About cyber confrontation, myths and reality

Russian energy systems under US control? It would make a nice headline, yes. How effective are cyber-weapons in a “cold” confrontation, can they be lethal, and are cyber-operations of special services so harmless (compared to combat operations)? So far there are more questions than answers. But it’s already somehow uncomfortable when thinking about the possible consequences.

Not about cellular communications, but a very “hot” topic, if usually not advertised cyber security issues have spilled out in the media of different countries and this topic is commented on by the press services of the presidents of Russia and the United States. However, this is also about cellular communications, because if the power systems collapse, then there will definitely not be enough diesel generators for all base stations. Find out where the real facts are, and where are the general words, understatement and just outright lies? Let's try and understand. In such a situation, not just the right, but the only possible way is to carefully read the arguments of both sides, and if you don’t get to the bottom of the truth (and in this case this is impossible by definition), then at least take the noodles off your ears and soberly assess how the current situation, and the prospects for such “projects” in the future. Bearing in mind that the notorious "cyber wars" are not games of special services that are far from us, but a very real confrontation that can flare up brightly and hook everyone at any moment.

About cyber confrontation, myths and reality

Where the legs grow from

The tangle of the current sensation began to be promoted by The New York Times, and the journalists performed their work quite professionally. As usual, I send those who want to get acquainted with all the details to the original source, a large material from the New York Times is here. In a nutshell, we are talking about the large-scale introduction of some malicious programs into the Russian energy systems, which, on command from the control center, should disable the country's energy system.

The New York Times story is impressive and well worth quoting a few paragraphs of in translation. Please note that this is not an official and approved translation, and I remind you that the original article "The United States is stepping up attacks on Russia's energy systems" is here.

In a series of interviews conducted over the past three months, these officials revealed that previously unreported American secret computer code had been injected into the Russian power grid and for other purposes. In addition, the United States is openly discussing measures taken during the 2018 midterm elections against Russian disinformation and hacking units.

Proponents of a more aggressive strategy said the move was long overdue, as the Department of Homeland Security and the FBI have been warning for years of Russian deployment of malware that could cripple U.S. power plants, oil and gas pipelines, and water lines during future conflicts with the United States.

However, such actions are fraught with a serious escalation of the daily digital Cold War between Washington and Moscow.

The administration declined to name specific actions it is taking under the new powers that the White House and Congress gave to US Cyber ​​Command last year. This division of the Pentagon is engaged in offensive and defensive operations in cyberspace.

According to current and former officials, the United States has been carrying out intelligence activities in the control systems of the Russian power grid since at least 2012.

But now the American strategy is becoming more offensive. The US is injecting destructive malware into the Russian system, doing it in a deeper and more aggressive way than ever before. In part, these actions are intended to warn Russia, and in part to prepare for launching cyber strikes in the event of a major conflict between Washington and Moscow.

US Cyber ​​Command Commander General Paul M. Nakasone has been emphatic about the need for "offensive defense" deep in enemy networks. He notes that the US must demonstrate its ability to respond with a flurry of online attacks targeting these networks.

The most important question, which cannot be answered without access to the secret details of the operation, is how deeply the United States penetrated the Russian electricity grid. Only then will it become clear whether America will be able to plunge Russia into darkness or deliver a powerful blow to its armed forces. The answer to this question can only be obtained when the "offensive defense" code is activated.".

© - InoSMI.ru (Russia Today), material here.

There are some minor flaws in the translation, which can't even be called mistakes. But the meaning is noticeably different. Some formidable and mysterious "codes" (tracing paper with code) should have been translated as "programs, software", because the text is for a wide range of readers, and not just for specialists. Of course, the embedded software "bookmarks" perform many traditional functions of monitoring, reconnaissance, removing / recording parameters, etc., as well as often the functions of "soft" sabotage. The material discusses only the new functionality for the complete disabling of power systems, previously such a functionality, most likely, was absent. In all cases, the use of the neutral name "networks" refers to the energy networks of the country, which is somewhat different from the generally accepted idea of ​​\u200b\u200bnetworks.

Preparation

About Donald Trump's sincere indignation at the fact that he was not informed, not warned, not consulted, etc. It seems that Mr. President is a little disingenuous. As recently as 9 months ago, he himself signed (and Congress approved) a new law that gives the US Cyber ​​Command broad powers to conduct such operations without informing the US President's office. Thanks to this, the president of the country is officially "not aware" of what is happening and is completely free to choose the line of his behavior in cases where something suddenly went wrong or accidentally came to the surface.

Regarding links to "multiple attempts by Russians to infiltrate Children's Shoes in Kenya into US power grids" , and the need to "repel these attacks", here, too, it was not without cunning. One of the most sensational episodes is the sensation that has thundered all over America that Russian hackers have penetrated the Vermont power grid and are preparing to deliver their mortal blow. The revealing sensational material was prepared and published by one of America's most influential publications, the Washington Post, under the title "Russian hackers penetrated US electricity grid through a utility in Vermont" ("Russian hackers penetrated US electricity grid through a utility in Vermont , US officials say”). Three hours after publication, the online version of the publication was half rewritten, replacing the statements with bashful “maybe” and “we heard that. ". Three days later, the original material was replaced by a note stating that the publication was somewhat in a hurry to publish information that was not fully verified.

About cyber confrontation, myths and reality

And after some time, the popular US resource Snopes.com, which investigates fake and fabricated sensations, published its most detailed "debriefing", decomposing literally by the hour everything that happened over the past couple of days and unceremoniously poking its nose into a puddle of one from the most influential US publications, you can read the material here.

