Fear and Loathing On The Internet: A Savage Journey to the Heart of the Cyber Trenches
Image courtesy of GonzoPhD
It was 5am and the coffee had just started to brew when I saw the tweets that the DPRK was back online. Immediately my bloodshot eyes closed in salutation because the game was on. I booted up the laptop and got the old terminal up and typed the old familiar line $ nmap -Pn 18.104.22.168/24. I hit enter and began the worship of caffeine as is my custom at this ungodly hour that I find myself in my old age waking up to more often.
Once the coffee had been poured I came back to my comfortable seat to find that one IP address in the subnet (/24) had come up with all kinds of ports open! “Ooooh, this will be interesting” I thought as I began to play with the ports in my browser and other tools. Little did I know then what I would know now about life in the 21st century cyber war!
No sooner had I begun to poke at the ports I began to sense dark forces moving against me. I decided to forge ahead though and hit the second sub that DPRK has. The Nmap began unleashing it’s port scanning hell upon the enemy and I went back to the SMTP server that I had located. It began to offer up it’s dirty flower to me as I poked and prodded. It seemed that because the DPRK had been down since the night or so before they were still recovering, their firewall still trying to come back from the oblivion that had been wrought upon it by… Whoever.
As I started to get bored with the one address that was available I decided to turn on the old iPad and listen to a flick while playing. I had not been watching long when all of a sudden WHAM! I could feel the palpable blow from my.. Nay, OUR enemy! The DPRK had hit back! My iPad stopped mid sentence and began to just become completely verklempt. I checked the wireless sig and it was fine… What in holy hell was happening! A creeping feeling of dread began to creep up my coccyx with a cyber chill! “Could it be that the infernal Kim Jong Un has hit me?” I thought to myself. “Nah, just a wireless issue” I mused but I decided to check. I brought up my browser and hit the router address… Nada.
I flew to my office and booted up another wired box and frantically hit the router again… 500 error…
I sat and pondered it all.. I had just become a casualty of the great cyber war of 2014! My router was offline, my shit was smoking and I knew that that creeping feeling of cold dread from my coccyx was in fact the cruel reality… I had been DDoS’d!!
O’Five Thirty Five and Three Seconds
I rebooted the everything and began to work the systems. I had my cyber helmet on now and I was prepared to fire a new salvo at the dreadnaught that was DPRK! The router cycled, the IPS… The Wireless… I frantically typed in the address for the IPS and began looking at logs. I scanned as the caffeine began to really sing in my veins to see the following addresses had hit me like a metric shit ton of SYN!
It was all there in black and white. The wiley Kim Jong Un and his frightening UNIT 121 had hit me with the dreaded SYN FLOOD! But wait, what? Those addresses aren’t DPRK! They are all in CHINA!
*cold sweat begins to trickle down my back with the realization that I had begun a new international incident!*
“CHINA! CHINA!” I yelled at the screen. I tried to calm myself and remember my cyber attribution training! “The IP’s are in China! I am being attacked by China! It’s incontrovertible! It’s China attacking me as a proxy for DPRK! MY GOD!” This is when the klaxons began going off.
I was hit again wave after wave from China. There was no way around it. I had to declare cyber war on DPRK because China attacked me after I used a network tool on DPRK addresses!
DAMN THE CYBER TORPEDOS!
The packets flew and the Chinese hit me with everything they could. I could hear KJU screeching in the background yelling orders of more salvo’s against the capitalist cyber swine that was me!
My cyber helmet developed a crack and there was only one thing left to do… I blocked them on my firewall. The war ended then… At approximately 0540 hours the great “Cyber War” of 2014 ended. I looked around to see posters torn from walls.
Now I am a veteran of the cyber wars… I still have not gotten my purple heart. Listen well you young men and women. Heed the tale of this cyber warrior and his time in the cyber trenches. Cyber war is cyber hell.