Here at the close of the tumultuous 2014, it appears that the world has finally moved into the cyber espionage realm, in earnest. Strangely, it was the whole “Sony Hack” debacle that put us over the top, so to speak. President Obama, responding to allegations of the involvement of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, typified the Sony Hack as “Cyber-vandalism.” Cyber-crime, cyber-security, cyber-warfare… it’s all shaking out suspiciously close to how “Papa Gibson” described it in his Cyber-punk Sci Fi thrillers of the 1980’s.
Moving into 2015, Gibson’s vision of a gritty, dystopian, cyberpunk existence has indeed come to pass. All the players from Gibson’s novels seem to be in place. Powerful Corporate entities, Governmental Intelligence agencies (the expertise of which seem inferior to corporate interests) Rogue States, console cowboys such as the Anonymous Collective, Black /White/Grey Hat independent operators… all the actors are in place.
Given the extent of available cyber-services, both overt and those available via the so-called Dark-Net, you don’t even need much technical expertise to become an entry level player. One can now simply shop the dark-net and purchase a $250.00 pre-packaged malware kit… easy peasy! This Christmas shopping season, certain vendors on the dark-net were even offering cyber-Monday discounts… talk about (back) door buster deals.
Last week, Federal Bureau of Investigation officially accused the Democratic People's Republic of Korea of instigating the now-infamous hack on Sony Pictures. This from the FBI National Press Office…
Friday, December 19th, 2014: “Today, the FBI would like to provide an update on the status of our investigation into the cyber attack targeting Sony Pictures Entertainment (SPE). In late November, SPE confirmed that it was the victim of a cyber attack that destroyed systems and stole large quantities of personal and commercial data. A group calling itself the “Guardians of Peace” claimed responsibility for the attack and subsequently issued threats against SPE, its employees, and theaters that distribute its movies.
As a result of our investigation, and in close collaboration with other U.S. government departments and agencies, the FBI now has enough information to conclude that the North Korean government is responsible for these actions. While the need to protect sensitive sources and methods precludes us from sharing all of this information, our conclusion is based, in part, on:
Technical analysis of the data deletion malware used in this attack revealed links to other malware that the FBI knows North Korean actors previously developed. Separately, the tools used in the SPE attack have similarities to a cyber attack in March of last year against South Korean banks and media outlets, which was carried out by North Korea.”
Given the files that former NSA contractor Edward Snowden turned over to journalist Glenn Greenwald, we know how invasive and pervasive U.S. government surveillance has become. U.S. officials have said the American government will retaliate for the attacks and White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said the response would be "proportional." Again, from the FBI:
"Working together, the FBI will identify, pursue, and impose costs and consequences on individuals, groups, or nation states who use cyber means to threaten the United States or U.S. interests" Characteristically, Sen. John McCain said the cyberattack amounted to "an act of war" on Friday and said the U.S. should retaliate in kind with cyberwarfare.
Even in their official denial of such allegations, the North Korean Government warned that worse is coming. This type of rhetoric, coming from both the US and N Korea… is what we like to call: cyber-escalation… and will only make matters worse. And so it is that Earth’s info-sphere become less stable. News sources are reporting that the frequency of cyber attacks has dramatically increased in the last few weeks.
Check out the link below. It is from the San Mateo CA based cyber-security “live threat intelligence” firm: Norse. From their “About us” page… “Norse is the global leader in live attack intelligence. Norse delivers continuously updated and unique Internet and darknet intel that helps organizations detect and block attacks that other systems miss.” This is not an excerpt from Gibson’s “Neuromancer” …this is the real Dope.
Follow the link and preview this most-interesting live attack monitor… it will give you a glimpse into our brave-new-future.
Update: Sync Alert!
I’m curious what the conspiracy theorists, the synchro-mystic adepts and those who otherwise delve into high weirdness, think about the “Guardians of Peace” AKA: GOP sync? It is commonly postulated that the “Powers That Be” hide their nefarious exploits in plain sight. It is also common conspiratorial wisdom that the PTB (none DARE call them the illuminati!) like to signal their intent through cryptic means.
It is also commonly considered that Sony acts as the Industrial Military Complex’s mouthpiece, within the motion picture industry. Sony CEO, Michael Lynton is a member of the Council of Foreign Relations and is on the Board of The Rand Corporation. As such, the Guardians of Peace, AKA: GOP could refer to the “Grand Old Party” …otherwise known as the Republican Party.
So was Sony hacked by the Republicans, as a means to stir up Cyber-war-mongering sentiment?
Please leave your thoughts, theories and wild accusations on the comments section of this post…