It turned out that a company subcontracted to the power grid in Vermont, on one (!) of the laptops, a fairly common Trojan, presumably of Russian origin, was found. No other “compromising” software or data was found on it (and then they searched carefully). The laptop itself has never been connected to the computer networks of the power system in its entire short life. So what? But nothing, they said “ah-ah-ah, how bad!” and forgot about this annoying episode. However, as they say, “the spoons were found, but the sediment remained!”. This is just one episode of many similar episodes that the authors of the concept of a “reciprocal preventive cyber strike on Russian energy systems” are now referring to. How many of these episodes are equally gross fakes? Who knows.

I don't want to say that our special services sit on their priests evenly and click their beaks. Surely something is being done and, I hope, there are some successes in this “quiet” war. And by no means fake reasons for concern, the American authorities also have enough. Another thing is that in the USA they masterfully master the technique of the first “retaliatory strike”, when a staged “attack of the insidious enemy” is staged, followed by a forced retaliatory strike, the world community applauds. Such actions can be predicted, but it is almost impossible to prevent.

Our reaction

Traditionally, in Russia, such sensational statements are officially reacted with extreme restraint and very caution. That is, even the very fact of the reaction automatically means that all this noise is very ulterior motive. As usual, this time it all came down to reassuring statements that there were some attempts to infiltrate the Russian energy grid, but our vigilant services are nipping this whole thing in the bud. Read the neat and seasoned material of Interfax dated June 17, 2019, everything written there is pure truth. True, not everything important is written or even mentioned, but that's another question, right? Quote:

“As far as I know, such information was categorically refuted by President Donald Trump,” Peskov said. "If we assume that some state departments are doing this without informing the head of state, then, of course, this information indicates the hypothetical possibility of all the signs of a cyber war, cyber military actions against the Russian Federation," the presidential press secretary emphasized.

After reading the previous paragraphs and roughly assessing the situation (given that Americans are usually inclined to brag about their own achievements and exaggerate the “external threat”), you probably saw in the quotes the Kremlin’s understanding of what is happening and the fact that the situation is being carefully monitored. Including the understanding that the President of the United States, by an elegant legislative maneuver, absolved himself of any responsibility for the possible consequences of the escalation of the cyber war, “I am not me, and the horse is not mine!”. Unfortunately, from this understanding of their understanding (sorry for the tautology) we are not at all calmer. Although all publications in our media on this topic literally ooze with confidence: "Sleep well, dear fellow citizens, everything is under control and the enemy will not pass!". Well, okay, let's wait and see.

Inside view

I talked about this topic with an old friend who is a "pro" in this topic, unexpectedly listened to a lot of swearing. According to him, the notorious “sanctions” were in full effect many years before the word “sanctions” itself appeared in everyday life. He reminded me of the wildly problematic construction of a gas pipeline in the mid-80s. At first, in the United States, they suddenly refused to supply us with already ordered large-diameter pipes, and we had to urgently “bring to mind” our own production. Done, OK. But gas distribution stations still had to be purchased from them. It backfired: after some time, something simultaneously “clicked” in the stations, the pressure in all sections skyrocketed, and everything that could and managed to break in the highways was torn. The second "textbook" example is Iraq, where software "bookmarks" simultaneously disabled 128 accelerators at a nuclear power plant.

He talked a lot about different types of "bookmarks", recalled the sensational publication in 2014 about software bookmarks in telecom equipment of serious manufacturers such as Cisco, Huawei and others, a multi-page 3.1 MB pdf file can be taken from us here. A computer completely “protected from external influences” without access to the Internet can also be vulnerable, a tiny “bookmark” in the plug of the connecting cable provides a “drain” of data up to a distance

10 km from the property. You can read about this "proprietary" know-how of the US intelligence services in a pdf file here. Also, by the way, the New York Times published at one time. My friend also told about the "chemical" bookmarks in the boards of the purchased equipment. This, according to him, is impossible to detect in advance. Turning on the equipment and the appearance of a regular load on the board initiates the launch of a slow chemical process, and months (!) After switching on, conductive “bridges” begin to appear where they should not be. The board starts to "fail", then completely fails. Claims, of course, are not accepted: “you yourself did not provide adequate protection from harsh climatic conditions.”

In general, according to him, the Americans are the undisputed leaders in all this and are two steps ahead of the rest of the planet, it is useless and unproductive for us to puff up our cheeks. We don’t really have our own radio-electronic industry, and instead of developing it, we spend crazy money not only on purchases, but also on a thorough study of what is being purchased in order to detect any “surprises”.

Instead of a resume

I would like to believe that now the situation does not look so gloomy, but miracles do not happen, not only resources are required, but also time. Despite the fact that the enemy is also unlikely to sit and rest on his laurels.

There is still a non-zero chance that the information published in the New York Times is largely fake, the publication of which pursued certain political goals. Yes, the New York Times is a reputable publication and a “monster”, but the example of the Washington Post has already convincingly demonstrated to us how easy it is for even a very reputable publication to publish a fake sensation without any verification at all. However, I would not seriously hope for such an option.

In general, cyber confrontation is an interesting thing. First of all, the fact that it is not only about politics, but almost more about technology. And also by the fact that a "quiet war" does not require coordination, the adoption of difficult internationally significant decisions, etc. Accordingly, the temptation to act "here and now" is great. Finally, the potential damage to the enemy is several orders of magnitude higher than the cost of carrying out an attack; the only thing that really stops you is the fear of getting a “response” or the desire to keep aces up your sleeve.

About cyber confrontation, myths and reality

Russian energy systems under US control? It would make a nice headline, yes. How effective are cyber-weapons in a “cold” confrontation, can they be lethal, and are cyber-operations of special services so harmless (compared to combat operations)? So far there are more questions than answers. But it’s already somehow uncomfortable when thinking about the possible consequences.

