Modern Information Warfare Hits Hard

2016 was just the latest in #cyberwar; and #informationwarfare attacks where even bills were introduced in Congress. It has been ongoing as long as there have been digital mediums and technologies; and information distribution technology. My company saw it happening last year and got more and more concerned as the election grew closer. We literally wrote letters to people in government, people at the DNC and elsewhere, basically yelling as loudly as we could that the #USA was being cyber and information warfare attacked.

 

As a cyber security, and weaponized information expert – it was all too clear what was happening. It has left a feeling of being sick in the stomach for a year now, and this feeling has not abated. Because it has not ended. For millions of Americans and millions of people around the world too.

 

The Unites States is witnessing both the worst and best it can show at once. The worst by all the traitors amongst us: those pretending we were not just victims of a non lethal act of war.

 

The best by all those in and out of government banding together to excise the cancer from the nation; regardless of the risks and dangers.

 

Some cyber and information warfare players have been better than others. Some have taken a longer term perspective than others. Nation states that have invested heavily into cyber technologies and offensive information warfare technologies are multiplying every year.

 

It is not just the domain of: Russia, Iran, North Korea, China, Ukraine, the UK, France, USA and other large or technologically advanced countries. It is now the domain of any country who decides to invest in the people and the technology and take a longer term view than the average hacker for hire.

 

Sun Tzu believed that “all warfare is deception,” — but where does that leave the average person; who does not understand they are caught up in forces through control of information; that they can neither understand or ever hope to control?

 

I spoke at the US Army CyberTalks in NYC in 2016 on “Global Cyber Security on Earth and in Space.”

One of the points I made; was that almost all of our lives are not just locked up in databases in offices or on the cloud somewhere. But indeed, flying through the ether every millisecond of our lives. Hundreds of companies; and dozens or more countries have the capabilities to hack into it, to manipulate it, change it and even delete. 24 hours a day, with lots and lots of ways for data to be intercepted, changed, made into FUD. (Look it up – means F*#$ed Up Data) – or just simply deleted. Not to mention when the data flying through the ether becomes weaponized by either a Nation State or a Company or a bad actor group or individual with ill intent.

The implications on the types of information warfare that Russia is enacting on the US and the Western Coalitions; is that it is multi level, persistent, and consistent. It is coming in through a combination of weaponized social media, fake websites, fake news, automated bots as well as hacking, intrusions and exfiltrations of data that then become weaponized. It is happening in multiple countries, with a huge budget and thousands of people behind the execution of it. This was the path the Russians took in 2016: a multi pronged effort, all across the United States, focused on Federal, State, and Local authorities. This included national and state political leaders, parties and their allies, as well as election vendors and election technology across the spectrum.

To be extremely clear, the efforts that Russia leveraged as non lethal acts of War against the USA – are still ongoing. They never stopped. Indeed, 2016 was just a continuation of Russia’s long game in cyber and information warfare.

So now we need to take action steps as a country to come together. We need to put aside political partisanship and simply deal with what we have to deal with in terms of investigations and cleaning house. Of all those who played a role in the greatest act of treason since Benedict Arnold tried to give West Point to the King’s Army. All of the people in the United States who played any part in supporting this treasonous Act of War should pay.

Just like General Arnold did.

This is a time for the decision to be made. Are you Partisan, and metaphorically selling out West Point by supporting those who sold out the USA to Russia?

Or are you a Patriot — and going to fight for your country to not disappear by virtue of some digital exhaust of ongoing, persistent information warfare + cyberwar?

Nathan Hale was America’s first spy to be killed in action. When being hanged by the British – he is reported to have said this most famous quote: “I only regret that I have but one life to lose for my country.” Hopefully none of us have to be in such a dangerous position. But we are in a place in history where Patriots are already at work, saving our country.

What are you?

 

*When your kids ask you what you did to stop this non lethal act of war, what will you say?*

Digijaks CEO Speech at US Army CyberTalks NYC

 

Talk at GEOINT 2016 by DIGIJAKS CEO

 

Global Cyber Security On Earth + in Space

Networx

**Excerpt from a talk by Digijaks CEO Alan W. Silberberg at the 2016 GEOINT Symposium.**

When you think of Cyber Security you probably think about your iphone getting hacked, or your email, or your companies servers, or your credit card, or bank card or health care, or banking, or government information plus so many others…

But did you ever stop to think about how a huge chunk of all the data populating all those things actually gets there? Not in the sense of how Google asks prospective employees to describe how the internet works. But close. Think Space.

