January 26, 2013

A “Slippery Slope”

We have all heard/read reports about foreign hackers attacking the firewalls of our national infrastructure, some actually inflicting minor, short term problems that were thankfullycontrolled and eliminated by our eminent IT security pros.

This article was actually linked to from one of the security publications Seth receives, the link to C-net dot com.

‘Cyber 9/11′ may be on horizon, Homeland Security chief warns

With the possibility of a massive cyberattack hitting the U.S. in the near future, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano urges the government to pass cybersecurity legislation.

The head of Homeland Security announced today that she believes a “cyber 9/11″ could happen “imminently,” according to Reuters. If such an event were to occur it could cripple the country — taking down the power grid, water infrastructure, transportation networks, and financial networks.

“We shouldn’t wait until there is a 9/11 in the cyber world,” Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said during a talk at the Wilson Center think tank today, according to Reuters. “There are things we can and should be doing right now that, if not prevent, would mitigate the extent of damage.”

Napolitano was referring to the possibility of Congress passing cybersecurity legislation. Several elected officials have been working to get a cybersecurity law passed for years, but have repeatedly run into road blocks.

Sen. Joseph Lieberman spent years fighting unsuccessfully for a so-called Internet kill switch that would grant the president vast power over private networks during a “national cyberemergency.” Currently, he is working to get Senate to pass a more modest version of his proposal. By the same token, President Obama also signed an executive order last July that could give the government control over the Internet in an emergency.

Defense Secretary Leon Panetta has also strongly advocated for increased governmental cybersecurity. During his first major policy speech on cybersecurity last October, he echoed previous statements that the United States is facing the possibility of a “cyber-Pearl Harbor” perpetrated by foreign hackers.

“A cyber attack perpetrated by nation states or violent extremist groups could be as destructive as the terrorist attack of 9/11,” he said during a speech. “Such a destructive cyber terrorist attack could paralyze the nation.”

According to Reuters, Napolitano said today that a massive cyber attack could cause the same amount of damage as last year’s Superstorm Sandy, which downed electricity and information networks throughout the Northeastern U.S.

“The clarion call is here and we need to be dealing with this very urgently,” Napolitano said. “Attacks are coming all the time. They are coming from different sources, they take different forms. But they are increasing in seriousness and sophistication.”

I call this a “slippery slope” because our politicians of late seem to take liberties (ours, unfortunately) when it comes to enacting regulations or legislation that is supposed to protect and defend us.

If legislation does make its way into the House and Senate regarding Internet security measures, we need to keep a really close watch on what, exactly, is being proposed and how much of it effects our own day to day web access and use. I don’t mean reading up on the New York Times’ account of proceedings, I mean following them from less partison information sources. I mean contacting our senators and representatives and making sure to obtain their real intentions on the cyber security issue, what they plan to propose, how they plan to vote, etc.

Our (supposedly “our“, though these last few years, they seem to have forgotten what Reagan said about “a country that has a government vs a government that has a country”) government has evidently developed a pension for using practically every piece of protective legislation to slip in numerous stealth measures that somehow manage to degrade our liberty by granting them more power than they either require for the task at hand or are eligible to possess under the Constitution.

So let’s follow Jefferson’s advice that it is the duty of every American to look over the shoulders of those we elect to represent us in government and keep tabs on what they are doing on our behalf, especially on the matter of cyber security vs cyber freedom…

by @ 2:37 pm. Filed under Homeland Security, Slippery Slopes, The Internet

February 12, 2012


Who says they can’t hack it?

The website of the Central Intelligence Agency was inaccessible on Friday after the hacker group Anonymous claimed to have knocked it offline.

“CIA Tango down,” a member of Anonymous said on @YourAnonNews, a Twitter feed used by the group. “Tango down” is an expression used by the US Special Forces when they have eliminated an enemy.

Actually, according to my hubby, a “tango”, specifically, is a terrorist, but let’s not stray.

Article here.

by @ 11:06 am. Filed under Homeland Security, The Internet

August 6, 2007

Game Technology Used For Evil

It appears that now terrorists have discovered a sure-fire way of training for missions on-line in order to successfully practice their Islam.

From NEWS.com.au:

THE bomb hit the ABC’s headquarters, destroying everything except one digital transmission tower. The force of the blast left Aunty’s site a cratered mess.
Just weeks before, a group of terrorists flew a helicopter into the Nissan building, creating an inferno that left two dead. Then a group of armed militants forced their way into an American Apparel clothing store and shot several customers before planting a bomb outside a Reebok store.
This terror campaign, which has been waged during the past six months, has left a trail of dead and injured, and caused hundreds of thousands of dollars’ damage. The terrorists belong to a militant group bent on overthrowing the government. But they will never be arrested or charged for their crimes because they have committed them away from the reach of the world’s law enforcement agencies, in the virtual world known as Second Life.

Sounds like just another evening on-line for the average advanced adolescent virtual reality game enthusiast, right? Unfortunately, this isn’t the case — this is a summary of terrorists using an on-line game that is purportedly so representative of real life that it makes a perfect training ground not only for the mounting of terror campaigns, but also practice in the manipulation of public perception and other factors of infiltrating a society under false and malevolent pretenses.

Terrorist organisations al-Qaeda and Jemaah Islamiah traditionally sent potential jihadists to train in military camps in Pakistan, Afghanistan and Southeast Asia. But due to increased surveillance and intelligence-gathering, they are swapping some military training to online camps to evade detection and avoid prosecution.

Rohan Gunaratna, author of Inside al-Qaeda, says it is a new phenomena that, until now, has not been openly discussed outside the intelligence community.