Not about cellular communications, but a very “hot” topic, if usually not advertised cyber security issues have spilled out in the media of different countries and this topic is commented on by the press services of the presidents of Russia and the United States. However, this is also about cellular communications, because if the power systems collapse, then there will definitely not be enough diesel generators for all base stations. Find out where the real facts are, and where are the general words, understatement and just outright lies? Let's try and understand. In such a situation, not just the right, but the only possible way is to carefully read the arguments of both sides, and if you don’t get to the bottom of the truth (and in this case this is impossible by definition), then at least take the noodles off your ears and soberly assess how the current situation, and the prospects for such “projects” in the future. Bearing in mind that the notorious "cyber wars" are not games of special services that are far from us, but a very real confrontation that can flare up brightly and hook everyone at any moment.

About cyber confrontation, myths and reality

Where the legs grow from

The tangle of the current sensation began to be promoted by The New York Times, and the journalists performed their work quite professionally. As usual, I send those who want to get acquainted with all the details to the original source, a large material from the New York Times is here. In a nutshell, we are talking about the large-scale introduction of some malicious programs into the Russian energy systems, which, on command from the control center, should disable the country's energy system.

The New York Times story is impressive and well worth quoting a few paragraphs of in translation. Please note that this is not an official and approved translation, and I remind you that the original article "The United States is stepping up attacks on Russia's energy systems" is here.

In a series of interviews conducted over the past three months, these officials revealed that previously unreported American secret computer code had been injected into the Russian power grid and for other purposes. In addition, the United States is openly discussing measures taken during the 2018 midterm elections against Russian disinformation and hacking units.

Proponents of a more aggressive strategy said the move was long overdue, as the Department of Homeland Security and the FBI have been warning for years of Russian deployment of malware that could cripple U.S. power plants, oil and gas pipelines, and water lines during future conflicts with the United States.

However, such actions are fraught with a serious escalation of the daily digital Cold War between Washington and Moscow.

The administration declined to name specific actions it is taking under the new powers that the White House and Congress gave to US Cyber ​​Command last year. This division of the Pentagon is engaged in offensive and defensive operations in cyberspace.

According to current and former officials, the United States has been carrying out intelligence activities in the control systems of the Russian power grid since at least 2012.

But now the American strategy is becoming more offensive. The US is injecting destructive malware into the Russian system, doing it in a deeper and more aggressive way than ever before. In part, these actions are intended to warn Russia, and in part to prepare for launching cyber strikes in the event of a major conflict between Washington and Moscow.

US Cyber ​​Command Commander General Paul M. Nakasone has been emphatic about the need for "offensive defense" deep in enemy networks. He notes that the US must demonstrate its ability to respond with a flurry of online attacks targeting these networks.

The most important question, which cannot be answered without access to the secret details of the operation, is how deeply the United States penetrated the Russian electricity grid. Only then will it become clear whether America will be able to plunge Russia into darkness or deliver a powerful blow to its armed forces. The answer to this question can only be obtained when the "offensive defense" code is activated.".

© - InoSMI.ru (Russia Today), material here.

There are some minor flaws in the translation, which can't even be called mistakes. But the meaning is noticeably different. Some formidable and mysterious "codes" (tracing paper with code) should have been translated as "programs, software", because the text is for a wide range of readers, and not just for specialists. Of course, the embedded software "bookmarks" perform many traditional functions of monitoring, reconnaissance, removing / recording parameters, etc., as well as often the functions of "soft" sabotage. The material discusses only the new functionality for the complete disabling of power systems, previously such a functionality, most likely, was absent. In all cases, the use of the neutral name "networks" refers to the energy networks of the country, which is somewhat different from the generally accepted idea of ​​\u200b\u200bnetworks.

Preparation

About Donald Trump's sincere indignation at the fact that he was not informed, not warned, not consulted, etc. It seems that Mr. President is a little disingenuous. As recently as 9 months ago, he himself signed (and Congress approved) a new law that gives the US Cyber ​​Command broad powers to conduct such operations without informing the US President's office. Thanks to this, the president of the country is officially "not aware" of what is happening and is completely free to choose the line of his behavior in cases where something suddenly went wrong or accidentally came to the surface.

Regarding links to "multiple attempts by Russians to infiltrate Children's Shoes in Kenya into US power grids" , and the need to "repel these attacks", here, too, it was not without cunning. One of the most sensational episodes is the sensation that has thundered all over America that Russian hackers have penetrated the Vermont power grid and are preparing to deliver their mortal blow. The revealing sensational material was prepared and published by one of America's most influential publications, the Washington Post, under the title "Russian hackers penetrated US electricity grid through a utility in Vermont" ("Russian hackers penetrated US electricity grid through a utility in Vermont , US officials say”). Three hours after publication, the online version of the publication was half rewritten, replacing the statements with bashful “maybe” and “we heard that. ". Three days later, the original material was replaced by a note stating that the publication was somewhat in a hurry to publish information that was not fully verified.

About cyber confrontation, myths and reality

And after some time, the popular US resource Snopes.com, which investigates fake and fabricated sensations, published its most detailed "debriefing", decomposing literally by the hour everything that happened over the past couple of days and unceremoniously poking its nose into a puddle of one from the most influential US publications, you can read the material here.

