Thursday, November 26, 2009

Was the ClimateGate Hacker Justified? Join the Debate!

A few days ago a story broke where someone hacked into a global warming research institute and stole all emails from the past 10 years, proving a conspiracy.

In the vast amount of emails stolen, some emails were also found with clear-cut lies, showing how some scientists conspired to deceive in scientific research about data that did not fit their agenda of proving global warming.

I am opening the subject for debate on the debate mailing list. It is a fascinating topic covering several subjects such as 'does the end justify the means?', 'irresponsible disclosure of personal data', 'is it justifiable to break the law?' and 'civil disobedience and the hackers' role in keeping society honest'.

Here are some possible questions to get the wheels rolling:

- Is the action taken by the hacker legal, ethical, and/or moral? Was the action justifiable?

- Do you believe the harm done as a result is justified for the good (disclosure) that came out of it?

- Can this be treated as civil disobedience?

For background, check out this story:

Another source:

Join the debate mailing list, now! :)

Please state your opinions openly, and let's discuss!

Gadi Evron,

Follow me on twitter!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Announcement: Critical Internet Infrastructure WG is now open to public participation

ISOTF Critical Internet Infrastructure WG is now open to public participation.

The group holds top experts on internet technology, critical infrastructure, and internet governance, from around the globe.

Together, we discuss definitions, problems, challenges and solutions in securing and assuring the reliability of the global internet infrastructure, which is critical infrastructure for a growing number of nations, corporations and indeed, individuals -- world wide.

The group started as a closed and private forum, to discuss technical and operational risks, as other venues limited discussion of critical internet resources to politically charged subjects such ascontrol of ICANN and ARIN, thus overshadowing other important aspects.

As of November 18th 2009, the list is open for public access, to advance public awareness of the issues, and bring new talent on board.

The group is hosted by the ISOTF, but is governed by members.

Note: SCADA, network operations, and other related issues should be discussed in the appropriate forums, elsewhere. This group deals with the internet.

To subscribe:

Gadi Evron for ISOTF-CII-WG.

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Friday, November 13, 2009

China, is it our cyber defense red herring?

There are thousands of articles perpetuating the claim that China is out to get us on the Internet. And yet, all these discussions are begging the question, is it China attacking? Also, are they even the "usual suspects"?

While I can point to real facts of China making active use of information warfare, cyber warfare, or whatever else you choose to call it (such as the release of 0 days being patched by Microsoft
and originally reported by the Taiwanese government, search Microsoft's site), I can also point to Germany (intelligence Trojan horse), the US (The Farewell Dossier) and other countries such
as North Korea (without much detail, so questioned).

We have a failing, that even as experts we see an IP source in China for an attack, and as it is popular, and we are still used to think in the physical world, jump to the conclusion the actor is from China. The actor is often from the US, Eastern Europe, Russia, Brazil, and many other countries. That in turn does not mean these actors are then sponsored by these countries. Information warfare is about covertness, not about being loud. The Internet is perfect for plausible deniability, as I've learned when writing the postmortem analysis of the 2007 attacks against Estonia, for the Estonian CERT.

The Chinese know more about the uses of being covert than any of the rest of us, in their strategy, their actions, and their history. If they are being so indiscreet it is for a specific reason, perhaps as a smoke-screen, or indeed, they are not doing it to begin with.

I am not saying the Chinese government does not attack, I am saying naming them continually is nothing but a baseless red herring, and an easy scape-goat we have all grown used to. Thus, blaming China by itself has become acceptable just because people did it often enough. The story of Ethos manufacturing itself.

Malicious computers in China are a problem we can't and shouldn't deny. However, continually claiming China is the Big Bad and attributing every attack to them, is beyond ridiculous. Nothing to see here, move along.

Then again, maybe if we keep saying it's the Chinese with every attack we see, they will get some ideas and make it true for us. It may eventually prove true, but our current proof is based mainly on people claiming it in the past. We are better than this.

Gadi Evron,

Follow me on twitter!