Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Cyber Warfare and Cyber Defense

Below is a link to one of the most comprehensive studies of cyber warfare and defense I've ever read. If you are interested in this subject, I suggest making a pot of coffee, putting on your comfortable slippers and settling in. You will NOT be disappointed.


"For operational cyberwar-acting agianst military targets during a war-to work, its targets have to be accessible and have vulnerabilities. These vulnerabilities have to be exploited in ways the attacker finds useful. It also helps if effects can be monitored."

Cyber warfare is the future of combat. As the Rand report rightly states, so long as developed, (and to a lesser extent undeveloped) nations rely on computer networks for military, economic, and personal information exchange they are at risk of suffering a critical, and crippling cyber attack.

Couple quick examples of how cyber warfare leads to real, tangible results:

#1.) In an attempt to block Western Europe from importing natural gas from the Soviet Union, the CIA, through a proxy, sell the Soviet Union a computer program designed to monitor and control gas flow in pipelines. The software was embedded with a "Logic Bomb", a malware program set to initialize after a certain, specific parameter is crossed. The result? The threshold, (in this case, the flow of gas from the Soviet Union to Western Europe) was crossed, the logic bomb was "detonated" and caused the natural gas pipeline to explode.

#2.) Israel is tipped off that North Korea is exporting nuclear materials and scientists to Syria. Israel tracks the shipment, and monitors the construction of the nuclear site deep inside Syrian territory. An air strike is the best option, however the facility is protected by overlapping layers of anti-air defenses. These aren't the normal POS equipment we're used to seeing in the Middle East. These are the newest, most state-of-the-art Russian anti-air missile systems. The S-300PMU and the S-400. Despite facing these formidable defenses, Israel conducts a successful insertion/excersion of SpecOps soldiers and air strike on the facility. How did they do it without taking a single hit? No one knows for certain, but the consensus is a complex cyber attack on the Russian anti-air systems radar and tracking software blinded them to the Israeli aircraft.

The above examples are real. They're not pulled out of a sci-fi comic book. They show with brutal clarity how domination of the cyber realm may the deciding factor in conflicts from now on.

The Rand Corporations "Cyberdeterrence and Cyberwar."

It's a complex subject and this report doesn't miss a thing. Enjoy.

1 comment: