Saturday, January 19, 2008

The CIA Eyes the Internet

By Alex Constantine

Chooms: This is a TRUE story, not an execrable satire, capricious exercise in political fulmination or similar waste of petroleum ...

The next phase in the institution of fascist law enforcement involves cyber-security and the Internet. Media martinets have been making noise about cyber-terrorism lately - similar to the manner in which they raised a good scare over anthrax preceding the mailing of the spores - and the CIA is currently laying the justification for legislation that will permit spying on us via our computers with this story in the current PC World: "CIA Says Hackers Have Cut Power Grid":

"Several cities outside the U.S. have sustained attacks on utility systems and extortion demands."

No one but the CIA appears to know anything about the outages and attendant extortion demands, and now the Company - one that trains death squads and put Saddam Hussein in power - is graciously letting us in on it ...

"Criminals have been able to hack into computer systems via the Internet and cut power to several cities.... Speaking at a conference of security professionals on Wednesday, CIA analyst Tom Donahue disclosed the recently declassified attacks while offering few specifics on what actually went wrong.

"Criminals have launched online attacks that disrupted power equipment in several regions outside of the U.S., he said, without identifying the countries affected. The goal of the attacks was extortion, he said."

Again, vagaries, no specifics - as if he were making the whole thing up ...

"'We have information, from multiple regions outside the United States, of cyber intrusions into utilities, followed by extortion demands,' he said in a statement posted to the Web on Friday by the conference's organizers, the SANS Institute. 'In at least one case, the disruption caused a power outage affecting multiple cities. We do not know who executed these attacks or why, but all involved intrusions through the Internet.'"

How did media around the world miss THAT ONE, especially in cities thrown into blackness and disarray by these vicious criminal "outages." There must have been looting, chaos, casualties. But why is this secret information suddenly fit for lay consumption? ...

'According to Mr. Donahue, the CIA actively and thoroughly considered the benefits and risks of making this information public, and came down on the side of disclosure,' SANS said in the statement."

Risks? Anyone who thinks secrecy is necessary in this case may WORK for the CIA, which is holding all related information closely to its blood-stained vest:

"One conference attendee said the disclosure came as news to many of the government and industry security professionals in attendance."

It may also come as a surprise to the cities around the world subject to these hideous "extortion plots."

"It appeared that there were a lot of people who didn't know this already,' said the attendee, who asked not to be identified because he is not authorized to speak with the press."

OF COURSE, the disclosure "came as news" - the CIA appears to have fabricated the whole problem, or perhaps hired provocateurs as they've often done in the past, to stir up tensions, fatten the counter-terror budget ...

"He confirmed SANS' report of the talk. 'There were apparently a couple of incidents where extortionists cut off power to several cities using some sort of attack on the power grid, and it does not appear to be a physical attack,' he said."

We would all like an actual, concrete example of a power grid extortion plot, so the reporter gives us this:

"Hacking the power grid made front-page headlines in September when CNN aired a video showing an Idaho National Laboratory demonstration of a software attack on the computer system used to control a power generator. In the demonstration, the smoking generator was rendered inoperable."

The scare mongering recalls Colin Powell's tiny vial of death. Drastic steps that happen to violate civil liberties are necessary.

"The U.S. is taking steps to lock down the computers that manage its power systems, however. On Thursday, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) approved new mandatory standards designed to improve cybersecurity. CIA representatives could not be reached immediately for comment."

The Agency will search frantically for other existing "solutions." As it happens, in little Bavaria, Nordic Big Brother is already taking on the Beast, according to Trend News: "German state of Bavaria to go ahead with online surveillance."

That's IT!

"The southern German state of Bavaria is to go ahead with controversial plans to permit security officials to monitor personal computers online to check for terrorist internet traffic, the state interior minister said Saturday.
A spokesman for Bavarian Interior Minister Joachim Herrmann confirmed an earlier news report in the weekly Focus news magazine that Bavaria would not wait for planned federal legislation."

No time for niceties like overhauling the Bavarian Constitution.

This is a likely peek at our own near future if the CIA succeeds in putting the fear into the proles. Legislators are enamored of the prospects:

"Herrmann said he would put forward draft legislation in February. Federal Interior Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble favours similar plans to deploy a so-called 'government Trojan' to spy on the PCs of terrorist suspects. The German Constitutional Court in Karlsruhe is currently considering a similar law put forward by the western state of North Rhine-Westphalia and is expected to rule in the spring. Schaeuble, a member of Chancellor Angela Merkel's Christian Democrats (CDU), last year suggested constitutional changes to give increased powers to counter-terrorism operatives, including online searches of PCs.

"Members of the Social Democrats (SPD), the junior partner in Merkel's grand coalition, have opposed the plans on civil liberties grounds. SPD Justice Minister Brigitte Zypries has said she is not 'in principle' opposed to the idea but concerned about the practicalities of implementing legislation."

We can all be reassured that government in Bavaria and stateside will handle its new powers "responsibly."

"The head of the Federal Criminal Police (BKA), Joerg Ziercke , has criticized the debate as 'scare-mongering,' adding that at most only 10 such online searches would be carried out in any one year."

But when the cyber-security apparat is in place, who's to stop the CIA Homeland Security thugs from "overstepping their bounds," as they did with forced detainments, secret files and torture, to cite a few well-known examples?

A step in the wrong direction:

Washington Post: "The Senate yesterday approved a sweeping measure that would expand the government's clandestine surveillance powers, delivering a key victory to the White House by approving immunity from lawsuits for telecommunications companies that cooperated with intelligence agencies in domestic spying..."

1 comment:

Unknown said...

A basic question that no one seems to ask is: What kind of idiot would connect a computer that controls vital critical infrastructure, power grids, reactors,etc. to the internet? 100% reliable internet security is a pipe dream. Given open system architecture and common operating systems, and the fact that no person or group of persons can any longer claim a complete understanding or command of the systems they are working with, let alone the ability to predict what others may discover or invent relative to that system, any system can be hacked eventually.