Krypt3ia

(Greek: κρυπτεία / krupteía, from κρυπτός / kruptós, “hidden, secret things”)

Archive for the ‘CBRN’ Category

Rumblings On Stuxnet’s Potential for A Chernobyl Style Incident at Bushehr

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A source called me over the weekend and alluded to some intel concerning the Bushehr nuclear plant with regard to Stuxnet. Of course you all out there are probably sick of hearing about Stuxnet (especially the infosec/IW community) but, I thought this was interesting and should drop a post. My source says that certain people in the know are worried about the whole stuxnet operation from the point of view that it was released into systems that, to the creators of the operation, were not completely understood. That is to say that Iran, being as hard to get intel on, may have had configurations or issues that the creators and implementors of Stuxnet did not account for and could indeed have caused a larger catastrophe with the malware.

This is now making the rounds quietly in certain areas of the media, but, I want to call your attention to this article that I found on payvand.com. In it, a nuclear expert speaks about the potential for a nuclear accident due to the design specs of the reactor at Bushehr and the fact that the Russians reported that they were removing the nuclear material from the reactor recently.

From: Dr. Sadeq Rabbani, Former Deputy of the Nuclear Energy Organization

The Russians claim that they were obliged to remove the fuel from the Bushehr nuclear reactor in order to replace a part that was installed during the time the Germans were managing the construction of the plant. It should be noted that according to the contract with Russia for construction of the Bushehr plant, the Russians replaced all inner parts of the reactor and presented a new design. In the German model, a vertical design was used, but the Russians adopted the horizontal model. This means that the created problem was not related to the inner parts of the German-designed reactor.

So the Russians were paid for the construction of the Bushehr reactor and have also changed the design. Now the problem is whether the Russians were wrong in their design. It is unlikely that the Russians were wrong in their design, because this is not the first plant that they have constructed, and their experience is valuable.

There remains only the Stuxnet virus that Iran denies has been able to affect the Bushehr facilitates. So, if we assume that the Iranian authorities are right, the Russians are playing with us by delaying the launch of the Bushehr plant, and want to continue to delay launching it.

My source, who has connections with various people in the know, says that there is a higher potential that since the German design and build was overtaken by the Russians, that they may in fact have introduced flaws within the system that “could” lead to a Chernobyl style event if something like Stuxnet had infected other PLC systems. Of course this is a blanket concern with malware on the level of Stuxnet anyway is it not? Of course, Stuxnet was particularly targeted to the Siemens systems for enrichment but, there is always a chance of undesired effects to potentially other systems.

This is not to say that there have been or are other systems that have been compromised by Stuxnet… That we know of.

Ostensibly, Stuxnet was aimed at the weapons facilities but, one must not think that the weapons facilities and the nuclear power program were kept apart by a firewall, for the lack of a better term. I am willing to bet that the two are connected both semantically as well as functionally, and in that, the systems that play a key role may have too. IF Stuxnet travelled to the Bushehr systems, what ‘could’ be the import here? Just as well, what would the design of the reactor play as a part to hastening a large nuclear accident?

The article above goes on to say that Dr. Rabbani does not believe that the design and implementation of the Bushehr reactor is likely to cause an issue. Others though have been saying the opposite. Including my source. All that is really known at this point are the following things;

  • When Stuxnet hit Iran claimed that they were just fine! However, reports internally at the nuclear facilities and universities proved otherwise. That the malware was running rampant and they were trying and failing to exterminate it.
  • The design and implementation of the nuclear reactor had been started by the Germans (Siemens) and then stopped for many years. Then the Russians picked up where the Germans left off. It is possible that the design changes and or builds on to previous versions could have flaws in them that might make for vulnerabilities.
  • The Russians have removed the nuclear materials and the program is steadily losing ground to delay.

All in all, the unforeseen circumstances of malware like Stuxnet may indeed have caused issues at Bushehr, or, they could have been a calculated thing. Perhaps this is just Iran being careful out of paranoia as fallout from the incident. In either scenario, we win out in that the programs are being delayed. However, the worry that my source intoned was that they may not have considered the possibilities of collateral damage and just how bad they could be if the reactor had gone online and melted down. Of course, this is after seeing everything that is happening in Fukushima, so it’s on many minds.

My source went on to ask the question; “This would have to have a presidential order wouldn’t it as an operation?” The answer to that is yes. It is also quite likely that this operation was set forth by the previous administration (Bush) and, well, we know just how well thought out that presidency was huh? To my source, I say be careful in speaking about this. To all of you out there reading this I say keep your eyes peeled, there’s bound to be more fallout.

