Next time you need examples of Cyberattacks, these are three of them… apparently… /ht @jeffreycarr

Cited by Jeffrey Carr because they are both “Cyber” according to him, and might be “Attacks” according to Thomas Rid and Carl von Clausewitz.

It dates from 2011, but still, quoth Mr Carr:

Personally, I’m not a fan of the term “cyberwar” as evidenced by a recent article that I wrote for Slate, however it is apparent to me as someone who specializes in nation state activities in this area and as the CEO of a company who’s clients are on the receiving end of some of those activities, that traditional thinking about warfare has been made obsolete by our dependence upon cyber-space-time. The environment within which war is conducted has been permanently altered since Clausewitz’ time. Sun Tzu would have been a better choice because he at least considers the superior option of winning a war without fighting. But even within the parameters that Professor Rid has established, here are three examples that fit the Clausewitz test of being lethal, instrumental and political:

  1. Kyrgyz Intelligence assassinates Gennady Pavlyuk. Kyrgyz intelligence cracked Pavlyuk’s email account and used the information they obtained to lure him out of the country under false pretenses resulting in his murder.
  2. Mossad assassinates Mahmoud Al-Mabhouh. Israel’s Mossad mounts an operation to assassinate Hamas leader Mahmoud Al-Mabhouh which includes infecting Al-Mabhouh’s computer with a trojan horse virus.
  3. Iran’s IRGC arrests 30 dissidents after cracking U.S. hosted webservers.

Of course I am antithetical to the “cyber space time” notion in so very many ways; but worse than that I read this as “two state-sponsored murders and a crackdown on dissidents”

So where’s the cyber?


One Reply to “Next time you need examples of Cyberattacks, these are three of them… apparently… /ht @jeffreycarr”

  1. Mmm.

    Sure, there were computers involved. However, that’s because the targets were using computers to fulfil specific purposes (mail / messaging, calendaring, etc). If Pavlyuk was old-fashioned in his communications, a forged letter in the post would also have had the desired effect.

    So, if there’s nothing inherently special or different about the computer-based mechanism which was subverted, then “cyber-whatever” is (depending on which way you want to cut it, whether for humorous effect or otherwise) either just “whatever” or one member within a set of “prefix-whatever”… so “Pavlyuk’s assassination was facilitated by message-crime”, and “the Iranians’ identities were revealsed by state-sponsored authentication-crime”.

    Naturally, perfectly good terms have existed for a long time to cover these constructs more descriptively (forging, brute-forcing, etc) but I think “prefix-crime” and “prefix-war” might make nicely disparaging terms to alert gratuitous “cyber-” users ;-).

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