Pre-Emptive Cyber-Wars Begun They Have

Tyler Durden's picture

As the world's economic powers squabble over the intricacies of cause and effect in a vicious cycle of currency devaluation and domestic economic defense; it appears, NYTimes reports, that the US is leading the way in another direction. A secret legal review on the use of America’s growing arsenal of cyberweapons has concluded that President Obama has the broad power to order a pre-emptive strike if the United States detects credible evidence of a major digital attack looming from abroad - i.e. if we 'suspect' someone is going to hack us, we can hack them. In what appears to be Stuxnet's bigger (and scarier) brother,one official noted, "there are levels of cyberwarfare that are far more aggressive than anything that has been used or recommended to be done." New policies will also govern how the intelligence agencies can carry out searches of faraway computer networks for signs of potential attacks on the United States and, if the president approves, attack adversaries by injecting them with destructive code - even if there is no declared war. Cyberweaponry is the newest and perhaps most complex arms race under way, based in Cyber Command at The Pentagon, with the unspoken question being, ‘What are we going to do about China?’

Via NY Times
,

A secret legal review on the use of America’s growing arsenal of cyberweapons has concluded that President Obama has the broad power to order a pre-emptive strike if the United States detects credible evidence of a major digital attack looming from abroad, according to officials involved in the review. 

 

That decision is among several reached in recent months as the administration moves, in the next few weeks, to approve the nation’s first rules for how the military can defend, or retaliate, against a major cyberattack. New policies will also govern how the intelligence agencies can carry out searches of faraway computer networks for signs of potential attacks on the United States and, if the president approves, attack adversaries by injecting them with destructive code — even if there is no declared war.

 

...

 

Cyberweaponry is the newest and perhaps most complex arms race under way. The Pentagon has created a new Cyber Command, and computer network warfare is one of the few parts of the military budget that is expected to grow.

 

...

 

Mr. Obama is known to have approved the use of cyberweapons only once, early in his presidency, when he ordered an escalating series of cyberattacks against Iran’s nuclear enrichment facilities.

 

...

 

As the process of defining the rules of engagement began more than a year ago, one senior administration official emphasized that the United States had restrained its use of cyberweapons. “There are levels of cyberwarfare that are far more aggressive than anything that has been used or recommended to be done,” the official said.

 

The attacks on Iran illustrated that a nation’s infrastructure can be destroyed without bombing it or sending in saboteurs.

 

While many potential targets are military, a country’s power grids, financial systems and communications networks can also be crippled. Even more complex, nonstate actors, like terrorists or criminal groups, can mount attacks, and it is often difficult to tell who is responsible. Some critics have said the cyberthreat is being exaggerated by contractors and consultants who see billions in potential earnings.

 

One senior American official said that officials quickly determined that the cyberweapons were so powerful that — like nuclear weapons — they should be unleashed only on the direct orders of the commander in chief.

 

...

 

While the rules have been in development for more than two years, they are coming out at a time of greatly increased cyberattacks on American companies and critical infrastructure. The Department of Homeland Security recently announced that an American power station, which it did not name, was crippled for weeks by cyberattacks. The New York Times reported last week that it had been struck, for more than four months, by a cyberattack emanating from China. The Wall Street Journal and The Washington Post have reported similar attacks on their systems.

 

“While this is all described in neutral terms — what are we going to do about cyberattacks — the underlying question is, ‘What are we going to do about China?’ ” said Richard Falkenrath, a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations. “There’s a lot of signaling going on between the two countries on this subject.”

 

International law allows any nation to defend itself from threats, and the United States has applied that concept to conduct pre-emptive attacks.

 

Pre-emption always has been a disputed legal concept. Most recently Mr. Bush made it a central justification for the invasion of Iraq in 2003, based on faulty intelligence about that country’s weapons of mass destruction. Pre-emption in the context of cyberwar raises a potentially bigger quandary, because a country hit by a pre-emptive cyberstrike could easily claim that it was innocent, undermining the justification for the attack. “It would be very hard to provide evidence to the world that you hit some deadly dangerous computer code,” one senior official said.

 

...

