29 September 2012

Asymmetric Warfare: Computer Jihad...

A person does not have to spend years analyzing and witnessing the phenomenon of the Internet to understand why the pornography industry has flourished. Like other social and religious facets of our global culture, connected by hyper links, web sites and chat rooms, human beings are able to quickly and efficiently discover what they are looking for. Good and bad. If the Internet is just a mirror of society itself, then of course it will have both the positive and humanitarian aspects along with the negative, criminal and evil elements.

Learning new skills and spreading new ideas via the Internet is nothing new. However, one could predict that the acceleration of threats to our youth, families and nations states has been influenced by the proliferation of IBM's, Apples, Dells, and Gateway's across the globe. Whether it's in the kitchen, the library, university dorm room or the corner cyber cafe the ubiquitous ICT access now available has increased our operational risks at home, at work and to our economic well being.

Jim Melnick, is Director of Enterprise Threat Intelligence at iSIGHT Partners Inc. He formerly worked as an analyst for the Defense Intelligence Agency and is also a retired colonel in the U.S. Army Reserves in military intelligence. He has been in the middle of a movement for several years that highlights the growing threat of COMPUTERIZED JIHAD:
Recent Al Qaeda recruitment videos and foiled terrorist plots remind us that the effectiveness of terrorism is an issue of winning the hearts and minds of those with the proper skills to do serious harm. It would logically follow that it is reckless to allow terrorists to combine the critical elements of ideology, skills and the technical means of destruction.
Yet, there is a less discussed conflict - a "cyberwar" - where these dangerous elements are coming together. Regardless of one's position on the war in Helmand Province or the current definition of the "global war on terrorism," the threat is real. 
Years ago, cyber-attacks against Estonia demonstrated what a cyberwar could resemble when expertise is motivated en masse. Pro-Russian hackers attacked numerous Estonian sites in the wake of major protests over the bitterly disputed removal of a World War II-era statue and graveyard. The attacks brought down numerous government Web sites and one major banking site. NATO even rushed a cyber-warfare team to the country to assist the Estonian government, and the nation's justice minister requested that the European Union classify the attacks as acts of terrorism.
When subjects such as this are discussed at length in the Board Room, NOC or War Room the arguments always come back to the same thing. How many people have been killed as a result of cyber-warfare? Justification of spending dollars and allocating resources is in many cases a factor of the risk management exercise, likelihood vs. impact. After all, the Internet seems to be self-healing and resilient to any long term outage. But those who are well versed in 4th Generation Warfare (4GW) sitting around the table know that computerized jihad is a tactic of a far more encompassing strategy:

Reflecting Sun Tzu’s philosophy, many recent Chinese writings have focused on asymmetric warfare as a means of defeating a militarily superior enemy. Asymmetric warfare uses political, economic, informational and military power. Military power is the least emphasized.

The silent war being waged each second of each minute of every hour every day, over every week and month of the year is taking place on a vast digital battlefield. Who will be the victor?

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