The Stuxnet Computer Worm: Harbinger of an Emerging Warfare Capability – CRS Report

The Stuxnet Computer Worm: Harbinger of an Emerging Warfare Capability - CRS ReportIn September 2010, media reports emerged about a new form of cyber attack that appeared to target Iran, although the actual target, if any, is unknown. Through the use of thumb drives in computers that were not connected to the Internet, a malicious software program known as Stuxnet infected computer systems that were used to control the functioning of a nuclear power plant. Once inside the system, Stuxnet had the ability to degrade or destroy the software on which it operated. Although early reports focused on the impact on facilities in Iran, researchers discovered that the program had spread throughout multiple countries worldwide.

From the perspective of many national security and technology observers, the emergence of the Stuxnet worm is the type of risk that threatens to cause harm to many activities deemed critical to the basic functioning of modern society. The Stuxnet worm covertly attempts to identify and exploit equipment that controls a nation’s critical infrastructure. A successful attack by a software application such as the Stuxnet worm could result in manipulation of control system code to the point of inoperability or long-term damage. Should such an incident occur, recovery from the damage to the computer systems programmed to monitor and manage a facility and the physical equipment producing goods or services could be significantly delayed. Depending on the severity of the attack, the interconnected nature of the affected critical infrastructure facilities, and government preparation and response plans, entities and individuals relying on these facilities could be without life sustaining or comforting services for a long period of time. The resulting damage to the nation’s critical infrastructure could threaten many aspects of life, including the government’s ability to safeguard national security interests.

Iranian officials have claimed that Stuxnet caused only minor damage to its nuclear program, yet the potential impact of this type of malicious software could be far-reaching. The discovery of the Stuxnet worm has raised several issues for Congress, including the effect on national security, what the government’s response should be, whether an international treaty to curb the use of malicious software is necessary, and how such a treaty could be implemented. Congress may also consider the government’s role in protecting critical infrastructure and whether new authorities may be required for oversight.

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Inside Cyber Warfare: Mapping the Cyber Underworld

Inside Cyber Warfare: Mapping the Cyber Underworld

What people are saying about Inside Cyber Warfare

“The necessary handbook for the 21st century.”

–Lewis Shepherd, Chief Tech Officer and Senior Fellow, Microsoft Institute for Advanced Technology in Governments

“A must-read for policy makers and leaders who need to understand the big-picture landscape of cyber war.”

–Jim Stogdill, CTO, Mission Services Accenture

You may have heard about “cyber warfare” in the news, but do you really know what it is? This book provides fascinating and disturbing details on how nations, groups, and individuals throughout the world are using the Internet as an attack platform to gain military, political, and economic advantages over their adversaries. You’ll learn how sophisticated hackers working on behalf of states or organized crime patiently play a high-stakes game that could target anyone, regardless of affiliation or nationality.

Inside Cyber Warfare goes beyond the headlines of attention-grabbing DDoS attacks and takes a deep look inside multiple cyber-conflicts that occurred from 2002 through summer 2009.

  • Learn how cyber attacks are waged in open conflicts, including recent hostilities between Russia and Georgia, and Israel and Palestine
  • Discover why Twitter, Facebook, LiveJournal, Vkontakte, and other sites on the social web are mined by the intelligence services of many nations
  • Read about China’s commitment to penetrate the networks of its technologically superior adversaries as a matter of national survival
  • Find out why many attacks originate from servers in the United States, and who’s responsible
  • Learn how hackers are “weaponizing” malware to attack vulnerabilities at the application level

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Information Warfare: How to Survive Cyber Attacks

Information Warfare: How to Survive Cyber AttacksAnother release in our popular “Computer World: Books for IT Leaders” series, Information Warfare explains the methodologies behind hacks and cyber attacks and provides defensive strategies and counter measures designed to help companies survive infrastructure attacks, military conflicts, competitive intelligence gathering, economic warfare, and corporate espionage. The authors are renowned industry experts–Michael Erbschloe has connections with the government and is known for his analysis of The Love Bug.





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Cyber Warriors at War

Cyber Warriors at WarDr. Berg P. Hyacinthe (PhD, Florida State University; LLD Candidate, Assas School of Law, CERSA-CNRS, La Sorbonne) is internationally recognized as an eminent and multidisciplinary scientific investigator. A U.S. patent holder featured in Harvard’s Smithsonian/NASA Astrophysics Data System, Dr. Hyacinthe recently served as Assistant Professor and Scientific Advisor to Taibah University’s Strategic Science & Advanced Technology Unit. Dr. Hyacinthe held several positions at County and State levels of the U.S Government in the Information Technology arena. He has been featured in conferences held at the U.S. Naval Postgraduate School, Monterey (author); Defence Academy of the United Kingdom, Shrivenham (invited session Chair); and National Defence College, Helsinki (session Chair). In CYBER WARRIORS AT WAR, he draws on the triangular relationship between technology, law, and Information Age warfare to propose solutions against potential charges of having committed Information Operations (IO) war crimes and/or IO crimes against humanity. According to Dr. Hyacinthe, the success of pre-emptive strikes and decisive military operations depends profoundly upon both reliable human intelligence and the versatile skills of 21st century “cyber warriors” whose IO activities are conducted through modern warfare’s pentagonal synchrony – land, sea, air, cyberspace, and outer space. Unfortunately, these operations are commonly effectuated under a legal reasoning that is ambiguous in important ways: a threat to the national security of the United States of America and to the entire international community. Hence, as this Essay argues, the evolution of modern computer systems as weapons of war compels wary jurists to turn to the laws that should govern development and use of lethal information technologies. Further, this Essay examines how certain military operations within Information Warfare (IW) require new legal framework, and recounts specific events involving various types of IW conduct and cyber attack: an interesting exposé to jurists, military personnel, policymakers, and the growing and diverse body of information professionals around the world.

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Cyber Warfare and Cyber Terrorism (Premier Reference)

Cyber Warfare and Cyber Terrorism (Premier Reference)Enormous efficiencies have been gained over the past twenty-five years as a result of the introduction of computers and telecommunications technologies. The use of these systems and networks translates into a major concentration and centralization of information resources, however, this consolidation creates a major vulnerability to a host of attacks and exploitations. Cyber Warfare and Cyber Terrorism reviews related problems, issues, and presentations of the newest research in this field. Cyber Warfare and Cyber Terrorism provides an overview with basic definitions of cyber terrorism and information warfare, along with recommendations on how to handle these attacks. It presents detailed discussion on primary target facilities, deliverables, external penetration, starting points for preparations against attacks, and planning security systems. The book gives a solid introduction to cyber warfare and cyber terrorism in the 21st Century. It is a must-have for information technology specialists and information security specialists who want a first hand briefing on developments related to cyber warfare and cyber terrorism attacks.

Price: $165.00

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