Opinion / Politics / Press Releases

There’s a New Way To Wage War in the 21st Century; It’s Called Cyber Warfare

internet keyboard computer email private cyber warfare computer warIt’s very real and very deadly, says AMAC

WASHINGTON, DC – At eleven AM, on the eleventh day of the eleventh month of 2018, the world will commemorate the end of World War I, which back in the day was called “the war to end all wars.”  But, it didn’t.

“In fact, the 20th Century was a particularly bellicose period in the history of the world.  And, a hundred years later – in the 21st Century – a new way to wage war has emerged.  It’s called cyber warfare and it does not rely on bullets and battleships.  Rather, instead of brave foot soldiers, artillery brigades, fighter pilots and sea captains, this new kind of conflict relies on sedentary computer technicians and the World Wide Web.  This new battleground has no defined theaters of operation; it exists in time and space.  But, it is very real and very deadly, perhaps even more so than the way wars were fought in the past,” according to Dan Weber, president of the Association of Mature American Citizens.

A few months ago, Army Lt. Gen. Paul Nakasone, was appointed as the new Director of the National Security Agency [NSA].  He is also the new chief of the U.S. Cyber Command [USCYBERCOM], which does in cyberspace what traditional military forces do on land, air and sea.

During his confirmation hearings, General Nakasone stated, “the current level and tempo of cyber attacks [against the U.S.] is not tolerable. Our adversaries see opportunity for strategic advantage through continuous activity in the domain. We must act purposefully to frustrate their intentions, increase their costs, and decrease their likelihood of success.”

He said that USCYBERCOM is engaged in the task of “aggressively defending our network, conducting daily operations against adversaries, and strengthening the combat power and lethality of U.S. forces around the world.”

Weber points out that there are 195 countries in the world and that perhaps more than 120 of them have developed the capacity to weaponize the Internet.  “Chief among them are Russia and China.  But, America’s cyber forces, along with those of strategic allies such as Israel, are well prepared to overcome the threat they pose.”

An article by analyst Bob Mason on the NASDAQ Web site identifies America and Israel as having the world’s most formidable cyber forces.

The most obvious threats posed by the cyber enemies of the U.S. are designed to target the nation’s infrastructure and financial institutions, according to Weber.  “But, there is an even more dangerous peril – the ability of bad actors to use the Internet to create chaos and revolutionary dissension via social media.  One can only wonder if the intense anti-government protests, in the guise of a movement to bring down President Trump, are not the carefully orchestrated activities of cyber enemies, both domestic and foreign.”

Weber’s speculation is not so far-fetched.  Facebook revealed to Congress recently that there have been dozens of incidents of “inauthentic” activity on its site and that of Facebook’s Instagram App.  The social media giant stated, “we’re still in the very early stages of our investigation and don’t have all the facts — including who may be behind this.  But we are sharing what we know today given the connection between these bad actors and protests that are planned in Washington.”

The AMAC chief concludes that Internet warfare is “a clear and present danger for the U.S., one with consequences that are just as deadly as traditional armed military conflict.  It has long been the preferred method of targeting us for mayhem and murder among radical Islamic terrorists.  Remember, ISIS effectively used the World Wide Web to declare war on the civilized world.”

 

ABOUT AMAC

The Association of Mature American Citizens [AMAC] [https://www.amac.us] is a vibrant, vital senior advocacy organization that takes its marching orders from its members.  We act and speak on their behalf, protecting their interests and offering a practical insight on how to best solve the problems they face today.  Live long and make a difference by joining us today at https://amac.us/join-amac.

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Scottar
3 years ago

I foresaw this over 25 years ago. The present internet is too simple and needs engineering to make it more reliable. Have a good Internet Security Program. A VPN interface would be your next level.

If you are using a modem or router make a habit of shutting it off when not in use, restarting it will clear out any malware encountered. Don’t use links on suspicious emails. Make sure the site you go to is genuine. Use MalwareBytes to remove malware and Hitman-pro will go deep to find the more embedded malware or spyware.

For email I use Arczip.com, they are very reasonable on rates and have a decent spam filter. I use 3 accounts, one for private email, another for financial-personal, and a mainline for everyday. It works pretty good.

Jean
3 years ago

I receive at least one phishing email each day. Usually, I am asked, or even threatened, to update a credit card or bank account information. The web page looks authentic with with actual pictures.

Maria Rose
3 years ago

This is a very real threat to the modern world and should be taken seriously.

