The questions that follow from this ‘prepare for war‘ article are — What? and Why?
What is The Week‘s writer attempting to say here with headlines flaring, and why?
Apart from standing armies (China’s People’s Liberation Army is maintained as the world’s largest) and beyond the worldwide sales of arms, it’s time to contemplate new definitions of war, cyber war, with which war in the future will be waged.
China, and its proxies, and the US and allies, the non-aligned and aligned nations alike, will all engage at varied scales of full-spectrum warfare from afar, digitally, interactively, from cyber intelligence gathering, to analysis, to hit and run, to an array of serious, disruptive, energy/utility aimed, run-of-the-mill ‘denial of service’ onslaughts to critical, irreversible ‘beheading’ of command and control’.
Reactions to the Sony hack: The information that’s come out has pointed the finger at North Korean proxy groups, but it’s been context based.
If we go beyond the less-than-provable connection to North Korea on this less-than-deadly incident, we are brought to the question that has yet to be answered — what constitutes a cyber act of war?
Speaking to reporters at the Pentagon on Friday, Pentagon Press Secretary Rear Adm. John Kirby begins to lay down markers, the proverbial red lines are being drawn but in the US few in the media report on this news that underpins the Sony corporation’s hack and possible N. Korea connection.
Consider the ‘grey’ red line that constitutes war by other means, cyber means —
Department of Defense Press Briefing by Rear Adm. Kirby in the Pentagon Briefing Room
Presenter: Pentagon Press Secretary Rear Admiral John Kirby – December 19, 2014
What are contingency planners losing sleep over?
An attack that exploits an entirely new vector giving the victim “zero days” to figure out a patch. The problem is that there is no way to know that they are being implemented until someone, North Korea or someone else, chooses to exploit them.
Peering over the horizon, the billions of dollars now going into cyber warfare planning only begin to touch the extent of an Internet of Things (Iot) era in the trillions where connectivity is ubiquitous.
The enterprise will be the largest IoT device market: There will be a total of 23.3 billion IoT devices connected by 2019 across all sectors. The enterprise sector will account for 39% of the roughly 23 billion active IoT devices we expect by the year 2019. The primary barriers to installing the IoT within businesses include the high costs for installation and increasing vulnerability to a cyber attack. (BusinessInsider-Dec 2014)
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At Strategic Demands, using our knowledge of digital systems, we are beginning to look more closely at the future of the Internet, a “Third Wave”, an Internet that is “Never Offline”, where people and business are ‘Always On’ and the data is being tracked in a cyber future.
Prepare for cyber-connected populations and cyber-connected economies across all sectors. Click “Never Offline” here and there’s GoldmanSachs.
As forecasters attempt to predict the extent of this new world, an Internet of Everything, “Big Data” grows in yet-to-be-defined orders of magnitude. Petabytes flopping into Zetas and quantum quanta are just around the corner.
“Full spectrum adversaries“, defined as an “opponents utilizing full cyber capabilities in combination with military and intelligence” capabilities, are coming. Today’s glimpse of these conflicts can be captured in skirmishes — cyber threats, hacks and attacks.
The Chinese public position is that the reporting on North Korea’s involvement is without proof.
Dec 3 / BEIJING – Xinhuanet
China and the United States are mapping out rules for the Internet, said China’s web chief Lu Wei in Washington on Dec. 2, according to a report by the China News Service.
One more excerpt from Marc Rogers’ statement that he does not firmly believe that North Korea is the principal actor in the Sony hack. In previous time, this could be considered a “provocation”, which has historically become a ’cause for war, a casus belli. In this case, the the accusation against North Korea, and subsequent downing of the North Korean infrastructure has not led to escalation. Is it a force majeure event? The incident has become more of a warning than a cause, but it strikes us as consequential. ‘Rules of cyberwar’ are being formulated as a result of this cyber ‘incident’.
Rogers: I am no fan of the North Korean regime. However I believe that calling out a foreign nation over a cybercrime of this magnitude – something serious enough to go to war over – should not be taken lightly. The evidence used to attribute a nation state in such a case should be solid enough that it would be both admissible and effective in a court of law. As it stands, I do not believe we are anywhere close to meeting that standard.
On this thought, that the US and China are formulating rules for the Internet — and potentially rules of when cybercrime and cyber hacks and attacks become cyberwar, we leave you — and wish all a Merry Christmas — good will and good tidings as the New Year arrives …