13 thoughts on “Israeli Cyber-War, Hackers and the “Fire Next Time” – Tikun Olam תיקון עולם إصلاح العالم
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  1. Richard: You wrote: “Secretary Panetta’s speech is viewed as a veiled response and threat to Iran, which we view as the perpetrators of this attack.” Sorry to see the “we” there.

    Maybe you are feeling that you are very American and that Panetta speaks for Americans.

    My feeling is that Americans do not willingly and knowledgeably support America’s vast military empire or many of its (often secret) doings, and Panetta as the supervisor of all that (which is bankrupting the USA both morally and monetarily) is not a representative of America (at least not of the American people) but is a representative of the BIG-MONEY OLIGARCHY that actually runs the USA for its own interests (not necessarily those of the American people — witness the fall of the middle class over 20 years as the very wealthy, including the oligarchs, got fat and got powerful).

    1. Point well taken. Sometimes that “we” just creeps into things when I’m speaking of things connected to the U.S. I even sometimes want to say it concerning Israel though I step back in doing so, realizing I’m not Israeli.

  2. Excellent article, Richard. You are doing a tremendous service exposing the unfathomable dangers of the new cyber-universe where humans of all stripes are at the mercy of actors – private and government – benevolent and mafeasant – not held to any account whatsoever.

    Unfortunately, the dangers of Stuxnet-like viruses becoming relatively commonplace (which is bound to happen, sooner or later) are not yet fully appreciated. With nanotechnology making the strides it does, with computer – and even iPhone- controlled implantable devices in progress (a huge favorite of ongoing DARPA projects, both open and less so), with robots running entire factories, the blurring of the human-cyber interface is about to be a fact of life. Just one small example: how long will teenagers addicted to their streamed music rolls and living within a “chat universe” tolerate having the limits imposed by hand dexterity and external microphones? there are companies already working on “embedding” of the digital into the biological (Here’s just one company to look at – Proteus, working on embedding electronics into pills).

    With continuing shrinkage of the electronics boards, as more can be crammed into less, software will be the new tool of the 21st century, and as software will become more integrated with biological systems (including the human brain) the potential for direct physical harm will increase exponentially. Imagine what hacking into an implanted pace maker or an artificial limb can do. Or into an “embedded’ ear piece (which is what I expect will be coming along by and by). Or the damage that a virus can do not just to a computer or a machine but to a living breathing human.

    I think some day, articles like yours and the ones you cite will become standard fare reading – to illustrate that there were those who understood the monumental dangers ahead of us, long before it became a common MSM refrain (MSM – always the last to figure things out, it seems – give or take a few).

  3. Interesting essay but it is a pity that it has to derive part of its interest from your personal trouble.

    I remember a comment by the Dutch historian Jan Romein that the relatively sophisticated financial management of the Roman legions initially gave these an advantage over their enemies but ultimately led to a “retarding lead”. When this financial management got into disarray these legions were at a disadvantage compared with their much more primitively organised enemies.

    Wouldn’t the same kind of thing occur in the cyber wars? The states least dependent on computerisation (but provided with a mercenary team of excellent hackers) will be at an advantage.

    This has no direct relevance for your own case Richard. Talking about that: what struck me was that as soon as your website was in a state of transition and thus vulnerable you were hit. This seems to imply that you were more or less permanently targeted by the miscreant who was waiting for his chance. What conclusions, if any, did the IBM Security Team come to?

    1. I have two thoughts about this interesting article. First, this is the sort of issue that can be hyped in order to close down internet freedom as we know it. I’d worry about that as much as about cyber-war. Second — we need to remember that software doesn’t actually do anything, that is, it just manipulates data of a certain form. Software will not clean my porch or build a highway. Software cannot build real bridges, move households across country, bale that cotton. And information is only powerful if it is correct — corresponds in some way to the real world. Sure, we are dependent on computers to do its manipulations quickly and accurately, but how dependent? You can destroy a civilization by drying up its water resources, but can you do it by denying it information? I doubt it. Maybe the answer to cyber attacks is simply redundancy.

  4. if I were IBM I’d be a bit worried what this Cras [sic] guy may have incognito-type put in the IBM technology and what IBM secrets he may be willing to sell to the highest bidder of give to Israeli interests.

  5. Taking down your site is dead wrong.
    However I find your broad accusations compared to some clumsy two pence hacker wrong as well.
    I dont know who hacked your site, but it somehow does not look like the guy you found his email within the hack.
    Imagine the police finds the thiev business card. It is too stupid even for the most stupid of them.

    1. If he expected never to be exposed then of course he would’ve taken the chance of using his real e mail address. Especially if the hack was spontaneous and not something he planned out in advance. He would’ve gotten away with it if Kaspersky hadn’t gotten involved and there was no way he could’ve known they would.

      So this was a case of hubris on his part and luck on mine that the good guys were on my side and helped exposé him.

  6. In another form this article deserves wider publication. In my personal activities I maintain a data base concerning subnational attacks on the energy sector, worldwide. The computers on which this data base resides have never been connected to the Internet and it is unlikely they ever will be: a decision I made in the late 1980s. There are costs associated with that that I recognize and am willing to bear.

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