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Wednesday, September 4, 2013

DATA EXHAUST: Who's Helping The Syrian Electronic Army? China or Russia?

How do the bumbling nincompoops in the Syrian Electronic Army manage to get their own servers hacked and yet do some fairly sophisticated hacking themselves (I suggested decent hackers would use DNS vulnerabilities in my post of almost three years ago—see item number 5—which you can read here)? The answer, once again, was predicted by my friend and science fiction author Jerry Pournelle (with Larry Niven) in their novel Footfall. In this hilarious piece of fiction, a elephantine race called the Fithp manages to leapfrog technological evolution when they stumbled upon advance alien technology. Not understanding a tenth of what they had, the Fithp set out to conquer earth using kinetic weapons they feel is metaphorical to their own understanding of dominance. And they can't grok why humans won't let them put their big elephant-like feet gently on human heads as a symbol of mankind's surrender. No, they don't want to crush human heads. They just want what they regard as obvious symbolic surrender. Humans should let them put those big feet lightly on their human heads. This analogy is a lot like the Syrian Electronic Army.

This bunch of troglodyte Iranian-backed numbskulls have clearly gotten their hands on a few early versions of sophisticated cyber weapons developed by outside sources. Perhaps those outside sources wanted plausible deniability as they conducted the equivalent of nuclear testing. Give this "gang who can't shoot straight" a couple of decent cyber weapons, and then watch them have some fun.

Further "data exhaust" proving my point is the Twitter rhetoric of the Syrian Electronic Army, who promises worldwide cyber war if the U.S. attacks Syria (for the record, I think a U.S. attack of Syria is stupid on too many levels to articulate in this venue). Their threats are oddly reminiscent of Saddam Hussein's "Mother of all wars" pronouncements prior to commencement of his own bitch slapping. Again, elephant brains with sophisticated weapons they didn't create themselves.

Data exhaust from the Twitterverse (using now-publicly-unavailable Quantum Leap Buzz Pattern Based Analysis—hey, I live in a state of grace and sit on the Quantum Leap board of directors) suggests either China or Russia are SEA's cyber arms dealers. Right now, my gut tells me China is arming the mullah mothers. But then, I have an old bone to pick with China and their attacks on my now-decommissioned Linux servers (see my diatribe of almost three years ago here).

Time will tell whether or not I'm on target. I'm personally staying tuned to Brian Krebs' eventual dissection of SEA's toolset. That ought to get some imamaries in a twist.

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Implementation suggestions for THE MORGAN DOCTRINE are most welcome. What are the "Got'chas!"? What questions would some future Cyber Privateering Czar have to answer about this in a Senate confirmation hearing?