 

During the attacks on Iran’s facilities, which the United States never acknowledged, Mr. Obama insisted that cyberweapons be targeted narrowly, so that they did not affect hospitals or power supplies. Mr. Obama frequently voiced concerns that America’s use of cyberweapons could be used by others as justification for attacks on the United States. The American effort was exposed when the cyberweapon leaked out of the Iranian enrichment center that was attacked, and the “Stuxnet” code replicated millions of times on the Internet.

 

...

 

But the military, barred from actions within the United States without a presidential order, would become involved in cases of a major cyberattack within the United States. To maintain ambiguity in an adversary’s mind, officials have kept secret what that threshold would be; so far, Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta has only described the “red line” in the vaguest of terms — as a “cyber 9/11.”

 

The Obama administration has urged stronger firewalls and other systems to provide a first line of defense, and then “resiliency” in the face of cyberattacks. It failed to get Congress to pass cybersecurity legislation that would have allowed the government to mandate standards. 

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Bastiat's picture

Maybe they just shut it down and claim it was a cyber attack.  That will be a little rough on the economy though . . .

redpill's picture

It's all fun and games until Skynet becomes self aware...

Stackers's picture

Dave, this conversation can serve no purpose anymore. Goodbye

knukles's picture

It was fun until somebody's avatar had their virtual eyeball poked out

MillionDollarBonus_'s picture

With all due respect to our elected congressmen, I have to point out that the primary cyber-threat is domestic, and not from abroad. The number of fringe bloggers from conspiracy theorists to right-wing extremists is on the rise, and their influence is only growing, Conspiracy theorists and systematically undermining our government and Federal Reserve in America by spreading lies to the most gullible and mentally challenged readers on the internet. Right-wing extremism is also on the rise, appealing mostly to angry young men with little to no dating success and dismal career prospects due to their lack of engagement with society. Many of the commenters on this site show signs of all these characteristics and are a clear threat to our way of life in America. The internet needs to be heavily regulated, before the number of extreme ideas will becomes simply unmanageable.

Looney's picture

Just wondering... If the gubermint officially calls it cyber-arms and cyber-weapons, do those fall under the protection of the Second Amendment for us, peasants? ;-)

Do I need a concealed carry permit to pack cyber-heat?  ;-)

 

Looney

lakecity55's picture

Stop, Serf!

Do you have a permit for that "smart Phone?"

Looney's picture

You startled me! (iThink iJust iPooped iMyself)   ;-)

Looney

redpill's picture

Ew, time to change your iPad.

A Nanny Moose's picture

Fsck! All I got's an Android. There an app for that?

CH1's picture

Do I need a concealed carry permit to pack cyber-heat?  ;-)

Soon.

Look up PGP and Phil Zimmerman. Encryption was classafied as a munition, prior to the cryptowars of the 90s. 

RebelDevil's picture

The man was a genius! - that is until his company servers were taken.
You can still find his masterpiece "Zfone" on the torrents.

ebworthen's picture

MDB - you are always good for a chuckle.

Yes, that dangerous independent thought.

Clearly, we must get rid of the First and Second Amendments to the Constitution to protect this glorious land, is that it?

Once you start finding your enemies from within based on their calls for freedom of information and transparency you know you have crossed the Rubicon.

Pack your lunch MDB.

lakecity55's picture

I suspect you are up to something, MDB.

My cohort of hackers will soon DOS you along with 10000 pizzas sent to your house.

StychoKiller's picture

Hmm, DOS (for it's time), was pretty destructive to lots of programmers. :>D

Byte Me's picture

MDB.

Could you elucidate that pls as I'm feeling suitably gullible but some of your wordage seemed unable to protocol obfuscate itself to my side of my firewall.

Go Tribe's picture

Tyler, you've been infiltrated. Better renew your spam protection to delete Fellow Traveler noise.

Haus-Targaryen's picture

IF you're trolling -- well done.  

 

If you actually believe this stuff -- you should be shot. 

knukles's picture

My oh my, we're Mr Tolerance toady aren't we?

IridiumRebel's picture

"Many of the commenters on this site show signs of all these characteristics and are a clear threat to our way of life in America."