PaulE
3 years ago

President Trump just recently relaxed and simplified the rules of engagement that Cyber Command has had to adhere to since Obama hobbled the program. Obama essentially made the rules of engagement on our side so convoluted and lengthy, that our response was either so muted as to be of no real effect on an attacker or by the time all the bureaucratic approvals, from all the “stakeholders” (other government agencies and numerous bureaucrats of questionable value to the process) were received, any response was no longer timely. Think of it as Cyber Command being constrained by a “design by committee approach”, which essentially crippled the organization.

The United States has been under cyber assault from various foreign and domestic entities since the late 1980s. Russia, China, North Korea, Iran, as well as several other nations are routinely probing and testing our defenses for points of weakness they can potentially exploit, if an opportunity and political expediency warrant it. Every nation tries to spy on every other nation via gaps in computer security. Cyber warfare simply adds the additional ability to inflict physical damage on an opponent at the speed of light by leveraging potential weaknesses in computer security. With so much of modern society completely dependent on computerized automation to operate at the levels of efficiency they do (water treatment plants, power plants, railroads, communication facilities, etc.), we must be able to detect and then respond as needed to stop the attacker in seconds. Ending the ludicrous Obama era rules of engagement, that were imposed on Cyber Command, is a good start. However, our private and public sector, mission critical facilities must continuously be hardened to keep up with evolving technologies to prevent any cyber attack from being successful.

Sorry if this post was too technical for some, but cyber warfare is not a subject that can be properly discussed in bumper sticker buzz words. A coordinated cyber attack against our nation’s power grid or transportation infrastructure would be as potentially devestating as a nuclear attack, except there would be no warning time.

Ivan Berry
3 years ago
Reply to  PaulE

So far, Texas remains off the two major power grids if the eastern and western United States, but that does not mean we are not vulnerable, just that when and if either or both of those are disabled, we will not be. A separate attack could occur, but would cause extra effort on the enemy’s effort.

PaulE
3 years ago
Reply to  Ivan Berry

Hi Ivan,

Truly amazing that this topic has generated so little interest, yet it has the very real potential to cripple or wipe out our nation in an instant. A total of 3 comments versus the 861 comments on the completely redundant SS poll. I guess it just goes to show how really shallow the level of interest or concern is in the current AMAC membership pool is for anything other than endlessly talking about SS and Medicare. Our generation used to be so intellectually curious and willing to try to broaden our perspectives and knowledge to address issues most people never even knew existed, but needed to be addressed to protect the future. Now it seems, at least here now, that most of that intellectual curiosity of our generation has apparently evaporated.

Ivan Berry
3 years ago
Reply to  PaulE

Our greatest addiction seems to dependancy–on the government, no less.

PaulE
3 years ago
Reply to  Ivan Berry

And the almost complete lack of the ability to think and reason. The vast majority of posts under the SS topic are little more than incoherent rants. Seriously, read some ov the nonsense written there. What most people seem to have either forgotten or simply refuse to accept is that the Supreme Court already ruled the government can do whatever it wants with the SS program. That means the government can chsnge the rules anytime it wants, to extend payments to whomever they want, whenever they want and if the program goes broke so what? The Supreme Court has also already ruled that SS’s promise to pay is NOT an obligation of the government to pay. So everyone posting that SS should not be changed have no real voice in any decision making process.

The next time a Democrat occupies the WH, they will give SS to everyone, both legal and illegal. Either that or they will do what Berne and Warren want, which is to empty the SS program to fund the first year of universal basic income. Of course seniors will be shocked when their SS checks drop to the $5p0 a month UBI checks.

Phyllis
3 years ago
Reply to  PaulE

This is a most important “Cyber Warfare” article and your reply is very enlightening also. Most of us know so little about how to protect our own cyber-stuff … much less on the GRAND scale of our whole NATION. So glad that our President & Administration has made the adjustments needed to put us on sure footing again, and will continue to do what is needed to protect our Country via Cyber Security!

