What will be the impact of widespread deployment of cyberweapons like Stuxnet worm used by the United Sates to cause extensively physical destruction of Iran's nuclear centrifuges? Will such weapons be used to destroy critical infrastructure of telecommunications, water and power and the economy of the enemy?
Will the boots on the ground be replaced by bots on the ground, in the air and on the water in the future? How autonomous will such bots be? How will the armed drones distinguish between combatants and non-combatants in war?
lethal biological agents developed and deployed by terrorists and rogue individuals and nations?
How is the information technology changing the battlefield awareness with more effective command, control, communications, computers, and intelligence (C4I)?
Are India and Pakistan modernizing their militaries for technology-based warfare?
What are the key ethical issues raised by high-tech warfare? Will it make it easier for nations with advanced technology to start wars with impunity?
|Capacity For Revolution in Military Affairs Source: Laird & Mey 1999|
Vision 2047 host Farrukh Shah Khan discusses these questions with Riaz Haq in the following video:
Vision 2047: Impact of Revolution in Military Affairs on South Asia from WBT TV on Vimeo.
How Will Technology Change Warfare in South Asia- by faizanmaqsood1010
As to the potential cyber component of any future wars between India and Pakistan, its dramatic impact could reverberate across the globe as the computers used in South Asia for outsourced work from the United States and Europe come under crippling attacks from hackers on both sides. Here is how Robert X. Cringeley describes it in a June 2009 blog post captioned "Collateral Damage":
"Forget for the moment about data incursions within the DC beltway, what happens when Pakistan takes down the Internet in India? Here we have technologically sophisticated regional rivals who have gone to war periodically for six decades. There will be more wars between these two. And to think that Pakistan or India are incapable or unlikely to take such action against the Internet is simply naive. The next time these two nations fight YOU KNOW there will be a cyber component to that war.
And with what effect on the U.S.? It will go far beyond nuking customer support for nearly every bank and PC company, though that’s sure to happen. A strategic component of any such attack would be to hobble tech services in both economies by destroying source code repositories. And an interesting aspect of destroying such repositories — in Third World countries OR in the U.S. — is that the logical bet is to destroy them all without regard to what they contain, which for the most part negates any effort to obscure those contents."
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Noam Chomsky discussed the film “American Sniper” at an event held by the Baffler, last week in Cambridge, Mass. The noted linguist, philosopher and political commentator discussed the film, and drew comparisons with the mentality of Chris Kyle (the American sniper whose memoirs are the basis of the film), that of drone operators, and the American public for ignoring the drone war.
“In the memoirs he describes what the experience was like, so I’ll quote him,” Chomsky said. “His first kill was a woman, who walked into the street with a grenade in her hand as the Marines attacked her village. Chris Kyle killed her with a single shot, and he explains how he felt about it.”
“‘I hated the damn savages I’d been fighting,’” Chomsky stated, quoting a passage from Kyle’s memoir. “‘Savage, despicable, evil — that’s what we were fighting in Iraq. That’s why a lot of people, myself included, called the enemy savages. There was really no other way to describe what we encountered there.”"
Chomsky admits he has not seen the movie, but read many reviews — including laudatory reviews in the New Yorker and New York Times, along with a scathing review in Newsweek by Jeff Stein.
“Getting back to Chris Kyle, he regarded his first kill as a terrorist — this woman who walked in the street,” Chomsky stated after discussing Stein’s review. “But we can’t really attribute that to the mentality of a psychopathic killer, because we’re all tarred by the same brush, insofar as we tolerate or keep silent about official policy.”
Israel has rejected in strongest terms data recorded and published by the Ministry of Defence which documents the sale of Israeli-manufactured cockpit displays and electronic warfare components for F16 fighter jets to Pakistan in 2010. Further investigations launched by Britain into the deal however at the request of both Israeli and Indian officials have found that it did in fact take place, although they have yet to establish whether it was with the knowledge of the Israeli government.
The deal, buried within a public governmental document logging the sale of weaponry containing British parts, was uncovered by an Israeli newspaper earlier this week along with a string of controversial Israeli weapon sales to Muslim states including Egypt and Algeria between 2009 and 2011. The deals were logged in the UK as British nuts were used in the construction of the Israeli F16 parts.
Israel has emphatically denied allowing the sale of any Israeli-made weapons technology to Pakistan, the arch foe of its long-term ally India. Israeli and British sources have both stated that such a deal would be detrimental to the Israeli-Indian relationship.
"We are startled. This [deal] just didn't happen. We have asked the British for information and will be very interested to see whom it was that sold weapons to Pakistan ostensibly posing as an Israeli," a senior Israeli official told the Daily Telegraph.
