Journalist Warns Cyber Attacks Present A ‘Perfect Weapon’ Against Global Order
This is FRESH AIR. I’m Dave Davies in for Terry canada goose outlet uk sale Gross, who’s away today. The day before Christmas Eve in 2015, the lights suddenly went out for more than 200,000 citizens in Ukraine. Operators of the nation’s power grid found their computer screens frozen while malware inserted in their systems prevented them from canada goose outlet online reviews regaining control. The shutdown was the work of Russian hackers. And our guest, David Sanger, says cyberattacks are increasingly common in the modern world and that electric grids and nuclear plants canada goose premium outlet in the United States have been implanted with code that canada goose outlet toronto factory may canada goose outlet paypal be used in such an attack.
buy canada goose jacket cheap Sanger’s new book is about the growing threat and use of cyberwarfare. will wage cyberwar on other countries. David Sanger is a national security correspondent for The New York Times. His new book is “The Perfect Weapon: War, Sabotage, And Fear In The Cyber Age.” buy canada goose jacket cheap
canada goose clearance Well, David Sanger, welcome back to FRESH AIR. You write in this book that any classified Pentagon scenario about a confrontation with Russia or China or Iran or North Korea, any scenario in how that might play out, it’s canada goose factory outlet vancouver assumed the adversary’s first strike would be a cyber barrage aimed at civilians. What are we talking about? canada goose clearance
DAVID SANGER: Well, we’re talking about an effort, either by an adversary aimed at the United States or by the United States aimed at an adversary, to try to conduct a war before the first shot is even fired. That if you can so disable the adversary’s electric power grid, the cellphone system, emergency response, the communications to their defenses, in some cases even their ability to launch a nuclear weapon or just an ordinary missile, then you’ve kind of won before any shot was canada goose outlet edmonton fired. And it’s entirely conceivable that you could achieve your political objectives before you actually started shelling anything or dropping bombs.
buy canada goose jacket DAVIES: A cyber Pearl Harbor some people would say. buy canada goose jacket
Canada Goose online SANGER: Yes, Dave, exactly. That’s the concept of a cyber Pearl Harbor, which is something we don’t see coming. And that’s the reason that people get so unhappy when they read headlines and I’ve written many of these stories that the Russians or the Iranians or someone have placed implants in our utility grid, our other computer systems, so that they would be able to go turn off computer systems at any moment. And we know right now, for example, that the Department of Homeland Security has warned of a very extensive amount of malware, which canada goose outlet belgium is essentially what an implant is, that’s in the American utility grid. The problem here is we don’t see this the same way when someone’s doing it to us than when we’re doing it to someone, right? Canada Goose online
So we hear that the Russians have put implants in our grid, and we say, oh, my goodness, somebody is getting ready to go turn off the power at any moment of conflict. When we do the same to other countries and believe me; the National Security Agency and its military sidekick, the United States Cyber Command, does put these implants in other foreign systems and probably has tens if not hundreds of thousands of them in we say, well, we’re just preparing the battlefield. We’re using them for monitoring. But the fact of the matter is it’s sort of like the canada goose outlet nyc port that a doctor puts in your body if you’re being treated for cancer or something like that. The doctor can use it to monitor what’s going on, but he can also use it to inject something if they decide to treat you. And that’s the problem with the cyber age. You never know what that implant is there for.
canada goose coats on sale DAVIES: Right. I mean, obviously, to conduct the kind of disabling cyberattack that would shut down a lot of a country’s infrastructure, you have to have done a lot of work beforehand. I want to be clear about this. Are we saying that we know that there are implants in our power grid which would enable the Russians or someone else to take goose outlet canada it down? canada goose coats on sale
SANGER: We know that there are implants in our power grid. Interesting question is, if somebody made use of it, how good would it be at taking it down? And that’s why for the electric utility industry and for the financial industry, they’ve invested a huge amount in redundancy and resilience so that if you lose some set of power plants, you could contain it, route around it and be able to pick up and go on. And you just don’t know until things happen how well your adversary has wired your system to take everything down. And as you said, this takes a lot of time. The United States spent years canada goose jacket outlet toronto getting inside the Iranian centrifuges at Natanz and even then had to keep working on the software to improve it. The North Koreans, when they went into Sony Pictures in 2014 in retaliation for the release of a really terrible movie called “The Interview” that envisioned the assassination of Kim Jong Un, the same friendly Kim Jong canada goose outlet shop Un we all saw in Singapore the other day when the North Koreans went in, they went in in early September of 2014. They didn’t strike until around Thanksgiving because it took all that time just to map out the interconnections of the electrical system, of the computer system, and when they did strike, it was devastating. They took out 70 percent of Sony’s computer servers and hard drives.