It turned out that a company subcontracted to the power grid in Vermont, on one (!) of the laptops, a fairly common Trojan, presumably of Russian origin, was found. No other “compromising” software or data was found on it (and then they searched carefully). The laptop itself has never been connected to the computer networks of the power system in its entire short life. So what? But nothing, they said “ah-ah-ah, how bad!” and forgot about this annoying episode. However, as they say, “the spoons were found, but the sediment remained!”. This is just one episode of many similar episodes that the authors of the concept of a “reciprocal preventive cyber strike on Russian energy systems” are now referring to. How many of these episodes are equally gross fakes? Who knows.

I don't want to say that our special services sit on their priests evenly and click their beaks. Surely something is being done and, I hope, there are some successes in this “quiet” war. And by no means fake reasons for concern, the American authorities also have enough. Another thing is that in the USA they masterfully master the technique of the first “retaliatory strike”, when a staged “attack of the insidious enemy” is staged, followed by a forced retaliatory strike, the world community applauds. Such actions can be predicted, but it is almost impossible to prevent.

Our reaction

Traditionally, in Russia, such sensational statements are officially reacted with extreme restraint and very caution. That is, even the very fact of the reaction automatically means that all this noise is very ulterior motive. As usual, this time it all came down to reassuring statements that there were some attempts to infiltrate the Russian energy grid, but our vigilant services are nipping this whole thing in the bud. Read the neat and seasoned material of Interfax dated June 17, 2019, everything written there is pure truth. True, not everything important is written or even mentioned, but that's another question, right? Quote:

“As far as I know, such information was categorically refuted by President Donald Trump,” Peskov said. "If we assume that some state departments are doing this without informing the head of state, then, of course, this information indicates the hypothetical possibility of all the signs of a cyber war, cyber military actions against the Russian Federation," the presidential press secretary emphasized.

After reading the previous paragraphs and roughly assessing the situation (given that Americans are usually inclined to brag about their own achievements and exaggerate the “external threat”), you probably saw in the quotes the Kremlin’s understanding of what is happening and the fact that the situation is being carefully monitored. Including the understanding that the President of the United States, by an elegant legislative maneuver, absolved himself of any responsibility for the possible consequences of the escalation of the cyber war, “I am not me, and the horse is not mine!”. Unfortunately, from this understanding of their understanding (sorry for the tautology) we are not at all calmer. Although all publications in our media on this topic literally ooze with confidence: "Sleep well, dear fellow citizens, everything is under control and the enemy will not pass!". Well, okay, let's wait and see.

Inside view

I talked about this topic with an old friend who is a "pro" in this topic, unexpectedly listened to a lot of swearing. According to him, the notorious “sanctions” were in full effect many years before the word “sanctions” itself appeared in everyday life. He reminded me of the wildly problematic construction of a gas pipeline in the mid-80s. At first, in the United States, they suddenly refused to supply us with already ordered large-diameter pipes, and we had to urgently “bring to mind” our own production. Done, OK. But gas distribution stations still had to be purchased from them. It backfired: after some time, something simultaneously “clicked” in the stations, the pressure in all sections skyrocketed, and everything that could and managed to break in the highways was torn. The second "textbook" example is Iraq, where software "bookmarks" simultaneously disabled 128 accelerators at a nuclear power plant.

He talked a lot about different types of "bookmarks", recalled the sensational publication in 2014 about software bookmarks in telecom equipment of serious manufacturers such as Cisco, Huawei and others, a multi-page 3.1 MB pdf file can be taken from us here. A computer completely “protected from external influences” without access to the Internet can also be vulnerable, a tiny “bookmark” in the plug of the connecting cable provides a “drain” of data up to a distance

10 km from the object. You can read about this "proprietary" know-how of the US intelligence services in a pdf file here. Also, by the way, the New York Times published at one time. My friend also told about the "chemical" bookmarks in the boards of the purchased equipment. This, according to him, is impossible to detect in advance. Turning on the equipment and the appearance of a regular load on the board initiates the launch of a slow chemical process, and months (!) After switching on, conductive “bridges” begin to appear where they should not be. The board starts to "fail", then completely fails. Claims, of course, are not accepted: “you yourself did not provide adequate protection from harsh climatic conditions.”

In general, according to him, the Americans are the undisputed leaders in all this and are two steps ahead of the rest of the planet, it is useless and unproductive for us to puff up our cheeks. We don’t really have our own radio-electronic industry, and instead of developing it, we spend crazy money not only on purchases, but also on a thorough study of what is being purchased in order to detect any “surprises”.

Instead of a resume

I would like to believe that now the situation does not look so gloomy, but miracles do not happen, not only resources are required, but also time. Despite the fact that the enemy is also unlikely to sit and rest on his laurels.

There is still a non-zero chance that the information published in the New York Times is largely fake, the publication of which pursued certain political goals. Yes, the New York Times is a reputable publication and a “monster”, but the example of the Washington Post has already convincingly demonstrated to us how easy it is for even a very reputable publication to publish a fake sensation without any verification at all. However, I would not seriously hope for such an option.

In general, cyber confrontation is an interesting thing. First of all, the fact that it is not only about politics, but almost more about technology. And also by the fact that a "quiet war" does not require coordination, the adoption of difficult internationally significant decisions, etc. Accordingly, the temptation to act "here and now" is great. Finally, the potential damage to the enemy is several orders of magnitude higher than the cost of carrying out an attack; the only thing that really stops you is the fear of getting a “response” or the desire to keep aces up your sleeve.

About cyber confrontation, myths and reality

Russian energy systems under US control? It would make a nice headline, yes. How effective are cyber-weapons in a “cold” confrontation, can they be lethal, and are cyber-operations of special services so harmless (compared to combat operations)? So far there are more questions than answers. But it’s already somehow uncomfortable when thinking about the possible consequences.

