Category Archives: Military

Hackers cannot open Hoover dam floodgates, or can they?

David Kraveds at Wired (http://www.wired.com/threatlevel/author/davidkravets) reports that “[…]  The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation is shooting down a key legislative talking point: that the internet “kill-switch” legislation is needed to prevent cyberterrorists from opening the Hoover Dam’s floodgates. […] At a panel in Washington last week, a GOP staffer working on the bill was even more terrifying. […] “I’d like to point out that this is not a factual example, because Hoover Dam and important facilities like it are not connected to the internet,” Peter Soeth, a spokesman for the bureau, said in an e-mail. “These types of facilities are protected by multiple layers of security, including physical separation from the internet, that are in place because of multiple security mandates and good business practices.” […] (full article at http://www.wired.com/threatlevel/2011/02/hoover/)

Only one point: also the Iranian uranium sites were protected, but a worm spread through USB devices…

Ok is an unlikely event, but happened once. So i don’t question on US Law, but I think Mr Soeth could be  a little more careful or precise when speaking…

This post as a comment also at http://www.wired.com/threatlevel/2011/02/hoover/


Mr. Assange personal law

I see from many sources, and among them the guys at Arcamax, that Mr Assange, Wikileaks founder hiding in UK, is in “[…] Negotiations took place Monday for the founder of WikiLeaks to be questioned by British police about sexual assault allegations against him, lawyers said.  The Guardian reported Julian Assange was expected to appear in a U.K. court by mid-week. His lawyers said he would meet with police to discuss an extradition warrant from Sweden where he is wanted for questioning, The British newspaper said.”(full article at http://www.arcamax.com/newsheadlines/s-808599-427121?source=1930).

I don’t question too much if Wikileaks is something good or not (IMHO it was netutral when disclosing minor things, but now is irresponsible in disclosing secret things like just did).

I would like to question on Mr Assange personal law.

It’s not fair for all of us. This guy is not an alleged killer or someone with a nuke in his hands.

Why can he choose (an states allow him) to negotiate on his prisoning?

If some of us has problems with law, simply police gets in and does the arrest.

Why Mr. Assange is super partes in this? Maybe because is discussing in non releasing new files?

This post as a comment also at  http://www.arcamax.com/newsheadlines/s-808599-427121#posts


In loving memory of 4 people fallen from freedom

Today, four italians like me died while serving our country in Afghanistan.

I just want to say I’m proud of them and their courage as all people in our beloved country.

R.I.P.


Wikileaks starts with CIA documents?

Andy Carvell at geek.com (http://www.geek.com/users/Andy%20Carvell/) reports that “[…] WikiLeaks has announced on Twitter that it will release a new document today […]” (full article at http://www.geek.com/articles/news/wikileaks-prepares-to-leak-cia-document-20100825/).

I don’t really like to speak of this, but, I don’t also like the misuse of freedom of speech.

One thing is to release documents on companies doing bad things, another is to “burn” people working undercover or putting them in danger.

Freedom of speech is a right that should be used with some wiseness.

This post as a comment also at http://www.geek.com/articles/news/wikileaks-prepares-to-leak-cia-document-20100825/comment-page-1/#comment-3869117


The closest thing to world power

Rosa Golijan at Gizmodo reports a news presented also by BBC (http://news.bbc.co.uk/local/bristol/hi/people_and_places/newsid_8855000/8855460.stm) and Popsci (http://www.popsci.com/technology/article/2010-07/order-seven-cyber-guardians-around-world-now-hold-keys-internet) on seven people choosen to have the keys to restart the internet “[…] The basic idea is that in the event of an Internet catastrophe, the DNSSEC (domain name system security) could be damaged or compromised and we’d be left without a way to verify if a URL is pointing to the correct website.A minimum of five of the seven keyholders – one each from Britain, the U.S., Burkina Faso, Trinidad and Tobago, Canada, China, and the Czech Republic – would have to converge at a U.S. base with their keys to restart the system and connect everything once again. […]” (full article at http://gizmodo.com/5597964/seven-people-have-been-entrusted-with-the-keys-to-the-internet).

This is the picture of the keys:

Those persons holding the cards are really those with the biggest power in the world. Though the aim is peacefull and reasonable, is quite scaring to have this concentration of power.


Wikileaks pros and cons

The big Wikileaks bombshell happened so fastl and so furious it is difficult to judge the real consequences.

Greg Mitchell at Alternet (http://www.alternet.org/authors/6547/) reports a good walthrough the over 90 thousand documents released (full article at http://www.alternet.org/world/147635/wikileaks_bombshell_on_afghan_war:_what_you_need_to_know_).

I’m not for or against this kind of scoop.

Because on one side I put freedom of speech, on the other the risks that are taken in revealing sensitive informations.


Pain ray, fair or not?

