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This might explain why the U.S. keeps getting caught spying on peaceful war-protestors.
August 17, 2006 9:20 PM   Subscribe

DHS's CyberStorm-- --Recognizing the imminent threat hippies and assorted leftists obviously pose to us all, a massive cyber terror simulation (international and involving 115 organizations) recently came to light: ...The attack scenario detailed in the presentation is a meticulously plotted parade of cyber horribles led by a "well financed" band of leftist radicals who object to U.S. imperialism, aided by sympathetic independent actors. At the top of the pyramid is the Worldwide Anti-Globalization Alliance, which sets things off by calling for cyber sit-ins and denial-of-service attacks against U.S. interests. WAGA's radical arm, the villainous Black Hood Society, ratchets up the tension on day one by probing SCADA computerized control systems and military networks ...
posted by amberglow (28 comments total)

 
Well, it would have been politically incorrect to use Muslims or something. Look at 24.
posted by delmoi at 9:22 PM on August 17, 2006


Too bad it's just someone's blog fantasy. If it had been true, we could have had something to talk about.
posted by mischief at 9:26 PM on August 17, 2006


What is a cyber sit-in?

Am I doing that right now?
posted by aubilenon at 9:31 PM on August 17, 2006


"cyber sit-ins and denial-of-service attacks against U.S. interests"

Would that mean I wouldn't be able to pay my electric bill online, and so might have to do it by mailing a checque?! Surely they wouldn't! These leftists are so dangerious they make Tim McVeigh look like a pussy!
posted by -harlequin- at 9:44 PM on August 17, 2006


I swear, these people running this whole 'war in cyberspace' thing are so full of crap.

My hope is Department of Homeland Security ends up in the dustbin of history as one of civilizations great mistakes.

I have no doubt history will bear me out on this one.

What a bunch of low-life paranoid losers.

What's next, firing on little old ladies with protest signs against their grandsons and granddaughters being shipped off to yet another bullshit administration war?
posted by mk1gti at 9:57 PM on August 17, 2006


mk1: Wanna buy a bridge?
posted by mischief at 10:02 PM on August 17, 2006


Ooh, ooh, is it the bridge to the 21st century? Me first!
posted by nanojath at 10:07 PM on August 17, 2006


Simply buying and selling bridges on MetaFilter isn't enough -- we need a Cabinet-level Department of Bridge Sales and Exchanges. Anyone who doesn't support the creation of such a department obviously hates our bridges.
posted by aaronetc at 10:09 PM on August 17, 2006


mischief writes "Too bad it's just someone's blog fantasy. If it had been true, we could have had something to talk about."

You might want to check the DHS web site.
For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
Contact: 202-786-9899
February 10, 2006

Washington, DC -- U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced the completion of Cyber Storm, the first full-scale government-led cyber security exercise to examine response, coordination, and recovery mechanisms to a simulated cyber-event within international, federal, state, and local governments, in conjunction with the private sector. In total, 115 public, private, and international agencies, organizations, and companies were involved in the planning and implementation of Cyber Storm.
posted by orthogonality at 11:01 PM on August 17, 2006


What the fuck would a SCADA system be doing hooked up to the internet???

NEVER HOOK ANY SCADA SYSTEM TO THE INTERNET.

(sorry for the caps, but I work with several people who run a large SCADA system and this is rule #1 in big bold print).
posted by SirOmega at 11:02 PM on August 17, 2006


As we all know, the internet is a series of tubes. The obvious threat is from big trucks carrying bombs, but obviously the DHS has realized the subtler threat: tubes carry liquids.
posted by TheOnlyCoolTim at 11:11 PM on August 17, 2006


SirOmega makes a really important point: "NEVER HOOK ANY SCADA SYSTEM TO THE INTERNET." That said, the fact that many of the SCADA systems are being hit with viruses suggests that this is paid more lip service than actual practice. Here's a (sorta self link, I'm one of the conference organizers) powerpoint detailing some of the issues one researcher found with SCADA systems.
posted by mock at 11:31 PM on August 17, 2006


mock - whenever people spout ignorantly against ppt being universally bad, show them that ppt. I could easily infer what those points expanded out into. Are you affiliated with BCIT?

oh, right. hi Vancouver resident =)

posted by porpoise at 11:52 PM on August 17, 2006


Marked "For Official Use Only," the PowerPoint deck became public when government transparency purist John Young posted it on his website, Cryptome, this week. I couldn't open it, but I located what appears to be the original on the website of the New York branch of the ISSA, a security organization, from a briefing given them last June 21.
Emphasis mine, and not what I would call convincing. Then again, this IS on the Intarwebs...
posted by mischief at 12:14 AM on August 18, 2006


Nope I'm not affiliated with BCIT. We usually do a deal where they loan us a bunch of network equipment and we let some students in for free. If you're in one of the programs there, and you're interested in computer security, you might want to enquire about it.