"A processing error is the best possible outcome. The arms trade is a very murky business. It is also possible that someone who is not an Israeli attempted to hide a deal."
Yiftah Shapir, an Israeli security expert, points out that while Israel has taken pains to deny arming Pakistan, it has remained silent on the alleged deals with Egypt Algeria, the United Arab Emirates and Morocco. Israel perceives no tangible threats from any of these states.
"These reports do not surprise me," Mr Shapir said. "No one talks about it but there is now much more direct sale activity [of arms] between Israel and the Gulf States, as we now see ourselves as being on the same side versus Iran."
“Pakistan continues to take steps to improve security of its nuclear arsenal. We anticipate that Pakistan will continue development of new delivery systems, including cruise missiles and close-range ‘battlefield’ nuclear weapons to augment its existing ballistic missiles,” he said, appearing before the House Armed Services Committee.
Lt Gen Stewart told lawmakers that Pakistan’s army and paramilitary forces remain deployed in FATA and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa.
“Army ground operations in North Waziristan have cleared anti-state militants from most population centres, and we expect the military will continue targeting remaining militant strongholds in 2015.”
He noted that the TTP attack on an army-run school in Peshawar has emboldened military efforts against anti-state militants, including intensified airstrikes against TTP leadership and fighters.
The government and military are also working together to implement a national action plan against terrorism, which includes the establishment of military courts, he added.
Pakistan is continuing to develop tactical nuclear weapons for use on the battlefield against India, a senior U.S. intelligence official said this week.
In providing a worldwide threat assessment to the House Armed Services Committee on Tuesday, Marine Corps Lt. Gen. Vincent R. Stewart, the director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, discussed Pakistan’s expanding nuclear delivery systems.
“We anticipate that Pakistan will continue [its] development of new delivery systems, including cruise missiles and close-range ‘battlefield’ nuclear weapons to augment its existing ballistic missiles,” Stewart said during his opening statement, according to an official transcript.
Tactical nuclear weapons are low-yield, short-range nuclear missiles designed for use against opposing troops on the battlefield, rather than against enemy cities like strategic nuclear weapons. Both the U.S. and Soviet Union deployed them in Europe (among other places) during the Cold War, and Washington and Moscow continue to deploy them today. They are not covered in existing U.S.-Russian arms control treaties like New START.
In April 2011, Pakistan first tested the Hatf-9 (Nasr) missile, which it called a “Short Range Surface to Surface Multi Tube Ballistic Missile.” In the official statement announcing the test, Pakistan’s military said the Hatf-9 missile was nuclear-capable and had been developed to be used at “shorter ranges.”
“NASR, with a range of 60 km, carries nuclear warheads of appropriate yield with high accuracy, shoot and scoot attributes. This quick response system addresses the need to deter evolving threats,” the statement said. It added that the “test was a very important milestone in consolidating Pakistan’s strategic deterrence capability at all levels of the threat spectrum.”
Testing continued throughout 2012 and 2013, and Pakistan’s Strategic Forces are believed to have inducted the missile into service following an October 2013 test. Pakistan has continued periodic testing since that time, most recently in September of last year. However, it is unclear whether Pakistan is capable of building nuclear warheads small enough to use on the Hatf-9.
Pakistan developed tactical nukes as a way to counter India’s conventional military superiority. In particular, Islamabad's tactical nuclear weapons were a response to India’s development of the so-called “Cold Start” military doctrine, which calls for using small and limited excursions into Pakistani territory to respond to Islamabad-sponsored terrorist attacks.
As one analyst explained “The idea is that smaller nuclear weapons, used on Pakistani soil, would stop invading Indian forces in their tracks.” Similarly, a Pakistani missile expert told local media outlets at the time of the first test: “This is a low-yield battlefield deterrent, capable of deterring and inflicting punishment on mechanized forces like armed brigades and divisions.”
As The National Interest has previously noted, Pakistan’s tactical nuclear weapons are one of the most dangerous nuclear threats facing the world today. That’s because fielding tactical nuclear weapons underscores Islamabad's willingness to use atomic weapons even to counter non-nuclear threats (unlike India, Islamabad does not maintain a no-first-use nuclear doctrine.) Moreover, in order to be effective, Pakistan’s tactical nuclear weapons would have to be kept in a more ready state in order to be usable on short notice. Furthermore, once deployed on the frontlines, the battlefield commanders would likely be granted the authority to use them, raising the danger of a rogue general sparking a nuclear armageddon. Finally, tactical nuclear weapons, especially when deployed, would be more susceptible to theft by any one of the countless terrorist groups that find safe haven in Pakistan.
