Prepare for more cyber attacks on US

The “patch and pray” system within the United States has killed cyber security. Nobody is willing to commit any funds to protecting the system until something has already happened. Unless this way of thinking is changed and experts begin to go on the offense with cyber defense, America’s IT infrastructure is as good as dead.

 

Another week, another wave of cyber alarm in America. On Wednesday both the New York Stock Exchange and United Airlines suspended activity for several hours due to mysterious computing problems, while the Wall Street Journal’s website briefly went down. All three insisted that the outages reflected technical hitches, not malicious attack. But many are anxious after past assaults on mighty American companies and agencies.

In February Anthem, an insurance company, revealed that cyber hackers had stolen information on 80m customers. The Washington-based Office of Personnel Management said cyber hackers had taken data on millions of federal employees. Companies ranging from retailers to banks have been attacked, too. Continue reading

U.S. Power Grid Being Hit With ‘Increasing’ Hacking Attacks, Government Warns

One can only imagine how much more the threat is multiplied because of the “patch and pray” culture America was warned about as early as 1998. Nobody in the industry cares until after the problem happens, then they stick a band-aid on it.

 

Potential to ‘take down’ U.S. power grids, water systems and other critical infrastructure

While experts have long signaled that the U.S. power grid and related systems are vulnerable to physical attacks by terrorists and other individuals, the U.S. government is now warning that sensitive computer systems that maintain the grid are increasingly being attacked, according to a Congressional Research Service (CRS) report that was not made public until the Federation of American Scientists (FAS) disclosed it this month.

These types of computer viruses are able to comb internal systems for private information in a clandestine manner; they can also be used to wrest control of certain computers away from their owners.

“In recent years, new threats have materialized as new vulnerabilities have come to light, and a number of major concerns have emerged about the resilience and security of the nation’s electric power system,” the report says. “In particular, the cyber security of the electricity grid has been a focus of recent efforts to protect the integrity of the electric power system.” Continue reading

Are you ready for a 10 years with no power grid? Massive solar flare could cause decade-long blackout

Whether through a terrorist EMP or a solar flare, it’s said up to 90% of the American population could perish should the grid go offline. Furthermore, if a terrorist wanted to knock it out, all that needs to be done is taking out only nine substations (See also HERE). America has become so vulnerable and the people so blind.

 

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(NaturalNews) One morning in September, 1859, British astronomer Richard Carrington sat in his private observatory, drawing pictures of sunspots using a telescope which projected an image of the sun onto a screen.

As he drew and observed, there suddenly appeared a brilliant flash of white light on the surface of the sun. Startled, he ran to find witnesses to what he realized was a very unusual event, but by the time he returned, the massive solar flare that Carrington observed had mostly dissipated.

From the NASA website:

[T]elegraph systems worldwide went haywire. Spark discharges shocked telegraph operators and set the telegraph paper on fire. Even when telegraphers disconnected the batteries powering the lines, aurora-induced electric currents in the wires still allowed messages to be transmitted. Continue reading

A disaster foretold — and ignored

LOpht’s warnings about the Internet drew notice but little action

The seven young men sitting before some of Capitol Hill’s most powerful lawmakers weren’t graduate students or junior analysts from some think tank. No, Space Rogue, Kingpin, Mudge and the others were hackers who had come from the mysterious environs of cyberspace to deliver a terrifying warning to the world.

The making of a vulnerable Internet: This story is the third of a multi-part project on the Internet’s inherent vulnerabilities and why they may never be fixed.

Part 1: The story of how the Internet became so vulnerable
Part 2: The long life of a ‘quick fix’

Your computers, they told the panel of senators in May 1998, are not safe — not the software, not the hardware, not the networks that link them together. The companies that build these things don’t care, the hackers continued, and they have no reason to care because failure costs them nothing. And the federal government has neither the skill nor the will to do anything about it.

Continue reading

Ex-CIA director: U.S. wide open to grid attack

How many times can a nation be warned, yet still do next to nothing to neutralize the threat, before an attack or natural disaster actually happens? For more on the SCADA systems, see HERE and HERE. Imagine, for example, Russian or Chinese hackers being able to control dosage levels of medications for patients in America, without America knowing. The threat is real.

 

A former CIA director says the Obama administration hasn’t done nearly enough to protect the nation from attacks to America’s information and critical infrastructure systems.

“The president has to put this first on his list because we are very vulnerable, and we will stay vulnerable until some key things get fixed. So far, I have not seen anywhere near enough commitment from the White House or any place else in getting this done,” said R. James Woolsey, who served as director of the Central Intelligence in the Clinton administration. Woolsey is now chairman of the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies.

