Counting from Zero

Counting from ZeroCan a security expert save the Internet from a catastrophic zero day cyber attack by a network of zombie computers, known as a botnet? At what cost?

“Credible and believable, this story is told by a subject matter expert. I could not wait to find out what happened next.”
Vint Cerf, Internet pioneer
“The threat to the Internet from worms, viruses, botnets, and zombie computers is real, and growing. Counting from Zero is a great way to come up to speed on the alarming state of affairs, and Johnston draws you in with his story and believable cast of characters.”
Phil Zimmermann, creator of Pretty Good Privacy (PGP) the most widely used email encryption program
Today, every computer connected to the Internet is under constant attack from viruses, worms, port scans, and spam. Security professionals continually fight to contain newly unleashed cyber attacks, known as ‘zero day' attacks, only to have new attacks launched. Millions of computers have already succumbed, and, without their owner's knowledge, have become slave computers – remotely controlled ‘zombies'. Under the control of organized crime and backed by foreign governments, these computers are morphing into collections known in the industry as botnets, short for robot networks.
Internet security expert Mick O'Malley is the only one who recognizes the growing threat of the ultimate zero day attack on the Internet from a massive botnet, and his unique hacker skills and network of colleagues enable him to fight back. More cyber prep than cyber punk, Mick uses real-life tools and techniques to encrypt all his communications, and uses these skills to break the encryption used by the botnet. Mick uses encryption on a personal level, too, having multiple passports and multiple names and identities. While crisscrossing the globe in the air, on land, and at sea investigating the threat, Mick becomes the target of attacks on his reputation, his identity, and ultimately his life.
Along the way, Mick meets Kateryna Petrescu, a beautiful Romanian firewall expert. Mick's attraction to Kateryna develops as they work closely together and share the excitement and danger. Why is the government following Mick and trying to intercept his communications? Can he stop the zero day attack before it is unleashed? What will be the cost to Mick for his single mindedness?
Unfolding across three continents, the new cybercrime mystery “Counting from Zero” gives a realistic insider's view of the thrust and parry world of computer security and cryptography, and the very real threat of botnets.

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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.

Price: $0.99

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Cyberwar, Real and Imagined (World Politics Review Features)

Cyberwar, Real and Imagined (World Politics Review Features)Has the Stuxnet worm ushered in a new era of cyberwar, or is it simply the latest iteration of familiar strategic instruments? Has the Internet irrevocably shifted the balance between individuals and states, or will governments adapt to regain the upper hand? Does the real threat to cybersystems lie within cyberspace, or in the real world? Cyberwar has become a permanent feature of the strategic landscape, but we might hardly know it.

Price: $2.99

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Cyber Attack

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Amazon Price: $6.51 (as of October 21, 2020 20:41 – Details). Product prices and availability are accurate as of the date/time indicated and are subject to change. Any price and availability information displayed on the Amazon site at the time of purchase will apply to the purchase of this product.

There are an estimated 8.7 billion devices currently connected to the Internet – and each one is a threat to its owner. Computers and computer systems rule our lives, and it is impossible to imagine life without them. But as society has become evermore dependent, both economically and politically, on the electronic flow of information, it has made us vulnerable to the real and destabilizing threat of cyber attack – the extremes of which could see us having to exist without power, vital resources and communications. Confronting this terrifying reality, Cyber Attack explores the digital dangers we face and examines the extremes they could reach. The book also investigates who is responsible and what can be done to protect us. Cyber Attack is written by bestselling author Paul Day, a former hacker turned leading computer security expert, and covers all areas of digital menace. What you learn in this book will make you think again next time you make an online transaction or send sensitive information from your smart phone.

Air Cyber Power and ADS-B Vulnerabilities

Dynamic Radar Map from Flightradar24.com

Exploring Potential ADS-B Vulnerabilities in The FAA NEXTGEN Air Transportation System
The Fog of a “Cyber” War

“It is late fall 2025; Al Qaeda sleeper cells target the disruption of airline traffic into multiple East coast airports during the busy travel season from Thanksgiving through Christmas.
ADS-B IN/OUT has been fully implemented by the FAA; all commercial airlines have invested heavily to comply with the mandate. Oil prices are at an all time high and flights are carrying minimal fuel loads to save money and offset the cost of avionics.

The goal: force multiple airplanes to divert; pilots, FAA controllers and passengers to lose faith in the system; and possibly cause enough chaos to the NAS system that a few lives are lost.

The plan: exploit the U.S. dependency on ADS-B IN/OUT and GPS for arrivals into busy airports, especially during low visibility conditions.

The teams: five two man teams have been put into play for the mission. They are provided with all the commercially available technology they will need, along with a few modified laptop computers, antennas and transmitters.

The targets: Regan National, Dulles, La Guardia, JFK and Philadelphia International airports. The terrorists have been tasked to park minivans with computers containing modified software that are coupled to ADS-B OUT transmitters. The software is designed to be remotely activated and controlled over an Internet connection. Each computer is programmed specifically for the targeted airport, and transmits 978MHz and 1090MHz signals out a boosted transmitter.

As a result, airlines on final approach will receive false targets on their displays. The terrorists ghost target injects also propagate to the FAA controller’s screens. The terrorists intended these spoofed targets, programmed at conflicting arrival and departure corridors as well as in runway incursion situations, to cause multiple airports to become temporarily unusable. The resulting domino effect causes aircraft diversions and delays that will lead to chaos.”

DONALD L. McCALLIE
Major, USAF
Degree of Master of Cyber Warfare
Air Force Institute of Technology
Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, USA

Download Exploring Potential ADS-B Vulnerabilities in The FAA's Nextgen Air Transportation System