Tag Archives: Cyberwar

Hacking for asymmetry in military capabilities

After completing school, like all fellow countrymen my age, I was conscripted into the South African army. While coerced into military servitude my time was split between being trained in infantry combat and working on the Defence HQ computer system. This was a world of punch cards and mainframes, before the invention of the PC. In those days, the only hacking we knew was how to use a 10 cent diode to get free calls on a payphone. While the army taught me about bits and bytes, my colleagues made a conventional force ground incursion deep into Angolan territory. Once there, they discovered to their chagrin, an important asymmetry between the enemy’s Cuban-piloted MIG fighters and our own French-built Mirage jets. Without vital supremacy in the air, our ground troops were in some danger.
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Cyber offensive against the Assad regime

This week the major Western powers are considering military response to the chemical attacks in Syria.

Presumably, our military cyber offensive initiatives have already infiltrated key networks in the region with sleeper agents – malware silently residing on computers collecting intelligence and quietly feeding back information on the regime’s communications. The official term for this is Computer Network Exploitation (CNE). These agents would have Command & Control capability whereby we are able to remotely distribute and trigger disruptive payloads to sabotage and destabilise an enemy’s systems. In addition, PRISM-style hacking could provide considerable advantages from intercepting the communications of adversaries, particularly if agents drill-down below the metadata.
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Probability of a successful cyber warfare attack

Most definitions of cyber warfare include elements such as politically-motivated acts, cyber espionage and cyber sabotage. Typically, cyber warfare actions include those to disrupt or takedown critical infrastructure such as the power grid, water supply, transportation system, financial system, communications system, military capability, or the internet. There do not need to be any human casualties for activities to be regarded as cyber warfare.
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