Continue reading

FBI investigating series of fiber cuts in San Francisco Bay Area

The FBI is looking into a series of deliberate cuts of fiber optic cables in the San Francisco Bay Area.

In the past year, there were 10 instances on four separate nights when telecom cables were intentionally cut in Fremont, Walnut Creek, Alamo, Berkeley and San Jose, the agency said Monday.

Continue reading

5 Chinese Cyber Attacks That Might Be Even Worse Than the OPM Hack

In another article from yesterday, we did indeed find out SF-86s were compromised… every one of them.

In addition, point number one explaining the networks of 23 gas pipeline companies having crucial information stolen which could lead to serious sabotage and disruptions in America’s critical infrastructure is alarming. This is what military experts would also consider groundwork for military operations, as the article puts it, and why random pipeline explosions and refinery fires in critical areas of the infrastructure need to be looked at with deeper scrutiny and discernment.

These incidents are eerily coincidental to events leading up to Spetsnaz’s First World War.

In 2013 we were notified by Russian Chief of the General Staff Valery Gerasimov that they were activated and ready for combat. Target marking, sabotage operations and elimination of enemy commanders were on the list of duties.

It’s not a game anymore. The sword is coming.

 

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Part of the reason I am a bit blasé about the Office of Personnel Management hack, is if the Chinese government is indeed behind it, it’s not by any stretch the most dastardly thing they have done in cyberspace. It’s just the most recent one that we know about. It’s getting a lot of press because personally identifiable information (PII) was compromised.

This breach has crossed streams with a breach a year ago that did involve investigative files. David Sanger and Julie Hirschfeld Davis at the New York Times do a good job of untangling these two incidents in their recent article. It takes some close reading to understand that the headline, “Hackers May Have Obtained Names of Chinese With Ties to U.S. Government”, isn’t about this incident but the hack of an OPM contractor a year ago. Continue reading

Cyberwarfare Threat To Nuclear, Banking and Financial System

Indeed, our modern western financial and banking system with its massive dependency on single interface websites, servers and the internet faces serious risks that few analysts have yet to appreciate and evaluate.We previously referred to Russian Prime Minister Medvedev’s allusion to cyber warfare when he stated the Russia’s response to U.S. attempts to have it locked out of the SWIFT system that the Russian response “economically and otherwise – will know no limits.

Dormant malware, apparently of Russian origin had previously been discovered buried in the software that runs the Nasdaq stock exchange according to Bloomberg.

Given that a military confrontation is not desired by Russia it is likely that cyber-warfare will be part of Russian arsenal in any confrontation with the U.S. and NATO countries. Continue reading

Former CIA Director: We’re Not Doing Nearly Enough To Protect Against The EMP Threat

 

On Monday we covered the release of an open letter written to President Obama, issued by a committee of notable political, security and defense experts  — which includes past and present members of Congress, ambassadors, CIA directors, and others — on the country’s concerning level of vulnerability to a natural or man-made Electro-Magnetic Pulse (EMP).

An EMP has very real potential for crippling much of our electrical grid instantaneously. Not only would that immediately throw the social order into chaos, but the timeline to repair and restart the grid in most estimated scenarios would take months to a year or more. Those curious on learning exactly how devastating an EMP can be can read our report on the topic from last summer.

Continue reading

Sounding The Alarm On The Country’s Vulnerability To An EMP

Whether the source is a natural phenomenon, a terrorist attack or somehow an honest accident, it’s said 90% of the American population would perish from an EMP. When the power goes off nation-wide, food in grocery stores will spoil, hospital generators will only back everything up for so long and critical medicines will not be able to be produced. This doesn’t include those who pass away in the shock of it all or those killed during civil unrest while fighting over necessities. It would also take years to repair the damage as this would continue going on. It’s also said that America’s lights can be completely turned off from 9 critical substations alone (See also HERE).

 

In the past here at Peak Prosperity, we’ve written extensively on the threat posed by a sustained loss of electrical grid power. More specifically, we’ve warned that the most damaging threat to our grid would come from either a manmade or natural electromagnetic pulse (EMP).

A good friend of mine, Jen Bawden, is currently sitting on a committee of notable political, security and defense experts  — which includes past and present members of Congress, ambassadors, CIA directors, and others — who are equally concerned about this same threat and have recently sent a letter to Obama pleading for action to protect the US grid. Continue reading

ISIS preparing total cyber war on critical US systems

Hooded hackers released a video Monday stating that the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria was preparing to wage all-out “electronic” war on the US and Europe, but the war has not yet begun. Continue reading

Iran Rapidly Building Cyber Warfare Capabilities

Highlighted in teal below is a perfect example of grey terror during the ‘overture’ phase, as described in Soviet defector Viktor Suvorov’s book “Spetsnaz. The Story Behind the Soviet SAS” in chapter 15, Spetsnaz’s First World War.