From Wall Street Journal:
Russian researchers expose breakthrough U.S. spying program. The National Security Agency found a way to implant spyware into the firmware of hard drives, allowing the agency the ability to spy on the majority of computers worldwide, according to Kaspersky Lab. The Moscow-based security agency said it found infected computers in 30 countries, with the most infections found in Iran, Russia, Pakistan, Afghanistan, China, Mali, Syria, Yemen and Algeria. The targets included banks, energy companies, government and military institutions. A former NSA employee tells Reuters that Kasperky’s analysis is correct. The news could soon lead to more backlash against Western technology vendors.
Pakistan air force today inducted the advanced China-built Karakoram Eagle AWACS aircraft, capable of detecting hostile aerial and sea surface targets far before ground-based radars regardless of their height.
Pakistan Air Force (PAF) said the new aircraft were inducted into its premier No 4 Squadron at ceremony held at an operational PAF base in Karachi.
"With the addition of AWACS, Pakistan air defence is now able to look deeper in enemy territory, be it land or sea," the air force said.
The Karakorum Eagle Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS) can detect aerial as well as sea surface targets at a fairly long distance regardless of their height, it said.
The aircraft maintains link with ground command and control centres to provide comprehensive air picture.
"After an early detection, AWACS can direct own fighter aircraft to intercept or neutralise the emerging threat, well before it can threaten our national assets. AWACS ability of detecting sea targets would also enhance the capabilities of Pakistan Navy," it said.
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, who was the chief guest at the induction ceremony, said the PAF has always proved equal to the task even in the most challenging times and has measured up to the expectations of the nation.
Air Chief Marshal Tahir Rafique Butt termed the induction a significant moment for the PAF.
"Re-equipping the Squadron with this state-of-the-art aircraft will enable PAF to effectively counter all threats against Pakistan's aerial frontiers and add a new dimension to the National security," he said.
"Induction of Karakoram Eagle AWACS would revolutionise PAF's operational concepts. With its induction, PAF is transforming into a modern versatile and capability based force," Butt said.
Pakistan's Air Force (PAF) Thursday stood up its unit of Chinese Karakorum Eagle AEW&C aircraft in a ceremony attended by the head of the PAF, Air Chief Marshal Tahir Rafiq Butt, and Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.
Though the exact location of the ceremony was not given, it is believed to have been held at PAF Base Masroor in Karachi as the prime minister was known to have been in the city that day.
Brian Cloughley, an analyst and former Australian defense attache to Islamabad, said AEW&C "is very good news for the PAF – and for Pakistan" because it "will dramatically improve early warning capabilities which up until now have been comparatively rudimentary."
The ZDK-03 Karakorum Eagle is a dish-based AEW&C system mounted on a Shaanxi Y-8F600 aircraft. Though never confirmed, it has been speculated that the dish houses an AESA antenna.
Four were ordered in 2008 with the first delivered in 2010.
Air Commodore Syed Muhammad Ali, a spokesman for the Air Force, confirmed all Karakorum Eagle aircraft on order have now been delivered, but could not say if more would be ordered from China.
The aircraft join No.4 Squadron, which was first established in 1959 with Bristol Freighter transports and Grumman HU-16 Albatross amphibians. The amphibians were used for maritime reconnaissance, search and rescue, and casualty evacuation alongside Sikorsky H-19D helicopters. The HU-16s were retired in 1968 and the H-19Ds in 1969.
The unit was then "number-plated" until officially re-equipped with the Karakorum Eagle.
The four Karakorum Eagle AEW&C aircraft join the surviving three Saab Erieye AEW&C aircraft ordered in 2005 and delivered from 2009. One of the four Erieye aircraft was destroyed in a terrorist attack on Kamra Air Base in August 2012.
That the Air Force operates two types of AEW&C aircraft for the same mission has been much commented on.
Analyst Usman Shabbir of the Pakistan Military Consortium think tank says the Karakorum Eagle's mission is "[b]asically the same job as Erieye but based in southern sector.
"To cover all the length of Pakistan we needed additional AEW&C aircraft and ZDK-03 was the answer due to political and financial considerations," he said.
Former Air Commodore Kaiser Tufail says the PAF was not keen on their purchase.
"The [Karakorum] Eagle was purchased rather reluctantly, under pressure of [then President] Gen. Musharraf, as a political expedient [Chinese appeasement], and not because of any reasons of technical superiority," he said. "It would have been more cost effective to manage a single type than these two vastly different ones."
Though he now believes attitudes have changed.
"Having said that, the performance of the Eagle has turned out to be surprisingly good, which takes some sting out of the initial criticism," he said.
