Information operations

The Atomic Bomb of Cyberspace

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It’s official.  The United States of America was the first to use an atomic bomb against an enemy and now the United States is the first to have acknowledged using a cyber weapon against another country.  We are now certified bad guys to the rest of the world.

We are the first nation-state to admit to having used a cyberweapon on another nation-state.

As Dr. Bruce Averill so aptly states:

Once again the US has admitted to being the first to unleash a technological genie from the bottle onto the international community. Although Stuxnet per se can by no means be called a “weapon of mass destruction”, one must wonder whether, in years to come, we will look back on this event as a turning point similar in impact to the first use of an atomic weapon.

To whoever leaked the information from the Obama administration, for whatever purpose, you have now doomed the United States to a terrible legacy forever.  Now the United States will forever lose the war of ideas when it comes to innocence.  The United States killed hundreds of thousands (90,000–166,000 people in Hiroshima and 60,000–80,000 in Nagasaki according to Wikipedia).  The United States was the first to acknowledge, albeit through an unnamed source relating to David E. Sanger of the NY Times, that Stuxnet was a US project.

Warfare in cyberspace has always been clean, antiseptic and basically victimless and as long as nobody admitted it, attribution was almost impossible.  But now we have a bad guy and it is us. Forevermore, once cyberweapons become sophisticated enough to cause widespread tangible damage, the United States will be blamed for starting it all.

To David Sanger’s unnamed source:  damn you.  Damn you to hell.

9 thoughts on “The Atomic Bomb of Cyberspace

  1. Not so fast. Highly unlikely US capable of this. Much more likely an Israeli job and White is taking credit for it. I am the one who wrote the original letter in 1994, and more recently, the Homeland Security Today article on America’s Cyber-Scam. It will take a long time for the truth to come out on NSA and Cyber-Command–but it WILL come out eventually..Think TRAILBLAZER times a thousand, that should just about capture the depth and breadth of the incompetence and reprehensible betrayal of the public trust embodied in NSA and Cyber-Command going back to the 1990’s. Dereliction of duty is too kind. Treason is closer–not treason the leak, but treason the establishment.

  2. What we sow we reap. This is about as bad as it gets. The reality is the USA have now sanctioned all out cyber war. America cannot say that it was acting based on morals, because American values are not the same as values in other countries – this is not about right or wrong, that is the reality of a multi-faith, multi-cultural society.

    American’s must now stop complaining they get hacked, secrets get stolen etc, because they have sanctioned the use of cyber war for whatever purpose their competitiors values support.

    Well done America, your stupidity never ceases to amaze the rest of the world.

    1. I’m not sure if I would say the US has sanctioned “all out cyber war”, even if there is such an animal, but I sure do agree with the gist of what you say.

      I had a really, really smart guy, a senior scientist, relay to me today that the person who leaked this really didn’t think through the ramifications of their actions. Talk about unintended consequences on steroids.

  3. Joel,

    “To whoever leaked the information from the Obama administration, for whatever purpose, you have now doomed the United States to a terrible legacy forever. Now the United States will forever lose the war of ideas when it comes to innocence.”

    If this is a “terrible legacy” then responsibility for it resides with those who unleashed Stuxnet, not those who leaked the truth about it. We will “forever lose the war of ideas about when it comes to innocence” because we are guilty of the act, not because our lying about being innocent didn’t hold up. We will be credited with first use of cyberweapons because we used cyberweapons first, not because we failed to maintain (a rather transparent) deniability.

    1. I cannot in good conscience agree. Cyber weapons will always be made, this is only the beginning. Up until now we have had a cushion of anonymity, attribution was incredibly difficult, if not impossible, and that was the status quo. Hackers have been breaking into systems but you’ll notice there have not been a lot of prosecutions. Countries have been probing and breaking into other country’s systems for over 20 years, but the only professionals who could state with any certainty who was behind most of those attacks was the intelligence agencies, but only if not for evidential purposes.

      Now the United States is forever the first to have the bony finger of attribution rise above a level of suspicion and be, de facto, evidential. Now the US may always be cited as the progenitor of future cyber weapon development and use.

      If one is to believe the news reports, National Security Adviser Tom Donilon is to blame for the leak. While I cannot in good conscience point a bony finger at him, I will say: if not him it must be awfully darn close.

      1. Joel,

        In good conscience and with respect we will continue to disagree…

        To quote one of the best spy thrillers ever made:

        “Boy, what is it with you people? You think not getting caught in a lie is the same thing as telling the truth?”

        The USA used A-bombs for the first, second, and only times in history. Had Truman chosen (and managed) to avoid attribution our culpability would not have changed.

        The USA unleashed Stuxnet upon the world. We own it.

        Should the leaker stretch a rope for committing treason? Maybe, but the responsibility for Stuxnet lies with the paymaster behind Project “Olympic Games.”

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