Sentinel Down

And yet again, after leaving behind a cutting edge stealth helicopter during the bin Laden raid, the U.S. conducts another, involuntary, state-of-the-art military technology transfer to the enemy.

Iran’s capture of US drone shines light on spy mission, but may reveal little

The Iranian capture of a high-tech, stealth U.S. drone shines a light on the American spying mission there, but probably doesn’t tell Tehran much that it didn’t already know, a senior U.S. official said.

The RQ-170 Sentinel was providing surveillance over Iran and didn’t just accidentally wander away from the Afghanistan border region, as first suggested. The official said Wednesday that the Iranians will no doubt be able to tell where the aircraft flew. A bigger U.S. concern, the official said, was that the Iranians are likely to share or sell whatever they have recovered of the aircraft to the Chinese, Russians or others. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitive nature of the mission.

Experts and officials acknowledge that there is no self-destruct mechanism on the Sentinels — which are used both by the military and the CIA for classified surveillance and intelligence gathering missions.

. . .

U.S. officials said that while they have enough information to confirm that Iran does have the wreckage, they said they are not sure what the Iranians will be able to glean technologically from what they found. It is unlikely that Iran would be able to recover any surveillance data from the aircraft.

See also:
US admits downed drone spied on Iran
Iran says US spy drone was flying deep inside its airspace when it was downed
Malfunction likely put U.S. drone in Iranian hands
Iran Probably Did Capture a Secret U.S. Drone
U.S. Military Sources: Iran Has Missing U.S. Drone
Drone that crashed in Iran may give away U.S. secrets
China, Russia want to inspect downed U.S. drone
Sentinel unmanned drone lost in Iran among US most valuable warfare assets
Drone belonged to CIA, officials say
Downed drone was on CIA mission
Officials: Drone downed in Iran on CIA mission
Drone Lost in Iran Was Joint CIA-Military Reconnaissance Plane
Iran’s downing of U.S. drone rattles Washington
US ‘concerned’ over drone lost near Iran border
Experts: Iran capture of stealth drone no worry
US considered missions to destroy RQ-170 Sentinel drone lost in Iran
Spy drone may provide little help to Iran
U.S. debated sending commandos into Iran to recover drone
U.S. Made Covert Plan to Retrieve Iran Drone
Iran: The Stealth War Continues
Drone Drama Proves Iran Is Ready to Rumble
Stealth drone highlights tougher U.S. strategy on Iran
U.S. drones have been spying on Iran for years

The good news is that we seem to be paying close attention to what Iran is up to, have been for years, and can penetrate Iranian airspace with near impunity. These past and, hopefully, ongoing intelligence gathering and surveillance activities should help provide a detailed blueprint for when push comes to shove and Iran has to be dealt with militarily, which is sure to eventually become a necessity.

/that said, it’s a total unforced strategic error to just let Iran have this advanced technology drone, to share with or sell to other potential enemies of the United States, would it have killed us, if we didn’t want to risk lives to recover the Sentinel, to at least launch an airstrike package to obliterate the wreckage?

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A Preview Of Coming Attractions

So much for Homeland Security. From Russia, without love, hitting us where it really hurts.

Foreign hackers targeted U.S. water plant in apparent malicious cyber attack, expert says

Foreign hackers caused a pump at an Illinois water plant to fail last week, according to a preliminary state report. Experts said the cyber-attack, if confirmed, would be the first known to have damaged one of the systems that supply Americans with water, electricity and other essentials of modern life.

Companies and government agencies that rely on the Internet have for years been routine targets of hackers, but most incidents have resulted from attempts to steal information or interrupt the functioning of Web sites. The incident in Springfield, Ill., would mark a departure because it apparently caused physical destruction.