Tufail says an absence of news of the fourth aircraft being delivered may mean it is undergoing installation of Link 16 datalink equipment to enable it to communicate with all of the PAF's aircraft, particularly its F-16s, and not just the JF-17 Thunders.
To date the Erieye AEW&C aircraft have been able to communicate with the Western aircraft in service such as the F-16, and the Karakorum Eagle with the Chinese aircraft such as the Sino-Pak JF-17, and perhaps the F-7PG.
(Noor Azizi) Uddin was a slippery character -- a 52-year-old hacker (from Pakistan) who used multiple aliases, a guy with a massive bank account who seemed to always be one step ahead of the law. In 2012, he was arrested by Interpol but, because of an evidentiary snafu, he walked. The next year, the FBI put a $50,000 bounty on his head for any information that could lead to his arrest.
Then, in early 2015, that tip finally came in. It landed in Pakistan's Federal Investigation Agency, and was directed to Jabbar, the cybersecurity official. The tip was a cell phone number that apparently belonged to Uddin. (Pakistan’s chief cybersecurity officer, Mir Mazhar) Jabbar contacted the wireless service provider. The carrier then gave him access to the phone's GPS coordinates.
And that's how Jabbar ended up on Uddin's doorstep last month.
The irony that Uddin would ultimately be found because of a hacked phone number was not lost on Jabbar. According to the FBI, Uddin is the mastermind behind a massive phone hacking crime ring that netted him and an accomplice, Farhan Arshad, a massive fortune. Over about four years, from 2008 to 2012, they grossed more than $50 million by hacking phones -- mostly landlines -- all around the world.
Most people are familiar with the idea of credit card hackers. But very few know about phone hackers, or PBX (private branch exchange) hackers, or even "phreakers," as they’re referred to by insiders. According to experts, the scam is on the rise -- and it's startlingly simple. The FBI says that Uddin, along with Arshad, would hack into the phone lines of U.S. companies, hijack their phone numbers, and begin auto-dialing like crazy. They’d use the numbers to call premium-rate lines, which, typically, charge the customer anywhere from 50 cents to $3 per minute.
But the crux of the scam is this: The hackers actually own those premium-rate lines, so they’re really just paying themselves by dialing with their victim's phones.
How It Works
It's a little bit complicated, so imagine it this way: Someone steals your iPhone. But instead of just selling it on Craigslist, they use it to dial one of those $3-per-minute phone sex lines, over and over, until you’ve racked up thousands of dollars in fees.
Now, imagine that same person who stole your iPhone actually owns that sex line that he was dialing, and you -- the unsuspecting user -- are forced to pay the bill to your carrier at the end of the month. Unfortunately, if you try to dispute the bill, your carrier will just shrug -- according to the terms of pretty much all user agreements, whoever actually owns the line is on the hook for the bill.
In Uddin’s case, the hacked entities were seemingly random businesses. The FBI’s official indictment doesn’t name specific entities, but it lists examples: One business in Livingston, New Jersey, was hacked for $24,120. Another, in Englewood, New Jersey, was charged $83,839.
The hacks themselves typically lasted for less than a day, usually on a weekend, when no one is in the office.
A PBX scam can begin as simply as giving the wrong person your business card. The most simple way hackers gain entry to your phone line is, surprisingly enough, through your voicemail. “That’s where your bad guys get creative,” says Paul Byrne, founder of PBX Wall, a fraud detection software company.
"PBX" is a term that’s ultimately used to describe any company’s phone system. Typically, hackers will call a landline and wait for the voicemail system to activate. Then, the hackers will begin guessing the voicemail password. They can do it manually, but more often than not, they use software with “brute force” capabilities, just like it’s done in computer hacks. Once they get your password, and manage to break into your system, they change your call forwarding service to the premium-rate line that they own.
From Class to Classified: The Most Militarized Universities in #America. #NSA2015 #CIA #BigData http://www.thetakeaway.org/story/class-classified/ … via @TheTakeaway
Nearly a million people living in the Washington D.C. metro area hold top-secret security clearances. They work at federal intelligence agencies and for private intelligence contractors.
These workers often get there by way of colleges and universities funded by intelligence agencies and led by administrators with strong ties to the intelligence industry.
But what are the students graduating from these universities learning that would qualify them for work at the CIA, the Pentagon, or for a private intelligence contractor?
Students at 250 of these schools now have the opportunity to earn certificates and degrees in homeland security to specifically prepare them for a career that requires security clearance.
The results are based on 100 schools and 90,000 individuals who have worked in the intelligence community. Seventeen of the top schools are in the Washington, D.C. area, with the University of Maryland topping off at number one on the list.
