In the previous post we started by recalling the power outage in White Rock, noting that it was an inconvenience. But what if it had lasted longer, significantly longer? What if the affected area was much larger, perhaps the entire county of Los Alamos? What other inconveniences would you have suffered? The grocery store would have been closed. But it could have opened with candle light. Of course, you would have to pay with cash or check since the credit/debit card machines would not run. In fact, your bill would have been manually calculated or you could have gone to a store outside of the county. But you wouldn’t be able to buy fuel in the county because the pumps would not work. Think about it and make your own list. And then think about how it would affect the right side (emotional) side of your brain.
We also looked at the Five Rings warfare concept of John Warden: leadership (government), system essentials (money, energy), infrastructure (roads, factories), population, and the fighting mechanism (soldiers, police, firefighters). And we noted that Warden gave system examples of the body, the state, a drug cartel, and an electric company.
On December 23, 2015, three Ukraine energy distribution companies were hit by a cyberattack.1 Thirty electrical substations (7 – 110 kV and 23 – 35 kV substations) were shut off by tripping the circuit breakers. The supervising control and data acquisition software (SCADA) was invaded by cyber zombies. Further, the attack used Kill Disk malware to erase files along with a denial of service attack on the call center to deny customers information.
On December 17, 2016 just before midnight, the Pivinichn substation outside of Kiev Ukraine was cyber attacked, shutting down the circuit breakers. The outage affected 225,000 people for about an hour. For two months preceding the outage, hackers (cyber warriors or criminals, or enemies) targeted state institutions 6,500 times.2 Did you hear about these attacks?
You may recall that in June 2017, a major ransom ware attack was seen globally. It started as an attack on Ukrainian government and business computer systems using hacking tools stolen from the National Security Agency. At Chernobyl, computers failed and radiation had to be monitored manually. A hospital in Pennsylvania was forced to cancel operations. A lady in Kiev had to borrow money from a relative because the ATM did not work. And (horror of horrors) a Cadbury chocolate factory in Hobart, Tasmania received ransom ware messages demanding $300.00 in bit coins.3
And more recently, August 9 and 10, 2017, the Ukraine postal service was attacked, crippling the online system to track packages. It was a distributed denial of service (DDOS) assault. Computers, routers, and internet-things enabled devices were turned into cyber zombies. By the way, internet-things include thermostats, washing machines, and all of the other stuff that connects to the internet. At the time of the attack, these zombies are roped together to form a botnet and attack. Is this a new TV series? Or has your TV, connected to the internet, become a zombie? Search Wikipedia for “Zombie (computer science).” Especially read about smart phones.
Recall from the last column that Clausewitz said “War is the continuation of politics by other means.” It is about getting the other party to do what you want it to do or, if you are a respectful, peaceful entity, protect yourself. But you do have to play to win (sometimes tie – maybe).
A fourth dimension of warfare has emerged called cyberspace, linked together by communication devices and the manipulation of bits and bytes. The weapons of war have evolved to include things like the Low Orbit Ion Cannon4 (software) and the warriors (both offensive and defensive) have become cyber soldiers. Drop the “e” from software and you have “softwar.”
Come back for the next post and explores what this means for Los Alamos and by extension, where you live. Till then….