Tag Archives: cyber warfare

Mark Caserta: Nation ill-prepared for an evolving technology enemy

17 Mar


Mark Caserta:  Free State Patriot editor

March 17, 2017


The comforts provided by modern technology speak for themselves in terms of how our quality of life has generally improved. Some of us who’ve been around for a while have watched technology transition from rotary dial phones to “Dick Tracy”-style smartwatches with Bluetooth capability.

And the rate at which technology is expanding is shocking!

Thomas Frey, senior futurist at the DaVinci Institute and Google’s top-rated Futurist speaker predicts on his website that “By 2030, the average person in the U.S. will have 4.5 packages a week delivered with drones. They will travel 40 percent of the time in a driverless car, use a 3D printer to print hyper-individualized meals, and will spend most of their leisure time on an activity that hasn’t been invented yet.”

Understand, when I speak against the progressive movement, I’m not referencing modernization.

Progressivism is a conforming ideology, not an advancement in technology.

But the insurgence of technology, especially as it relates to cyber crime, has taken its toll on society. Many of us are at a loss for how to respond or to even believe what we hear or see!

I’m concerned there’s a criminal element, existing at multiple levels, intent upon capitalizing on this uncertainty and perverting, via weaponization, modern technology against mankind.

And it’s growing at a rate the government can no longer hide.

Through the years, we’ve watched shows like “Star Trek” and movies like “Star Wars” provide a frightfully accurate view into our present day. Film visionaries, striving for originative scripts to ensnare audiences, later gave us “The Terminator” collection of films about a futuristic conflict between humans and cyborgs controlled by a self-aware computer.

This isn’t so futuristic now.

In addition to the “Cry havoc! And let slip the dogs of war!” terrorists, I’m confident they’re more subtle, next-gen terrorists engaging in “hack-a-thons” where people come together and use technology to transform ideas into reality.

Except, these are bad people, with skewed perceptions of life’s journey.

Imagine an invisible terrorist cell leveraging advanced technology to build a cyberspace army capable of engaging and decapacitating the enemy on a level playing field where all the ships, fighter jets and tanks in our arsenal couldn’t win.

Scary? Absolutely. Inevitable? Certainly not!

Albert Einstein was quoted as saying, “The world is a dangerous place to live, not because of the people who are evil, but because of the people who don’t do anything about it.”

While I don’t entirely subscribe to Einstein’s ubiquity of evil, his thoughts certainly resonate. The canker and corruption we face daily have driven too many intellectual people into the shadows of apathy and ignorance, either too disgusted to act or too fearful to try.

And in some cases, solutions have become antiquated and ineffectual.

Is it time to send Arnold Schwarzenegger back in time to save the world?

Not yet.

But it is time to pull together the most brilliant and innovative millennial minds among us to help arrive at solutions befitting our technologically savvy enemy.

Because the enemy’s face is evolving. And we simply aren’t prepared.

Mark Caserta is a conservative blogger, a Cabell County resident and a regular contributor to The Herald-Dispatch editorial page.


The Digital Arms Race: NSA Preps America for Future Battle

18 Jan

Future wars will be fought in cyberspace;  Soldiers may look like gamers!

By Jacob Appelbaum, Aaron Gibson, Claudio Guarnieri, Andy Müller-Maguhn, Laura Poitras, , Leif Ryge, and

Photo Gallery: 'Controlled Escalation' 

The NSA’s mass surveillance is just the beginning. Documents from Edward Snowden show that the intelligence agency is arming America for future digital wars — a struggle for control of the Internet that is already well underway.

Normally, internship applicants need to have polished resumes, with volunteer work on social projects considered a plus. But at Politerain, the job posting calls for candidates with significantly different skill sets. We are, the ad says, “looking for interns who want to break things.”

 Politerain is not a project associated with a conventional company. It is run by a US government intelligence organization, the National Security Agency (NSA). More precisely, it’s operated by the NSA’s digital snipers with Tailored Access Operations (TAO), the department responsible for breaking into computers.

Potential interns are also told that research into third party computers might include plans to “remotely degrade or destroy opponent computers, routers, servers and network enabled devices by attacking the hardware.” Using a program called Passionatepolka, for example, they may be asked to “remotely brick network cards.” With programs like Berserkr they would implant “persistent backdoors” and “parasitic drivers”. Using another piece of software called Barnfire, they would “erase the BIOS on a brand of servers that act as a backbone to many rival governments.”

An intern’s tasks might also include remotely destroying the functionality of hard drives. Ultimately, the goal of the internship program was “developing an attacker’s mindset.”

The internship listing is eight years old, but the attacker’s mindset has since become a kind of doctrine for the NSA’s data spies. And the intelligence service isn’t just trying to achieve mass surveillance of Internet communication, either. The digital spies of the Five Eyes alliance — comprised of the United States, Britain, Canada, Australia and New Zealand — want more.

The Birth of D Weapons

According to top secret documents from the archive of NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden seen exclusively by SPIEGEL, they are planning for wars of the future in which the Internet will play a critical role, with the aim of being able to use the net to paralyze computer networks and, by doing so, potentially all the infrastructure they control, including power and water supplies, factories, airports or the flow of money.

During the 20th century, scientists developed so-called ABC weapons — atomic, biological and chemical. It took decades before their deployment could be regulated and, at least partly, outlawed. New digital weapons have now been developed for the war on the Internet. But there are almost no international conventions or supervisory authorities for these D weapons, and the only law that applies is the survival of the fittest.

Canadian media theorist Marshall McLuhan foresaw these developments decades ago. In 1970, he wrote, “World War III is a guerrilla information war with no division between military and civilian participation.” That’s precisely the reality that spies are preparing for today.

The US Army, Navy, Marines and Air Force have already established their own cyber forces, but it is the NSA, also officially a military agency, that is taking the lead. It’s no coincidence that the director of the NSA also serves as the head of the US Cyber Command. The country’s leading data spy, Admiral Michael Rogers, is also its chief cyber warrior and his close to 40,000 employees are responsible for both digital spying and destructive network attacks.

Surveillance only ‘Phase 0’

From a military perspective, surveillance of the Internet is merely “Phase 0” in the US digital war strategy. Internal NSA documents indicate that it is the prerequisite for everything that follows. They show that the aim of the surveillance is to detect vulnerabilities in enemy systems. Once “stealthy implants” have been placed to infiltrate enemy systems, thus allowing “permanent accesses,” then Phase Three has been achieved — a phase headed by the word “dominate” in the documents. This enables them to “control/destroy critical systems & networks at will through pre-positioned accesses (laid in Phase 0).” Critical infrastructure is considered by the agency to be anything that is important in keeping a society running: energy, communications and transportation. The internal documents state that the ultimate goal is “real time controlled escalation”.

One NSA presentation proclaims that “the next major conflict will start in cyberspace.” To that end, the US government is currently undertaking a massive effort to digitally arm itself for network warfare. For the 2013 secret intelligence budget, the NSA projected it would need around $1 billion in order to increase the strength of its computer network attack operations. The budget included an increase of some $32 million for “unconventional solutions” alone.

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