Will Arkin is a national security reporter for Vice News. He analyzed and ranked the 100 most 'militarized' universities in America. He's been covering the growth of the clandestine agencies for more than a decade.
#America's post-911 national security industry spawns new university programs & career options #NSA #CIA #BigData https://news.vice.com/article/the-most-militarized-universities-in-america-a-vice-news-investigation …
An information and intelligence shift has emerged in America's national security state over the last two decades, and that change has been reflected in the country's educational institutions as they have become increasingly tied to the military, intelligence, and law enforcement worlds. This is why VICE News has analyzed and ranked the 100 most militarized universities in America.
Initially, we hesitated to use the term militarized to describe these schools. The term was not meant to simply evoke robust campus police forces or ROTC drills held on a campus quad. It was also a measure of university labs funded by US intelligence agencies, administrators with strong ties to those same agencies, and, most importantly, the educational backgrounds of the approximately 1.4 million people who hold Top Secret clearance in the United States.
But ultimately, we came to believe that no term sums up all of those elements better than militarized. Today's national security state includes a growing cadre of technicians and security professionals who sit at computers and manage vast amounts of data; they far outnumber conventional soldiers and spies. And as the skills demanded from these digital warriors have evolved, higher education has evolved with them.
The 100 schools named in the VICE News rankings produce the greatest number of students who are employed by the Intelligence Community (IC), have the closest relationships with the national security state, and profit the most from American war-waging.
National security-related degree programs cater not just to new technologies and education needs, but also to the careers of a regimented workforce, offering distance learning, flexible credits, and easy transfers to accommodate frequent deployments, assignment changes, and shift work.
Four categories of institutions of higher education dominate the VICE News list of the 100 most militarized universities in America: schools whose students attain their degrees predominantly online; schools that are heavily involved in research and development for defense, intelligence, and security clients; schools in the Washington, DC area; and schools that are newly focused on homeland security.
Twenty of the top 100 schools that instruct people working in intelligence agencies, the military, and the worlds of law enforcement and homeland security — including their private contractor counterparts — are effectively online diploma mills. Twelve are for-profit companies; several didn't exist before 9/11. The schools have become so important that two of them, American Military University (No. 2) and the University of Phoenix (No. 3), rank near the top of the list based on the sheer number of their graduates working in the Top Secret world.
Seventeen of the 100 top schools are in the Washington, DC area, reflecting the concentration of all things national security around the nation's capital. The University of Maryland handily outranks all other schools at number one, while Georgetown University (No. 10), George Washington University (No. 4), and American University (No. 20) — all considered among the country's 10 best schools for the study of international relations — rank among the top 25 most militarized schools. But post-9/11 growth in homeland security and a high demand for cyber training boost schools as diverse as George Mason (No. 5), Northern Virginia Community College (No. 16), and Strayer University (No. 8), a predominantly online school headquartered in Herndon, Virginia.
#US #NSA used #malware to spy on #Pakistani civilian, military leadership. #Pakistan #NSAhack #Snowden
The United States' clandestine National Security Agency (NSA) allegedly spied on top civil-military leadership in Pakistan using malware, The Intercept reported.
Malware SECONDDATE allegedly built by the NSA was used by agency hackers to breach "targets in Pakistan’s National Telecommunications Corporation’s (NTC) VIP Division", which contained documents pertaining to "the backbone of Pakistan’s Green Line communications network" used by "civilian and military leadership", according to an April 2013 presentation document obtained by The Intercept.
The file appears to be a 'top secret' presentation originating from the NSA's SigDev division.
SECONDDATE is described as a tool that intercepts web requests and redirects browsers on target computers to an NSA web server. The server then infects the web requests with malware.
The malware server, also known as FOXACID, has been described in earlier leaks made by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden.
SECONDDATE, however, is just one method the NSA allegedly uses to redirect a target's browser to the FOXACID server. Others involve exploiting bugs in commonly used email providers by sending spam or malicious links that lead to the server, The Intercept said.
Another document obtained by The Intercept, an NSA Special Source Operations division newsletter describes how agency software other than SECONDDATE was used to repeatedly direct targets in Pakistan to the FOXACID servers to infect target computers.
The Intercept confirmed the "authenticity" of the SECONDDATE malware by means of a data leak reportedly made by Snowden.
Snowden released a classified top-secret agency draft manual for implanting malware which instructs NSA operators to track their use of a malware programme through a 16-character string ─ the same string which appears in the SECONDDATE code leaked by a group called ShadowBrokers.