See also:
Was U.S. water utility hacked last week?
Foreign cyber attack hits US infrastructure: expert
Illinois Water Utility Pump Destroyed After Hack
H(ackers)2O: Attack on City Water Station Destroys Pump
Cyberattack investigation centers on Curran-Gardner water pump
Feds investigating whether Illinois “pump failure” was cyber attack
Broken water pump in Illinois caused by cyber-attack from Russia, claims expert, but DOH denies terrorism
Cyberattack on Illinois water utility may confirm Stuxnet warnings
Water utility hackers destroy pump, expert says
UPDATE 3-U.S. probes cyber attack on water system

The SCADA vulnerabilities to a remote attack have been known for years. The solution is real simple, DON’T CONNECT YOUR CRITICAL INFRASTRUCTURE TO THE INTERNET!

/how hard is that, is it going to take a disaster for us to learn this basic lesson?

Tell Me Something I Don’t Already Know

Iran is working to develop nuclear weapons, really?

U.N. report cites secret nuclear research by Iran

The United Nations’ nuclear watchdog said Tuesday that it has “serious concerns” that Iran is secretly working toward building a nuclear bomb, citing documents pointing to Iranian scientists’ extensive and possibly ongoing efforts to master the technology needed for atomic weapons.

The International Atomic Energy Agency cited “credible” intelligence — provided by 10 countries and vetted over many months — that directly contradicts Iran’s steadfast assertions that its nuclear intentions are entirely peaceful.

“The information indicates that Iran has carried out activities relevant to the development of a nuclear device,” the IAEA said in an uncharacteristically blunt report prepared for the U.N. agency’s 35-nation board of directors.

Read the report:

Implementation of the NPT Safeguards
Agreement and relevant provisions of
Security Council resolutions in the
Islamic Republic of Iran

See also:
IAEA report: Iran has been working toward nuclear bomb since 2003
Nightmare Scenario In the Middle East as Iran Inches Closer to the Bomb
Iran’s nuclear program alarms world powers
World divided on response to Iran nuke report
US breaks silence on IAEA report,’won’t rule anything out’
European states call for stiffer sanctions against Iran following IAEA report
Official says Russia will not support any new sanctions against Iran over nuclear program
Iran says IAEA nuclear report influenced by U.S., West
PM: Iranian nukes endanger Mideast, world peace
Western Powers Warn of New Sanctions if Iran Ignores Nuclear Concerns
IAEA’s Iran Report Represents Critical Inflection Point
The IAEA report: what does it really mean and will it lead to war with Iran?

Face it, sanctions aren’t going to stop Iran from developing nuclear weapons, especially as long as China and Russia continue to side with Ira. That leaves only one option, a military strike. Whether a military strike will stop Iran’s nuclear program is debatable and extremely risky. However, the 100% certain alternative is that Iran will develop nuclear weapons. Those are the two bad choices, a military strike or Iran gets nuclear weapons. Pick one.

/and forget about all the fussing about air routes and in-flight refueling, use ICBMs tipped with conventional ground penetrator payloads and start here

Finally Fingering The Usual Suspects

I’m shocked, shocked to find that gambling is going on in here!

Intell report says China, Russia stealing US secrets

After years of suspicions and mounting evidence, the United States has formally called out China and Russia on cyber espionage, accusing the countries of stealing U.S. economic and technology secrets. China quickly denied the accusation.

In a report, “Foreign Spies Stealing U.S. Economic Secrets in Cyberspace,” the Office of the National Counterintelligence Executive also said U.S. allies have used online methods to help themselves to sensitive information, although the report does not name those countries. 

