Shields up....we need a Cyberwar/ threat section

RiffRaff

Deputy Director
Staff member
I'm on the fence on this. It is true that cyberwarfare is becoming a thing in the 21st century, but is it something that could lead to a nuclear response? Official US policy is they will treat a cyberattack against critical infrastructure the same as the use of any WMD, but would we seriously launch a nuke against Russia if our power grid went down for 24 hours due to a cyberattack?

I'm somewhat inclined to agree with the suggestion, but I think it warrants discussion.
 

CreepyMonkey

Active member
As far as I've been told, The Pentagon regards a major firesale attack on the US as a prelude to a nuke strike in almost every scenario. It might be prudent to track this, though as an indicator of war it would be just one such indicator. It might or might not indicate a nuke strike.
 

CreepyMonkey

Active member
Interesting Article on the subject from a few years back.

Could Cyber Attacks Lead to Nuclear War? It could, according to a former commander of U.S. nuclear forces.


By Franz-Stefan Gady
May 04, 2015

Could Cyber Attacks Lead to Nuclear War?

A nuclear fireball lights up the night in the United States nuclear test Upshot-Knothole Badger on April 18, 1953.


“De-alerting” nuclear arsenals could help reduce the likelihood of a cyberattack causing an accidental nuclear war between the United States and Russia, retired U.S. Gen. James Cartwright recently stated in an Associated Press interview.

Short fuses on U.S. and Russian strategic forces have particularly increased the risk of accidental nuclear war, according to Cartwright, while “the sophistication of the cyberthreat [to nuclear weapons] has increased exponentially.”

“One-half of their [U.S. and Russian] strategic arsenals are continuously maintained on high alert. Hundreds of missiles carrying nearly 1,800 warheads are ready to fly at a moment’s notice,” a policy report compiled by a study group chaired by the retired U.S. general summarized.

“At the brink of conflict, nuclear command and warning networks around the world may be besieged by electronic intruders whose onslaught degrades the coherence and rationality of nuclear decision-making,” the report further points out.

First, sophisticated attackers from cyberspace could spoof U.S. or Russian early warning networks into reporting that nuclear missiles have been launched, which would demand immediate retaliatory strikes according to both nations’ nuclear warfare doctrines. Second, online hackers could manipulate communication systems into issuing unauthorized launch orders to missile crews. Third and last, attackers could directly hack into missile command and control systems launching the weapon or dismantling it on site ( a highly unlikely scenario).

To reduce the likelihood of such an scenario ever occurring, Cartwright proposes that Moscow and Washington should adjust their nuclear war contingency plan timetables from calling for missiles to be launched within 3 to 5 minutes to 24 to 72 hours.

Reducing the lead time to prepare nuclear missiles for launch would not diminish the deterrent value of the weapons, Cartwright, who headed Strategic Command from 2004 to 2007 and was vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff before retiring in 2011, emphasized.

However, the Obama White House has so far rejected the idea, particularly due to the recent deterioration of U.S.-Russia relations. Also, Robert Scher, Assistant Secretary of Defense for Strategy, Plans, and Capabilities, testified in Congress this month arguing “it did not make any great sense to de-alert forces” because nuclear missiles “needed to be ready and effective and able to prosecute the mission at any point in time.”

Cartwright’s credibility may have also suffered among Washington policy circles ever since he has been under investigation for leaking information about the top secret Stuxnet virus – a sophisticated cyber weapon allegedly jointly developed by Israel and the United States – to the New York Times.

Nevertheless, a co-authored paper, seen in draft by The Diplomat, argues that “cyber weapons and strategies have brought us to a situation of aggravated nuclear instability that needs to be more explicitly and more openly addressed in the diplomacy of leading powers, both in private and in public.”

The authors, Greg Austin of the EastWest Institute in New York (and a regular contributor to The Diplomat) and Pavel Sharikov of the Russian Academy of Sciences, have concluded that “Russia now sees U.S. plans to disrupt the command and control of its nuclear weapons as the only actual (current) threat at the strategic level of warfare.”

