03 Mar 15. Escalating Cyberwar between Iran and US. A newly disclosed National Security Agency document illustrates the striking acceleration of the use of Cyber weapons by the United States and Iran against each other, both for spying and sabotage. The release comes even as Secretary of State John Kerry and his Iranian counterpart met in Geneva to try to break a stalemate in the talks over Iran’s disputed nuclear program.
The document, which was written in April 2013 for Gen. Keith B. Alexander, then director of the NSA, described how Iranian officials had discovered new evidence the year before that the United States was preparing computer surveillance or cyberattacks on their networks.
It detailed how the US and Britain had worked together to contain the damage from “Iran’s discovery of computer network exploitation tools” – the building blocks of cyber weapons. That was more than two years after the Stuxnet worm attack by the US and Israel severely damaged the computer networks at Tehran’s nuclear enrichment plant. The document, which was first reported by The Intercept, an online publication that grew out of the disclosures by Edward J. Snowden, the former NSA contractor, did not describe the targets. But for the first time, the surveillance agency acknowledged that its attacks on Iran’s nuclear infrastructure, a George W. Bush administration program, kicked off the cycle of retaliation and escalation that has come to mark the computer competition between the United States and Iran. The document suggested that even while the high-stakes nuclear negotiations played out in Europe, day-to-day hostilities between the United States and Iran had moved decisively into cyberspace. A former senior intelligence official who looked at the two-page document said it provided “more evidence of how far behind we are in figuring out how to deter attacks, and how to retaliate when we figured out who was behind them.”
The document declares that American intercepts of voice or computer communications showed that three waves of attacks against US banks that began in August 2012 were launched by Iran “in retaliation to Western activities against Iran’s nuclear sector,” and added that “senior officials in the Iranian government are aware of these attacks.”
The main targets were the websites of Bank of America and JPMorgan Chase. By 2015 standards, those were relatively unsophisticated “denial of service” strikes that flooded the banks with data, so overloading them it was impossible for a time for customers to access their accounts.
More recently, the Obama administration, in an effort to deter attacks, has grown less reticent about naming countries that the administration believes are responsible for such attacks. In May, five members of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army were indicted on a charge of stealing intellectual property from American companies.
And in December, President Barack Obama said he had evidence that North Korea’s leadership was behind an attack on Sony Pictures Entertainment, though he did not provide details. The New York Times later reported that the NSA had gathered the evidence from implants it had placed in North Korean computers beginning in 2010. (Source: Cyber Security Intelligence/cyberwar.einnews.com)
02 Mar 15. How the US Military will fight ISIS on the Dark Web. The Dark Web is not so much a place as it is a method of achieving a level of anonymity online. It refers to web sites that mask the IP addresses of the servers on which they reside, making it impossible to know who or what is behind the site or sites. They don’t show up on search engines like Google so, unless you know exactly how to reach them, they’re effectively invisible. Activists and dissidents in countries like China and Iran use the Dark Web to get around state surveillance; journalists use it to reach sources and whistleblowers rely on it to spread the word about institutional abuse or malpractices. New evidence suggests that the I