Tag: cyberwar

Cyberwar: Moscow? Beijing? Pyongyang?

Friday, 16 September, 2016 0 Comments

“Over the past year or two, someone has been probing the defenses of the companies that run critical pieces of the Internet. These probes take the form of precisely calibrated attacks designed to determine exactly how well these companies can defend themselves, and what would be required to take them down.” Says who? Says the Chief Technology Officer of Resilient, an IBM company that “empowers cyber security teams to transform their security posture.”

That CTO is none other than Bruce Schneier, and when he talks, people listen. When he issues a warning, people should act. In his blog post Someone Is Learning How to Take Down the Internet, Schneier echoes the conflict of a previous era: “It feels like a nation’s military cybercommand trying to calibrate its weaponry in the case of cyberwar. It reminds me of the US’s Cold War program of flying high-altitude planes over the Soviet Union to force their air-defense systems to turn on, to map their capabilities.”

Fancy Bear But this is not the work of a data fundamentalist like Julian Assange or a data thief such as Fancy Bear, Schneier believes. To him, it feels like a large nation state is at work. “China or Russia would be my first guesses,” he says, although he accepts that the identity of the country of origin for the attacks now being mounted could be disguised.

All this reminds the avid reader of espionage thrillers of the time when a rogue Russian spy warned an MI5 agent of a plot to hack into a top-secret US-UK military satellite system. Tomorrow, here, we follow Liz Carlyle to Geneva as she tracks the moles.


Cyberwar with Waze

Wednesday, 26 March, 2014 0 Comments

When Google paid $1 billion last summer for Waze, an Israeli firm that had created a traffic and navigation app for smartphones, The Economist mused that if the users’ data were built into Google Maps, it “should give a timelier, fuller picture of conditions on the roads.” That’s because motorists can use Waze to report traffic jams, accidents, roadworks, speed traps and fuel prices. The Economist also noted that Waze was hugely popular in Israel, with “almost 100% penetration” among smartphone-owning drivers, according to Yahal Zilka of Magma Venture Partners, which had led the first round of investment in the company.

But within that “almost 100% penetration” lies a grave danger. Check this out:

“As part of their studies in computer science at the Technion in Haifa, two students constructed a program capable of disrupting traffic reports provided by the popular navigation service Waze by creating fictitious traffic reports to steer drivers off course. Using the program that they constructed, the students were able to create a traffic jam that continued for hours and forced thousands of drivers to steer clear of their regular routes.”

The report by No Camels concludes: “The cyber attack simulated by the students could have severe consequences on traffic patterns, enabling a user to discourage drivers from using a toll road leading to bankruptcy for the traffic authorities…”

Given the shortage of employees skilled in dealing with cyberattacks, those Technion students should have no problems getting well-paid jobs at home or abroad.