Not about cellular communications, but a very “hot” topic, if usually not advertised cyber security issues have spilled out in the media of different countries and this topic is commented on by the press services of the presidents of Russia and the United States. However, this is also about cellular communications, because if the power systems collapse, then there will definitely not be enough diesel generators for all base stations. Find out where the real facts are, and where are the general words, understatement and just outright lies? Let's try and understand. In such a situation, not just the right, but the only possible way is to carefully read the arguments of both sides, and if you don’t get to the bottom of the truth (and in this case this is impossible by definition), then at least take the noodles off your ears and soberly assess how the current situation, and the prospects for such “projects” in the future. Bearing in mind that the notorious "cyber wars" are not games of special services that are far from us, but a very real confrontation that can flare up brightly and hook everyone at any moment.

About cyber confrontation, myths and reality

Where the legs grow from

The tangle of the current sensation began to be promoted by The New York Times, and the journalists performed their work quite professionally. As usual, I send those who want to get acquainted with all the details to the original source, a large material from the New York Times is here. In a nutshell, we are talking about the large-scale introduction of some malicious programs into the Russian energy systems, which, on command from the control center, should disable the country's energy system.

The New York Times story is impressive and well worth quoting a few paragraphs of in translation. Please note that this is not an official and approved translation, and I remind you that the original article "The United States is stepping up attacks on Russia's energy systems" is here.

In a series of interviews conducted over the past three months, these officials revealed that previously unreported American secret computer code had been injected into the Russian power grid and for other purposes. In addition, the United States is openly discussing measures taken during the 2018 midterm elections against Russian disinformation and hacking units.

Proponents of a more aggressive strategy said the move was long overdue, as the Department of Homeland Security and the FBI have been warning for years of Russian deployment of malware that could cripple U.S. power plants, oil and gas pipelines, and water lines during future conflicts with the United States.

However, such actions are fraught with a serious escalation of the daily digital Cold War between Washington and Moscow.

The administration declined to name specific actions it is taking under the new powers that the White House and Congress gave to US Cyber ​​Command last year. This division of the Pentagon is engaged in offensive and defensive operations in cyberspace.

According to current and former officials, the United States has been carrying out intelligence activities in the control systems of the Russian power grid since at least 2012.

But now the American strategy is becoming more offensive. The US is injecting destructive malware into the Russian system, doing it in a deeper and more aggressive way than ever before. In part, these actions are intended to warn Russia, and in part to prepare for launching cyber strikes in the event of a major conflict between Washington and Moscow.

US Cyber ​​Command Commander General Paul M. Nakasone has been emphatic about the need for "offensive defense" deep in enemy networks. He notes that the US must demonstrate its ability to respond with a flurry of online attacks targeting these networks.

The most important question, which cannot be answered without access to the secret details of the operation, is how deeply the United States penetrated the Russian electricity grid. Only then will it become clear whether America will be able to plunge Russia into darkness or deliver a powerful blow to its armed forces. The answer to this question can only be obtained when the "offensive defense" code is activated.".

© - InoSMI.ru (Russia Today), material here.

There are some minor flaws in the translation, which can't even be called mistakes. But the meaning is noticeably different. Some formidable and mysterious "codes" (tracing paper with code) should have been translated as "programs, software", because the text is for a wide range of readers, and not just for specialists. Of course, the embedded software "bookmarks" perform many traditional functions of monitoring, reconnaissance, removing / recording parameters, etc., as well as often the functions of "soft" sabotage. The material discusses only the new functionality for the complete disabling of power systems, previously such a functionality, most likely, was absent. In all cases, the use of the neutral name "networks" refers to the energy networks of the country, which is somewhat different from the generally accepted idea of ​​\u200b\u200bnetworks.

Preparation

About Donald Trump's sincere indignation at the fact that he was not informed, not warned, not consulted, etc. It seems that Mr. President is a little disingenuous. As recently as 9 months ago, he himself signed (and Congress approved) a new law that gives the US Cyber ​​Command broad powers to conduct such operations without informing the US President's office. Thanks to this, the president of the country is officially "not aware" of what is happening and is completely free to choose the line of his behavior in cases where something suddenly went wrong or accidentally came to the surface.

Regarding links to "multiple attempts by Russians to infiltrate Children's Shoes in Kenya into US power grids" , and the need to "repel these attacks", here, too, it was not without cunning. One of the most sensational episodes is the sensation that has thundered all over America that Russian hackers have penetrated the Vermont power grid and are preparing to deliver their mortal blow. The revealing sensational material was prepared and published by one of America's most influential publications, the Washington Post, under the title "Russian hackers penetrated US electricity grid through a utility in Vermont" ("Russian hackers penetrated US electricity grid through a utility in Vermont , US officials say”). Three hours after publication, the online version of the publication was half rewritten, replacing the statements with bashful “maybe” and “we heard that. ". Three days later, the original material was replaced by a note stating that the publication was somewhat in a hurry to publish information that was not fully verified.

About cyber confrontation, myths and reality

And after some time, the popular US resource Snopes.com, which investigates fake and fabricated sensations, published its most detailed "debriefing", decomposing literally by the hour everything that happened over the past couple of days and unceremoniously poking its nose into a puddle of one from the most influential US publications, you can read the material here.

It turned out that a company subcontracted to the power grid in Vermont, on one (!) of the laptops, a fairly common Trojan, presumably of Russian origin, was found. No other “compromising” software or data was found on it (and then they searched carefully). The laptop itself has never been connected to the computer networks of the power system in its entire short life. So what? But nothing, they said “ah-ah-ah, how bad!” and forgot about this annoying episode. However, as they say, “the spoons were found, but the sediment remained!”. This is just one episode of many similar episodes that the authors of the concept of a “reciprocal preventive cyber strike on Russian energy systems” are now referring to. How many of these episodes are equally gross fakes? Who knows.

