Apr 02 2007

Part 2: we can’t take ‘cyber-war’ or ‘cyber-terrorism’ seriously until…

You call this 'information assurance'? I can't wait to see 'information superiority'
[Continued from part 1] No Gravatar

A press release from the U.S. Air Force says “officials from the 57th Information Aggressor Squadron hosted the first-ever Information Operations Threat Analysis Working Group at the Threat Training Facility at Nellis [Air Force Base]… This event brought together experts from 31 U.S. intelligence, research and development, and operational organizations to identify and characterize current and emerging threats.”

At this point you might wonder what an ‘Information Aggressor Squadron’ does. Watch the Star Trek episode “A Taste of Armageddon,” it’ll answer all of your questions.

“Infor­ma­tion aggres­sor squad­rons” teach U.S. Air Force units how to sur­vive a cyber-duel. But what if the duel itself is your enemy’s real objec­tive? What if the enemy wants you to twitch your itchy trigger finger?

So, anyway. Longtime readers know I insist “we can’t take ‘cyber-war’ or ‘cyber-terrorism’ seriously until certain people agree to take on the roles of Billy Mitchell, Phillip Meilinger, Edward R. Murrow, Aldrich Ames, Saddam Hussein, and Osama bin Laden. These people need to be taken seriously in their roles, too — no crackpots allowed.” See [this link] for my full take on this.

I want to add more content to my opinion for the aggressive folks at 57 IAS.

We can’t take “cyber-war” or “cyber-terrorism” seriously until someone takes on the role of Gail Halvorsen. This person will be the “Candy Bomber” whose symbolic action catalyzes the Internet’s role in a humanitarian mission. He needs to be taken seriously, too — no crackpots allowed. And just for the record: Franklin Thomas is not this man!

We can’t take “cyber-war” or “cyber-terrorism” seriously until someone takes on the role of Cindy Sheehan. This mother will become an activist for Internet peace after a clandestine officer kills her son for his role in a computer attack. She needs to be taken seriously, too — no crackpots allowed. And just for the record: I want Melhacker’s mother to be this woman!

We can’t take “cyber-war” or “cyber-terrorism” seriously until another city joins the ranks of Dresden, Hiroshima, and Baghdad. This high-tech metropolis will receive a full scale physical shock-and-awe bombing campaign because it coddles a group of computer terrorists. Dozens, if not hundreds, of innocent civilians will perish in the collateral damage. That city’s destruction needs to be taken seriously, too — no one-off JDAMs allowed. And just for the record: Pyong-yang and Tehran are not this city!

“Okay, Rob. How does this apply to the 57th Information Aggressor Squadron?” I’m glad you asked. They play the role of the bad guy so USAF units can learn how to survive a cyber-duel. But what if the duel itself is your enemy’s real objective? What if the enemy wants you to twitch your itchy trigger finger?

This isn’t unheard of. President Franklin D. Roosevelt wanted America to enter WWII against the wishes of his xenophobic populace. So he handed a 22-caliber pistol to Japan and said “shoot us.” Japan pulled out a 44 magnum and shot us. (Study the mid-1941 oil embargo to learn why the duel took place at Pearl Harbor.)


Know this: the folks in Washington have an outright fetish for cyber-attack scenarios. If I were China, I’d tell my elite People’s Army Hacking Unit to quietly annoy the Pentagon until the president authorizes the first public military invasion of the Internet.

Military generals will be so busy pro­moting their cyber prowess to the media that they might not realize at first when China launches its true objec­tive — to reclaim Taiwan by force…

When the cyber-invasion begins, I’d take a page from Charles Dunlap’s “How We Lost The High Tech War.” I’d bomb a crowded college dorm with an acquired U.S. missile so I could blame the president for going overboard to kill one annoying teenage hacker. It would catalyze Internet opinion in my favor against the U.S. cyber-warmongers.

Then I’d prop up a Cindy Sheehan. “The U.S. military killed my daughter!” she’d scream on YouTube. “She was working on a Cultural Studies degree at Shanghai University but now she’s dead! My only daughter is dead!” It would further catalyze Internet opinion in my favor against the U.S. cyber-warmongers.

Then I’d prop up a Candy Bomber. “Respected computer security expert Li Chen has released free software to protect non-U.S. computers from the threat of collateral damage…” It would do even more to catalyze Internet opinion in my favor against the U.S. cyber-warmongers. Imagine if 250 million PC users around the world switched all at once to my state-developed antivirus software!

By this point the U.S. computer press will have given terabytes of coverage to cyber-World War III. Air Force generals will get their 15 nanominutes of fame in the mainstream media, trumpeting all of the computer battlefield skills they provide to combatant commanders. “‘We’ve got information superiority at this point,’ General Robert Elder of Cyber Command explained, ‘but we’ll need information supremacy before we can settle this once & for all’…”

Cyber Command will be so busy promoting itself that they might take media scrutiny away from the missile attack. That’s when I begin my real objective. That’s when I reclaim Taiwan by force. “Okay America, you killed a hacker in our country. We’ll just take back what’s rightfully ours, and then we’ll call it even.”

Mark my words: the U.S. government’s “cyber” fetish will come back to haunt us someday. I honestly think an enemy could setback the military’s cyber expansion efforts if they wanted to do it badly enough. But hey, I’m probably thinking too many levels too deep…

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[Continued in part 3]