13 February 2010
Info wars 2010
Articles on or related to cyber attacks/security:
- How a Bookmaker and a Whiz Kid Took On a DDOS-based Online Extortion Attack by Scott Berinato from CSO Online, 1 May 2005; riveting tale of how Barrett Lyon got into cyber security
- Fighting Cybercrime, One Digital Thug At A Time from Fresh Air, 26 January 2010; interview with Lyon and author Joseph Menn, his new book is title Fatal System Error: The Hunt for the New Crime Lords Who Are Bringing Down the Internet
- Cyber Threats, Google and the NSA from On Point, 9 February 2010; discussing Operation Aurora (the attack on Google et al. by the Chinese government) and the NSA warrantless wiretapping (leaked by AT&T tech Mark Klein when he found the splitters in Room 641A)
- Anarchy in the Everyday; The Late, Great Nation State by Barrett Brown from True/Slant, 10 February 2010; re Anonymous's raid on Australian government web sites after the government banned from porn--and I am not making this up--women with small breasts and women peeing. Their simple and honest declaration:
The Australian Government will learn that one does not mess with our porn.
I had read about Barrett Lyon a few years back when his CSO story was linked around on Slashdot etc. At the time--and this is five years ago--a big enough bot net could take anyone down. Lyon built one of the first (*the* first?) DDoS firewalls to protect gambling sites from, what turned out to be Russian, extortionists. The CSO article ends wryly, noting that companies now pay around $50,000 to protect themselves from having to pay protection. Insert joke here about virus scanners slowing down your machine so that viruses can't.
The fact that Google can be attacked, and that they'd partner with the NSA, illustrates the gravity of the current threat. This time, it's not just thugs but government sanctioned thugs. I've read in Slashdot threads that Russia has the same tactics: leverage their hackers to disrupt Western corporations and governments. It's nice to know that the US doesn't stoop to such measures (insert joke that when *we* do it, it's not torture).
Lyon's company started protecting Scientology sites after Anonymous started their Project Chanology raids in January 2008. Since Anonymous employs multi-honed attacks (DDoS, black faxes, picketing, information) a firewall offers only partial protection. And, as had been shown with the Marblecake hack, sites can be subverted without being taken down. The True/Slant article references a Neuromancer quote as prediction of the decentralized, directed mob that is Anonymous. They're doing what any activists do: bring attention to an injustice. Reading the inevitable panic-stricken comments denouncing Anonymous, it's interesting to note the difference between "activist" and "terrorist".
The internet is at that awkward age of being both fragile and essential. Small groups like Anonymous are leveraging that fragility as much as are governments. Grab some popcorn; watch the show.
[ updated 25 Feb 2010 ]
US unable to win a cyber war [ via Slashdot ] reaffirmed that the US's extra-connectiveness increases its weaknesses. One proffered solution is to give the Pres access to the on/off switch of the internet (Reminding me of a two-panel cartoon I saw on the internet years back showing the difference between defending a cyber attack in the movies and IRL. The movie scene has the hero spewing 24-style techno-babel that barely makes sense in the fictional world. The real scene has the pimply tech grab the router and pull out the network cable. The Slashdot thread has an oddly compelling comment on what will happen when shit gets real.
[ updated 6 Mar 2010 ]
Slashdot posts a rebuttal and declares the concept meaningless.
- Info wars 2010 posted by sstrader on 13 February 2010 at 11:50:50 AM
- Limiting noise posted by sstrader on 15 December 2009 at 9:58:00 AM
- Scientists' emails posted by sstrader on 25 November 2009 at 11:40:47 AM
- Researching false positives reported by ClamWin posted by sstrader on 7 October 2009 at 11:48:26 AM
- Week's reading list posted by sstrader on 28 August 2009 at 2:44:16 PM