I don't want to say that our special services sit on their priests evenly and click their beaks. Surely something is being done and, I hope, there are some successes in this “quiet” war. And by no means fake reasons for concern, the American authorities also have enough. Another thing is that in the USA they masterfully master the technique of the first “retaliatory strike”, when a staged “attack of the insidious enemy” is staged, followed by a forced retaliatory strike, the world community applauds. Such actions can be predicted, but it is almost impossible to prevent.

Our reaction

Traditionally, in Russia, such sensational statements are officially reacted with extreme restraint and very caution. That is, even the very fact of the reaction automatically means that all this noise is very ulterior motive. As usual, this time it all came down to reassuring statements that there were some attempts to infiltrate the Russian energy grid, but our vigilant services are nipping this whole thing in the bud. Read the neat and seasoned material of Interfax dated June 17, 2019, everything written there is pure truth. True, not everything important is written or even mentioned, but that's another question, right? Quote:

“As far as I know, such information was categorically refuted by President Donald Trump,” Peskov said. "If we assume that some state departments are doing this without informing the head of state, then, of course, this information indicates the hypothetical possibility of all the signs of a cyber war, cyber military actions against the Russian Federation," the presidential press secretary emphasized.

After reading the previous paragraphs and roughly assessing the situation (given that Americans are usually inclined to brag about their own achievements and exaggerate the “external threat”), you probably saw in the quotes the Kremlin’s understanding of what is happening and the fact that the situation is being carefully monitored. Including the understanding that the President of the United States, by an elegant legislative maneuver, absolved himself of any responsibility for the possible consequences of the escalation of the cyber war, “I am not me, and the horse is not mine!”. Unfortunately, from this understanding of their understanding (sorry for the tautology) we are not at all calmer. Although all publications in our media on this topic literally ooze with confidence: "Sleep well, dear fellow citizens, everything is under control and the enemy will not pass!". Well, okay, let's wait and see.

Inside view

I talked about this topic with an old friend who is a "pro" in this topic, unexpectedly listened to a lot of swearing. According to him, the notorious “sanctions” were in full effect many years before the word “sanctions” itself appeared in everyday life. He reminded me of the wildly problematic construction of a gas pipeline in the mid-80s. At first, in the United States, they suddenly refused to supply us with already ordered large-diameter pipes, and we had to urgently “bring to mind” our own production. Done, OK. But gas distribution stations still had to be purchased from them. It backfired: after some time, something simultaneously “clicked” in the stations, the pressure in all sections skyrocketed, and everything that could and managed to break in the highways was torn. The second "textbook" example is Iraq, where software "bookmarks" simultaneously disabled 128 accelerators at a nuclear power plant.

He talked a lot about different types of "bookmarks", recalled the sensational publication in 2014 about software bookmarks in telecom equipment of serious manufacturers such as Cisco, Huawei and others, a multi-page 3.1 MB pdf file can be taken from us here. A computer completely “protected from external influences” without access to the Internet can also be vulnerable, a tiny “bookmark” in the plug of the connecting cable provides a “drain” of data up to a distance

10 km from the object. You can read about this "proprietary" know-how of the US intelligence services in a pdf file here. Also, by the way, the New York Times published at one time. My friend also told about the "chemical" bookmarks in the boards of the purchased equipment. This, according to him, is impossible to detect in advance. Turning on the equipment and the appearance of a regular load on the board initiates the launch of a slow chemical process, and months (!) After switching on, conductive “bridges” begin to appear where they should not be. The board starts to "fail", then completely fails. Claims, of course, are not accepted: “you yourself did not provide adequate protection from harsh climatic conditions.”

In general, according to him, the Americans are the undisputed leaders in all this and are two steps ahead of the rest of the planet, it is useless and unproductive for us to puff up our cheeks. We don’t really have our own radio-electronic industry, and instead of developing it, we spend crazy money not only on purchases, but also on a thorough study of what is being purchased in order to detect any “surprises”.

Instead of a resume

I would like to believe that now the situation does not look so gloomy, but miracles do not happen, not only resources are required, but also time. Despite the fact that the enemy is also unlikely to sit and rest on his laurels.

There is still a non-zero chance that the information published in the New York Times is largely fake, the publication of which pursued certain political goals. Yes, the New York Times is a reputable publication and a “monster”, but the example of the Washington Post has already convincingly demonstrated to us how easy it is for even a very reputable publication to publish a fake sensation without any verification at all. However, I would not seriously hope for such an option.

In general, cyber confrontation is an interesting thing. First of all, the fact that it is not only about politics, but almost more about technology. And also by the fact that a "quiet war" does not require coordination, the adoption of difficult internationally significant decisions, etc. Accordingly, the temptation to act "here and now" is great. Finally, the potential damage to the enemy is several orders of magnitude higher than the cost of carrying out an attack; the only thing that really stops you is the fear of getting a “response” or the desire to keep aces up your sleeve.

About cyber confrontation, myths and reality

Russian energy systems under US control? It would make a nice headline, yes. How effective are cyber-weapons in a “cold” confrontation, can they be lethal, and are cyber-operations of special services so harmless (compared to combat operations)? So far there are more questions than answers. But it’s already somehow uncomfortable when thinking about the possible consequences.