A slight digression:

I spend a fair bit of time watching people talk, reviewing people's talks, deciding who gets to talk, and giving talks myself. Powerpoint is a great rhetorical tool. Properly used, it is an excellent way of convincing your audience that you are right. It is a terrible tool for an audience who needs to determine if a presenter is giving them correct information.

If you need to determine the correctness of someone's findings, have them write a proper paper. With foot notes, and graphs, and citations and shit. After you've read their paper, then have them give a talk with slides. Spend twice as much time as they spent talking ripping their ideas to shreds in front of them. If at then end, they don't break down crying, they might be right.
posted by mock at 12:15 AM on August 18, 2006


Somehow I'm not in the least bit surprised that the DHS has a boner for "leftist radicals".
posted by clevershark at 4:20 AM on August 18, 2006


They forgot to include the Militant Anti-Capitalist Allied Cyber-Anarchists.
posted by staggernation at 4:53 AM on August 18, 2006


NEVER HOOK ANY SCADA SYSTEM TO THE INTERNET.

Wow - I'm concerned, but not surprised, that either DHS got it so badly and obviously wrong; or our nation's SCADAs (whatever they are, they seem important) actually ARE hooked up to the internet.
posted by footnote at 5:10 AM on August 18, 2006


From Wikipedia:

"SCADA is the acronym for Supervisory Control And Data Acquisition. SCADA may be called Human-Machine Interface (HMI) in Europe. The term refers to a large-scale, distributed measurement (and control) system. SCADA systems are used to monitor or to control chemical, physical or transport processes."

Indeed, if you have one of those directly on the internet (as opposed to behind one or more firewalls) you're probably f*cking stupid enough to work for DHS.
posted by clevershark at 5:27 AM on August 18, 2006


mock those slides are terrifying.

DUT response to malformed or invalid
messages is rarely tested.


That's...mind numbingly stupid on anything that connects to a network, even an internal one. That's trusting that a malformed packet will never appear.

On the other hand, the idea that design failures are so prevalant makes 'cyber attacks' not only more plausible but also more potentially dangerous.
posted by Skorgu at 6:35 AM on August 18, 2006


We are officially a parody of ourselves.
posted by Pastabagel at 6:36 AM on August 18, 2006


The "Worldwide Anti-Globalization Alliance"? You gotta love that.
posted by nickmark at 7:17 AM on August 18, 2006


the FBI in 2002: ... Special interest terrorism differs from traditional right-wing and left-wing terrorism in that extremist special interest groups seek to resolve specific issues, rather than effect widespread political change. Special interest extremists continue to conduct acts of politically motivated violence to force segments of society, including the general public, to change attitudes about issues considered important to their causes. ...
posted by amberglow at 7:33 AM on August 18, 2006


I am so sick of being told how scared I should be by a bunch of folks who want perpetually more money and power to "fight terror". People with access to the Internet want to compromise government hosts? Oh no! How far shall I bend over?
posted by owhydididoit at 7:48 AM on August 18, 2006


I'm as appalled as anyone at the political inappropriateness of the scenario, but the point of the exercise wasn't to analyze the nature of the group doing the attacks but test the behavior of the responders. They could've just as easily used a scenario involving a Terminator-style AI coming alive & taking over their systems & achieved about the same results. That said, it is disturbing to me that this is the enemy they perceive themselves to be preparing for.
posted by scalefree at 8:26 AM on August 18, 2006


This page wouldn't load for me, but cyberstorm did actually happen. And rest assured, folks, that if there is some sort of cyberattack on our country, we're screwed!
posted by echo0720 at 9:01 AM on August 18, 2006


but the point of the exercise wasn't to analyze the nature of the group doing the attacks but test the behavior of the responders. They could've just as easily used a scenario involving a Terminator-style AI coming alive & taking over their systems & achieved about the same results. That said, it is disturbing to me that this is the enemy they perceive themselves to be preparing for.
That's just it tho--They didn't use any rightist or extreme right groups, nor did they use neutral groups--they used groups exactly like those the government is already spying on. They didn't use Stormfront or Vdare or another neo-nazi or racist online group. They didn't use the Minutemen websites nor the Christian Dominionist ones...They could have just as easily done so, or used a mix of groups, but they didn't, nor have they made any of the rightwing and racist groups such a focus of their attention. It's past time to ask why.
posted by amberglow at 11:22 AM on August 18, 2006


Activist's Remark Starts FBI Probe--...the Army Corps of Engineers invited public discussion about options for improving fish movement at the nearby Melvin Price Locks and Dam, considered a major impediment to roughly three dozen species that migrate upstream.
During the 90-minute hearing that included on the agenda whether to build a fish channel, Bensman says, he reiterated he's no fan of dams, contending they're environmentally destructive and amount to billions of dollars in corporate welfare for boating interests.
He urged that the dam be torn out. ...

posted by amberglow at 10:04 PM on August 27, 2006


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