 

...or

Many people in America see a serious decline in our way of life by an ever encroaching government that uses the name of security to take away our liberty. Most of the people here are into the conversation and anything that is considered minatory is merely rhetorical. Did you know that most of the recent major shootings were done at the hands of extreme leftist liberals? Fact. At what point do we forego all of our freedoms for the privelege of checking our hevily scoured emails? It is a farce trumped up for influence and more funding to these "defense" contractors that spin this into perpetuity. For every enemy we stop, we disenfranchise tenfold and this is beginning to bleed over into our own population as people are sick of ubiquitous war. We need serious fundamental changes, or we will no longer be a world power. At that point, we could see the world's largest arsenal in the hands of a unitary evil. Things are obviously not getting better so at what point do we stop and formulate a different course?

stant's picture

just because your paranoid dosent mean we are not out to get you. we are

Skyprince's picture

MDB, you lost me at "with all due respect to our elected congressmen,..."

Ctrl_P's picture

I have to agree with you on the fact that "Conspiracy theorists and (are) systematically undermining our government and Federal Reserve in America by spreading lies to the most gullible and mentally challenged readers on the internet." 

It seems that some of the information is even reaching the ordinary middle class and we are rapidly approaching the unmanageable situation where the middle class is becoming a threat to America's way of life.

Thanks, great laugh this morning.

All Risk No Reward's picture

MDB_, don't complain when your asset claims are extinguished, alrighty?

"Well, what’s been happening, over the last very long period of time, during our 30 years of credit expansion,we have expanded credit enormously so that it is some 99% of the money supply.  Inflation is money + credit relative to available goods and services.  We didn’t print money, we increased credit.  In other words, what we did is we increased excess claims to underlying real wealth.  So, we’ve been playing a giant game of musical chairs.  There is about one chair for every 100 people playing the game.  While we are all up and dancing to the music, we don’t notice how few chairs there are.  But, when the music stops, the people best positioned to understand the rules of the game will reach for a chair.  Everybody else is out of the game.  So the crashing of credit, which is what that is, you eliminate the excess claims to the underlying real wealth by crashing the credit system, that is deflation by definition,  Because money plus credit  relative to available goods and services collapses.  It is important to note that my definitions of inflation and deflation are not the same as you would see in more mainstream analysis.  So I’m not looking at rising and falling prices.  So that is part of the distinction between when I’m talking about inflation and when other people are…  Kunstler adds comment about stagflation…  What happens is that prices follow changes in the money supply.  So rising prices are a lagging indicator of the inflation we have already had – the Ponzi credit expansion.  But, as credit expansion starts to move very sharply in the opposite direction, we will undercut prices, but prices will follow to the downside.  They always follow changes in the money supply, complicated by a few other factors.  When we talk about “money printing,” we’re not talking about real money printing we’re talking about attempts to keep the credit Ponzi going. This is all central banks ever do, they attempt to midwife credit.  That critically relies on the supply of willing borrows and lenders.  When you do not have that anymore, because the borrowers  are maxed out, the lenders are starting to have to the risk on their own books so they get a lot pickier about who they lend money to, you break the engines of credit expansion, including fractional reserve banking, securitization.  So whatever you put in the banking system is not getting out in the real economy.  It is having no real stimulus effect, it is not going to feed through into rising prices and that is inherently deflation because the contraction proceeds much more quickly than any kind of debt monetization and the amount we are monetizing is absolutely trivial in comparison to the outstanding the debt.  The numbers only look large until you realize A that they are virtual so there is no reality to what we’re putting into that system anyway, and B that it is being completely outweighed bycontraction we are experiencing in the value of credit instruments and the value in comparison to the outstanding debt.  So its not going to cause a hyperinflation.  Now it could, when you get to the point where you finish that reset, then you’ve probably had enough financial upheaval to break the international debt financing model.  If countries are then cut off, debt junky countries used to borrowing all the time, if they can’t do that anymore and the only way they can try and meet their obligations is by printing money, you will have lost the  bond market constraint against the printing of real physical currency. At that point countries will print like there is no tomorrow and then the risk is a currency hyperinflation.

But the risk in the US is probably at least 10 years away.  If you are Greece, its much, much closer.  Anywhere in the European periphery where the risk of currency re-issue is huge the gap between the deflationary collapse of the value of credit instrument and the risk of currency hyperinflation is probably really short, time wise.

