“You know, one of the hardest parts of my job is to connect Iraq to the war on terror.”
George W. Bush, President of the USA in an interview with CBS News’ Katie Couric, September 6, 2006.
I don’t want to use the term “lie” while referring to words published by a government self-defined as “Western Democracy.” The reason for this reluctance is not that I think them unable to commit such a despicable deed.
After all, we live in the Post-WMD era, when we know for sure that Iraq never possessed weapons of mass destruction.
My reason is more prosaic, I am afraid of the reaction of these violent nations.
Instead, for the sake of this article, I will accuse the USA Government of having “truth-issues.”
Since he owns killer drones and a pen capable of signing illegitimate orders, let’s pray for President Obama peaceful acceptance of this softer statement.
Israeli Claims on “Very Dangerous” Cyberattacks
Cyber Warfare: Techniques, Tactics and Tools for Security Practitioners
The statement of President George W. Bush published as the subtitle of this article is a clear reminder of the manipulations that governments often allow themselves.
For some reason, the same person never apologized to the Iraqi People for having attacked them knowing that there was no reason for that.
One could blame the People for failing to control their government, but the latter often use complex decoys aimed at making the task complex.
Moreover, governments often rely on the ignorance of their citizens; this ignorance is easily supported by an irrelevant educational system controlled by the same governments.
How can they expect the People to obey laws that are not taught?
Are we still living in the days of the Roman Empire and its obsolete legal principles?
One of the ways of solving these inconveniences is keeping track of government publications and making sure that their claims can be validated by external sources.
Those following this site, know that I do that regularly, and thus won’t be surprised by this article, which must be considered a courtesy of the US Government.
They left me no work!
“Truth Issue” #1
“After seeing the building, I have no doubt that the Western claims are true!”
Cybercrime, Cyberterrorism, and Cyberwarfare
On January 9, 2013, Israeli newspaper Haaretz reported that Iran was behind a cyber attack on American banks, including Bank of America and other central institutions.
The newspaper—widely considered the Voice of the Shin Beth secret police—preferred not to name the “senior American officers” that made the claim, but assured its readers that the claim was backed by Radware, a company specializing in the topic.
A captivating point was that the attacks were defined as highly dangerous and effective, to the extent that one wonders if that doesn’t link them to the developers of Flame and Stuxnet, the malicious software used by unidentified parties to attack Iran in the past.
After all, they have already proved their technical capabilities while Iran has not.
The American/Israeli claim was not proven properly, but the respective governments didn’t care; before the People had time to check, they were bombed by an identical item.
“Truth Issue” #2
While the tiny file on the abovementioned affair was waiting to get thicker, a related affair exploded in American and Israeli media.
The most impressive source was The New York Times, which on February 18, published a lengthy article titled “Chinese Army Unit Is Seen as Tied to Hacking Against U.S.”
The article claimed that many cyber attacks against Western companies and institutions originated from a building in Shanghai, from were “Unit 61398” worked.
Israeli media published a map, showing the main victims of attacks defined as “very dangerous.” Both were reproduced above.
The American newspaper quoted a study made by Mandiant, an American computer security firm, which “tracks for the first time individual members of the most sophisticated of the Chinese hacking groups — known to many of its victims in the United States as ‘Comment Crew’ or ‘Shanghai Group’ — to the doorstep of the military unit’s headquarters.”
Let me venture one tiny guess in this article: all the attacks reported by Mandiant occurred. All the data they collected is real. Yet, it proves nothing, except that the side being attacked was China.
Even at the level of a private user, it is not particularly difficult to hide internet tracks. Companies like Anonymizer provide accessible packages (beware, they keep records and may supply them to governments).
On the institutional level, the issue is even simpler. Server computers can easily use scripts and specialized software for disguising their tracks.
The fact that Mandiant claims to have tracked undisguised attacks to a single building were a People’s Liberation Army special unit of top-hackers works is delusional. If that were true, the tracks would have pointed at an innocent internet kiosk on the North Pole.
There is another troubling issue. Any government making the claims cited above is clearly targeting people that are not aware of how websites work.
There is no way of causing serious damage to a website by hacking it. Its files may be destroyed, but in modern systems “roll-back” backups are an integral part of the system.
If the aim of the attack is to obtain customer details, there is no point in destroying the site while doing that. In that case, the hacker alerts the operators and proper measures will be taken (change the system protection, request customers to change passwords, and so on).
In other words, efficient website attacks are unlikely; they just cause minor mayhem for a while. Marginal damages would be likely covered by the insurance. Why should a foreign government invest efforts on that?
Strategically, cyberattack is rather ineffective, except in two cases. The first case is obvious: bomb and destroy the target computer system. It is not especially elegant, but it works. The second is as a decoy. Hide a political attack behind a cyberattack.
Make a lot of noise about cyberattacks on your computer and edit the tracking files to show addresses in Shanghai, Tehran, or whatever enemy you fancy to create on that day.
Give the event an attractive name as Stuxnet or Flame. Most people will accept the government’s claims. Others, keep asking how many times are people expected to fall for the Weapons of Mass Destruction “truth issue?”
“There is nothing more deceptive than an obvious fact.” Sherlock Holmes—The Bascombe Valley Mystery
+I refer to “ignorantia iuris non excusat” (a.k.a. “ignorantia legis non excusat” and “ignorantia legis neminem excusat”) a legal principle whereby ignorance of a law does not allow one to escape liability. It sounds as the ultimate state-entrapment technique (“I legislated that two minutes ago! You are guilty!” The government said to the citizen who stepped on a cockroach).
Mr. Tov Roy is one of the frequent contributors for The 4th Media.