Cyber War

The face of war as we know it has changed in the last 7 years. The war for the interwebs and destruction of infrastructure and now be done over a computer. Cyber war has become very advanced in the last 7 years. Stuxnet’s destruction of Irans centrifuges was the first volley.

 

WASHINGTON — There is a consensus that aggression by one nation against another is a serious matter, but there is no comparable consensus about what constitutes aggression. Waging aggressive war was one charge against Nazi leaders at the 1946 Nuremberg war crimes trials, but 70 years later it is unclear that aggression, properly understood, must involve war, as commonly understood. Or that war, in today’s context of novel destructive capabilities, must involve “the use of armed force,” which the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court says is constitutive of an “act of aggression.”

Cyberskills can serve espionage — the surreptitious acquisition of information — which is older than nations and not an act of war. Relatively elementary cyberattacks against an enemy’s command-and-control capabilities during war were a facet of U.S. efforts in Operation Desert Storm in 1991, in the Balkans in 1999 and against insurgents — hacking their emails — during the “surge” in Iraq. In 2007, Israel’s cyberwarfare unit disrupted Syrian radar as Israeli jets destroyed an unfinished nuclear reactor in Syria. But how should we categorize cyberskills employed not to acquire information, and not to supplement military force, but to damage another nation’s physical infrastructure?

In World War II, the United States and its allies sent fleets of bombers over Germany to destroy important elements of its physical infrastructure — steel mills, ball bearing plants, etc. Bombers were, however, unnecessary when the United States and Israel wanted to destroy some centrifuges crucial to Iran’s nuclear weapons program. They used the Stuxnet computer “worm” to accelerate or slow processes at Iran’s Natanz uranium-enrichment facility, damaging or even fragmenting centrifuges necessary for producing weapons-grade material. According to Slate magazine columnist Fred Kaplan, by early 2010, about 2,000 of 8,700 “were damaged beyond repair,” and even after the Iranians later learned what was happening, an additional 1,000 of the then-remaining 5,000 “were taken out of commission.”

For fascinating details on the episodes mentioned above, and to understand how deeply we have drifted into legally and politically uncharted waters, read Kaplan’s new book, “Dark Territory: The Secret History of Cyber War.” Three of its lessons are that cyberwar resembles war, much of it is very secret and everything essential to the functioning of modern society is vulnerable.

WASHINGTON — There is a consensus that aggression by one nation against another is a serious matter, but there is no comparable consensus about what constitutes aggression. Waging aggressive war was one charge against Nazi leaders at the 1946 Nuremberg war crimes trials, but 70 years later it is unclear that aggression, properly understood, must involve war, as commonly understood. Or that war, in today’s context of novel destructive capabilities, must involve “the use of armed force,” which the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court says is constitutive of an “act of aggression.”

Cyberskills can serve espionage — the surreptitious acquisition of information — which is older than nations and not an act of war. Relatively elementary cyberattacks against an enemy’s command-and-control capabilities during war were a facet of U.S. efforts in Operation Desert Storm in 1991, in the Balkans in 1999 and against insurgents — hacking their emails — during the “surge” in Iraq. In 2007, Israel’s cyberwarfare unit disrupted Syrian radar as Israeli jets destroyed an unfinished nuclear reactor in Syria. But how should we categorize cyberskills employed not to acquire information, and not to supplement military force, but to damage another nation’s physical infrastructure?

In World War II, the United States and its allies sent fleets of bombers over Germany to destroy important elements of its physical infrastructure — steel mills, ball bearing plants, etc. Bombers were, however, unnecessary when the United States and Israel wanted to destroy some centrifuges crucial to Iran’s nuclear weapons program. They used the Stuxnet computer “worm” to accelerate or slow processes at Iran’s Natanz uranium-enrichment facility, damaging or even fragmenting centrifuges necessary for producing weapons-grade material. According to Slate magazine columnist Fred Kaplan, by early 2010, about 2,000 of 8,700 “were damaged beyond repair,” and even after the Iranians later learned what was happening, an additional 1,000 of the then-remaining 5,000 “were taken out of commission.”

For fascinating details on the episodes mentioned above, and to understand how deeply we have drifted into legally and politically uncharted waters, read Kaplan’s new book, “Dark Territory: The Secret History of Cyber War.” Three of its lessons are that cyberwar resembles war, much of it is very secret and everything essential to the functioning of modern society is vulnerable.http://www.deseretnews.com/article/865652485/The-destructive-threat-of-cyberwarfare.html?pg=all

Furthermore..

When Defense Secretary Ashton Carter landed in Iraq for a surprise visit this week, he came armed with this news: More than 200 additional U.S. troops are headed to that country. They’ll join the fight to retake the Iraqi city of Mosul from the Islamic State.

As that battle unfolds on the ground, a parallel war against ISIS is unfolding in cyberspace.

U.S. officials have confirmed to NPR that over the past year, the cyber campaign has taken off. They describe an escalation in operations, from using cybertools to geolocate a particular ISIS leader to hacking into and then conducting surveillance on a particular computer.

The activity occurs even as the rules for cyberwarfare remain a work in progress. Among the outstanding questions: Who’s in charge when the U.S. wages cyberwar?

“The chain of command is clear on paper,” says Susan Hennessey, who served as a lawyer at the National Security Agency until November 2015. “It’s much more difficult to understand in practice.”

Hennessey, now a national security fellow at the Brookings Institution, describes an “invisible war of lawyers” within senior government ranks. She says their debates range from questions over who has authority to approve a proposed operation to the distinction between a cyber operation and electronic warfare, such as jamming enemy radar.

When Defense Secretary Ashton Carter landed in Iraq for a surprise visit this week, he came armed with this news: More than 200 additional U.S. troops are headed to that country. They’ll join the fight to retake the Iraqi city of Mosul from the Islamic State.

As that battle unfolds on the ground, a parallel war against ISIS is unfolding in cyberspace.

U.S. officials have confirmed to NPR that over the past year, the cyber campaign has taken off. They describe an escalation in operations, from using cybertools to geolocate a particular ISIS leader to hacking into and then conducting surveillance on a particular computer.

The activity occurs even as the rules for cyberwarfare remain a work in progress. Among the outstanding questions: Who’s in charge when the U.S. wages cyberwar?

“The chain of command is clear on paper,” says Susan Hennessey, who served as a lawyer at the National Security Agency until November 2015. “It’s much more difficult to understand in practice.”

Hennessey, now a national security fellow at the Brookings Institution, describes an “invisible war of lawyers” within senior government ranks. She says their debates range from questions over who has authority to approve a proposed operation to the distinction between a cyber operation and electronic warfare, such as jamming enemy radar.

When Defense Secretary Ashton Carter landed in Iraq for a surprise visit this week, he came armed with this news: More than 200 additional U.S. troops are headed to that country. They’ll join the fight to retake the Iraqi city of Mosul from the Islamic State.

As that battle unfolds on the ground, a parallel war against ISIS is unfolding in cyberspace.

U.S. officials have confirmed to NPR that over the past year, the cyber campaign has taken off. They describe an escalation in operations, from using cybertools to geolocate a particular ISIS leader to hacking into and then conducting surveillance on a particular computer.

The activity occurs even as the rules for cyberwarfare remain a work in progress. Among the outstanding questions: Who’s in charge when the U.S. wages cyberwar?

“The chain of command is clear on paper,” says Susan Hennessey, who served as a lawyer at the National Security Agency until November 2015. “It’s much more difficult to understand in practice.”

http://www.npr.org/sections/parallels/2016/04/20/475005923/rules-for-cyber-warfare-still-unclear-even-as-u-s-engages-in-it.

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