Was the N.S.A. Hacked? A group calling itself The Shadow Brokers [Google cache], widely supposed to actually be Russian state-backed hackers, released an archive of purported NSA Tailored Access Operations/'Equation Group' malware, including zero-day exploits on commercial routers. NSA insiders confirm likely legitimacy. The archive dates to mid-2013, shortly after the Snowden revelations, leading him and others to ponder whether the resulting cleanup operation shut out the hackers. Schneier guesses the timing was meant to signal the Obama administration against sanctions for the DNC hack.
Silent War. "On the hidden battlefields of history’s first known cyber-war, the casualties are piling up. In the U.S., many banks have been hit, and the telecommunications industry seriously damaged, likely in retaliation for several major attacks on Iran. Washington and Tehran are ramping up their cyber-arsenals, built on a black-market digital arms bazaar, enmeshing such high-tech giants as Microsoft, Google, and Apple. With the help of highly placed government and private-sector sources, Michael Joseph Gross describes the outbreak of the conflict, its escalation, and its startling paradox: that America’s bid to stop nuclear proliferation may have unleashed a greater threat."
An advanced and well-orchestrated computer spy operation that targeted diplomats, governments and research institutions for at least five years has been uncovered by security researchers in Russia.
The highly targeted campaign, which focuses primarily on victims in Eastern Europe and Central Asia based on existing data, is still live, harvesting documents and data from computers, smartphones and removable storage devices, such as USB sticks, according to Kaspersky Lab, the Moscow-based antivirus firm that uncovered the campaign. Kaspersky has dubbed the operation “Red October.”[more inside]
Revolutionary hardware backdoor discovered in China-made military-grade FPGA chips. Claims were made by the intelligence agencies around the world, from MI5, NSA and IARPA, that silicon chips could be infected. We developed breakthrough silicon chip scanning technology to investigate these claims. We chose an American military chip that is highly secure with sophisticated encryption standard, manufactured in China. Our aim was to perform advanced code breaking and to see if there were any unexpected features on the chip. We scanned the silicon chip in an affordable time and found a previously unknown backdoor inserted by the manufacturer. This backdoor has a key, which we were able to extract. If you use this key you can disable the chip or reprogram it at will, even if locked by the user with their own key. This particular chip is prevalent in many systems from weapons, nuclear power plants to public transport. In other words, this backdoor access could be turned into an advanced Stuxnet weapon to attack potentially millions of systems. The scale and range of possible attacks has huge implications for National Security and public infrastructure.
He leaves his cellphone and laptop at home and instead brings "loaner" devices, which he erases before he leaves the US and wipes clean the minute he returns . In China, he disables Bluetooth and Wi-Fi , never lets his phone out of his sight and, in meetings, not only turns off his phone but also removes the battery , for fear his microphone could be turned on remotely. He connects to the Internet only through an encrypted, password-protected channel, and copies and pastes his password from a USB thumb drive. He never types in a password directly, because, he said, "Chinese are very good at installing key-logging software on your laptop." - Travel precautions in the age of digital espionage.
There is a growing realization that U.S. cyberwar efforts resemble all its other 'war' rhetoric in being a boondogle aimed primarily at limiting its own citizens civil rights. China's breathlessly vaunted capsbilities are "fairly rudimentary" in particular (pdf, campus, previously).
Enter the Cyber-dragon. "Hackers have attacked America’s defense establishment, as well as companies from Google to Morgan Stanley to security giant RSA, and fingers point to China as the culprit. The author gets an exclusive look at the raging cyber-war—Operation Aurora! Operation Shady rat!—and learns why Washington has been slow to fight back. Related: Michael Joseph Gross goes inside Operation Shady Rat."
Cyberwar Hype Intended to Destroy the Open Internet. "The biggest threat to the open internet is not Chinese government hackers or greedy anti-net-neutrality ISPs, it’s Michael McConnell, the former director of national intelligence..." [Via]
The charges and retaliations seem reminiscent of so much cold war bluster, and indeed this encounter could be the first great clash of the 21st century’s two emergent superpowers—Google and China.
Weeks before physical bombs started falling on Georgia, security researcher Jose Nazario of Arbor Networks in Lexington, Massachusetts was watching an attack against the country in cyberspace: a stream of data directed at Georgian government sites containing the message: win+love+in+Rusia.
A Practical Guide to Defeating The Radical Right, Cyberwar & Netwar, and non-facetious uses of the word matrix, courtesy of the Well's mythical gopherspace. (Firefox users check out what search used to look like; IE users try http).
Bush orders guidelines for cyber-war Is it my old age that makes me wonder what else might be in this secret directive as regards computers and the Net? "First set of rules for attacking enemy computers studied." Perhaps you support the president or you are the enemy (recall: you are with us or against us)....