Not about cellular communications, but a very “hot” topic, if usually not advertised cyber security issues have spilled out in the media of different countries and this topic is commented on by the press services of the presidents of Russia and the United States. However, this is also about cellular communications, because if the power systems collapse, then there will definitely not be enough diesel generators for all base stations. Find out where the real facts are, and where are the general words, understatement and just outright lies? Let's try and understand. In such a situation, not just the right, but the only possible way is to carefully read the arguments of both sides, and if you don’t get to the bottom of the truth (and in this case this is impossible by definition), then at least take the noodles off your ears and soberly assess how the current situation, and the prospects for such "projects" in the future. Bearing in mind that the notorious "cyber wars" are not games of special services that are far from us, but a very real confrontation that can flare up brightly and hook everyone at any moment.

Where the legs grow from

The tangle of the current sensation began to be promoted by The New York Times, and the journalists performed their work quite professionally. As usual, I send those who want to get acquainted with all the details to the original source, a large material from the New York Times is here. In a nutshell, we are talking about the large-scale introduction of some malicious programs into the Russian energy systems, which, on command from the control center, should disable the country's energy system.

The New York Times story is impressive and well worth quoting a few paragraphs of in translation. Please note that this is not an official and approved translation, and I remind you that the original article "The United States is stepping up attacks on Russia's energy systems" is here.

In a series of interviews conducted over the past three months, these officials revealed that previously unreported American secret computer code had been injected into the Russian power grid and for other purposes. In addition, the United States is openly discussing measures taken during the 2018 midterm elections against Russian disinformation and hacking units.

Proponents of a more aggressive strategy said the move was long overdue, as the Department of Homeland Security and the FBI have been warning for years of Russian deployment of malware that could cripple U.S. power plants, oil and gas pipelines, and water lines during future conflicts with the United States.

However, such actions are fraught with a serious escalation of the daily digital Cold War between Washington and Moscow.

The administration declined to name specific actions it is taking under the new powers that the White House and Congress gave to US Cyber ​​Command last year. This division of the Pentagon is engaged in offensive and defensive operations in cyberspace.

According to current and former officials, the United States has been carrying out intelligence activities in the control systems of the Russian power grid since at least 2012.

But now the American strategy is becoming more offensive. The US is injecting destructive malware into the Russian system, doing it in a deeper and more aggressive way than ever before. In part, these actions are intended to warn Russia, and in part to prepare for launching cyber strikes in the event of a major conflict between Washington and Moscow.

US Cyber ​​Command Commander General Paul M. Nakasone has been emphatic about the need for "offensive defense" deep in enemy networks. He notes that the US must demonstrate its ability to respond with a flurry of online attacks targeting these networks.

The most important question, which cannot be answered without access to the secret details of the operation, is how deeply the United States penetrated the Russian electricity grid. Only then will it become clear whether America will be able to plunge Russia into darkness or deliver a powerful blow to its armed forces. The answer to this question can only be obtained when the "offensive defense" code is activated.".

© - InoSMI.ru (Russia Today), material here.

There are some minor flaws in the translation, which can't even be called mistakes. But the meaning is noticeably different. Some formidable and mysterious "codes" (tracing paper with code) should have been translated as "programs, software", because the text is for a wide range of readers, and not just for specialists. Of course, the embedded software "bookmarks" perform many traditional functions of monitoring, reconnaissance, removing / recording parameters, etc., as well as often the functions of "soft" sabotage. The material discusses only the new functionality for the complete disabling of power systems, previously such a functionality, most likely, was absent. In all cases, the use of the neutral name "networks" refers to the energy networks of the country, which is somewhat different from the generally accepted idea of ​​\u200b\u200bnetworks.

Preparation

About Donald Trump's sincere indignation at the fact that he was not informed, not warned, not consulted, etc. It seems that Mr. President is a little disingenuous. As recently as 9 months ago, he himself signed (and Congress approved) a new law that gives the US Cyber ​​Command broad powers to conduct such operations without informing the US President's office. Thanks to this, the president of the country is officially "not aware" of what is happening and is completely free to choose the line of his behavior in cases where something suddenly went wrong or accidentally came to the surface.

As for the references to "the numerous Russian attempts to infiltrate Children's Shoes in Kenya into the American power grid", and the need to "repel these attacks", here, too, it was not without cunning. One of the most sensational episodes is the sensation that has thundered all over America that Russian hackers have penetrated the Vermont power grid and are preparing to deliver their mortal blow. The revealing sensational material was prepared and published by one of America's most influential publications, the Washington Post, under the title "Russian hackers penetrated US electricity grid through a utility in Vermont" ("Russian hackers penetrated US electricity grid through a utility in Vermont , US officials say”). Three hours after publication, the online version of the publication was half rewritten, replacing the statements with bashful “maybe” and “we heard that. ". Three days later, the original material was replaced by a note stating that the publication was somewhat in a hurry to publish information that was not fully verified.

As for the references to "numerous Russian attempts to infiltrate Children's Shoes in Kenya Children's Shoes in Kenya into American power grids”, and the need to “repel these attacks”, here, too, was not without cunning. One of the most sensational episodes is the sensation that has thundered all over America that Russian hackers have penetrated the Vermont power grid and are preparing to deliver their mortal blow. The revealing sensational material was prepared and published by one of America's most influential publications, the Washington Post, under the title "Russian hackers penetrated US electricity grid through a utility in Vermont" ("Russian hackers penetrated US electricity grid through a utility in Vermont , US officials say”). Three hours after publication, the online version of the publication was half rewritten, replacing the statements with bashful “maybe” and “we heard that. ". Three days later, the original material was replaced by a note stating that the publication was somewhat in a hurry to publish information that was not fully verified.

And after some time, the popular US resource Snopes.com, which investigates fake and fabricated sensations, published its most detailed "debriefing", decomposing literally by the hour everything that happened over the past couple of days and unceremoniously poking its nose into a puddle of one from the most influential US publications, you can read the material here.

