posted on Sep, 29 2003 @ 01:41 PM
Lets do some Political Science 101. Every country has “political capital”, the means and reasons to influence political decisions. Political capital
is described in terms of absolute power and relative power. Absolute power is derived from the size of a country’s military and economy. Relative
power is the surplus or deficit of power when comparing two countries. The more ICBMs you have, the more political capital you have. Likewise, the
more hacker teams you have, the more political capital you have.
This is setting the stage for another cold war. Another war is being fought totally behind the scenes and can rapidly reduce the political capital of
a targeted country. Let me explain. Political scientists use game theory to simulate the incentives and disincentives of every stakeholder in a
conflict. The Prisoner’s Dilemma is the simplest of these games. But in this theatre, the game is iterated (repeated) and no one is sure who all the
players are. That is not stopping Political Scientists from applying game theory to this theatre and type of conflict.
I have two sources. The first is a professor from whom I took several game theory classes, most recently this summer. He’s Russian and began teaching
in the States after the collapse of the Soviet Union. His previous employer was the Russian Military. His job; use game theory to determine the
Russia’s ICBM attack and response plans. He, along with four other eggheads, aimed ICBMs towards the most appropriate targets in the U.S. During his
game theory class this summer, he revealed the Russian Military is actively “game-playing” cyber warfare scenarios. He put it like this: If a country
has any form of bio/chem./nuclear weapons, then they have a hack team. That’s a lot of countries and a lot of players.
Secondly, an extended family member is on faculty at the Harvard’s JFK School of Government. During a conversation this summer, we talked about the
PBS report and SCADA technologies. He informed me that JFK has a ad-hoc working group that is also “game-playing” cyber warfare scenarios.
Cyber warfare is real and it is here. If the blackouts this year are attributable to SCADA/hack attacks, you won’t read about it in your local
newspaper, nor will you find much on the Internet.
I’ll conclude with a conversation from the PBS Frontline Report on SCADA/hack attacks. Michael Skrooch manages the Information Operations Red Team and
Assessments (IORTA) group at Sandia National Laboratories.
Could your team, if you wanted to, take down the entire grid in the United States?
The IDART red team could demonstrate numerous vulnerabilities and system effects against U.S. critical infrastructure that are scenario-dependent and
adversary-dependent. We do this so that we can help improve the systems so that they can't be taken down in the future, and a cyber Pearl Harbor
won't affect the U.S. infrastructures.
But could you if you wanted to?
I won't answer that question. ...
Joseph Weiss, a control systems engineer with KEMA Consulting and a leading expert in control system security.
So just put it in all perspective. What's the worst-case power scenario, power we're talking here -- power lines, power grid?
Absolute worst? I won't even say absolute, but a very worst case could be loss of power for six months or more.
Over how big an area?
Big as you want.
Is that a possibility?
I'd just as soon not go into it.
But you believe, as an expert, a man who understands these systems, that indeed that is a possibility?
Why isn't Washington quaking in its shoes?
I can't tell you. I don't know. I don't know.
[Edited on 29-9-2003 by kukla]