Posts tagged cyberwar

Same as it Ever Was

Browsing through Time Magazine’s covers archive is an exercise in deja vu all over again.

Shown above are Internet-related covers from 1993 to 1996. Looking back years later, the memes and themes of our general interest technology reporting remain about the same. 

The Internet and those who spend a lot of time on it produces a weird, “other” culture. Porn’s an issue. So too cyberwar. Who controls the Internet? It’s been a question for some time now. 

Contemporary equivalents of the above covers?

Images: Selected Time Magazine covers, 1993-1996. Select to embiggen.

The Hackers of Damascus

Via Businessweek:

Taymour Karim didn’t crack under interrogation. His Syrian captors beat him with their fists, with their boots, with sticks, with chains, with the butts of their Kalashnikovs. They hit him so hard they broke two of his teeth and three of his ribs. They threatened to keep torturing him until he died. “I believed I would never see the sun again,” he recalls. But Karim, a 31-year-old doctor who had spent the previous months protesting against the government in Damascus, refused to give up the names of his friends.

It didn’t matter. His computer had already told all. “They knew everything about me,” he says. “The people I talked to, the plans, the dates, the stories of other people, every movement, every word I said through Skype. They even knew the password of my Skype account.” At one point during the interrogation, Karim was presented with a stack of more than 1,000 pages of printouts, data from his Skype chats and files his torturers had downloaded remotely using a malicious computer program to penetrate his hard drive. “My computer was arrested before me,” he says.

Much has been written about the rebellion in Syria: the protests, the massacres, the car bombs, the house-to-house fighting. Tens of thousands have been killed since the war began in early 2011. But the struggle for the future of the country has also unfolded in another arena—on a battleground of Facebook pages and YouTube accounts, of hacks and counterhacks. Just as rival armies vie for air superiority, the two sides of the Syrian civil war have spent much of the last year and a half locked in a struggle to dominate the Internet. Pro-government hackers have penetrated opposition websites and broken into the computers of Reuters and Al Jazeera to spread disinformation. On the other side, the hacktivist group Anonymous has infiltrated at least 12 Syrian government websites, including that of the Ministry of Defense, and released millions of stolen e-mails.

The Syrian conflict illustrates the extent to which the very tools that rebels in the Middle East have employed to organize and sustain their movements are now being used against them. It provides a glimpse of the future of warfare, in which computer viruses and hacking techniques can be as critical to weakening the enemy as bombs and bullets. Over the past three months, I made contact with and interviewed by phone and e-mail participants on both sides of the Syrian cyberwar. Their stories shed light on a largely hidden aspect of a conflict with no end in sight—and show how the Internet has become a weapon of war.

Stephan Feris, Businessweek. The Hackers of Damascus.

Stuxnet: Anatomy of a Computer Virus

Stuxnet has been called the world’s first weapon made entirely out of code. It is responsible for damaging Iran’s uranium enrichment infrastructure and effectively halting the country’s nuclear program.

This infographic explores the ramifications of Stuxnet. It was created by Patrick Clair for HungryBeast, a TV program on Australia’s ABC1.

Run Time - 3:21.

Hacking was in the news this week. If you looked, you’d see something along the lines of:
Sony Hacked Again (edit: Palm, meet face)
Mac trojan evades Apple’s brand new security fix
Spear phishers target gov, military officials’ Gmail accounts
Wave of Trojans breaks over Android
Lockheed Martin Network Subject to Hacks
The British secret service got in on the action with a confectionary twist by hacking Al Qaeda’s English-language magazine and swapping out bomb making instructions with cupcake recipes. And the US military has a new report coming out that states that hacking can be considered an act of war.
And that’s where ants come in.
US researchers are developing software that mimics ant-like behavior in order to combat unwanted network intrusions.
Via SecurityWeek:

Errin Fulp, a computer science professor at Wake Forest University, is creating an “army of digital ants” that can roam computer networks looking for threats, and hopes the technology can transform how we think about cyber security. Fulp says the technology is different than traditional security software models because it adapts rapidly to changing threats. “In nature, we know that ants defend against threats very successfully,” Fulp said. “They can ramp up their defense rapidly, and then resume routine behavior quickly after an intruder has been stopped. We’re trying to achieve that same framework in a computer system.”…
…This summer, Fulp is working with scientists at PNNL in Richland, Washington to train the “digital ants” to turn loose into the power grid to seek out computer viruses trying to wreak havoc on the system.
If the approach proves successful in safeguarding the power grid, it could have wide-ranging applications on protecting anything connected to SCADA (Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition) networks, software systems that monitor and control industrial processes, such as those in nuclear power plants, and other industrial facilities such as water and sewer management systems to mass transit systems to manufacturing systems.

Give it up for the little guys and, of course, biomimicry.
Photo: Ants and Aphids by Binux via Flickr/Creative Commons.

Hacking was in the news this week. If you looked, you’d see something along the lines of:

The British secret service got in on the action with a confectionary twist by hacking Al Qaeda’s English-language magazine and swapping out bomb making instructions with cupcake recipes. And the US military has a new report coming out that states that hacking can be considered an act of war.

And that’s where ants come in.

US researchers are developing software that mimics ant-like behavior in order to combat unwanted network intrusions.

Via SecurityWeek:

Errin Fulp, a computer science professor at Wake Forest University, is creating an “army of digital ants” that can roam computer networks looking for threats, and hopes the technology can transform how we think about cyber security. Fulp says the technology is different than traditional security software models because it adapts rapidly to changing threats. “In nature, we know that ants defend against threats very successfully,” Fulp said. “They can ramp up their defense rapidly, and then resume routine behavior quickly after an intruder has been stopped. We’re trying to achieve that same framework in a computer system.”…

…This summer, Fulp is working with scientists at PNNL in Richland, Washington to train the “digital ants” to turn loose into the power grid to seek out computer viruses trying to wreak havoc on the system.

If the approach proves successful in safeguarding the power grid, it could have wide-ranging applications on protecting anything connected to SCADA (Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition) networks, software systems that monitor and control industrial processes, such as those in nuclear power plants, and other industrial facilities such as water and sewer management systems to mass transit systems to manufacturing systems.

Give it up for the little guys and, of course, biomimicry.

Photo: Ants and Aphids by Binux via Flickr/Creative Commons.