ShadowBrokers last week announced that SECONDDATE was part of a group of NSA-built 'cyber weapons' that it was auctioning off.
Although it is unclear how the code for the software leaked and was obtained by ShadowBrokers, The Intercept claims "the malware is covered with NSA's virtual fingerprints and clearly originates from the agency".
The ShadowBrokers auction of SECONDDATE is the first time any full copies of NSA software have been made available to the public.
"The person or persons who stole this information might have used them against us," Johns Hopkins University cryptographer Matthew Green said on the dangers of such software becoming available to the public.
Speaking to The Intercept, Green said that such exploits could be used to target anyone using a vulnerable router. "This is the equivalent of leaving lockpicking tools lying around a high school cafeteria. It’s worse, in fact, because many of these exploits are not available through any other means, so they’re just now coming to the attention of the firewall and router manufacturers that need to fix them, as well as the customers that are vulnerable."
The Intercept has in the past published a number of reports from documents released by Snowden. The site’s editors include Glenn Greenwald, who won a Pulitzer Prize for his work in reporting on the whistleblower’s revelations.
Every nation now wants Armed drones.
#Pakistan, #Korea sign Rs 10 billion loan agreement for the establishment of #IT Park in #Islamabad http://bit.ly/2nN6NhL via @techjuicepk
An agreement has been signed between Pakistan and Korea for Rs. 10 billion loan in order to establish state of the art Information Technology Park in Islamabad. The park is in alignment with the vision of Prime Minister for a Digital Pakistan.
The ceremony happened earlier today where Ministry of Information Technology and Korea Exim Bank signed the agreement. Minister of Finance Ishaq Dar was also present at the ceremony where he shared his vision for digitally and financially inclusive Pakistan.
He said that 5,000 IT experts will be provided with jobs with the establishment of this IT Park. He added that additional IT Parks in Lahore and Karachi will also be established.
The Islamabad IT park will be set up in an area of 42 acres. Over 100 IT companies will be accommodated in this park. The IT park will have its own data center too.
The Minister expressed great interest in further collaboration with Korea and mentioned that Koreans helped construct Pakistan’s first motorway known as Islamabad-Lahore Motorway.
Representative of the Korean Exim Bank also expressed deep interest in economic and business opportunities in Pakistan. He mentioned that Pakistan is a home to over 2000 IT companies and universities are producing thousands of talented IT graduates every year.
He said the Korean Exim Bank is interested in helping Pakistan achieve socio-economic prosperity.
#Cyberattack Hits #Ukraine Then Spreads Internationally. #NSA #hackingtool #WannaCry #Petya #Russia
Computer systems from Ukraine to the United States were struck on Tuesday in an international cyberattack that was similar to a recent assault that crippled tens of thousands of machines worldwide.
In Kiev, the capital of Ukraine, A.T.M.s stopped working. About 80 miles away, workers were forced to manually monitor radiation at the old Chernobyl nuclear plant when their computers failed. And tech managers at companies around the world — from Maersk, the Danish shipping conglomerate, to Merck, the drug giant in the United States — were scrambling to respond. Even an Australian factory for the chocolate giant Cadbury was affected.
It was unclear who was behind this cyberattack, and the extent of its impact was still hard to gauge Tuesday. It started as an attack on Ukrainian government and business computer systems — an assault that appeared to have been intended to hit the day before a holiday marking the adoption in 1996 of Ukraine’s first Constitution after its break from the Soviet Union. The attack spread from there, causing collateral damage around the world.
The outbreak was the latest and perhaps the most sophisticated in a series of attacks making use of dozens of hacking tools that were stolen from the National Security Agency and leaked online in April by a group called the Shadow Brokers.
Like the WannaCry attacks in May, the latest global hacking took control of computers and demanded digital ransom from their owners to regain access. The new attack used the same National Security Agency hacking tool, Eternal Blue, that was used in the WannaCry episode, as well as two other methods to promote its spread, according to researchers at the computer security company Symantec.
The National Security Agency has not acknowledged its tools were used in WannaCry or other attacks. But computer security specialists are demanding that the agency help the rest of the world defend against the weapons it created.
“The N.S.A. needs to take a leadership role in working closely with security and operating system platform vendors such as Apple and Microsoft to address the plague that they’ve unleashed,” said Golan Ben-Oni, the global chief information officer at IDT, a Newark-based conglomerate hit by a separate attack in April that used the agency’s hacking tools. Mr. Ben-Oni warned federal officials that more serious attacks were probably on the horizon.
The vulnerability in Windows software used by Eternal Blue was patched by Microsoft in March, but as the WannaCry attacks demonstrated, hundreds of thousands of groups around the world failed to properly install the fix.