Canada Goose Jackets DAVIES: OK. In this book, you say that, you know, cyberwarfare is the kind of game changing innovation that’s you compare it to the introduction of https://www.canadagooseisverige.com aircraft into warfare in the early 20th century and that we are still figuring out what rules or conventions should apply to it. I want to get to some of that conversation, but let’s talk a bit about some of the experience that we’ve had over the last 10 years. You write that in 2008, a woman at the National Security Agency, Debora Plunkett, discovers something about the classified networks in the Pentagon that’s troubling. did not announce it was Russians at the time were deep into something called the SIPRNet, which is basically a classified network by which the Defense Department, some of the intelligence agencies, sometimes the State Department, communicate with each other. And this canada goose jacket uk was a big shock to everybody because they had seen the Russians in unclassified systems before, but here they were deep into a classified system. And the first question was, how’d they get in? And the answer was so simple that it really was a wakeup call. Somebody had distributed little USB keys, you know, the kinds you get at conventions and all those kinds of. Canada Goose Jackets
Canada Goose Outlet SANGER: Thumb drives, right. If somebody gives you one for free, a really good thing to do with it first is throw it out. They had distributed these around and left some in parking lots in the Middle East. And people the military had picked them up, put them in their computer and, of course, inside that thumb drive was a beacon that basically got into the system and then would broadcast back out to the Russians. And that’s how come when you go to military bases these days and you see older computer systems and you look at the little ports where the thumb drives would go canada goose discount uk in, they’re frequently superglued over now because these have all been banned because it’s such an easy way to put malware into your system. Canada Goose Outlet
canada goose clearance sale They’re not the only way. I mean, if you can get malware inside, for example, a virus protection system, the software you buy to protect your computer, that too is great because for the adversary because it goes right into the core of the computing system. And that’s the concern about Kaspersky, the Russian firm that sells virus protection. And it looks like the Russian government did in fact put something in that picked up the secret files of an NSA employee who’d taken them home. Cyber Command. canada goose clearance sale
canadian goose jacket DAVIES: Yeah. Well, I wanted to talk about that. military hadn’t really grasped or really confronted yet. government writ large and really, for canada goose outlet in usa all of us is that computers are so ubiquitous that they couldn’t figure out a comprehensive way to go protect themselves because more and more people were bringing computers into the system. And when you think about the rise of the kind of computer attacks that we are now accustomed to, it maps out pretty well with the introduction of the iPhone in 2007 because at that moment everybody had a computer in their pocket. Everybody was bringing them into work. Over time, canada goose outlet reviews they were insisting that they get on their work networks with them. And as mobile computing canada goose coats uk has taken off, it means that something you pick up on the outside suddenly comes in on the inside of the network. It’s like people being out and catching a cold and coming to the office and spreading it to everybody. You’ve written a lot about canada goose outlet location this. And one of the interesting points canada goose outlet mississauga you make is that one of the ways that a cyberattack is effective is in a subtle psychological way. What do you mean? canadian goose jacket
canada goose coats SANGER: It makes you fearful that you cannot trust the system you are running. So the brilliance of Stuxnet was that it went in and replicated canada goose jacket outlet sale it took a look at how the centrifuges canada goose outlet washington dc underground in Iran, which were these machines that that spin at supersonic speeds how canada goose outlet michigan they seemed to operate normally. And so when the code went in and started speeding them up and slowing them down to destabilize them and basically make them explode, it sent false messages back up to the control room that said everything’s fine. Everything’s normal. You know, it’s like watching a rocket take off, and, you know, all the readings you’re getting back are nominal. And then all of a sudden, the rocket explodes. Well, that’s exactly what happened in Stuxnet. And so you lose confidence in the instruments you have. canada goose coats
canada goose Now think of this in the next phases of cyberconflict. I’m canada goose outlet in uk not saying cyberwarfare just low level conflict. If you canada goose outlet ottawa go into vote, and you are no longer confident that the vote that you put in is the way it’s going to get recorded because you don’t know if the Russians or someone else have gotten into the voting system, that undercuts your trust in the democratic process. If you get into your self driving car, and you think it’s going to take you to the supermarket to get some milk and eggs, but instead you have in canada goose outlet the back of your mind the fear that canada goose vest outlet it might drive you off a cliff, that subtly undercuts your confidence in getting in to drive around. And to take this to its next extreme, if you think when the president presses that red button although there is no red button to go launch a nuclear weapon that maybe it won’t launch, then suddenly you’re very fearful about what other things you may need to be able to do to defend yourself or maybe act preemptively because you no longer have confidence in your weapon systems and your defenses. canada goose
DAVIES: David Sanger’s new book is “The Perfect Weapon.” We’ll continue our conversation in just a moment. This is FRESH AIR.
