Cold War 2.0

AFP photo

 

By

Ricardo Swire

 

 

America’s seventeen intelligence organizations, including the National Geospatial Intelligence Agency (NGA), have shifted focus from counterterrorism to Russian and Chinese intimidation. Retooling that has awoken forty years of memorable Cold War years and trips down memory lane when secret agents and intelligence analysts pealed back Soviet Bloc capabilities and weaponry. The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) recently emphasised its strategy adjustment towards China and Russia.

 

These rival superpowers possess state of the art cyber capabilities and Artificial Intelligence (AI) countermeasures that test US spy agencies, currently challenged by Middle East terrorist groups, especially in Afghanistan. Not long ago, during a public accusation made at United Nations Headquarters, the US President Donald Trump singled out China’s perceived political desire to disrupt America’s midterm elections scheduled for November 2018.

 

In July 2016 Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) specialists found twenty-four state, scientific and defence institutions with Trojan infected information technology infrastructures. A June 23, 2017 report described how select US National Security Agency (NSA) staff undertook a special operation to develop cyber-weapons against Russia. The mission objective was to place “implants” inside Russia’s electronic infrastructure, with a trigger to disable Russian systems. A cyber attack was methodically planned and carried out, with a different exploit for each targeted Russian enterprise.

 

Select computers were infected by phishing emails. Afterwards the “Sputnik” implants loaded modules that captured users’ keystrokes, the computer’s webcam, microphone, plus intercepted network data traffic. During a two year period FSB cyber experts developed the GosSOPKA counteroffensive. According to blueprints the system is linked to regional response centers and government departments. A National Coordination Centre for Computer Incidents (Gov-CERT) is hosted within FSB HQ to manage Russia’s defense infrastructure.

 

In February 2017, as part of its annual worldwide threat assessment, America’s National Intelligence Agency emphasized increased rivalry from China and Russia. In May 2018 the new CIA Director’s first public comment stressed continuous Islamic terror group surveillance and more focus on “nation-state adversaries.” In July 2018 the US Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) Director told the Aspen Security Forum attendees that China “represents the broadest, most challenging, most significant threat we face as a country.”

 

The US Director of National Intelligence reported to an assembly in Citadel, South Carolina that “China is also targeting U.S. state and local governments and officials. It is trying to exploit any divisions between federal and local levels on policy and uses investments and other incentives to expand its influence.” He assessed that China’s cyber abilities and hacking efforts were “unprecedented in scale.”

 

Global trends have shown increased cavorts by both US adversaries designed to separate alliances, devalue partnerships and challenge traditional prevention methods. Such operations confuse the distinction between peace and war. America and Allied forces defend national interests in environments just short of armed conflict. America’s innovative internal security countermeasure called CyCon US, familiarly known as the collaborative US Military Academy’s Army Cyber Institute and NATO Cooperative Cyber Defense Centre of Excellence effort, is now integrated in the country’s defense master plan.

 

 

 

 

Ricardo Swire - Tuck Magazine

Ricardo Swire

Ricardo Swire is the Principal Consultant at R-L-H Security Consultants & Business Support Services and writes on a number of important issues.

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