Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Achtung Panzer!

Something to watch. La Russophobe quotes the Washington Post on the subject of the Kremlin's possible deployment of denial-of-service attacks on its domestic critics. This follows the use of such attacks on Estonia, with whom Russia had a political dispute.

A political battle is raging in Russian cyberspace. Opposition parties and independent media say murky forces have committed vast resources to hacking and crippling their Web sites in attacks similar to those that hit tech-savvy Estonia as the Baltic nation sparred with Russia over a Soviet war memorial. While they offer no proof, the groups all point the finger at the Kremlin, calling the electronic siege an attempt to stifle Russia's last source of free, unfiltered information. The victims, who range from liberal democrats to ultranationalists, allege their hacker adversaries hope to harass the opposition with the approach of parliamentary elections in December and presidential elections in next March. ...

The attacks are similar to assaults _ sometimes a million computers-strong _ unleashed in April and early May against Web sites in Estonia. Officials there say waves of attacks crashed dozens of government, corporate and media Web sites in one of Europe's most wired societies. The cyber warfare included computer-generated spam and so-called Distributed Denial-of-Service, or DDoS, attacks.

The political elite of the West, like the last Manchus, may be have become so blinkered by the long assumption of guaranteed superiority that they have become slower than their supposed inferiors at grasping the possibilities of the 21st century warfare. Methods like cyberattacks and a networked insurgency are pitted against limited pacifist and diplomatic responses often with great effectiveness. Putin's audacity may be vile, but it displays an imagination and a willingness to step outside the beaten track so rare among Western leaders. Just as courtiers in Beijing once thought the Chinese emperor had the right to rule 'all under heaven', today the Eurocrats may believe "International Law" composed in Brussels actually governs the fate of nations and trumps all national political decisions. They forgot what the authority to rule 'all under heaven' was actually based upon though Putin has not.

The enemies of the West have become mentally much tougher and creative than the purblind politicians who bleat and threaten to bleat yet again when their requests are not met. One wonders whether Putin and the terrorist regimes are now increasingly certain that the once formidable walls are in fact unmanned; and that neither the costly furnishings nor the walls of red tape of its Manchu foe will be of much use on the day of test.


Blogger Stephen Renico said...

An interesting "conversation" between Putin and Bush presented by Spengler:

"What They Didn't Say at Kennebunkport"

7/03/2007 04:18:00 AM  
Blogger nikita said...

While they offer no proof
Indeed, but who needs a proof when all you need is to "point the finger" and
eloquently bombard the ether with diatribes about enemies of the People, err, the West, I mean. :-)

7/03/2007 04:19:00 AM  
Blogger lgude said...

I think we are battling a shadowy child of the Internet in al Qaeda and am not shocked that a regime that still spectacularly and publicly poisons its enemies might do something like this. While I have read about the US playing cyberwar games with China (I believe, against a team of our own guys playing the Chinese) I expect that what Russia is accused of doing may be more like real world cyberwar. That is, the rules are not the rules of industrial age war any more than they are for al Qaeda.

7/03/2007 05:58:00 AM  
Blogger Elmondohummus said...

What the heck is this overreaction people are having? Cyberwar?? Oh, please. The ability to DDOS someone's website is far, far from the ability plus resources needed to stage an attack that can actually do damage to a nation, yet everytime I hear someone bleat about "cyberwar", the only examples they ever bring up are DDOS's. An attack which is defeatable with distribution of servers plus alert administrators with easily obtained IDS's.

Let's quit worrying about "Cyberwar". The concept is as fallacious as phlogiston. I'm much more worried that the internet can be used as perfectly secure communications lines. That's the real concern, that for free any militant/insurgent/rebel/bolshevik has access to something that in the past was only the province of well supplied armies: Reliable and securable communications. Intelligence and coordination are, along with logistics, the lifeblood of any military campaign, and the internet makes 1 of those perfectly free and available, and another one easier. Yet every Richard Clarke wannabe I hear keeps on bringing up the fictional spectre of "Cyberwar".

I'll believe in "cyber-warfare" when I see an attack actually work in a way indicating anything other than the target's lack of security. DDOS's and drive by vandalism of websites are the work of ankle-biters, not real antagonists.

7/03/2007 08:36:00 AM  
Blogger whiskey_199 said...

Wretchard -- the ability to think in unusual ways and self-organize also belongs to would-be leaders in the West.

The leadership class and elites may be as blinded and complacent as the Mandarins and their Eunuchs, but there are hungry and ambitious men who wait for their chance. Who look back on proven models of success: Napoleon, Caesar, de Gaulle, and wonder if it might not be their turn?

Who would use the same tools that AQ and Putin use to rise to power themselves, and bind to them a massive army of men without opportunities or ability to advance.

I also think that DDoS is not much that is innovative, but the ability to leverage the Internet for deniable/distributed organization, to set up one's own Taipeng Revolt, and adopt: cheap robotic vehicles (often armed), orders of magnitude improved comms, and perhaps other technology I can't think of right now could also be a pattern of adoption in the West.

Napoleon's innovation was mobility, rapidity of movement, then sudden concentration of forces on the objective. A radical change from static, siege-type operations that had gone before it. I expect something similar from the new Napoleon.

7/03/2007 02:33:00 PM  
Blogger RWE said...

The flip side to this is what the forces of thugism are yet again unleashing on the world.

I get a phishing e-mail at least once a week, purporting to be E-bay, the Bank of America, the Warren AFB Federal Credit Union, etc. In each case Outlook Express tells me that it has detected Cyrillic characters in the e-mail and it always traces back to somewhere in Eastern Europe, with Germany being the current popular gateway – it used to be Romania or Russia itself. I guess that the Commie thugs have not figured out yet that the rest of the world does not use their alphabet.

The First Industrial Revolution led to the flooding of the world with AK-47’s, RPG-7’s, T-55’s, and leaky nuclear submarines. And please note, by the way, that the US is still spending hundreds of millions of dollars a year to clean up and dispose of the mess – and I am talking about in Russia and the rest of the Former USSR, not Iraq, which is a separate bill.

The Second Industrial Revolution has given the thugs behind the rusted-through Iron Curtain access to the rest of us. It’s a problem – but let us not forget that a Smith and Wesson Beats Four Aces. No server in the world can survive a Hellfire in the guts.

7/03/2007 04:03:00 PM  

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