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Wednesday, October 5, 2011     INTELLIGENCE BRIEFING

Cyber intel report: New terrorists need not be educated or well-funded

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Threats to computer networks are wide-ranging and growing in both scope and sophistication, according to a report by the private Intelligence and National Security Alliance.


Attackers do not need to be well educated or well resources and need only basic tools to conduct the activities.

Age also is irrelevant, with teenagers breaking into Pentagon sites. On the criminal side, international gangs use the Internet as their medium for trafficking in drugs, pornography, human trafficking, and financial theft, among other activities. Cyber crime gangs also hire out their services to other groups and even foreign governments.

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Terrorist groups also use the Internet to conduct operations, recruit, and coordinate activities.

Nation states also used the Internet to conduct reconnaissance and espionage. Stealing intellectual property is not an uncommon practice among some national governments and state industries, the report said.

Foreign states also used the Internet to conduct offensive operations Including disrupting lines of communication and the target s communications medium.

The report concluded that cyber warfare is a new form of asymmetric warfare that allows enemies to take advantage of an adversaries weaknesses.

"In this domain, it is not necessary for a peer-on-peer relationship to be present, nor is it necessary for the attacker to be victorious," the report said. "The lone individual, the criminal group, or a developing country can be just as dangerous as the well resourced and situated advanced player."

Also, attackers are shifting from less sophisticated denial of service operations to very complex attacks, like the Stuxnet virus attack on select networks that attacked the control systems at Iranian nuclear where centrifuges are operating.

Another attack method is for hackers to insert command and control code that lies in wait inside a victim s network until activated to conduct a pre-designated activity.

"All of these actions can be easily perpetrated from locations thousands of miles away at a time of the perpetrator's choosing with chilling effect."

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