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Public government statements have cited cyber-attacks by terrorists as a major concern for national security. To date, no large-scale cyber-terrorist attack has been observed, but terrorists are known to be using the Internet for various routine purposes. The discovery of Stuxnet in 2010 was a milestone in the arena of cybersecurity because, although a malware attack on industrial control systems was long believed to be theoretically possible, it was different to see malware used in reality to cause real physical damage. Stuxnet demonstrated that a sufficiently determined adversary with sufficient resources might be able to damage U.S. critical infrastructure physically through a cyber attack. Did Stuxnet change the threat of cyber-terrorism?
This monograph examines cyberterrorism before and after Stuxnet by addressing three questions: 1) Motive—Are terrorists interested in launching cyber-attacks against U.S. critical infrastructures? 2) Means —Are terrorists building capabilities and skills for cyberattacks? and, 3) Opportunity—How vulnerable are U.S. critical infrastructures? Answers to these questions give a characterization of the post-Stuxnet cyberterrorism threat. The next question is why a major cyber-terrorist attack has not happened yet; this is explained from a cost-benefit perspective. Although cyberterrorism may not be an imminent threat, there are reasons to be concerned about the long-term threat and inevitability of cyberattacks. It is important to assess frequently the threat landscape and current government policies for enhancing the protection of national infrastructures.
Continue reading “Cyberterrorism After Stuxnet – Terrorist Cyberattacks, Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS), Motives, Critical U.S. Infrastructure Vulnerabilities, al-Qaeda Computer Capability, PC Attacks”
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Director of National Intelligence James R. Clapper Jr. presented the 2015 annual U.S. intelligence community worldwide threat assessment in Congressional testimony on February 26, 2015. In the published report, Clapper provides a thorough review of the status of possible threats from a wide variety of nations and terror groups. In addition to the 2015 assessment, this compilation includes the 2014, 2013, and 2012 assessments for comparison and historical reference, plus important additional material, including the 2015 Defense Intelligence Agency worldwide threat assessment, the Obama White House National Security Strategy issued in early February 2015, remarks by National Security Advisor Susan Rice on the NSS, and dozens of statements on national security and the intelligence community from expert witnesses and officials.
Obviously, the Islamic State (ISIS, or ISIL) is a major focus of these assessments, along with cyber threats from Russia, China, Iran, and North Korea. Other topics covered: Cyber * Counterintelligence * Terrorism * Weapons of Mass Destruction and Proliferation * Space and Counterspace * Transnational Organized Crime * Economics and Natural Resources * Human Security * REGIONAL THREATS * Middle East and North Africa * Iraq * Syria * Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant * Iran * Libya * Yemen * Lebanon * Egypt * Tunisia * Europe * Turkey * Key Partners * Russia and Eurasia * Russia * Ukraine, Moldova, and Belarus * The Caucasus and Central Asia * East Asia * China * North Korea * South Asia * Afghanistan * Pakistan * India * Sub-Saharan Africa * West Africa * Sudan * South Sudan * Nigeria * Somalia * Lord's Resistance Army * Central African Republic * The Sahel * Latin America and the Caribbean * Cuba * Central America * Venezuela * Haiti
Continue reading “2015 U.S. Intelligence Community Worldwide Threat Assessment – Clapper Testimony: Islamic State, ISIS, Cyber Threats, Russia, Iran, Terrorism, al-Qaida, North Korea, Syria, National Security Strategy”
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China's Cyber Incursions: A Theoretical Look at What They See and Why They Do It Based on a Different Strategic Method of Thought – This 2013 paper discusses the strategy behind China's cyber activities. The paper examines the Chinese concept of strategy and how it motivates China's cyber actions. These actions take the form of reconnaissance and system sabotage concepts that result in the fulfillment of strategy and in the development of a preemptive and offensive information deterrence disposition. The paper then examines China's response to the recent Mandiant security firm's report that accused the People's Liberation Army of compliance in attacking 115 US companies since 2006. China's next generation of quantum communications research is briefly discussed as well. The conclusions list the author's opinion regarding how to handle the Chinese in the future, through confrontation or dialogue, based on their thought process. This author argues for interceding into Chinese strategic concepts and changing the objective basis behind their cyber activities. China's invasive cyber activities make perfect sense—to them. Through extensive reconnaissance activities, China gains leverage in three areas: its ability to establish a cyber strategic advantageous posture over potential opponents; its ability to identify key nodes in an opponent's network and gain the potential ability to conduct system sabotage against them if necessary; and its ability to develop a cyber deterrence concept of Chinese-make through the construction of a new type of "show of force," such as the identification and revelation of a potential opponent's cyber geography that deters an opponent from acting. Cyber espionage activities are activated due to a specific strategic thought process and resulting paradigm that subsequently uncovers strategic opportunities.