But in places where you are not looking at currency re-issue, it is going to be quite a long time… many, many years.  So the US, Canada, perhaps the UK, Sweden Switzerland…  these are not places that are looking at hyperinflation anytime soon.  Deflation, then a long period of depression, then maybe hyperinflation coming out of it."

- Nicole Foss

Nicole's podcast can be found at the bottom of the following article (but above the comments)...

http://www.theautomaticearth.com/Finance/the-automatic-earth-is-5-years-...

NotApplicable's picture

So the article claims Obummer launched Stuxnet, then claims the administration has never mentioned it.

So, is this the official confirmation leak?

knukles's picture

No, it's not official on the basis that whoever the senior government muckety-muck who posted it on a chat board wishes to remain anonymous.

Looney's picture

So, lemme get it straight… If THEY hack us, it is an act of war. But, if we attack them preemptively or otherwise, he doesn’t need the Congress’ “declaration of war”.

All this cyber-shit is very confusing – I need some cyber-toiletpaper.

Looney

Bandit und Buster's picture

Yeah, We hack THEM with no provocation, NOW we're calling "them" aggressors when they've not done anything yet.

Soundds like the guilty running and looking over their shoulder, knowing blow-back is coming! What criminals!

"mommy mommy, Billies going to hit me!"

"What did you do to him?"

"I didn't do nuthing mommy!!" (just fucked up his computers)

"I need to hit him mommy, so he doesen't get me back!"

OpenThePodBayDoorHAL's picture

Seems to me China has an advantage here, as all of their internet traffic comes through just nine switches. They could shut down pretty quick, US could not. 

knukles's picture

I suspect so...

Fuck...good enough for government work...

espirit's picture

China's been stealing technology for like decades (i.e. Los Alamos), and it's well known for hacking (i.e. CyberWarfare) U.S. interest here and abroad.  So... let's attack them. Or not.

Just sayin'.

tonyw's picture

we spend as much as the rest of the world on weapons and topple regimes but

They're the aggressors and terrorists

whilst we are freedom fighters bringing democracy

i think that's the right way round isn't it??????

 

Bad Attitude's picture

Dear Leader believes he solves problems by showing up for a few photo ops. We will know Dear Leader is serious about cyber security when you see pictures of him taken at some data center.

Until then... Forward!

trav777's picture

well, the US is saying ok, if we think you're going to attack us, we can cyber attack you.  We said we don't want Iran to have a nuclear capability of any kind, so we will sabotage it with malicious code.

So at what point does someone say "United States, we think you are going to attack us and we don't like your aggressive nature and we don't want to be attacked and we don't think you should have a nuclear capability either," and decides to attack us?

I mean, if you're a random nation, do you fear...a) Iran...b) the USA?  I mean who is more likely to attack you on any given day?

we have spec ops guys in a dozen countries at least, drones all over the place.  A threat of attack is pretty realistic.  Same with from Israel.  So it would seem that this preemption doctrine would justify an attack against the US.

Totentänzerlied's picture

"So it would seem that this preemption doctrine would justify an attack against the US."

Trav you're forgetting something very important. It's okay when "we" do it, because "we're" the good guys. And "they're" the bad guys. See, isn't that simple?

Cheesy Bastard's picture

These are not the drones you are looking for.

espirit's picture

...and your money is...3...2...1... GONE!

Dollar Bill Hiccup's picture

When? Fairly soon, if not now, I would suspect.

Neocons know no bounds and they are instilling this in all of their perpetual adversaries.

 

chdwlch1's picture

At least we haven't "granted" (as in caved to their demands) China access to our US Treasury auctions...DOH!!!

A Nanny Moose's picture

But we are exceptional. Manifest Density and all that shit.

mkhs's picture

Yeah, a very dense people.

Stoploss's picture

If my neighbor around the block threatens me or my family, that means i can go take his ass out " pre-emptively ".

 

Got it..

Stoploss's picture

Oh wait, i just have to "suspect" now huh??

Sweet..

Henry Hub's picture

That's what "Hold Your Ground" laws are all about. If you think he/she might be a bad guy, blast away.

thewhitelion's picture

Only now it seems that "Hold Their Ground" is also OK--as long as we do it.