Cyberwar (It's not just for Infrastructure)

The Russians used hacks on an android app to target Ukrainian Artillery. This is like fighting in the dark with someone wearing night vision. Asymmetrical as hell.

<rant>

Maybe I’m cynical, maybe it’s just that I’ve been in the “cyber” field too long, but I continue to be surprised at other people being surprised by this type of activity.

If somebody wants to know something, or track something, the options are to do it in the physical world, or via computers. One is generally expensive, resource intensive and puts people at high personal risk. The other is relatively cheap, any given individual can run multiple “ops” at once (and go home for dinner), and has low personal risk. I suspect it’s not unlike the difference between pilots and drone operators.

Why wouldn’t any group (nation state or otherwise) not want to take an approach that’s cheap, easy and low risk?

I mean, heck, it’s not that different from the way manufacturing has developed over the last many decades.
</rant>

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The thing for me is thinking I’m one of those artillery officers, using an ap on my phone to crunch firing data, and getting shelled without firing a shot because of it.

It’s like when a first world soldier learns that a decent third world tracker can track them by scent.

Merely tracking the opposition is so old school though. If you’re already inside their IT, why not use it to “correct” targeting and save yourself the munitions?

:smiling_imp:

Risk of discovery. There’s bound to be some old-school asshole senior NCO who will compute it manually if it doesn’t look quite right. Or even if it does.

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I totally agree. When people are surprised that you can do something invasive or destructive with a computer, all they’re doing is proving their ignorance of the mass global computerisation of all civic and military operations that has been ongoing since the 1950s.

I’ve had people at work express utter bewilderment that from our (truly fucking awful) thin clients on our desks we technically have the power to shut off entire nodes of the telephony network. All it would take to shut down an entire county would be for someone to access the local network and brute force one of the many obvious three-letter-three-number-three-letter passwords. Am I surprised? No. Because I know why that ability is there. Because having different subnetworks all with different permissions is time consuming and expensive when you can just have one that everyone uses, and you just tell employees to ignore applications they don’t have training in (and no, they don’t hide those applications either).

Oh, and I hope everybody’s current with their patches, specifically MS17-010, given the speed at which WannaCry (yet another ransomware) is spreading.