Chinese Information Warfare: A Phantom Menace or Emerging Threat? Mao Tse-tung counseled, "To achieve victory we must as far as possible make the enemy blind and deaf by sealing his eyes and ears, and drive his commanders to distraction by creating confusion in their minds." Few concepts mesh so contextually with Mao than the Chinese approach to Information Warfare (IW). As the People's Republic of China struggles with its national military strategy, IW offers opportunities to win wars without the traditional clash of arms.
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This research paper analyzes the globalization trend and the effect it is having on the ability to conduct asymmetrical attacks against the United States and our Allies worldwide. This research is intended to provide insight into the way that globalization is allowing our potential adversaries to act on a global scale.
Globalization is having a tremendous effect on the ability of terrorist and criminal organizations to act on a global scale. These organizations are using asymmetrical means to target U.S. interests at home and abroad. The events of September 11th were the culminating effect of this trend that has played an increasingly greater role in the world in which we live. This research paper analyzes the globalization trend and the effect it is having on the ability to wage this new type of war. The negative effects of globalization have continued to create a large disenfranchised population primarily centered in the Middle East, Africa, and Asia. This disenfranchised population has become the recruitment pool and their countries have become training bases for the networked terrorist and criminal who take advantage of the tools of globalization. Those tools include the internet that provides secure means of communication, the technology that enables them to act, and the porous environment that allows one to move around the world undetected. The U.S. needs to develop a better National Security Structure to deal with this threat and solve longstanding foreign policy issues. This security structure would take advantage of a network architecture that would be much more suited to managing information which is the primary weapon in the globally connected world. Policy changes would address issues that only fuel resentment and hatred towards the U.S. and make it easier for our adversaries to plan and conduct asymmetrical attacks.
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This anthology of cyber analogies will resonate with readers whose duties call for them to set strategies to protect the virtual domain and determine the policies that govern it. Our belief it that learning is most effective when concepts under consideration can be aligned with already-existing understanding or knowledge. Cyber issues are inherently tough to explain in layman's terms. The future is always open and undetermined, and the numbers of actors and the complexity of their relations are too great to give definitive guidance about future developments. In this report, historical analogies, carefully developed and properly applied, help indicate a direction for action by reducing complexity and making the future at least cognately manageable.
The Cyber Analogies Project was launched in 2012 to assist U.S. Cyber Command in identifying and developing relevant historical, economic, and other useful metaphors that could be used to enrich the discourse about cyber strategy, doctrine, and policy. The intent of the project is to provide useful insights, both for those with little technical background in or direct connection to cyberwar and cyber security and for those whose job it is to think about the spectrum of cyber-related issues every day. The project was conceived and carried out to help very senior, busy, responsible people understand topics and issues that are fast-moving and dynamic, and have potentially great consequences for society, security, and world affairs.
Continue reading “Cyber Analogies: Historical Parallels to Cyber Warfare, Cyber and Computer Security, Cyber Pearl Harbor Surprise Attack, Nuclear Scenarios, Internet and Web Attacks, Vulnerabilities”