Tuesday, February 1, 2011

To Russia with love

Dear Babushka Buddies in Russia:

Wow, you've just passed the United Kingdom to rank #2 in readership for the last week. So I need to speak with you honestly, sincerely, and with no intention to cause insult. We're about to be well and truly screwed in the Middle East, and you cyber wizards might be the key to world rescue. As you can see from the map below, you guys more than double (see the bold colors?) UK readership:

The top-10 sources for my audience in the last week are listed below:
  1. The United States
  2. Russia
  3. United Kingdom
  4. Malaysia
  5. Ireland
  6. India
  7. South Korea
  8. Singapore
  9. Australia
  10. France
Sure, I've been playing with your heads a little bit by resurrecting one of the more interesting Larry Ellison quotes about Russia  (I have notebooks full of them after spending one or two afternoons a week with him for six years). But that was just playing with how to Infect an Alien Architecture (parts I, II and III), namely, your noggins. Reality is though, if Richard Clarke is correct in his book Cyber War, and if you do indeed exceed China in your cyber war capabilities, then this Moscow airport terrorist bombing really has to be a wake-up call that you're playing with fire by enabling Islamic (read that Iranian) nuclear aspirations. So to all you fledgling cyber privateers, who by the way have a lot more legal flexibility in plying your trade than we do under US law, here is my respectfully submitted net-net:
  1. Current developments in Egypt could morph the Middle East into one big jihadist terrorist state and do so almost overnight.
  2. The flow of oil from the Middle East (and definitely through the Suez Canal) could be badly disrupted (especially if you deploy and trigger data bombs like the ones you and China have secretly planted in US utilities to disrupt or catastrophically cease the oil transportation infrastructure in the Islamic world).
  3. Which means that, at $140 US per barrel, you stand to capitalize handsomely on your spectacular Siberian oil reserves.
  4. So your top priority now should be to bring Iranian nuclear programs to a screeching halt. Yes, you'll be working at cross purposes with your own government's desire to make some serious cash by supplying the Iranians, but the alternative—seeing those close to you, friends and family, obliterated by an Islamic nuke or sentenced to a painful death by a dirty bomb going off in Moscow—would not seem worth the price (We're pretty good putting dollar values on tragedy in America, which is why we sue each other so frequently and which is why we're not likely to get tort reform approved over here).
I'd rather hoped Stuxnet was your baby and that you'd cleverly made the world think America and the Israelis conspired to impede-but-not-stop the Iranian nuclear program. But alas, the "expiration date" on the virus almost certainly points to "the US lawyers" liability-limitation mentality. 

IF I WERE WRITING A NOVEL:  Before something really bad happens in the Moscow airport, what if you got Mr. Putin's agreement and your own get-out-of-jail-free card from him to seriously hinder or even bring Iran's nuclear program to a dead stop (double meaning intended)? And while you're at it, what if in some fictional world you practiced your craft on a bunch of Chinese attack servers that are hammering everything in sight (including my harmless little Linux sugar pot server)? The most I can legally do is occasionally ping these guys, and even then I'd better not ping them very often or I could be accused of launching a DDoS attack. 
Legal Disclaimer: I am only considering fictional possibilities, and nothing said in this blog should be interpreted as inciting others to commit acts that are illegal under US law. So there. 

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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?