Bullet Wisdom

I am an Active Duty Officer in the US Army. I am a Husband, father, writer, hunter, gamer, and SOLDIER. This blog is a forum for my many hobbies as well as my random musings.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Hacking Georgia: On Further Review

I am still in the process of taking some lessons learned from the past week's Russian incursion into Georgia. As with any operation, there was a lot of questionable information floating around the internet. One of the interesting pieces coming from the region was the reports of Denial of Service attacks against websites belonging to government agencies. On the surface, it looked like Russia had deftly managed to combine offensive maneuver operation with the burgeoning concept of Network Attack.

As they say in the NFL, "On further review." First, it appears that the attacks did not appear to originate from government operators, but a group of civilian hackers. According to Shadowserver, a volunteer group that monitors internet hacking activity, the attack linked to a group of servers previously corresponding with hackers known for hacking pornography and gambling websites.

It is important to note that, as with any attack, the ability to pin the rose on any particular group, government or individual is extremely difficult. The attack may originate in Russia, but that does not mean it came from their government. On the other hand, you cannot remove government-sponsored operators from consideration regardless of their own spokespeople.

Do not think that the Georgian hackers are sitting idle while their country takes a pounding. Apparently, they responded, by taking down sites that provided news about the Russian-backed Georgian breakaway province of South Ossetia and in one case replacing the Web site´s content with a news feed from a pro-Georgian service.

Now that the cyber dust is settling, what did we learn? Here is a great PCWorld article by Andreas Antonopoulos. His point: "There were no reports of attacks against critical infrastructure, electronic jamming of stock exchanges, SCADA-hack explosions in substations or anything like that. This was not a battalion of elite army-trained hackers from the Russian Southern Command of Cyber Warfare. In all likelihood it was groups of run-of-the-mill script kiddies with control of a botnet, stroking their egos with the higher cause of injured nationalism."

Personally, I believe the lessons learned lies somewhere in the middle. While the cyber attacks in Georgia proved anything buy decisive, they received considerable attention from an international press fascinated by cyber-warfare. Hackers were able to draw the attention of Georgian officials already decisively engaged by attacking Russian forces. Like it or not, they were a factor albeit not a decisive one.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Nice Job USA

Jason Lezak charged home in the anchor leg of the 4x100m freestyle relay to outtouch 100m world-record holder Alain Bernard of France. Apparently the French team made it a point to assert the dominance and publicly comment about their superiority in this particular event just prior to the game. The win gives Phelps his second gold of the games and most experts believed this particular event was his only real hurdle to record setting gold.

After the race Bernard clung to the wall, his head down. He was the French swimmer who talked confidently of beating the Americans; "smashing" was his word of choice. Hey, he was the world record holder, and it is good to note that the U.S. has not won this particular event in a few Summer Games. Phelps and co. did not forget.

Way to go Bernard.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Mehdi Army To Stop Carrying Arms?

According to the BBC a spokesperson for cleric Moqtada Sadr, Salah al-Obeidi, said "his militia will no longer carry weapons, but he stopped short of declaring an end to violence." He also stated that resistance would continue if a timetable for U.S. withdrawal was not set.

The general consensus is that the militia has been seriously weakened in the past year by Iraqi and U.S. forces bent on taking them out of the equation. The organization already announced to reorganize back in June to a more political organization.

What would any self-respecting terrorist organization would do when faced with annihilation? Well, join the political process of course. It's a slick move by the militia. By linking disarmament to a U.S. withdrawal, they place pressure on their own government to get a deal done. Whether or not this move by Sadr's militia impact our own stance on negotiations remains to be seen. In the effects business, we call this good IO (Information Operations).