It turned out that a company subcontracted to the power grid in Vermont, on one (!) of the laptops, a fairly common Trojan, presumably of Russian origin, was found. No other “compromising” software or data was found on it (and then they searched carefully). The laptop itself has never been connected to the computer networks of the power system in its entire short life. So what? But nothing, they said “ah-ah-ah, how bad!” and forgot about this annoying episode. However, as they say, “the spoons were found, but the sediment remained!”. This is just one episode of many similar episodes that the authors of the concept of a “reciprocal preventive cyber strike on Russian energy systems” are now referring to. How many of these episodes are equally gross fakes? Who knows.

I don't want to say that our special services sit on their priests evenly and click their beaks. Surely something is being done and, I hope, there are some successes in this “quiet” war. And by no means fake reasons for concern, the American authorities also have enough. Another thing is that in the USA they masterfully master the technique of the first “retaliatory strike”, when a staged “attack of the insidious enemy” is staged, followed by a forced retaliatory strike, the world community applauds. Such actions can be predicted, but it is almost impossible to prevent.

Our reaction

Traditionally, in Russia, such sensational statements are officially reacted with extreme restraint and very caution. That is, even the very fact of the reaction automatically means that all this noise is very ulterior motive. As usual, this time it all came down to reassuring statements that there were some attempts to infiltrate the Russian energy grid, but our vigilant services are nipping this whole thing in the bud. Read the neat and seasoned material of Interfax dated June 17, 2019, everything written there is pure truth. True, not everything important is written or even mentioned, but that's another question, right? Quote:

“As far as I know, such information was categorically refuted by President Donald Trump,” Peskov said. "If we assume that some state departments are doing this without informing the head of state, then, of course, this information indicates the hypothetical possibility of all the signs of a cyber war, cyber military actions against the Russian Federation," the presidential press secretary emphasized.

After reading the previous paragraphs and roughly assessing the situation (given that Americans are usually inclined to brag about their own achievements and exaggerate the “external threat”), you probably saw in the quotes the Kremlin’s understanding of what is happening and the fact that the situation is being carefully monitored. Including the understanding that the President of the United States, by an elegant legislative maneuver, absolved himself of any responsibility for the possible consequences of the escalation of the cyber war, “I am not me, and the horse is not mine!”. Unfortunately, from this understanding of their understanding (sorry for the tautology) we are not at all calmer. Although all publications in our media on this topic literally ooze with confidence: "Sleep well, dear fellow citizens, everything is under control and the enemy will not pass!". Well, okay, let's wait and see.

Inside view

I talked about this topic with an old friend who is a "pro" in this topic, unexpectedly listened to a lot of swearing. According to him, the notorious “sanctions” were in full effect many years before the word “sanctions” itself appeared in everyday life. He reminded me of the wildly problematic construction of a gas pipeline in the mid-80s. At first, in the United States, they suddenly refused to supply us with already ordered large-diameter pipes, and we had to urgently “bring to mind” our own production. Done, OK. But gas distribution stations still had to be purchased from them. It backfired: after some time, something simultaneously “clicked” in the stations, the pressure in all sections skyrocketed, and everything that could and managed to break in the highways was torn. The second "textbook" example is Iraq, where software "bookmarks" simultaneously disabled 128 accelerators at a nuclear power plant.

He talked a lot about different types of "bookmarks", recalled the sensational publication in 2014 about software bookmarks in telecom equipment of serious manufacturers such as Cisco, Huawei and others, a multi-page 3.1 MB pdf file can be taken from us here. A computer completely “protected from external influences” without access to the Internet can also be vulnerable, a tiny “bookmark” in the plug of the connecting cable provides a “drain” of data up to a distance

10 km from the object. You can read about this "proprietary" know-how of the US intelligence services in a pdf file here. Also, by the way, the New York Times published at one time. My friend also told about the "chemical" bookmarks in the boards of the purchased equipment. This, according to him, is impossible to detect in advance. Turning on the equipment and the appearance of a regular load on the board initiates the launch of a slow chemical process, and months (!) After switching on, conductive “bridges” begin to appear where they should not be. The board starts to "fail", then completely fails. Claims, of course, are not accepted: “you yourself did not provide adequate protection from harsh climatic conditions.”

In general, according to him, the Americans are the undisputed leaders in all this and are two steps ahead of the rest of the planet, it is useless and unproductive for us to puff up our cheeks. We don’t really have our own radio-electronic industry, and instead of developing it, we spend crazy money not only on purchases, but also on a thorough study of what is being purchased in order to detect any “surprises”.

Instead of a resume

I would like to believe that now the situation does not look so gloomy, but miracles do not happen, not only resources are required, but also time. Despite the fact that the enemy is also unlikely to sit and rest on his laurels.

There is still a non-zero chance that the information published in the New York Times is largely fake, the publication of which pursued certain political goals. Yes, the New York Times is a reputable publication and a “monster”, but the example of the Washington Post has already convincingly demonstrated to us how easy it is for even a very reputable publication to publish a fake sensation without any verification at all. However, I would not seriously hope for such an option.

In general, cyber confrontation is an interesting thing. First of all, the fact that it is not only about politics, but almost more about technology. And also by the fact that a "quiet war" does not require coordination, the adoption of difficult internationally significant decisions, etc. Accordingly, the temptation to act "here and now" is great. Finally, the potential damage to the enemy is several orders of magnitude higher than the cost of carrying out an attack; the only thing that really stops you is the fear of getting a “response” or the desire to keep aces up your sleeve.