Read the report:
Foreign Spies Stealing U.S. Economic Secrets in Cyberspace 

See also:
In a world of cybertheft, U.S. names China, Russia as main culprits
Foreign cyber thieves stealing U.S. trade secrets, agency warns
China Singled Out for Cyberspying
US calls out Russia and China over hacking attacks
U.S. finally acknowledges Chinese and Russian cyberthreat
DNI Report on Economic Cyberespionage
US Report Cites Growing Economic Cyber Espionage
Report: Russia and China are top thieves of U.S. technology
Here’s The U.S. Government Report That Openly Calls Out China On Economic Cyberspying
US Official Singles Out China, Russia on Cyber-Spying
China, Russia top offenders in cyber stealing: US
US report blasts China, Russia for cybercrime
China hits back over US claims of online spying
China scorns U.S. cyber espionage charges

Gee, what have I been posting here for years now? It’s not like the massive, out of control Chinese and Russian cyberspying has been some sort of well kept secret. Oh well, I suppose better late than never, at least now the United States government is actually, publicly acknowledging the problem.

/and now I ask again, what are we going to do about the problem, can we please stop being the world’s cyberdoormat and speed bump on the superhighway to stolen intellectual property?

Beyond Stuxnet

Looks like someone, and I’m guessing it’s not the Anonymous script kiddies, is getting ready to open a serious can of cyberwarfare whoop ass on someone.

W32.Duqu: The Precursor to the Next Stuxnet

On October 14, 2011, a research lab with strong international connections alerted us to a sample that appeared to be very similar to Stuxnet. They named the threat “Duqu” [dyü-kyü] because it creates files with the file name prefix “~DQ”. The research lab provided us with samples recovered from computer systems located in Europe, as well as a detailed report with their initial findings, including analysis comparing the threat to Stuxnet, which we were able to confirm. Parts of Duqu are nearly identical to Stuxnet, but with a completely different purpose.

Duqu is essentially the precursor to a future Stuxnet-like attack. The threat was written by the same authors (or those that have access to the Stuxnet source code) and appears to have been created since the last Stuxnet file was recovered. Duqu’s purpose is to gather intelligence data and assets from entities, such as industrial control system manufacturers, in order to more easily conduct a future attack against another third party. The attackers are looking for information such as design documents that could help them mount a future attack on an industrial control facility.

Duqu does not contain any code related to industrial control systems and is primarily a remote access Trojan (RAT). The threat does not self-replicate. Our telemetry shows the threat was highly targeted toward a limited number of organizations for their specific assets. However, it’s possible that other attacks are being conducted against other organizations in a similar manner with currently undetected variants.

See also:
Son of Stuxnet Found in the Wild on Systems in Europe
Duqu May Have Targeted Certificate Authorities for Encryption Keys
Stuxnet Clone ‘Duqu’: The Hydrogen Bomb of Cyberwarfare?
“Son of Stuxnet” Virus Uncovered
New virus a cyber ‘attack in the making’
Cyberattack forecast after spy virus found
Stuxnet successor on the loose?
Brace for “son of Stuxnet” — Duqu spies on SCADA
Duqu: Son of Stuxnet?
Symantec, McAfee differ on Duqu threat
Who’s behind worm Duqu, ‘son of Stuxnet’?
Stuxnet-based cyber espionage virus targets European firms
Key European Nuclear Firms Attacked By Variation On Stuxnet Virus

A couple of conclusions come to mind. First, the fact that Duqu is based on Stuxnet and the Stuxnet source code has never been released makes it a sure bet that the authors are one in the same, namely Israel and/or the United States, Second, the fact that Duqu is clandestinely collecting information from European manufacturers of industrial control system software, specifically software that controls nuclear facilities, strongly suggests that the eventual primary target of the apparent pending cyberattack will, once again, be Iran’s nuclear program.

/in other words, Duqu is setting up a cyberassault that will hopefully finish, once and for all, the job that Stuxnet so effectively started, halting Iran’s quest for a nuclear weapon in its tracks without having to bomb the [expletive deleted] out of their nuclear facilities

Obama War Number Four

Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, and now Uganda, for someone who’s won the Nobel Peace Prize, Obama sure seems to have an insatiable bloodlust for military adventurism and intervention. I thought he was elected to end U.S. involvement in overseas wars, not double it.

Obama sending American soldiers to Uganda to aid fight against Lord’s Resistance Army

President Obama has deployed a small contingent of elite troops to aid Ugandan government forces battling a murderous insurgent group.

