Deployed, they take down pages, links, domains. To the unprepared, they can represent the ruination of a life's work. Even as the Powers that Be are in cahoots to keep the 'chaos' of the interwebs in check, the rest of us are enjoying and sometimes taking for granted the effects of this technology. Marvelous, leveling effects, reaching more people in society than ever before in in human history. Overwhelmingly the effect of cyberweapons comes not by actual destruction, but by erasing or renaming the path between them and the rest of the internet.
Its as if you disappeared off of the planet not because your house was gone, not because the street was obliterated, not even because the street-sign was defaced or changed. You disappeared because your address no longer appeared in everyone's maps, or it was listed as different. The street that used to be listed as yours is still there, but no one looks for you there; they look you up and go to a different address now, and wonder where you are.
Hundreds of connection points in the net fall offline every minute, but we don't notice because the net routes around them. It can do this because the smaller networks that make up the internet, known as autonomous systems, communicate with each other through routers. When a communication path changes, nearby routers inform their neighbours through a system known as the border gateway protocol (BGP). These routers inform other neighbours in turn, eventually spreading knowledge of the new path throughout the internet.
The attack requires a large botnet – a network of computers infected with software that allows them to be externally controlled: Schuchard reckons 250,000 such machines would be enough to take down the internet.
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An attacker deploying the Schuchard cyberweapon would send traffic between computers in their botnet to build a map of the paths between them. Then they would identify a link common to many different paths and launch a ZMW attack to bring it down
[-- remember, the routers themselves are still operational, only they can no longer be seen. -ed] Neighbouring routers would respond by sending out BGP updates to reroute traffic elsewhere. A short time later, the two sundered routers would reconnect [thus necessitating] their own BGP updates... traffic would start flowing in again, [triggering Schuchard's cyberweapon again, and] ...causing [the network] to [have to update] once more. This cycle would repeat, with the single breaking and reforming link sending out waves of BGP updates to every router on the internet. Eventually each router in the world would be receiving more updates than it could handle – after 20 minutes[,] ... 100 minutes of processing would have built up.... eventually the internet would be so full of holes that communication would become impossible. Schuchard thinks it would take days to recover. [read more]
Over the years I have collected a short list of motives from my own research, my experiences and those of others, and theoretical extrapolation based on observation of social, political, and economic reality.
The misdeeds of the megalomaniacal, sadistic, and bloated corporation that is Microsoft would, to my mind, generate more than enough motive in this regard).
ff: hello my learned friend
ff: i would love to interview you via this medium for something am working onff: and i would also love to be lazy. so:ff: peruse this article; if you want to, do rant a bit about it. i generated the following as topics: how the threat might be addressed; how we could protect ourselves; whether mr. joe nobody could do this to his network at work, or to his neighbor, or even remotely to his sworn nemesis; whether this could be used to bring down our military; whether this would be used by our military on us (see: egypt & the shutting down of internet) come the revolution; whether this somehow could be turned to our advantage come the revolution.......pdkl95: the article talks about various BGP-based denial-of-service attacks. Really, there's two views on this:pdkl95: 1) the internet is amazingly held together by duct tape and bailing wire. BGP is a great example of that. It's only by the careful and methodical attention that thousands of computer geeks that the internet even works at all. Even casual typos can take whole networks offline, as we see happen once and a whilepdkl95: 2) there ARE armies of computer geeks out there, with proven track records, that do keep things workingpdkl95: the latter is more likely, and is actually a solution for point #1pdkl95: "The internet treats censorship as damage and routes around it." to use a famous quotepdkl95: the original DARPAnet was specifically designed to withstand nuclear attack, by simply routing packets around misbehaving areaspdkl95: we don't have quite that level of reliability anymore, but it IS still amazingly resilientpdkl95: evidence:pdkl95: these kinds of attacks aren't new. they happen all the time, and have happened for decades. I first read about BGP attacks like this in the early 90s, and that was already after they had been fixed for years.pdkl95: we use BGP [a kind of crappy protocol] because of historical inertiapdkl95: but most sane network ops learned in the 90s or earlier that you carefully filter where you listen for ASN announcementspdkl95: and it's not even the only routing protocol we use nowpdkl95: so, in a worst-case scenario type situation, it would be a temporary ("days") disruption at worst, while the army of computer geeks worked around the problempdkl95: also:pdkl95: 4chanpdkl95: seriously. we used to call it "l337 ha0xrs" or whatever, and B1FF before thatpdkl95: script kiddiespdkl95: they try and pull attacks like this every daypdkl95: if your network wasn't secure against a BGP attack, it would already be attackedpdkl95: Now... as for political issues:pdkl95: the big risk here isn't from obscure technical issues such as BGP and it's weaknessespdkl95: it's centralized controlpdkl95: say, "facebook" or "twitter"pdkl95: if you rely on those services to communicate, that's a single point of failure a government could take downpdkl95: [see: egypt]pdkl95: there's a good reason that PGP and such talk about "web of trust" - no central location is depended uponpdkl95: In the end, facebook/etc is trying to remove the peer-to-peer nature of the internet, and be the middleman for all communication.pdkl95: that is an active, live threat. one that the army of geeks cant' addresspdkl95: as for how we could use this for benefit on the other side, remember that technology is neither good nor evilpdkl95: any technology that allows enhanced surveillance also enables surveillancepdkl95: the fact that twitter/etc were a big part in organizing the egyptian protests is a great example of this. so is wikileaks.pdkl95: the fact that egypt was successful at all in shutting down the internet is just an example of this being a "first incident" to use this kind of techpdkl95: nobody prepares until the threat is immediate. future revolutions will be more careful to not use easily shut down things like twitterpdkl95: in summary: there isn't a government on the planet that can keep computer geeks from their pr0n.
Most people do not do, or strive to do, evil. Not without something in it for themselves. This motive is hard to imagine on an individual level. Only corporate entities consistently have the motive, means, and opportunity(e.g.: companies selling antivirus software). That is, besides the government.
Cold war USSR. China. North Korea.
The manufacture of consent.
Obama's internet kill switch.
Only necessitated of course by terrorists -- a growing domestic threat. Bullshit. The original Patriot act quietly defined drug smuggling as a terrorist activity; I would wager that the latest version makes mention of copyrighted material. (anyone who already knows where, please comment or email me).
Rarely have the publically stated causes of a nation's internal or civil conflicts been either.
(The Cleverer among you may extrapolate this into a more personal realm for his or her own entertainment, if not edification.)
This is the surest way to bring about the forced restriction of society that amounted to the loss of liberty, access to resources, personal wealth, and intellectual potential for the vast majority -- to the benefit of a very small minority who like it that way.
The internet faces such a threat.
It empowers us like nothing before. Beware the "event" staged to disempower us, to manufacture our consent for our enslavement.
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