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Cyber war: What happens when weapons go wild?

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By now no-one is surprised to realise that the CIA/NSA have developed a myriad sophisticated computer programs capable of breaking into any computer, any phone and practically any device with a computer component. (Think cars, TVs, industrial plant, nuclear power stations, everything..)

You probably also for instance that the Iranian nuclear program was trashed with a suitably nasty virus (Stuxnet) that caused the centrifuges to go out of control. That sounds suitably scary but perhaps we have a vague idea that at least it is "our guys" who have the cyber weapons.

But what if this wealth of computer programming found it's way into a hundred other places for their use around the world ? What could the consequences be of a Stxnet virus being used in our nuclear installations or industrial plant ?

Anyway that is what is happening. Check out the story. Be interested in your thoughts.

'Cyberwar' programs are a serious proliferation risk

Cyber 'weapons' are not possible to keep under effective control.

While nuclear proliferation has been restrained by the enormous costs and visible infrastructure involved in assembling enough fissile material to produce a critical nuclear mass, cyber 'weapons', once developed, are very hard to retain.

Cyber 'weapons' are in fact just computer programs which can be pirated like any other. Since they are entirely comprised of information they can be copied quickly with no marginal cost.

Securing such 'weapons' is particularly difficult since the same people who develop and use them have the skills to exfiltrate copies without leaving traces — sometimes by using the very same 'weapons' against the organizations that contain them. There are substantial price incentives for government hackers and consultants to obtain copies since there is a global "vulnerability market" that will pay hundreds of thousands to millions of dollars for copies of such 'weapons'. Similarly, contractors and companies who obtain such 'weapons' sometimes use them for their own purposes, obtaining advantage over their competitors in selling 'hacking' services.

Over the last three years the United States intelligence sector, which consists of government agencies such as the CIA and NSA and their contractors, such as Booz Allan Hamilton, has been subject to unprecedented series of data exfiltrations by its own workers.

A number of intelligence community members not yet publicly named have been arrested or subject to federal criminal investigations in separate incidents.

Most visibly, on February 8, 2017 a U.S. federal grand jury indicted Harold T. Martin III with 20 counts of mishandling classified information. The Department of Justice alleged that it seized some 50,000 gigabytes of information from Harold T. Martin III that he had obtained from classified programs at NSA and CIA, including the source code for numerous hacking tools.

Once a single cyber 'weapon' is 'loose' it can spread around the world in seconds, to be used by peer states, cyber mafia and teenage hackers alike.

https://wikileaks.org/ciav7p1/index.html

This a long Press Release from Wiki leaks. But the detail it outlines on how the CIA/NSA computer spying tools work and the the risk of them going wild is .........
 
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I think that this problem is the most probable scenario for the end of the world as we know it.

Cyber hackers getting control of nuclear weapons, crash of the financial system, control over essential services, identity theft, invasion of privacy and the list goes on.

The comparison to biological viruses over which we also have no control is obvious. Kill one off and it mutates into something else. We may actually be forced to ditch automated systems for which there is no accountability and go back to a humans in charge situation with someone responsible for every decision made and therefore being accountable.

Great technology stymied by the human race's lack of social development. Very sad.
 
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We have 1000's of nukes that blow up entire cities....

I think somehow we will be ok. Unless all nukes and similar weapons go automated.

The singularity is more of a problem I think.
 
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The Department of Defence has been war gaming a range of scenarios around heightened international tensions and the extensive use of cyber sabotage to pressure and overwhelm governments.

Challenging from almost any perspective.

Defence has imagined modern warfare and Australia is not prepared

....The report also reveals deep concerns from across the Defence Department that Australia's planning for modern, unconventional warfare and crises is inadequate.

It finds Australia will require a sweeping new national strategy for this era of global uncertainty.
"It's a very significant and historic document," says former Australian Defence Force chief Chris Barrie, who advised the review.
"It warns us about a whole range of vulnerabilities and canvasses a whole range of preparedness issues where Australia is extraordinarily deficient in its quest to become the best-globalised country on the planet.
"We need to go through it and we need to determine what are the strategic investments we need to make right now."
The review was commissioned in 2017, following warnings from Admiral Barrie that Australia was unprepared for a new global conflict, a crisis caused by climate change or economic collapse.
"We are sleepwalking and there is an unacceptable risk of a third world war in the next two decades," he says.
https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-05...ed-for-security-threats-warns-review/12248332


 
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The Department of Defence has been war gaming a range of scenarios around heightened international tensions and the extensive use of cyber sabotage to pressure and overwhelm governments.

Challenging from almost any perspective.

Defence has imagined modern warfare and Australia is not prepared

....The report also reveals deep concerns from across the Defence Department that Australia's planning for modern, unconventional warfare and crises is inadequate.

It finds Australia will require a sweeping new national strategy for this era of global uncertainty.
"It's a very significant and historic document," says former Australian Defence Force chief Chris Barrie, who advised the review.
"It warns us about a whole range of vulnerabilities and canvasses a whole range of preparedness issues where Australia is extraordinarily deficient in its quest to become the best-globalised country on the planet.
"We need to go through it and we need to determine what are the strategic investments we need to make right now."
The review was commissioned in 2017, following warnings from Admiral Barrie that Australia was unprepared for a new global conflict, a crisis caused by climate change or economic collapse.
"We are sleepwalking and there is an unacceptable risk of a third world war in the next two decades," he says.
https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-05...ed-for-security-threats-warns-review/12248332
I think it's inevitable that we and other countries will go to a national internet firewall that incoming and outgoing internet traffic has to go through before they get to the user to ward off cyber attacks.

Leaving firewalls to individual organisations or users renders them open to sophisticated hackers and relatively unsophisticated users have no idea how to protect themselves and their data.

It will obviously be contraversial and the "Big Brother" paranoids won't like it but it could be the only way to protect against cyber attacks.
 
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I think it's inevitable that we and other countries will go to a national internet firewall that incoming and outgoing internet traffic has to go through before they get to the user to ward off cyber attacks.
Not sure about the practicality of that idea. On a purely practical basis wouldn't it be dead simple to upload a virus from inside Australia ?

I also think the CIA/NSA might have something to say about such a process. After all they are the ones who have developed the tools to hack computer systems.

It is certainly complex... and dangerous.
 
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