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canada goose black friday sale DAVIES: This is FRESH AIR. And we’re speaking with New York Times national security correspondent David Sanger. activities. And it’s fascinating that our own intelligence services, the National Security Agency, has been using Chinese equipment to get into to implant our stuff into their equipment. So when it’s shipped all around the world, we can find out about people all over the world. And you have a fascinating description of meeting with a private cyber investigator, Kevin Mandia, who looked into Chinese hacking. Tell us about that. canada goose black friday sale
SANGER: Well, the remarkable thing about the Chinese is that they’ve operated differently than the Russians, the Iranians and the North Koreans. By and large, they have not done destructive hacks. So far, they haven’t tried to get in our voting system the way the Russians did. They haven’t tried to go blow up computer systems the way the North Koreans did. But they have done the most extensive cyber espionage programs. And the great example here was the Office of Personnel Management. OPM could be the world’s most boring canada goose factory outlet federal bureaucracy. government.
cheap Canada Goose And when people would go off to get their security clearances, they would fill out these very lengthy forms that the government wonderfully calls the SF86. And this is more, Dave, than just your name and Social Security number and a couple of credit card numbers. This is the list of every foreigner official canada goose outlet you ever knew. This is the list of your kids, your canada goose outlet germany parents, your spouse. This is listing everybody with whom you’ve ever had a relationship both a licit or an illicit relationship. So it’s a blackmailer’s dream, as you can imagine. It’s all of your medical history. It’s all of your financial history. government? The Office of Personnel Management, following a mandate from Congress not to get too many expensive cloud services if they could use unused government computer space, took most of this data and put it in the Department of the Interior’s computer systems, where they had the same great protections we have on, say, bison migration in Yellowstone. And the Chinese came in. They figured out where the data was located. They discovered that it was unencrypted. I mean, when you talk to your bank over your iPhone, it’s an encrypted conversation. This data was unencrypted. They sucked it all up, usually at night. They encrypted it and sent it back to China. government had lost 21 million files, more than 5 million fingerprints. cheap Canada Goose
Canada Goose Parka Now, what could the Chinese do with this? The initial fear was, oh, it will get sold on the black market. You know, this will end up being used for credit card data. And you remember. government gave all of its employees who lost their data, you know, free credit monitoring for a year or something. It was utterly ridiculous. That is not what the Chinese had in mind. government works on what, who knows whom, what the nature of the relationships were. government never publicly named the Chinese as the aggressor here. And James Clapper, the director of national intelligence, who I spoke to extensively for the book and has written his own really interesting book in recent times, basically argued this is just plain old espionage. If we could have done it, we would have done it too. I don’t think it was just plain old espionage. population’s data, and you can put it together that way, you can do all kinds of things that go well beyond espionage. Canada Goose Parka
DAVIES: They could find out targets to blackmail and make them provide information to spies canada goose outlet online uk turn people into spies.
canada goose store SANGER: They could. But they could also figure out that you and I were working in the same lab, on the same project at the same time, and that we were probably working with a third person, who they’ve sort of sorted canada goose outlet las vegas out by time and date, and begin to piece together who knew about each piece of technology that they were interested in and wanted to get at canada goose store.