Noah Shachtman (http://www.wired.com/dangerroom/author/noah_shachtman/ ) at Wired reports that “[…] The U.S. mission in Afghanistan centers around swaying locals to its side. And there’s no better persuasion tool than an invisible pain ray that makes people feel like they’re on fire. […] OK, OK. Maybe that isn’t precisely the logic being employed by those segments of the American military who would like to deploy the Active Denial System to Afghanistan. I’m sure they’re telling themselves that the generally non-lethal microwave weapon is a better, safer crowd control alternative than an M-16. But those ray-gun advocates better think long and hard about the Taliban’s propaganda bonanza when news leaks of the Americans zapping Afghans until they feel roasted alive […]” (full article at http://www.wired.com/dangerroom/2010/06/u-s-testing-pain-ray-in-afghanistan/) .

Honestly I think that is just a matter of POV: on my side is better to have people running away with the feeling of being burned than having a bullet between your eyes. I can understand that if you’re on the other this new NLW (Non Lethal Weapon) could be quite disturbing.

But if can avoid some (unfortunately not all) human losses, for me is welcome.

This post as a comment also at http://www.wired.com/dangerroom/2010/06/u-s-testing-pain-ray-in-afghanistan/comment-page-2/#comment-89204


Compromise between money and safety

Noah Scachtman at Wired, reported by Gizmodo (http://www.wired.com/) informs us that “[…] 

The jet that’s supposed to make up more than 90 percent of America’s combat aviation fleet may have become a lot easier to shoot down.

Lockheed Martin, makers of the Joint Strike Fighter, has been under huge pressure to stabilize the jet’s skyrocketing costs. Production prices have nearly doubled on what was supposed to be an “affordable” fighter. R&D money is up another 40 percent. Some analysts predict the program could run as much as $388 billion for 2,400 jets.

So Lockheed decided “to trim 11 pounds and $1.4 million from each aircraft by removing shutoff valves for engine coolant and hydraulic lines and five of six dry bay fire-suppression systems,” according to InsideDefense.com.[…]”

This on the other hand brings to a minor resistance towards a direct AA attack.

I think that numbers count also on this, but IMHO is not a 1.4 million per aircraft (which BTW costs more than 100 million bucks each) saving thta changes the big numbers over F35.

This post as a comment also at http://gizmodo.com/5561408/gajillion+dollar-stealth-fighter-now-easier-to-shoot-down


GPS failure and how much we rely on technology

Dan Elliott of Associated Press reported yesterday a news on a problem “[…] that rendered as many as 10,000 U.S. military GPS receivers useless for days is a warning to safeguard a system that enemies would love to disrupt, a defense expert says.  The Air Force has not said how many weapons, planes or other systems were affected or whether any were in use in Iraq or Afghanistan. But the problem, blamed on incompatible software, highlights the military’s reliance on the Global Positioning System and the need to protect technology that has become essential for protecting troops, tracking vehicles and targeting weapons[…]” (full article at http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5gp4YJHFW1EXEJiT8apgRFxg7dXwQD9G2DH680).

Greg Grant at Defense Tech commented on this remebering that “[…] 

Yet, earlier this year, Colin Clark at companion site DOD Buzz, reported on public comments by Air Force chief Gen. Norton Schwartz, where he said “GPS signals are particularly vulnerable in time of war since enemies know of the reliance U.S. forces place on its highly accurate signal.” Schwartz said the military must find alternatives to GPS when operating in denied environments because of the system’s vulnerabilities. […]”.

This could make sense, because is not the first time that someone has access to military satellites at different extent (remember talibans intercepting videos from UAV in Afghanistan or brasilian hackers accessing Navy’s satellites with home made dishes).

On the other side, everyone knows (and recent experiments such as the Unmanned X37B prove this) that space is in a way or another the theater to govern in order to obtain a strategic advantage.

What makes me think is how much we are relying on technology for our defense and civilian uses.

Within the years we have shifted from tech as a commodity to tech as a vital need and this is a problem we are not thinking to solve, neither in part neither in a whole.

A system like GPS should be safeguarded as something vital for all mankind and not be seen as a military target.

This post as a comment also at http://defensetech.org/2010/06/02/or-maybe-the-militarys-gps-system-has-been-hacked/


Drone wars

Greg Grant at Defense Tech reports that a drone strike killed Al Qaeda coordinator for Afghanistan Mustafa Abu al-Yazid (full article at http://defensetech.org/2010/06/01/drone-strike-in-pakistan-kills-top-al-qaeda-operational-commander/, original NYT story at http://www.nytimes.com/2010/06/01/world/asia/01qaeda.html).

I drop just a couple of thoughts.

First of all that the fact that Al Qaeda feels the need to announce the death of a coordinator (sorry, but I cannot call Officer a terrorist), is a warning of how much is organized and still dangerous, despite of all our efforts.

Second thought is that love them or not, drones are the future.

Personally I think that is a kind of fight so impersonal that helps to do the work without remorses: just a surgical operation were possible, rebalancing the effort in terms of lives and costs of those operations.

Some (and I somewhat agree with them) that F35 will be the last  manned fighter. I don’t feel this is the moment of this change, but IMHO path is started.

This post as a comment also at http://defensetech.org/2010/06/01/drone-strike-in-pakistan-kills-top-al-qaeda-operational-commander/


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