March 17, 2010
The military needs targets.
(From Wired “Cyberwar Hype Intended to Destroy the Open Internet”)Make no mistake, the military industrial complex now has its eye on the internet. Generals want to train crack squads of hackers and have wet dreams of cyberwarfare. Never shy of extending its power, the military industrial complex wants to turn the internet into yet another venue for an arms race.
And it’s waging a psychological warfare campaign on the American people to make that so. The military industrial complex is backed by sensationalism, and a gullible and pageview-hungry media. Notable examples include the New York Times’s John “We Need a New Internet” Markoff, 60 Minutes’ “Hackers Took Down Brazilian Power Grid,” and the WSJ’s Siobhan Gorman, who ominously warned in an a piece lacking any verifiable evidence, that Chinese and Russian hackers are already hiding inside the U.S. electrical grid.
Now the question is: Which of these events can be turned into a Gulf of Tonkin-like fakery that can create enough fear to let the military and the government turn the open internet into a controlled, surveillance-friendly net.
It was only last week when I blogged about Wired calling the “cyberwar” a hoax. The military needs targets, was the line that stood out to me the most. Now it seems the worlds most powerful army has found a “target;” The whistleblower site WikiLeaks.
A “secret” report from the Army Counterintelligence Center called Wikileaks.org – An Online Reference to Foreign Intelligence Services, Insurgents, or Terrorist Groups? (click to read/download PDF) said of WikiLeaks.org:
“could be of value to foreign intelligence and security services (FISS), foreign military forces, foreign insurgents, and foreign terrorist groups for collecting information or for planning attacks against U.S. forces, both within the United State and abroad.”
The report also said that WikiLeaks can also be used for anit-US propaganda and disinformation campaigns. The Army is looking to stop the leaks from within:
Wikileaks.org uses trust as a center of gravity by assuring insiders, leakers, and whistleblowers who pass information to Wikileaks.org personnel or who post information to the Web site that they will remain anonymous. The identification, exposure, or termination of employment of or legal actions against current or former insiders, leakers, or whistleblowers could damage or destroy this center of gravity and deter others from using Wikileaks.org to make such information public.
Knowing is half the battle. Among other action being considered to counter the WikiLeaks leaks, possibly hacking the site to ID leakers (or for other purposes):
The obscurification technology used by Wikileaks.org has exploitable vulnerabilities. Organizations with properly trained cyber technicians, the proper equipment, and the proper technical software could most likely conduct computer network exploitation (CNE) operations or use cyber tradecraft to obtain access to Wikileaks.org‘s Web site, information systems, or networks that may assist in identifying those persons supplying the data and the means by which they transmitted the data to Wikileaks.org. Forensic analysis of DoD unclassified and classified networks may reveal the location of the information systems used to download the leaked documents. The metadata, MD5 hash marks, and other unique identifying information within digital documents may assist in identifying the parties responsible for leaking the information. In addition, patterns involving the types of leaked information, classification levels of the leaked information, development of psychological profiles, and inadvertent attribution of an insider through poor OPSEC could also assist in the identification of insiders.
One other possible action to take: Fight the net. This old article from BBC News (circa 2006) has another leaked document called Information Operations Roadmap (PDF, click to read/download) where the term “fight the net” is repeated. How do they want to fight the net? They want the ability to “disrupt or destroy the full spectrum of globally emerging communications systems, sensors, and weapons systems dependent on the electromagnetic spectrum”. In other words, mag-pulse the whole wold back to the dark ages.
Better download and read… or better yet, print… these documents while we still have a net to do so.