Kim
3 years ago
Reply to  PaulE

I agree with you, PaulE, that more attention needs to be paid to “CyberForce”. Even with layer upon layer of protection for my few online endeavors, our computer was still hacked in the last few years. My mother allowed someone from “Microsoft” to wander through her online financial records; when I arrived home and saw what was going on, I immediately shut down the computer, and called the police. Right move? I don’t know. That’s part of the problem; too many of us don’t know what CAN happen…
Another incident happened to me when I was googling information (before I discovered DuckDuckGo, a search engine I highly recommend), and suddenly my email PASSWORD showed up on the screen 50 times in the list of entries! Spectrum was not bothered by this; the woman I talked with said, “You already your changed your password, so you’re okay.”
A new website I started this past SPRING somehow dug up searches I had googled LAST YEAR!
I wish we had the option of permanently deleting online searches and other information that we as individuals deem unnecessary to retain. WE should own that information–not facebook (have you seen how big their data centers are?) or google or the cable companies. I guess I’m just naive on this subject. And it’s scary to think what can happen to our infrastructure, or inter-governmental communications…

PaulE
3 years ago
Reply to  Kim

Hi Kim,

The Microsoft scam has been going on for two or three years now. They call up and say that they are from Microsoft Technical Support and that they have detected viruses on your computer. They then offer to “clean up your computer”, if you just let them on your PC or laptop and pay a small fee via credit card. These people are NOT from Microsoft, as Microsoft doesn’t employ people to monitor PC’s of the general public. There is no virus or other malware on your PC or laptop when they scammers call. They are just relying on the total lack of knowledge of the general public to anything computer related and they use the name Microsoft, because people recognize that name. The elderly and the more trusting are their prime targets. They step the so to be victim through what will give these scammers total access to your computer and them they go through your system looking for financial data, passwords, e-mails, basically anything of value they can steal and resell. Then when they have copied everything you have, they say they are all done. However, like most of these scams, they leave a backdoor into your computer in place. That is so they can periodically get back into your PC without your knowledge and steal anything new of value on the system. The general public is really completely unprepared to deal with these folks.

Did you do the right thing? Yes. The police will likely never catch these people, as most are overseas and constatntly changing locations to make pinning them down nearly impossible. The local police also lack the tools and technical skills to trace these people back to their physical location. The FBI does have a cyber crimes division, but they deal with threats against public infrastructure and large companies.

Just a word of warning, your mother’s PC may have already been compromised and they could have already planted malware on the PC before you disconnected that not only gives them access to your mother’s PC, but anyone else’s PC that shares any files with her. Meaning if you copied files from her PC to your, you may have also copied over the malware to you PC. If your mother used your PC when this incident occurs, then likely that is why you suddenly finding things like your password showing up on the Internet. Cleaning up an infected PC can be extremely tedious and time consuming as many of these malware programs are inserted into the heart of the PC’s operating system. Simple anti-virus tools won’t find or remove most of them. Sometimes the real technial support people at McAffee or Norton can clean up a person’s PC, but even they will tell you they can’t promise 100 percent success. If you want to discuss these options further, let me know.

As for Facebook, Google and the other social media sites, I don’t belong to any of them, because I know exactly what they do. They are all nothing more than glorified data collection centers, that offer people free e-mail and other services in exchange for them collecting virtually every single piece of information they enter or view on their sites. The NSA would have started something like Facebook or Google decades ago, if they thought the American public and billions of people overseas would just hand them virtually a complete user profile on themselves (likes / dislikes, products you buy or prefer, what you eat, where you go and what you do when you get there…virtually everything) so easily. Facebook and the others then “lease” that colected data to just about anyone who is willing to pay for it. I found it comical watching the Congressional hearings with Zuckerberg. The members of Congress didn’t have a clue what to ask, because they have no idea what these social media platforms exist for. Nor do they understand the business model being employed.

Kim
3 years ago
Reply to  PaulE

Hi PaulE-
I didn’t have a computer, until I moved here to Mother’s place. We use the same one. I did have our tech lady check it over and do everything possible, and she found no problems… My mother saw something pop up on the screen, so she called the 800 “Microsoft” number.
NOTE TO ALL: and I tell this to my mother over and over, DON’T respond to anything that you didn’t solicit in the first place!! Yes, the elderly are more gullible and trusting.
The computer is an older machine, and I’m thinking about getting a new one. Now I’m a step closer!
It makes me sick knowing what these companies are doing to us. I’m almost tempted to move back to Ludditeville.

PaulE
3 years ago
Reply to  Kim

Hi Kim,

Getting a new PC would be the best option as some of the malware used by these scammers can be embedded in the root code of your old machine and can be hard to detect and remove fully. Your tech lady will understand what I am talking about. If you get a new PC, try to restore your data files on the new PC from a backup done BEFORE your mother’s incident. That way they will NOT be potentially compromised or infected and you can be assured that no one has a back door into your new PC. If you don’t have such a data backup, and I know most people not in the computer industry have no idea even why you even need to backup system and file data onto a separate, secure media, then make sure you install both a good anti-virus suite on your new PC and then install a firewall BEFORE you start transferring any files over to your new PC. Your tech lady should know how to properly configure all this for you. That way, if you have to move data from the old PC to the new one, it will be easier to stop, flag and eliminate any virus or malware before it can damage your new PC.