The first troops departed for the Central African nation Wednesday, part of a complement that will total about 100 American soldiers.

They’ll assist in the fight against the Lord’s Resistance Army, Obama wrote in a letter to Congressional leaders.

“Although the U.S. forces are combat-equipped, they will only be providing information, advice, and assistance to partner nation forces, and they will not themselves engage LRA forces unless necessary for self-defense,” Obama said.

See also:
Obama sends 100 US troops to Uganda to fight LRA
Uganda To Receive 100 U.S Military Advisors
US troops arrive to ‘kill or capture’ Kony
White House: US advisers to aid fight against infamous Lord’s Resistance Army
Political payback behind US special forces deployment to Uganda?
Why send US troops against African bush fighters? Political payback for Somalia a possibility
Uganda president: US troops not sent in to fight
Obama risks miring US in an African war: McCain
Uganda welcomes US troops to hunt rebel leaders
Africa deployment draws support, warning
Rights Groups Welcome US Decision to Send Troops to Uganda
U.S. Ventures into Bloody Uganda Conflict
What US manhunt for LRA leaders reveals about Obama’s war strategy
Joseph Kony and the Lord’s Resistance Army: a primer
The Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA)
Lord’s Resistance Army
Joseph Kony
Uganda
Uganda

Did I miss the memo explaining exactly how events in Uganda are a threat to vital U.S. national security interests or is this, like Libya, just another Obama and Samantha Power “Responsibility to Protect (R2P)” military excursion extravaganza? I suspect it’s the latter and if we have a R2P civilians in Uganda, where no vital U.S. national security interests are at stake, why the [expletive deleted] aren’t we intervening in Syria, where thousands of civilians have been killed and the rogue Assad regime clearly has U.S. blood on its hands?

/all I can say is there had better not be any escalation, mission creep, or U.S. lives lost in this potential Obama military misadventure, kill Kony and get the [expletive deleted] out

Watching The Drone Watchers

I smell China, or maybe Russia. The fact that the virus keeps resisting efforts to remove it shows that there’s some sophistication involved.

U.S. Military Drones Infected With Mysterious Computer Virus

A fleet of U.S. military drones on a Nevada Air Force base has been infected by a keylogger virus that tracks every key and button their pilots press, Wired.com reported Friday — and top Air Force sources strongly contested.

The virus was first noticed by officials at Creech Air Force Base nearly two weeks ago using the base’s security system. It logged every keystroke of the pilots in the control room on the base as they remotely flew Predator and Reaper drones on missions over Afghanistan and other battle zones.

There has been no confirmation of information being lost or sent to an outside source, but the virus has been resistant to military efforts to clear it from the system.

“We keep wiping it off, and it keeps coming back,” a source told Wired.

See also:
Exclusive: Computer Virus Hits U.S. Drone Fleet
Computers Controlling Military Drones Reportedly Infected with Virus
Computer Virus Attacks U.S. Military Drones: Wired
Keylogger virus hits US drone operations
Combat drones’ computer systems reportedly infected with virus
Computer virus hits US’ Predator drone fleet
US war drones keep flying despite computer virus
America’s Drones Have Been Infected by a Virus
Virus infects Pentagon drones’ computers
U.S. Drone Controllers Said To Be Infected By Computer Virus
US drones hit by virus
U.S. Military Facing a Battle Unlike Any Other
Cyberwar: a Whole New Quagmire – When the Drones Come To Roost
Creech Air Force Base

Theses computers didn’t just infect themselves, they were almost surely infected by someone, either deliberately or unwittingly, connecting a malware infected memory stick or other portable media storage device to the network. This has been a known attack vector for a long time now and it’s easily preventable, simply don’t allow portable media storage devices anywhere near classified computer networks!

/search all personnel coming and going if that’s what it takes, it’s a small price to pay for avoiding potentially catastrophic security breaches like this