Laura Saalman of the Asia Pacific Research Centre in Hawaii has also warned of the need to look at the impact of U.S. strategies and nuclear force posture on China in a 2014 paper titled “Prompt Global Strike: China and the Spear”.
 

Obreid

Power Poster
Maybe a good place to start would be a discussion or article on the difference between a single cyberattack on a company or industry and a fire sale. What exactly is the line between say the colonial pipeline attack and what might constitute coordinated fire sale on the nation.
Might save a lot future speculation with future attacks.
Regarding a separate thread it’s up to staff. A fire sale might require a military response so military should cover it.
 

RiffRaff

Deputy Director
Staff member
I think cyber operations are going to become just as common as standard military ops. But the lines between criminal cyber acts, terrorist cyber acts, and strategic military cyber acts are very blurry.

If we're going to dedicate a subforum to cyber, we need to think about three best way to categorize it.
 

RiffRaff

Deputy Director
Staff member
I am starting lean toward a CyberWarfare subforum. Certainly WWIII will likely start with that. And it can certainly lead to it.
So a CyberWarfare forum would be for nation-state cyber events, while cyber events by non-nation-states would go in Terrorism, or would it be anything cyber?
 

Obreid

Power Poster
I think cyber operations are going to become just as common as standard military ops. But the lines between criminal cyber acts, terrorist cyber acts, and strategic military cyber acts are very blurry.

If we're going to dedicate a subforum to cyber, we need to think about three best way to categorize it.
Not just categorize it but how are we going to determine what is state, state proxy, criminal, or just malicious hacks.

Much of what turns out to be state cyber attacks we won’t know about till well after the fact. For example the Suxtent virus used against Iran’s nuclear enrichment plant.

if it has demand to transfer 10 million in Bitcoin to a dark web account to. Then we rule out state sponsor.

I’m not making lite of the idea at all. It is a real threat no doubt. Just pondering the difficulties in classifications and evaluating events
 

RiffRaff

Deputy Director
Staff member
Not just categorize it but how are we going to determine what is state, state proxy, criminal, or just malicious hacks.

Much of what turns out to be state cyber attacks we won’t know about till well after the fact. For example the Suxtent virus used against Iran’s nuclear enrichment plant.

if it has demand to transfer 10 million in Bitcoin to a dark web account to. Then we rule out state sponsor.

I’m not making lite of the idea at all. It is a real threat no doubt. Just pondering the difficulties in classifications and evaluating events
That was pretty much my point; you just summarized it differently. It will take some discussion to figure out the most efficient method of adding this to the forums.
 

Obreid

Power Poster
That was pretty much my point; you just summarized it differently. It will take some discussion to figure out the most efficient method of adding this to the forums.
Face it we just come at the world from different places and ways of saying it.
but generally just end up at the same place in the end😂
 

DEFCON Warning System

Director
Staff member
So a CyberWarfare forum would be for nation-state cyber events, while cyber events by non-nation-states would go in Terrorism, or would it be anything cyber?
Technically, there should be a difference. But I don't think most people will notice.

If we were to create one, I'd say just dump everything in that one forum.
 

DarkNoon

Power Poster
Not just categorize it but how are we going to determine what is state, state proxy, criminal, or just malicious hacks.
That is what this forums for. To analyze news and determine what kind of a threat it is/poses.

Technically, there should be a difference. But I don't think most people will notice.

If we were to create one, I'd say just dump everything in that one forum.
That would make things much easier and it shouldn't be a problem until something turns into military actions which I hope never happens.
 
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AgentOrange

Active member
I think cyber operations are going to become just as common as standard military ops. But the lines between criminal cyber acts, terrorist cyber acts, and strategic military cyber acts are very blurry.

If we're going to dedicate a subforum to cyber, we need to think about three best way to categorize it.
I agree the the forensics of cybercrime are blurry and very complex.
 
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