cyberwar tags

Bull Session

Hacking Infrastructure

April 13, 2017          

Episode Summary

On this episode of The Digital Life, we discuss our vulnerable infrastructure, in light of the recent hacking attack on the Dallas emergency sirens. Our real world infrastructure — from power plants to airports to dams — is increasingly subject to both online and offline security breaches, which represents a significant problem in a world where the Internet of Things (IoT) is just beginning to take hold.

While the Dallas hack was accomplished via a radio or telephone signal — not an online breach — it nonetheless provides a prime example of how such attacks disrupt municipal emergency response. Over 4,000 calls flooded the city’s 911 system, forcing real emergencies to wait. Unfortunately, the spectrum of these attacks runs from malicious prank to terrorism and it’s hard to know what kind of attack is happening as it occurs.

Potential outcomes, including the difficulties brought on by service disruptions for electricity, water, transportation, etc., not to mention increased skepticism of emergency systems, could potentially be life threatening. What are the solutions for such hacks on critical infrastructure? And how should we view these types of events and react to them in a resilient fashion in the future?

Resources:
Hacking Attack Woke Up Dallas With Emergency Sirens, Officials Say
Sirens in Dallas, Texas Maybe Civil Defense Tests? Hackers?
Culprit broadcast signal that triggered Dallas’ emergency sirens Friday night
Someone hacked every tornado siren in Dallas. It was loud.

Bull Session

Cyberwar

November 26, 2015          

Episode Summary

On The Digital Life this week, we chat about Anonymous, in the wake of their declaring war on the terrorist group, ISIS.

This conflict represents something entirely new in 21st century warfare, and is strongly related to the transformation of power in the digital age. Both of these groups are new types of organizations — nimble, distributed, and asynchronous — they present their adversaries with few primary targets. They both rely heavily on digital tools to inspire others to join a movement.

Will Anonymous’ war on ISIS ultimately be harmful or helpful? While stopping the ISIS propaganda machine would be of great benefit, removing terrorists from Twitter and other social networks will make it more difficult for national intelligence agencies and security firms to track them. And, in response to the campaign by Anonymous, ISIS will no doubt change its online tactics to defend itself.

As we watch this cyberwar unfold, we can only imagine how it is a precursor to future conflicts where the boundaries blur between the digital and physical worlds.

Resources
Anonymous Takes on IS
Cyber War: What Can Anonymous Really Do to ISIS?
Is Anonymous’ War on ISIS Doing More Harm Than Good?