But he says security agencies are extremely concerned about what home-grown terrorists are up to in cyberspace. He believes the dismantling and disruption of military training camps in Afghanistan and Pakistan after September 11 forced terrorists to turn to the virtual world.

“They are rehearsing their operations in Second Life because they don’t have the opportunity to rehearse in the real world,” Gunaratna says. “And unless governments improve their technical capabilities on a par with the terrorists’ access to globalisation tools like the internet and Second Life, they will not be able to monitor what is happening in the terrorist world.”

And they tell me how great the advance of technology is for us. Young people today will often gawk at you like you’re nuts when you tell them how well people got by back in the mid 1960s, when there was no Internet, only a few TV programs were in color, people relaxing at home played games on boards, ponderous telephone directories and yellow pages saw use in every household… And no text messaging, videocam bearing, e-mail accessing, razor-thin, shirt pocket-sized digital wireless phones enabling instant global communication? No way, dude!

Those were the days when corporate security departments didn’t yet have to sweat out the legal and social ramifications of allowing/not allowing employees access to the company database with their own palm devices, the days before hackers threatened the security of both corporations’ proprietary information and John Q. Citizen’s personal finances, before spammers and before…

…Islam realized that said advance of technology is great for terrorism, as well.

What is distressing here, as regards the above linked and quoted article and what it infers, which is quite accurate, is that those charged with our national security are not committing enough resources to preventing acts of terror against not only the U.S., but western countries as a whole.

If every scheme the enemy uses for financing, acquiring weapons, inserting personnel into target countries, training for, prepping and carrying out terrorist missions has already been in effect for some time before our intelligence community stumbles upon it and then relays it into the quagmire of bureaucrats, bean counters, PC politicos and lawyers (to determine how doing anything effective about it will play at the ACLU and CAIR), we’re positively screwed. Self-seeking politicians, PC burdened intelligence, security and law enforcement whips, liberal politicians, lawyers and judges, bureaucrats and bean counters are as much our enemies as…well, the enemy.

The fact that the intelligence community often takes its time about sharing valuable information with the enforcement folks isn’t very reassuring, either. Granted, there are occasions upon which they have to play their proverbial cards close to their chests because actions taken could expose and endanger assets in the field or methods of keeping track of terrorist activities (there-by usurping one role of the New York Times), but this cyber-situation hardly seems such a phenomenon.

This causes me to question the calibre of security decision-makers our tax money is paying for.

It hardly seems unrealistic that they would pay a staff of highly creative, larceny-minded, egomaniacal, mischievous hackers to do nothing but anticipate the enemy on all matters Internet, and determine ways of taking instant action of a close surveillance, disruptive or more decisive covert nature, and in the former two cases worry about the liberal outcry later — the longer we allow these “peaceful” followers of Mohammed the Pedophile to train for “missions”, the more likely we are to experience resultant applied Islam in its consistant form of death and destruction.

I definitely recommend reading the entire linked article.

July 16, 2007

Spam Spam Spam Spam….

Although minor amounts of spam comments and trackbacks sometimes make it through, I must register my profound thanks to Akismet, which in the last few hours denied access to its 100,000th (ONE HUNDRED THOUSANDTH!) spambot attack over a period of a mere 6 1/2 months!

by @ 4:08 am. Filed under Recommended, Technology, The Internet

May 25, 2006

Alert from The Save The Internet Coalition

As many of us already know, the big telecoms have been lobbying Congress to pass bills that would give them control of the Web by doing away with the established and well-working concept of Network Neutrality.

From the Save The Internet Coalition:

Congress is pushing a law that would abandon the Internet’s First Amendment — a principle called Network Neutrality that prevents companies like AT&T, Verizon and Comcast from deciding which Web sites work best for you — based on what site pays them the most. If the public doesn’t speak up now, our elected officials will cave to a multi-million dollar lobbying campaign.

How will that effect the rest of us?

Google users—Another search engine could pay dominant Internet providers like AT&T to guarantee the competing search engine opens faster than Google on your computer.
Innovators with the “next big idea”—Startups and entrepreneurs will be muscled out of the marketplace by big corporations that pay Internet providers for dominant placing on the Web. The little guy will be left in the “slow lane” with inferior Internet service, unable to compete.
Ipod listeners—A company like Comcast could slow access to iTunes, steering you to a higher-priced music service that it owned.
Political groups—Political organizing could be slowed by a handful of dominant Internet providers who ask advocacy groups to pay “protection money” for their websites and online features to work correctly.
Nonprofits—A charity’s website could open at snail-speed, and online contributions could grind to a halt, if nonprofits can’t pay dominant Internet providers for access to “the fast lane” of Internet service.
Online purchasers—Companies could pay Internet providers to guarantee their online sales process faster than competitors with lower prices—distorting your choice as a consumer.
Small businesses and tele-commuters—When Internet companies like AT&T favor their own services, you won’t be able to choose more affordable providers for online video, teleconferencing, Internet phone calls, and software that connects your home computer to your office.
Parents and retirees—Your choices as a consumer could be controlled by your Internet provider, steering you to their preferred services for online banking, health care information, sending photos, planning vacations, etc.
Bloggers—Costs will skyrocket to post and share video and audio clips—silencing citizen journalists and putting more power in the hands of a few corporate-owned media outlets.

This is an issue that is in the interests of all of us who access the Web, in order to protect our Internet users’ rights, to call or email our representatives on Capital Hill today, and ASAP.

All information on the issue and who to contact is here.

Please, let’s get moving, as the jawing starts today!

by @ 8:03 am. Filed under The Internet