Cyber warfare is a real thing. Corporate hacking is bad, but it’s for amateurs compared to what governments can do.
Yahoo has now admitted over 1 billion (with a “b”) accounts have been hacked, according to a Washington Post report. Basically, Yahoo is what we call in the tech business, “a sieve.” Don’t use Yahoo for–well, anything.
But that’s nothing. Hacking into gmail accounts of DNC officials by Russians is nothing. It’s infant-play, social phishing. It’s what teenagers do. “Anonymous” hacking into some company or minor government website is a bit more advanced, and endangers our online information and money.
The real and actual capabilities of the world’s top cyber warrior organizations may never be publicly known–or at least not for many decades. This is more akin to World War II “Ultra” than some of the stuff Snowden leaked. Snowden’s leaks were tips of a very large iceberg.
The world needs cyber warriors more than you think it does.
The Israeli Defense Force’s (IDF) largest unit is “Unit 8200,” the cyber warfare operation. Russia operates a combination of “Information Troops,” and control of decentralized groups of hackers, disinformation operations, and cyber spies. But by far, the United States is the biggest cyber spy in the world.
Unlike the Defense Department’s Pentagon, the headquarters of the cyberspies fills an entire secret city. Located in Fort Meade, Maryland, halfway between Washington and Baltimore, Maryland, NSA’s headquarters consists of scores of heavily guarded buildings. The site even boasts its own police force and post office.
And it is about to grow considerably bigger, now that the NSA cyberspies have merged with the cyberwarriors of U.S. Cyber Command, which controls its own Cyber Army, Cyber Navy, Cyber Air Force and Cyber Marine Corps, all armed with state-of-the-art cyberweapons. In charge of it all is a four-star admiral, Michael S. Rogers.
Now under construction inside NSA’s secret city, Cyber Command’s new $3.2- billion headquarters is to include 14 buildings, 11 parking garages and an enormous cyberbrain — a 600,000-square-foot, $896.5-million supercomputer facility that will eat up an enormous amount of power, about 60 megawatts. This is enough electricity to power a city of more than 40,000 homes.
Our government knows much, much more about Russian hacking, involvement, and intent regarding the Russians attempt to influence our elections than we are seeing made public. It’s a good thing too. If we spilled what we actually knew, then the enemies who are trying to do to us what we do to them will know more of our real capabilities. That will hurt our ability to gather more data when it counts.
I am not surprised at all that the DNI, FBI and CIA disagree on the facts and motivation of DNC hacks. They have different missions, and therefore look at the data differently. DNI’s main motivation is to preserve our methods, sources and capabilities. CIA’s motivation is to predict what foreign governments and enemies want and will likely do. The FBI wants to prosecute crimes.
Jonathan Chait and others who complain at Trump’s intransigence to the latest intelligence revelations are ignoring the historical missions, constraints, and political motivations of those making the claims. Trump is more right than they give him credit for.
If Russia, or some other entity, was hacking, why did the White House wait so long to act? Why did they only complain after Hillary lost?
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 15, 2016
If Hillary Clinton had won, you wouldn’t be hearing anything at all about hacking. That’s because our government knows who did it, who was behind it, and what they were trying to do. If actual manipulation of voting systems, or exposure of actual secrets, was involved, you bet we’d be acting on it (unless it was Hillary).
In the end, despite all this “the Russians!” scare, this is almost indisputably true: America knows more about them than they know about us. If we can sabotage Iranian centrifuges with Stuxnet, then we probably know who hacked Yahoo too.
Some secrets are just too valuable to expose, even if the public has to remain in the dark.