Administration has long been attacking other nations with malware viruses that are also infecting, compromising US infrastructure
Following yesterday’s defeat of the draconian cybersecurity legislation in the Senate, it was revealed that back in mid October, president Obama signed off on a secret directive that will enable the US military to use newly created computer viruses to attack any organisation or country deemed to be a cyber threat. The president has already proved the willingness to carry out such attacks, as new details surrounding the 2010 stuxnet attack revealed earlier this year.
The Washington Post cited several US officials speaking under anonymity in a report on the development last night.
“The new directive is the most extensive White House effort to date to wrestle with what constitutes an “offensive” and a “defensive” action in the rapidly evolving world of cyberwar and cyberterrorism.” the report states.
“What it does, really for the first time, is it explicitly talks about how we will use cyber-operations,” a senior administration official said. “Network defense is what you’re doing inside your own networks. . . Cyber-operations is stuff outside that space, and recognizing that you could be doing that for what might be called defensive purposes.”
“An example of a defensive cyber-operation that once would have been considered an offensive act, for instance, might include stopping a computer attack by severing the link between an overseas server and a targeted domestic computer.” the report continues.
Essentially, in the same way the Bush administration employed terms such as “pre-emptive” when considering the invasion of Iraq, the Obama administration has shrouded it’s cyber policies in language that legally allows the military to go on the offensive – except this time the battle ground is cyberspace, which the Pentagon has defined as another military domain to be dominated.
The Washington Post even acknowledges that the Stuxnet virus was developed by the US in conjunction with Israel and was unleashed on Iran in 2010. Remarkably, however, it spins this fact on its head suggesting that “If an adversary should turn a similar virus against U.S. computer systems, whether public or private, the government needs to be ready to preempt or respond.”
The idea was immediately branded a wild conspiracy theory by sections of the corporate media, who pinned the blame on Russia or China, before it was finally revealed in January 2011 by The New York Times that the wild “conspiracy theorists” were actually spot on.
The newspaper quoted intelligence and military experts as saying Israel has tested the effectiveness of the Stuxnet computer worm, which apparently shut down a fifth of Iran’s nuclear centrifuges in November and helped delay its ability to make its first nuclear weapons, reported AFP.
The virus caused extensive damage to the Bushehr reactor, leading to the risk of a new Chernobyl-style nuclear disaster, according to Russian officials.
In June of this year, it was revealed in a new book citing senior Washington sources that Stuxnet formed part of a “wave” of digital attacks on Iran code named “Olympic Games”. According to the anonymous officials, the virus was created with the assistance of a secret Israeli intelligence unit. It was Obama himself who gave the order to unleash the cyber attack on Iran. The president also decided not to shut the program down when it was known that it had been compromised.
Of course, the virus escaped onto the internet and has spread around the world, exposing the program. It was reported this week that large companies in the US, including Oil giants Chevron, saw their systems hit by Stuxnet. Computer experts believe that a “programming error” was responsible for the spread of the worm, yet many believe that a more sinister plot was afoot, such as a potential false flag operation, to be blamed on Iran, or an effort to corrupt the free internet.
The Washington Post also reported earlier this year, that the United States and Israel were also responsible for jointly developing the Flame virus, a huge malware assault that monitored Iran’s computer networks.
Researchers at Kaspersky Labs, announced that the Russian cyber security software company discovered a similarity between a subset of the code used in Flame and code used in the Stuxnet virus.
In September, it was revealed that three more new viruses had been created by the US and deployed in Lebanon and Iran to conduct espionage. Researchers working for both Kaspersky and Symantec separately discovered distinct similarities to Stuxnet and the closely related Flame virus.
The fact that these viruses have been pinpointed as potential threats to US government and private infrastructure, underscores the certainty that the US has sought to exploit the threat of cyber-attacks launched by their own cybersecurity departments.
We have seen a constant push by the executive and legislative branches to censor and regulate the Internet domestically in the name of cybersecurity.
Obama’s newly revealed “secret directive”, and his impending executive order on cybersecurity merely rubber stamp and continue the all out offensive that his administration and the intelligence and military outfits under his command have been pursuing for some time.
Steve Watson is the London based writer and editor for Alex Jones’ Infowars.com, and Prisonplanet.com. He has a Masters Degree in International Relations from the School of Politics at The University of Nottingham in England.