“Just because you roll out a patch doesn’t mean it’ll be put in place quickly,” said Carl Herberger, vice president for security at Radware. “The more bureaucratic an organization is, the higher chance it won’t have updated its software.”
Because the ransomware used at least two other ways to spread on Tuesday — including stealing victims’ credentials — even those who used the Microsoft patch could be vulnerable and potential targets for later attacks, according to researchers at F-Secure, a Finnish cybersecurity firm, and others.
A Microsoft spokesman said the company’s latest antivirus software should protect against the attack.
The Ukrainian government said several of its ministries, local banks and metro systems had been affected. A number of other European companies, including Rosneft, the Russian energy giant; Saint-Gobain, the French construction materials company; and WPP, the British advertising agency, also said they had been targeted.
E-governance council to be established in Pakistan for policy formulation
Nasser Khan Janjua, the National Security Advisor Lt General (Retd) said during a closing ceremony that Pakistan is in need of excelling and developing an e-governance council policy formulation according to the globally acceptable parameters. The ceremony, “Cyber Secure Pakistan – Policy Framework” was arranged by CGSS and was held in Islamabad on Tuesday.
The seminar highlighted the importance of emerging technologies in the cyber world. It aimed to create an awareness about the threats concerning the national security due to the evolvement in the cyberspace and therefore, to plan a consolidated cybersecurity policy for the country.
The advisor said, “Pakistan is engulfed in traditional threats and insecurities due to which the new emerging threats have been ignored hence, we have to do better more than ever before,”
The ‘emerging threats’ are due to the growing digitalization of the cyberspace and are pertaining to the country’s defense and security, he expressed.
He added that the whole sphere had been endangered and it was very important to get out of the consumer market and venture into the new dimensions.
Mr. Nasser further stated, “Excessive use of internet has put our security under the threat. Due to our increasing alliance on the internet, cybersecurity policy is becoming the need of the hour.”
Moreover, Lieutenant General Muhammad Zahir Ul Islam (Retd) – Chairman CGSS, in his opening remarks stated that a well-articulated legislation must be passed by the government that would provide a legal framework for law enforcement and intelligence agencies to operate under. Likewise, Secretary National Security Division, Syed Iftikhar Hussain Babar also called attention to the significance of the cybersecurity in his opening address.
He mentioned that the danger of the cyber warfare is real and protecting the data is as important as protecting ourselves. The government and many private institutions have been working in this regard. Before the world moves a step further in the cyberspace, Pakistan must secure a firm position in this particular field and formulate its state policy accordingly.
Journalist Warns Cyber Attacks Present A 'Perfect Weapon' Against Global Order
DAVIES: Right. I mean, obviously, to conduct the kind of disabling cyberattack that would shut down a lot of a country's infrastructure, you have to have done a lot of work beforehand. I want to be clear about this. Are we saying that we know that there are implants in our power grid which would enable the Russians or someone else to take it down?
SANGER: We know that there are implants in our power grid. Interesting question is, if somebody made use of it, how good would it be at taking it down? And that's why for the electric utility industry and for the financial industry, they've invested a huge amount in redundancy and resilience so that if you lose some set of power plants, you could contain it, route around it and be able to pick up and go on. And you just don't know until things happen how well your adversary has wired your system to take everything down. And as you said, this takes a lot of time. The United States spent years getting inside the Iranian centrifuges at Natanz and even then had to keep working on the software to improve it. The North Koreans, when they went into Sony Pictures in 2014 in retaliation for the release of a really terrible movie called "The Interview" that envisioned the assassination of Kim Jong Un, the same friendly Kim Jong Un we all saw in Singapore the other day - when the North Koreans went in, they went in in early September of 2014. They didn't strike until around Thanksgiving because it took all that time just to map out the interconnections of the electrical system, of the computer system, and when they did strike, it was devastating. They took out 70 percent of Sony's computer servers and hard drives.
DAVIES: OK. In this book, you say that, you know, cyberwarfare is the kind of game-changing innovation that's - you compare it to the introduction of aircraft into warfare in the early 20th century and that we are still figuring out what rules or conventions should apply to it. I want to get to some of that conversation, but let's talk a bit about some of the experience that we've had over the last 10 years. You write that in 2008, a woman at the National Security Agency, Debora Plunkett, discovers something about the classified networks in the Pentagon that's troubling. What did she find?