K.

What’s the ISI’s Interest in Aafia Siddiqui?

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ABC News reported today that Pakistan attempted to exchange CIA contractor Raymond Davis for convicted al Qaeda operative Aafia Siddiqui. This should come as no surprise, as speculation about a possible prisoner exchange first appeared in the Pakistani press just days after Davis’ arrest. ABC News reports:

The government of Pakistan offered to trade a CIA contractor currently jailed in that country for a Pakistani neuroscientist suspected by U.S. intelligence to be an al Qaeda operative.According to a senior American administration official and a Pakistani official involved in the negotiations to free CIA contractor Raymond Davis, the Pakistani government proposed trading Davis for Aafia Siddiqui, an MIT-educated Pakistani neuroscientist currently serving 86 years in federal prison for attempted murder.

The offer was immediately dismissed by the U.S. government. “The Pakistanis have raised it,” the U.S. official said. “We are not going to pursue it.”

Keep in mind that Aafia Siddiqui, who has been dubbed “Lady al Qaeda” by the press, was sentenced to 86 years in prison by a US jury in September 2010 for attempting to kill US troops in Afghanistan after being captured in Ghazni province. Siddiqi had close links to al Qaeda operational commander Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and was involved in several plots to attack the US homeland. From Thomas Joscelyn’s report on Siddiqui:

According to an indictment prepared by US prosecutors, Siddiqui had “various documents, various chemicals, and a computer thumb drive, among other things” in her possession when she was arrested. Handwritten notes she was carrying referred to a “mass casualty attack” and listed “various locations in the United States, including Plum Island, the Empire State Building, the Statue of Liberty, Wall Street, and the Brooklyn Bridge.”In addition, according to the indictment, “certain notes referred to the construction of ‘dirty bombs,’ chemical and biological weapons, and other explosives.” The notes “discussed mortality rates associated with certain of these weapons and explosives.”

Still other notes “referred to various ways to attack ‘enemies,’ including by destroying reconnaissance drones, using underwater bombs, and using gliders.”

Siddiqui’s computer thumb drive contained contained “correspondence that referred to specific ‘cells’ and ‘attacks’ by certain ‘cells’,” as well as documents discussing “recruitment and training.”

The notes and documents in Siddiqui’s possession reveal that she was most likely still involved in al Qaeda’s plotting against the US Homeland at the time of her capture. She apparently did not give up, even though many of her co-conspirators had been rolled up following KSM’s detention.

So what’s the interest for Pakistan to obtain Aafia Siddiqui in exchange for Mr. Devis? Could this be seen as an exchange of spies? I wonder if the ISI would like to get hold of Aafia to keep her from perhaps giving up data on their connections to AQ. After all, she is related to KSM through an uncle and it would seem, through her allegiance to AQ and Jihad. It would also seem that she may have been a key player in AQ from her having a usb thumbdrive with all kinds of technical goodies on it.

That Aafia was not sent to Gitmo is also an interesting turn, her attack on the interrogators, however, 5 years of her life cannot be accounted for, and this should be of great interest to the FBI and other anti terror entities. What was she up to and where was she post her 2003 disappearance? Why would she not be sent to Gitmo as opposed to the 86 year term she got for assault with intent?

Can one maybe say cooperation?

All I know is that Aafia had plans on that little thumbdrive for Plum Island. She had the schooling and the know how to put together a weapon of mass destruction and plans for Plum Island… And she is serving 86 years for assault.

Things that make you go “hmmmm”

K

 

Written by Krypt3ia

2011/03/01 at 12:02

Political firm fears sheikh’s files were hacked

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In a mysterious case of cyber-espionage, a leading California political consulting firm has asked U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder to investigate what it says appears to be computer hacking involving a high-profile client, an ousted Middle Eastern sheikh, which the firm says could compromise “sensitive information relating to U.S. and Iranian security issues.”

Jason Kinney, who heads California Strategies, made the request to Holder and the U.S. attorney’s office last week after it appeared hackers had accessed the Sacramento consulting firm’s computer files relating to their client, Sheikh Khalid bin Saqr Al Qasimi.

Kinney and two other leading Democratic strategists, former White House spokesman Chris Lehane and Peter Ragone, the former spokesman for San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom, represent the royal client.

The sheikh – the legally recognized deputy ruler and crown prince of Ras al Khaimah, one of the seven emirates that make up the United Arab Emirates – was deposed from power in 2003 by more conservative factions, including his brother, after being criticized as too friendly to the United States.

