Thursday, June 9, 2011

Einstein and cyber privateer physical security

A long-time supporter of this site is Matt, author of his own blog: Feral Jundi. The previous link tells about him. Former Marine, Smokejumper and currently a security contractor. His comments over the last two days have been spot on. Two of his comments to yesterday's posting deserve reiteration:
It is my view that cyber war will have to have a physical component to protect the hacker(s), or to attack and torture/interrogate other hackers. These folks would have the keys to the kingdom, or access to all types of weaknesses in government and business. 
This would be a great RAND project. lol Until then, they are just ideas floating around that have yet to be assembled and presented in a viable theory.
Thanks, and Semper Fi, Matt. He has coined the term "cyber lance" in his blog to refer to the marriage of the physical component with the cyber component. Protection for the hacker(s) is a critical component to successful cyber privateering. Because all the bad guys have to do is snatch one member of a cyber privateer team, and the equation changes significantly (getting a body part every hour discourages creative organizational thinking).

Matt's second comment about making a deep dive into the cyber privateer model into a RAND project is intriguing. I confess that I've had to kind of pull my punches in this blog, because I don't want to give too much of my novel(s) away. I believe my fictional scenarios eliminate the need for a RAND or any other think tank project. I equate this to one of Einstein's "thought experiments" with which he worked out his Theory of Relativity. You see, Albert Einstein wasn't a very good mathematician or physicist, but his relativity "thought experiments" gave the mere technicians a proper enough statement of the problem that they could backfill his concepts with hard science. While I don't pretend to be on the level of Einstein, I am a passable mathematician who has spent his career successfully doing guerrilla warfare for top-tier technology companies.

My technological "thought experiment" contribution to cyber privateering is the derivation of 22 concepts that make up The Perfect Virus. The application scenario, how it all fits together with my Cyber Privateer Code of Conduct and our real-life political processes, is…well…under wraps right now. But my contention is that seeing the picture will pre-empt the need for RAND-type consideration.

As Matt can attest, talk is cheap, and the world is full of wannabes. There's them what does and them that talks about them what does. While Matt is a real Buffalo Bill Cody, I'm merely a Ned Buntline chronicling the adventures of guys like Matt.

But, if ever a lunatic U.S. Congress gives me a LoMaR, you can bet your life I'll put Matt on my security team.

Taman Shud.


  1. Thanks for the kind words Rick. The way I see it, is that if there are hackers out there that are good at what they do, then for them not to have security is dumb. Likewise, a hacker with an offensive capability, could 'borrow brilliance' from other hackers by force or theft. The 'cyber lance' is another chapter (or sentence) in the evolution of combined arms.

    Organized crime, governments, terrorists, and lunatics are all folks that could benefit from kidnapping hackers and forcing them to do whatever. The human is the weakness of today's computer systems, and it is the human that will exploit that.

  2. One more thing. Movies like Swordfish, or novels like yours, are what bring up these kinds of ideas in the first place. Innovation in warfare or cyber war, requires new ideas and vision, and it is the idea guys/authors/film industry/etc. like yourself that bring these ideas front and center and fuel the imagination. I am a big fan of guys like Col. John Boyd, and if you have not explored his concepts, I highly recommend studying his work. He talks about analysis and synthesis or 'building snowmobiles' in order to create the ideas/strategies/tactics necessary to defeat an enemy. He is my inspiration, and that is what that Cyber Lance concept is filed under on the blog. Cheers.
    (This is the break down of the building snowmobiles thought experiment by one of Boyd’s associates.)

    On to the experiment. Imagine four scenarios: someone skiing, someone power-boating, someone bicycling, and a boy playing with a toy tank. Break down each domain into its component parts: For skiing, there would be snow, chairlifts, skis, hot chocolate, and so on. Within their domain, the parts have directly identifiable relationships with one another. But scramble together the parts from the four domains, and suddenly it’s hard to determine any relationships at all. We are thrown into chaos.

    Now, Spinney instructs, take one part from each scene: From skiing, select the skis; from power boating, the motor; from bicycling, the handlebars; and from the boy with his toy tank, the treads. What do these elements have to do with one another? At first, seemingly nothing — because we still think of them in terms of their original domains. But bring the parts together, and you’ve used your creative pattern-recognition skills to build … a snowmobile! “A winner,” Boyd concluded, “is someone who can build snowmobiles … when facing uncertainty and unpredictable change.”


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?