Satellites are massive growth industry, for both government and business alike. We have scaled globally from a situation 20 years ago where only a handful of countries could afford to mount in orbit operations on even one satellite.

Now there are literally thousands of satellites in space with more and more getting launched into either permanent or semi permanent orbits — along with resulting real space junk and debris following closely along.

There is a correlation of increased launches with smaller launch packages, increasingly smaller and lighter satellite platforms and lower cost; with massive increased consumption and transport of data in both up and down link; and other bands.

All of this has led to a reset of the cyber security needs surrounding ground stations, launch facilities, terrestrial platforms, satellites, rockets, and of course the data. There are multiple types of data flowing into the typical modern communications satellite. Up-link, down-link controls and management software, then data payloads of voice, video, data, etc + then often reversed in direction again. Add to this the security levels, the control levels and maintenance levels — and there is a digital river of information coming in and out of every satellite, ground station and in between.

This is one of the major targets for global cyber war efforts by governments as well as cartel hacker groups and other groups seeking only power and information to then bring money.

One of the key weakpoints is the people on the ground and their BYOD (Bring your own device) methods + practices – whether sanctioned or not.

Along the same lines is the social engineering side of hacking and cyber war and how people’s pictures, social media posts, location tags, and other digital exhausts can be combined in a detailed matrix for an attacker to figure out organizational patterns, phrases, colloquialisms and other ways to use psychology against us.

Another key weakpoint is that many of the cyber security protocols designed for this global data transfer every milli-second is that they are simply outdated and not up to the task of modern efforts to hack and crack this technology and its safeguards and firewalls.

Follow my remarks in a few more weeks to hear more on the very real risks being posed by the explosion in satellites and data flowing between Earth and Space. Indeed, Global Cyber Security is on Earth + Space.

 

Cyber Reputation Management and Control

BAM!  There it is.

Right in your face one morning when you check your social feed as news.

That nasty little something that someone, a bot, or a person, or maybe both left for you overnight. It is a digital take down. A bad blog post. A social media meme that is being unanswered or purposely pumped up to discredit you, your company or organization or your brand. Or maybe it is a false allegation. Or paid fake bad reviews that your competitors put up.

Face it. The Internet is a hostile place for your reputation and your brand, whether that is personal, corporate or government. The control and management of your reputation start and end with you. As we enter 2015, it is worth paying attention to, in fact it is important to take stock of your online reputation, the management of it and the control of it. It is yours. Not anyone else.

The — Internet, social media, the cloud, mobility, bring your own device, artificial intelligence, autonomous computing etc etc — all are really cool buzz words. All come with prices to pay that include the constant need for personal, corporate and government level cyber security, reputation management and reputation control.

Our top 10 List of Ways That Cyber Security, Social Media and Reputation Management and Reputation Control all mesh together.

  1. Social Media — is the entrance point for viruses, malware, malformed links, phishing and learning enough about someone to turn around and destroy their reputation.
  2. Mobility — allows for instant access to social media, email, sms, cloud and phone, and video, as ways to tear down a brand or reputation. It can happen anywhere, at any time, by anyone around you holding a smartphone or smart watch or smart glasses.
  3. Cloud — allows people to store information quickly and easily. This can be for phishing, for cyber crime, for reputation destroying or extortion. Images and videos, poems and documents and your complete online profile can be easily harvested by smart people and or bots and then turned around against you. What information are you allowing out or putting out to make it easier to be attacked? Or easier to have your reputation tarnished or that of your brand?
  4. Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) — While fun and easy for users and your employees BYOD brings a whole fruit basket worth of cyber security and reputation management and control issues along with it. BYOD allows users and employees to access the internet and social media channels without approval or notice from the employer. A reputation can be destroyed in an instant with a recorded conversation, a video, an errant email or sms, or worse corporate espionage and cyber crimes can be instituted easily with BYOD.
  5. Artificial Intelligence — The name alone. What does it mean? How can artificial intelligence (AI) bots or autonomous computing affect your cyber security and reputation management and control? In so many ways we are just beginning to understand.
  6. Lazy People — Sorry but many times the malware or the phishing or the destruction of reputation starts with someone simply being lazy, not having security and privacy settings attended to, and or worse letting someone else use their login credentials.
  7. Your Competition — They have access to the same tools you do. They can buy hackers, they can buy reputation destruction; they can attempt to steal your trade secrets; they will try to insert bad people into your organization at every level. (See 8 below.)
  8. Bad People — No good, no ethos or morals. These people do not care if they harm you. They seek to. These come in the form of social media contacts or email phishing all the way through HR, interviewing, shadowy financiers and content theft propagators from online goods. They will use any and every tool out there to disrupt your business, to destroy your reputation.
  9. Posting stupid pictures of yourself — on to any website regardless of how safe you *THINK* it is.
  10. Not checking the health and welfare of your own digital reputation and brand.

