Epic Fail: Cyberwar Against ISIS

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Dit is geweldig.

Je kunt elders op dit blog stukken lezen over zogenaamde “cyberwapens”.

Dit zijn computerprogramma’s die bedoeld zijn voor sabotage.

Als je zoekt op “digitale wapens”, of “Stuxnet” kom je een heel eind.

Ik kwam dit gisterenavond tegen.

NYT: U.S. Cyberweapons, Used Against Iran and North Korea, Are a Disappointment Against ISIS.

WASHINGTON — America’s fast-growing ranks of secret cyberwarriors have in recent years blown up nuclear centrifuges in Iran and turned to computer code and electronic warfare to sabotage North Korea’s missile launches, with mixed results. But since they began training their arsenal of cyberweapons on a more elusive target, internet use by the Islamic State, the results have been a consistent disappointment, American officials say. The effectiveness of the nation’s arsenal of cyberweapons hit its limits, they have discovered, against an enemy that exploits the internet largely to recruit, spread propaganda and use encrypted communications, all of which can be quickly reconstituted after American “mission teams” freeze their computers or manipulate their data.

Nee toch?

It has been more than a year since the Pentagon announced that it was opening a new line of combat against the Islamic State, directing Cyber Command, then six years old, to mount computer-network attacks. The mission was clear: Disrupt the ability of the Islamic State to spread its message, attract new adherents, pay fighters and circulate orders from commanders. But in the aftermath of the recent attacks in Britain and Iran claimed by the Islamic State, it has become clear that recruitment efforts and communications hubs reappear almost as quickly as they are torn down. This is prompting officials to rethink how cyberwarfare techniques, first designed for fixed targets like nuclear facilities, must be refashioned to fight terrorist groups that are becoming more adept at turning the web into a weapon.

“Turning the web into a weapon”?

Dat is volgens mij een beetje overdreven.

De vijand is mobile.

En cyberweapons werken local, op een netwerk, in een systeem, of op een machine.

“In general, there was some sense of disappointment in the overall ability for cyberoperations to land a major blow against ISIS,” or the Islamic State, said Joshua Geltzer, who was the senior director for counterterrorism at the National Security Council until March. “This is just much harder in practice than people think. It’s almost never as cool as getting into a system and thinking you’ll see things disappear for good.” Even one of the rare successes against the Islamic State belongs at least in part to Israel, which was America’s partner in the attacks against Iran’s nuclear facilities. Top Israeli cyberoperators penetrated a small cell of extremist bombmakers in Syria months ago, the officials said. That was how the United States learned that the terrorist group was working to make explosives that fooled airport X-ray machines and other screening by looking exactly like batteries for laptop computers.

Ja en toen was het idee: we laten niemand meer met z’n laptop vliegen?

The Islamic State’s agenda and tactics make it a particularly tough foe for cyberwarfare. The jihadists use computers and social media not to develop or launch weapons systems but to recruit, raise money and coordinate future attacks. Such activity is not tied to a single place, as Iran’s centrifuges were, and the militants can take advantage of remarkably advanced, low-cost encryption technologies. The Islamic State, officials said, has made tremendous use of Telegram, an encrypted messaging system developed largely in Germany.

Het is bijzonder om te zien dat US Cyberwarfare (en de NYT red.) daar nu achterkomen.


Ik wist dat al.

Nod Yes Icon

We krijgen dan wat gemekker over servers beschadigen en materialen verwijderen.

Maar ja, servers kun je opnieuw installeren.

En materiaal kun je opnieuw uploaden, of downloaden, als een mirror/image vanuit een cloud.

Daar hebben we dus ook al niks aan.

En dan komt het glorieuze slot en dat valt een beetje tegen.

American officials say that even with the loss of territory in Syria and Iraq, and a broad military effort to disrupt the Islamic State’s activities, the militants have proved remarkably resilient. “The global reach of ISIS right now is largely intact,” Nicholas Rasmussen, the director of the National Counterterrorism Center, said in a speech in Washington last month. “The group also continues to publish thousands of pieces of official propaganda and to use online apps to organize its supporters and inspire attacks.”

Ja dat merken we dagelijks.


Other senior military officials said the number and quality of tools in the United States’ cyberarsenal against the Islamic State had expanded over the past year. Some of the effects are employed repeatedly over days. Locking Islamic State propaganda specialists out of their accounts — or using the coordinates of their phones and computers to target them for a drone attack — is now standard operating procedure.

Dat is wel weer leuk.

Dat stelde ik alleen geruime tijd geleden al voor.

Dankzij het cyberkloten met de Iraanse centrifuges heeft Iran nu een eigen cyberweapons divisie die o.a. Saudi Aramco en Bank of America gehackt heeft (en bergen schade aangericht). Datzelfde geldt voor de Noord-Koreanen. Ook zij hebben – dankzij het cyberkutten van de US met o.a. hun raketprogramma – een eigen cyberfuck divisie die o.a. verantwoordelijk was voor de Sony hack. ISIS kan geen eigen cyberweapons divisie opzetten. Dat vergt infrastructuur en hoogopgeleid personeel.

Beetje gemengde gevoelens over dit alles.

Cyberwar Grenade