Here’s a lengthy exerpt:

In Washington, as the President’s helicopter is taking off, several shots are fired at it from sniper’s rifles. The helicopter is only slightly damaged and the crew succeed in bringing it down again safely. No one in the craft is hurt. Responsibility for the attack is claimed by a previously unknown organisation calling itself ‘Revenge for Vietnam’.

There is a terrorist explosion at Vienna airport.

A group of unidentified men attack the territory of the British military base in Cyprus with mortars.

A serious accident takes place on the most important oil pipeline in Alaska. The pumping stations break down and the flow of oil falls to a trickle.

In West Germany there are several unsuccessful attempts on the lives of American generals.

In the North Sea the biggest of the British oil rigs tips over and sinks. The precise reason for this is not established, although experts believe that corrosion of main supports is the culprit.

In the United States an epidemic of some unidentified disease breaks out and spreads rapidly. It seems to affect port areas particularly, such as San Francisco, Boston, Charleston, Seattle, Norfolk and Philadelphia.

There are explosions practically every day in Paris. The main targets are the government districts, communication centres and military headquarters. At the same time terrible forest fires are raging in the South of France.

All these operations — because of course none of these events is an accident — and others like them are known officially in the GRU as the ‘preparatory period’, and unofficially as the ‘overture’. The overture is a series of large and small operations the purpose of which is, before actual military operations begin, to weaken the enemy’s morale, create an atmosphere of general suspicion, fear and uncertainty, and divert the attention of the enemy’s armies and police forces to a huge number of different targets, each of which may be the object of the next attack.

The overture is carried by agents of the secret services of the Soviet satellite countries and by mercenaries recruited by intermediaries. The principal method employed at this stage is ‘grey terror’, that is, a kind of terror which is not conducted in the name of the Soviet Union. The Soviet secret services do not at this stage leave their visiting cards, or leave other people’s cards. The terror is carried out in the name of already existing extremist groups not connected in any way with the Soviet Union, or in the name of fictitious organisations.

The GRU reckons that in this period its operations should be regarded as natural disasters, actions by forces beyond human control, mistakes committed by people, or as terrorist acts by organisations not connected with the Soviet Union.

The terrorist acts carried out in the course of the ‘overture’ require very few people, very few weapons and little equipment. In some cases all that may be needed is one man who has as a weapon nothing more than a screwdriver, a box of matches or a glass ampoule. Some of the operations can have catastrophic consequences. For example, an epidemic of an infectious disease at seven of the most important naval bases in the West could have the effect of halving the combined naval might of the Soviet Union’s enemies.

 

Cyber attacks on banks, casino highlight growing threat

“Iranian hackers have been suspected in multiple incidents that inflicted damage on various entities in the private sector, including finance and energy firms,” according to the five-page report, “Pistachios and Saffron: Investigating the Iranian Cyber Threat.”

“Current analysis indicates Iran may intend to use its growing cyber force to attack global critical infrastructure,” the report added.

Once limited to website defacements and other less damaging attacks, Tehran’s hacker forces are now capable of using customized malicious software designed for use against specific victims. Continue reading

NSA veteran chief fears crippling cyber-attack on Western energy infrastructure

The West is losing the worldwide fight against jihadist terrorism and faces mounting risks of a systemic cyber-assault by extremely capable enemies, the former chief of the National Security Agency has warned.

“The greatest risk is a catastrophic attack on the energy infrastructure. We are not prepared for that,” said General Keith Alexander, who has led the US battle against cyber-threats for much of the last decade.

Continue reading

Hackers have ‘begun targeting nuclear power plants,’ cyber warfare expert warns

Computer hackers have begun targeting electric and nuclear power plants around the world, as well as other critical infrastructure sites in increasingly audacious attacks, a senior Israeli cyber security expert warned on Thursday. Continue reading

Israel to Suffer Serious Civilian Losses in Next War With Hezbollah

Amid recent flare-ups, a new report by the Israeli military suggests that the Syrian Civil War has made Hezbollah stronger, and another all-out conflict between the two could result in the deaths of hundreds of Israeli citizens.

The 34-day Lebanon war in 2006 saw heavy casualties on both sides. In addition to significant damage to infrastructure, 1,200 people in Lebanon were estimated to have been killed, most of them civilians, and most by Israeli rocket fire. Though Israel, in contrast, lost 160, and the majority of those deaths were Israeli troops fighting inside Lebanon. Continue reading

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