias to facilitate his populist Bolivarian dream of creating a mega-state in Latin America; and, third, al-Qaeda’s strategic and hegemonic use of political-criminal gangs to coerce substantive change in Spanish and other Western European foreign and defense policy and governance. Lessons derived from these cases demonstrate how gangs might fit into a holistic effort to force radical political-social-economic change, and illustrate how traditional political-military objectives may be achieved indirectly, rather than directly. (...) article can be downloaded in PDF format >>>

June 2, 2009

Forbes: "Researchers: Cyber spies break into govt computers"

A cyber spy network based mainly in China hacked into classified documents from government and private organizations in 103 countries, including the computers of the Dalai Lama and Tibetan exiles, Canadian researchers said Saturday. The work of the Information Warfare Monitor initially focused on allegations of Chinese cyber espionage against the Tibetan community in exile, and eventually led to a much wider network of compromised machines, the Internet-based research group said. (...) >>>
Mar 29, 2009

Journal of Military Ethics: "Military Ethics of Fighting Terror: An Israeli Perspective"

The present paper is devoted to a detailed presentation of a new Military Ethics doctrine of fighting terror. It is proposed as an extension of the classical Just War Theory, which has been meant to apply to ordinary international conflicts. Since the conditions of a fight against terror are essentially different from the conditions that are assumed to hold in the classical war (military) paradigm or in the law enforcement (police) paradigm, a third model is needed. The paper proposes such a model in the form of principles that should govern the activity of a democratic state when faced with terror. Eleven principle are proposed. Two are on the level of the state, including the Principle of Self-Defense Duty. Six are related to military preventive acts against activities of terror, including new formulations of a Principle of Military Necessity, a Principle of Distinction, and a Principle of Military Proportionality. Principles of Low Probabilities, Time Span Considerations and Professional Understanding are also included. Finally (...) >>>

Jan 27, 2009

PJM: "Strategic Collapse at the Army War College", by Patrick Poole

(...) Two weeks ago, Ricks reported on a new publication by Army War College research professor Sherifa Zuhur on Hamas and Israel that informs readers that Hamas has been misunderstood due to the misreporting by “Israeli and Western sources that villainize the group.” Zuhur concludes that Hamas isn’t so bad after all, so we all just need to get along and embrace the terrorist group through negotiations — a view apparently endorsed by the Army War College when it published her defense of Hamas. A second post last week, “Fiasco at the Army War College: The Sequel,” records an exchange between Ricks and defense expert and author Mark Perry. Assessing the academic state of affairs at the War College, Perry informed Ricks:

It’s worse than you think. They have curtailed the curriculum so that their students are not exposed to radical Islam. Akin to denying students access to Marx during the Cold War.

This is hardly the first complaint that the military has failed to investigate and assess the strategic writings related to radical Islam and Islamic war doctrine. (...) >>>

Jan 16, 2009

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