SANGER: Well, she was overseeing security at the NSA, and somebody came to her with evidence that the Russians - though the U.S. did not announce it was Russians at the time - were deep into something called the SIPRNet, which is basically a classified network by which the Defense Department, some of the intelligence agencies, sometimes the State Department, communicate with each other. And this was a big shock to everybody because they had seen the Russians in unclassified systems before, but here they were deep into a classified system. And the first question was, how'd they get in? And the answer was so simple that it really was a wakeup call. Somebody had distributed little USB keys, you know, the kinds you get at conventions and all those kinds of...
China-Pakistan satellite nexus affects India’s war strategy
China’s commercial interests in the South Asian space market have expanded into the security sphere, with it launching Pakistan Remote Sensing Satellite-1 (PRSS-1). This is ostensibly a crop and resources monitoring platform, but the military utility is obvious. The satellite was built by China, which is already investing in a high resolution remote sensing constellation “Yaogan”, possessing sophisticated electro-optic and radar sensors for military purposes. These satellites play a critical role in China’s Anti-Ship Ballistic Missile project, feeding time sensitive information for the missile launch and manoeuvring.
Pakistan possessing such an advanced platform disrupts India’s battlefield superiority to an extent. A two-front war would stress allocation of resources and any qualitative enhancement of enemy’s forces would jeopardise India’s strategy. By acquiring satellite information, Pakistan will enhance its sensor to shooter connectivity and make precision strikes against Indian targets. This makes Pakistan’s tactical nuclear weapons more deadly against advancing Indian Army columns. Pakistan is already acquiring attack aircraft and warships from China, in addition to adopting its BeiDou GPS network that can give 10 cm accuracy on restricted military signal.
The utility of GPS for military operations was well established by the United States, during the Gulf War and India’s inadequacy during the Kargil conflict. The use of Cartosat imaging for surgical strikes demonstrates the role played by remote sensing satellites. Therefore, Pakistan’s enhancement of its military capabilities, using space assets must be dominated by India improving its network-centric capabilities, including satellites. The inclusion of private industry in satellite manufacturing and launch vehicle operations should help remove the bottlenecks and improve India’s space advantages qualitatively and quantitatively.
Ignite Conducts Karachi Qualifier Round of Digital Pakistan Cybersecurity Hackathon 2022
Ignite National Technology Fund, a public sector company with the Ministry of IT & Telecom, conducted the qualifier round of Digital Pakistan Cybersecurity Hackathon 2022 in Karachi on 1st December 2022 after conducting qualifier rounds at Quetta and Lahore.
The Cybersecurity Hackathon aims to improve the cybersecurity readiness, protection, and incident response capabilities of the country by conducting cyber drills at a national level and identifying cybersecurity talent for public and private sector organizations.
Dr. Zain ul Abdin, General Manager Ignite, stated that Ignite was excited about organizing Pakistan’s 2nd nationwide cybersecurity hackathon in five cities this year. The purpose of the Cyber Security Hackathon 2022 is to train and prepare cyber security experts in Pakistan, he said.
Speaking on the occasion, Asim Shahryar Husain, CEO Ignite, said, “The goal of the cybersecurity hackathon is to create awareness about the rising importance of cybersecurity for Pakistan and also to identify and motivate cybersecurity talent which can be hired by public and private sector organizations to secure their networks from cyberattacks.”
“There is a shortage of 3-4 million cybersecurity professionals globally. So this is a good opportunity for Pakistan to build capacity of its IT graduates in cybersecurity so that they can boost our IT exports in future,” he added.
Chief guest, Mohsin Mushtaq, Additional Secretary (Incharge) IT & Telecommunication, said, “Digital Pakistan Cybersecurity Hackathon is a step towards harnessing the national talent to form a national cybersecurity response team.”
“Ignite will continue to hold such competitions every year to identify new talent. I would like to congratulate CEO Ignite and his team for holding such a marathon competition across Pakistan to motivate cybersecurity students and professionals all over the country,” he added.
Top cybersecurity experts were invited for keynote talks during the occasion including Moataz Salah, CEO Cyber Talents, Egypt, and Mehzad Sahar, Group Head InfoSec Engro Corp, who delivered the keynote address on Smart InfoSec Strategy.
Panelists from industry, academia, and MoITT officials participated in two panel discussions on “Cyber Threats and Protection Approaches” and “Indigenous Capability & Emerging Technologies” during the event.
The event also included a cybersecurity quiz competition in which 17 teams participated from different universities. The top three teams in the competition were awarded certificates.
41 teams competed from Karachi in the Digital Pakistan Cybersecurity Hackathon 2022.
The top three teams shortlisted after the eight-hour hackathon were: “Team Control” (Winner); “Revolt” (1st Runner-up); and “ASD” (2nd Runner-up).
These top teams will now compete in the final round of the hackathon in Islamabad later this month.
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