Frager Factor

Tuesday, April 02, 2019

Collusion: It Was Just An Illusion aka. "How Putin Defeated America Without Firing A Single Shot"

"The features and likely consequences of strategic information warfare point to a basic conclusion: Key national military strategy assumptions are obsolescent and inadequate for confronting the threat posed by strategic IW" Joint Chiefs 1996




Life Lessons From Poker: Don't Play the Cards, Play the People 

How will humankind define and wage war in the Infosphere?

I read somewhere the thesis that America won the Cold War because the Soviets were playing chess but we were playing poker. They read the ‘board,’ we read the people.”

The analogy was originally drawn around 1940, by economist Oskar Morgenstern. But I think even today, almost every Texas hold ’em player would agree wholeheartedly with the sentiment. Poker is a game of personalities as is life. You play the player more than you play the cards, which means that you’re going to play the same hand differently against different people. If you know someone is afraid to lose, you will try to bluff them and get them to fold. You play to their fear. Alternatively, if you are playing that same hand against a bully, a reckless opponent who is in the game for the thrill of it, you are going to be a lot more cautious.

Last week America lost the information war. But this time the Russians are playing poker while we played chess.

It’s the price we paid for running an analog government as Russia and China were preparing to defeat us in a brave new digital world.

Now they have. Game over. Putin and XI have us by the balls.

There was no collusion. Election meddling was the least of our cybersecurity woes.

And Russia is not the only threat. Small countries like Iran, North Korea, Israel and UAE are smarter than we are.

It's all about Kompromat.



The Russians are coming. The Russians are coming?

Warfare and conflict are no longer just about the clash of uniformed armies and their cutting-edge technology. Conflict in the Information Age is about ideas, values, aspirations, fears and the struggle of people for identity.  Information warfare is about outsmarting rather than outshooting the enemy.

The first step is to control the information. Slowly and patiently over 20 years, Russia has sucked every byte of American data out of our hands into theirs via Kaspersky’s anti-virus software, the standard for millions of Windows desktops around the world. Like a sleeper cell waiting for the signal, Kaspersky was in cahoots with Russian intelligence. You bought malware defense, but they delivered malware.

You may have noticed all the hacks showcased below in passing the last 15 years, but they didn’t raise alarm,. Many assumed change your password and be ok, or it’s encrypted thinking it was a fat guy in his mothers house trying to steal credit card info to subscribe to porn... but what if it was Russia cloaked under spoofed identities, taking small steps got a bigger ambition? 

People used to say I don’t care if I clicked on the link. What could they want in my computer? 

The answer is control of your computer and control of you.

Start here:

As reported first by The Wall Street Journal, the theft included information on penetrating foreign computer networks and protecting against cyber attacks and is likely to be viewed as one of the most significant security breaches to date.

Not only did they get our own tools to use against us, they got all the compromising information the NSA illegally collected on US persons that Snowden blew the whistle about.

Security practitioners weigh in on the 18 worst data breaches in recent memory.

Expect to hear of more government networks infiltrated as a Georgia Institute of Technology report on emerging cyber threats in 2015 (pdf) states, “Low-intensity online nation-state conflicts become the rule, not the exception.” 

The FBI notified the USPS that it suffered an intrusion in September. USPS later confirmed the breach went all the way back “to at least the beginning of January.” Chinese government hackers are suspected to be behind the cyberattack, reported The Washington Post. Names, birth dates, addresses and social security numbers of 800,000 USPS employees were stolen. Much like the State Department waited before shoring up security, the USPS was aware of the hack in Sept. but took didn’t start repairing the breach until the second weekend in November.

The FBI notified the USPS that it suffered an intrusion in September. USPS later confirmed the breach went all the way back “to at least the beginning of January.”  Names, birth dates, addresses and social security numbers of 800,000 USPS employees were stolen. Much like the State Department waited before shoring up security, the USPS was aware of the hack in Sept. but took didn’t start repairing the breach until the second weekend in November.

As you likely recall, the USPS takes a photo of every letter and package mailed in the U.S.; that’s about 160 billion pieces of mail per year. “Tens of thousands” of those images are handed over to law enforcement agencies for additional scrutiny. The USPS reported approving “nearly 50,000 requests last year from law enforcement agencies and its own internal inspection unit to secretly monitor the mail of Americans for use in criminal and national security investigations.”

But even beyond the rising number of apparent victims, U.S. officials said the breaches rank among the most potentially damaging cyber heists in U.S. government history because of the abundant detail in the files. Officials said hackers accessed not only personnel records of current and former employees but also extensive information about friends, relatives and others listed as references in applications or security clearances for some of the most sensitive jobs in government. 

One top U.S. intelligence official is on record saying that the Chinese have already aggressively infiltrated the computer networks of some U.S. banks and are operating inside U.S. electrical grids, mapping out our networks and presumably leaving behind malicious software that could be used to sabotage the systems.



Putin, Wikileaks, the NSA and the DNC email fiasco that gave Trump and Clinton another reason to be at odds.



Employees of Kaspersky Lab at the company’s offices in Moscow. Intelligence officials in the United States believe Kaspersky’s antivirus software was turned into a tool for spying.


Its purpose was unclear but it was believed to have been embedded there by Russian hackers. 








Pro-Palestinian computer hackers disrupted the websites of the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange and El Al, Israel's national carrier, on Monday, escalating a Middle East cyber war.





(THEY MIGHT TRY to kill me for telling you what I know.)

Adversaries Are Kicking Our Cyber Butts:

The Obama administration recently unveiled its proposal for global cybersecurity. Statements from the Pentagon have also indicated that the government will consider cyberattacks originating from foreign countries to be equivalent to acts of war meriting military response.  But...

So while the concept of information war appears to be well understood the aspects of it are not being addressed together, and such siloed thinking could lead to gaps in our security. Western governments have failed to fully grasp the vulnerability of electronic communications and the enormous risks this poses to critical infrastructure, transport, and the safety of civilians.

The US director of intelligence has emphasized the enormity of the cyber-threat facing the US, while British General Sir Nicholas Houghton in a speech at Chatham House observed that most acts of physical war today incorporate an online aspect, where social networks are exploited to manipulate opinion and perception. He also acknowledged that the tactics employed by Russia combine aspects of information war and also counter-intelligence, espionage, economic warfare and the sponsoring of proxies.

We have become familiar with cyber-attacks launched through the internet against digital networks, which can make it impossible for businesses to operate. Enormous damage can follow, in cost and reputation, as seen from attacks on Sony Pictures and TalkTalk. Bringing down a stock exchange could cause massive financial losses. Cyber-attacks can also be directed at industrial control systems used in manufacturing plants or in power, water and gas utilities. With the capacity to affect such a wide range of national infrastructure lives would be put at risk.

Psy-ops are aimed more at degrading the morale and well-being of a nation’s citizens. This might include spreading false information, rumour and fear through social media and news outlets. The great level of connectedness that populations have today is a strength, but being instantly connected means that misinformation and fear can also spread rapidly, resulting in panic.

We need to better understand the full scope of information warfare as it evolves, identify where we are most vulnerable, and then establish a single point of responsibility to implement defense mechanisms. Because those adversaries that are unconstrained by western policies, or by ethical or legal codes, can and will exploit our vulnerabilities.

And they are. Our minds are under attack from every side to every angle.




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