Copyright © 2010-2015 Digijaks, LLC

Reputation Control. Cybersecurity. Recent OPM Hacks and You.

Reputation. Is hard to get, hard to maintain, hard to control; especially in an era of hacking by governments and criminals alke.

Cybersecurity is something many people long put off as a back burner decision, or lower funded priority, but in actuality is a critical need, now at the forefront of many leaders’ thinking due to the sheer number and audacity of the hacks from 2013 forward. There is a distinct triangulation between reputation control and cyber security and search results. The more things get hacked, the more information flows onto websites, both for sale, and for free, and the more the search engines index these results. Digijaks’ CEO Alan W Silberberg has written about this triangulation before as it relates to cyber security and how we all need to look at the this inter-relationship, and it’s effects on all of us.

The recent OPM hacks were so huge, the numbers are simply staggering that it is hard to process for most people, especially “regular people” who feel this does not affect them or their friends or family.

But in addition to the 21+ million social security numbers that were stolen in the OPM hack, so were over 1.1 million sets of people’s fingerprints. People who serve the US Government in all sorts of capacities, some secret, some not. So in addition to the notion of identity theft through the means we have become unfortunately accustomed to, like credit, social security and personally identifiable information (PII) — we now have to contend with the theft of biometrics.

It means every citizen, whether they believe the OPM hacks relate to them or not, have to start taking on steps to protect themselves. When a nation state can combine vast databases of personal information with biometrics for some of those same people; it means that nation state, or proxies or vendors it sells to could become one of us through surreptitious methods. It means identity theft is potential on a massive scale, as is exploiting people through their information in security clearance documents or medical records.

It means the push to make encryption weaker or illegal should actually be reversed to become a push to make encryption a standard for citizens; and one that is supported by our Government ln light of attacks and theft of information from tens of millions of US Citizens. The US Government through the Congress should adopt stringent laws making it hard not to encrypt personal information.

It means, think about what information you put in the cloud. Think about what information you put in social media. What information you never put into digital form. It means think about carrying a second and or even third form of identity in case you are ever challenged with not being you.

Reputation Control and Reputation Management
Cyber Security, Social Media, You.

What the Hack of the US Government Means to You.

As the CEO of a cyber security and reputation company, I have to admit to not being surprised by the recent successful hacking and penetration of the US Government.

While the scope of the recent events is most definitely shocking, myself and others have been researching, writing about it and trying to push and pull officials to focus on the whole set of threats, not just the known ones, and not just the data hardening ones.

This recent set of hacking and penetration successes were definitely done by a Nation State, China in most probability. But guess what?

The intrusion was apparently found by a Vendor doing a sales pitch to the US Government, and not by the billions of dollars of hardened equipment or custom platforms designed to stop cyber attacks.

I am not being critical. Nor attempting to assign blame. It is what it is. Millions of Americans who work for or have worked for the US Government, myself included have been hacked. Not just hacked, but all of our secrets may soon be on public display or for sale or other.

In the past few years, US consumers have been the targets of hacks from any number of companies that were breached, from Target and Home Depot to Equifax and Anthem among the biggies. But the reality is most companies have probably been hacked.

Most small to medium business do not have the sophistication or the resources to put in place strong cyber defenses. Even for the ones that do, that does not mean a successful defense.

What it means for you:
1. We are all vulnerable. Do not think your information is safe.
2. Disconnect computers from the internet when not using them, and power them down. Same for devices like tablets or phones or other internet connected devices.
3. Create a backup hard drive, find an encryption program you can easily use, and create an encrypted back up of your life.
4. Maybe your whole world does not to be interconnected. Maybe the smart home is not so smart in light of the potential privacy and security vulnerabilities presented by the inter-connect.
5. Take steps to protect private information. Get a safe deposit box at a bank, put all original documents in it, plus a copy of them.
6. Try to make air gaps between your information. Keep your financial records in one secure place. Your medical records in another, different secure place.
7. Be aware that your life may well be not private at all.
8. You are not alone, in fact maybe your whole country is right in the same situation.

In 2013, at my Gov20LA event we hold annually, I made some remarks about the need for families around the world to adopt encryption techniques to protect their information and themselves. That message was partially intended for families trying to fight against tyranny abroad; but is also a critical message for all of us now.

Bottom line though is that the world has changed. *A lot.*