Also on your new PC you want to both disable pop-ups and restrict third-party redirection to web sites in your browser other than the explicit one you want. Again, your tech lady should know how to do all this. Microsoft typically ships pre-loaded PC’s with all the software set to wide open, minimal security for the various PC companies to have an easier time installing their add-ons onto the machines. Problem is those companies don’t re-configure the PC’s before final shipment to customers. So you tech lad just had to go through the standard list of things to shut-off or disable to properly secure your PC for safe use.

Once you’re all done, then have your tech lady create a bootable system disk for recovery purposes for you. Keep it secure should you ever have to restore the system in the future. Then create a full backup of all your programs and data files. The easiest way to do this would be to get something like the Western Digital My Book external drives that allow your tech lady to configure an automated backup for your new PC for you. Looks Very simple to do.

One last thing. when your done with your old PC do NOT just throw it out. You old data is all still on the hard drive in the PC. There are people that look for this stuff in garbage dumps and then pull the data off the old disk drives to sell to other crooks. So you need to either wipe the data out with a military grade formatting program designed to permanently delete the code and make it unrecoverable by any means or you have to physically destroy the old disk drive. The simple deletion program that ships with Microsoft Windows or Apple OS won’t do the job. They doesn’t work the same way as the military grade code designed to ensure data is unrecoverable. Anything either of those programs deletes can be recovered by several programs out there. If you want to go the extra effort and go the destruction of the hard drive route, the best way to physically destroy the old hard drive is to drill five to seven 1/4 inch holes through the drive casing to expose the magnetic disks within and then thermally incinerate the drive. Obviously most people outside of the military will opt for the military grade incinerator software.

Yes, the elderly are the prime targets for these type of scams. Scammers pretend to be Microsoft, the IRS, IBM, the SS administration or anything that they think the elderly will fall for.

Kim
3 years ago
Reply to  PaulE

Thanks for the tips, PaulE. I’ll make a copy of this for when I do finally take that step. Sounds like you have a promising career in Cybersecurity ahead of you!
I watched a few minutes of Facebook CEO (?) Sandburg’s testimony in Congressional hearings this morning. She was asked if there is ANY private information that f would not ask for, and she didn’t quite understand the question. As if, “No, we want it all. We have a right to get it all.” That was my impression, anyway.

PaulE
3 years ago
Reply to  Kim

HA! I spent over 30 years in the industry doing major domestic and international projects. I’ve had more than enough of it to suit my taste.

On the Facebook testimony, I found her responses both totally hilarious and incredibly sad. I’m sure none of the Senators realized that she was being both condescending and treating them with utter contempt. Like she was talking to a group of 5 years olds and discussing quantum mechanics. She did it so politely though, which is all that likely registered with most Senators and the media, that none of them realized what she was doing. The general view of most of Silicon Valley and ALL the major social media companies is that THEY set the rules and that everything a user of their services types in or views on the their platforms belongs to the social media companies to do with as they wish. Been that way for years and these companies are now too big and both financially and politically powerful to be reigned in by something as uniformed as the United States Congress. Remember, Facebook alone has over two billion users around the world and has a virtual monopoly in most countries where they operate. Combined all the social media companies have nearly half the planet using their services, which generates tens of billions a quarter. Effectively, they are almost sovereign nations at this point. The time to establish operational boundaries (think antitrust type criteria) for most of these companies was 15 to 20 years ago.

Once again, the questions being asked by the various Senators today just showcased how little they and their aids understand the technology space. Oh sure they tried to use some technical terms like algorithm and search criteria, but they honestly have no clue how these companies go about doing their data mining of user information and screening out of any political perspectives that varies from their own leftist perspectives. I’m sure if there is any regulation coming down the pike, that representatives of Facebook, Google, Twitter and the rest of them will be writing most of it. Most of the federal government still thinks that mainframe technology represents the height of modern technology. Seriously! So the federal government is generally incapable of drafting meaningful legislation or regulations without significant input from the players they seek to constrain. Thus any proposed legislation or regulation that comes about will not materially alter the business models. profit models or the overall operation of the social media players appearing before Congress today.

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