The crown prince, who considers himself an ally of the White House, was an overnight guest there during the Clinton administration and attended the inauguration of President Obama last year. News reports said he was ousted for expressing strident opposition to Iran and was considered too supportive of efforts to allow women to participate more fully in his country’s society.

His more conservative brother, Saud bin Saqr Al Qasimi, assumed power. Dubbed the “perfumed prince” by some tabloids, Sheikh Saud was arrested in 2005 on suspicion of sexually assaulting a female housekeeper while on a medical stay at the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota; charges were later dropped.

Saud later made headlines when his bid to host the 2010 America’s Cup in Ras al Khaimah was rebuffed after reports suggested the emirate was a “hot spot” of trouble for terrorists and smugglers suspected of moving illegal weapons and components for Iran’s nuclear weapons programs.

Sheikh Khalid, who lives in the Middle East and hopes to return to power, hired the California firm, which mounted a campaign that has included full-page ads in the New York Times, Washington Post and other newspapers; banner ads on Web sites including Politico and the Drudge Report; and bus ads in the U.S. capital, as well as a Web site, RAKforthepeople.com.

The rest HERE

So my obvious choice for who might be behind the hack would be the Sheikh’s brother in power. I mean, wouldn’t it be your choice given the history and situation? After all, he is all pal’ed up Iran and all the unsavory types as well as has that stellar reputation of maybe being a rapist.

Now I have not heard so much on the street as to the capabilities of Iran in the world of hacking or cyber warfare, but I assume there must be some capability there if not the funds to hire some hackers to do the job. I guess my biggest question though is exactly what this “data” was that is so important. What dirty laundry is there left that that kid who was leaking to Wikileaks didn’t already release?

I should think though, that perhaps a more appropriate agency to look into this might be CIA or more to the point NSA. Sure, FBI can look into it, but, the machinations here might be more along the geopolitical lines of some folks with higher pay grades…

Keep an eye out on this one…

CoB

Written by Krypt3ia

2010/06/10 at 17:48

CBRN: Protective Steps

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Given all the talk lately about Nantaz and the new secret facility that, well, ain’t so secret, I thought this was an appropriate heads up.

How To Survive A Dirty Bomb

Written by Krypt3ia

2009/11/18 at 01:10

Posted in CBRN, SURVIVAL

Nuclear OPSEC FAIL

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While surfing the intertubes today I came across this little piece of OPSEC FAIL on the DOE.gov site. I believe it is a planned site per the document, but, this is rather detailed even for a plan to just be out there for any Jihadist to download.

This brings up the whole OPSEC issue. Too many places just fail to understand the precepts of OPESEC even within the rarefied air of the DOE where super mental genius’s work on the next generation transwarp drive. It seems especially these folks fail to understand the needs for secrecy.

Of course looking toward the private sector, I see way too many places that fail to comprehend OPSEC never mind try to implement and enforce the rules surrounding it to protect their data.

Even defense contractors… Now there’s a scary thought huh?

Oh well.. Lets just hope the next wave of homegrown jihadi’s can’t read or use Google.

… Now where is that zombie apocalypse we were promised?

Written by Krypt3ia

2009/10/30 at 01:21

The Virus and the Swine

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The Virus and the Swine

Influenza A viruses have segmented, negative-sense RNA genomes that encode up to 11 proteins. These include the surface glycoproteins hemagglutinin and neuraminidase and the virulence factors NS1 (host interferon antagonist)and PB1-F2 (proapoptotic factor). The viruses are grouped according to theexpression of 1 of 16 hemagglutinin subtypes and 1 of 9 neuraminidase subtypes (Palese and Shaw, 2007).

The elusive nature of influenza viruses as targets of adaptive immunity is mostlya function of the hemagglutinin molecule, the major surface antigen eliciting protectiveantibodies. The hemagglutinin is a remarkable structure, accommodatingsignificant morphological changes while maintaining its crucial functions in attachingthe virus to the host cell and mediating fusion of the viral and host membranes.Entry of influenza viruses into cells depends on the presence of a functional hemagglutinin molecule and expression of the host cell receptor for hemagglutinin, sialic acid.

Humans and avian species differ in the expression of sialyltransferases in mucosal and respiratory tissues resulting in N-glycans with either α2,6 (human) or α2,3 (avian) linked sialic acids. The ability of a particular virus to bind to either of these two conformations of terminal sialic acid is thought to be the basis for the host restriction that is characteristic of influenza viruses.

An avian virus that acquires the ability, via mutation or reassortment, to bind to α2,6-linked sialic acids may cross the species barrier and become infectious in humans. Infections in swine are thought to mediate virus reassortment because swine tissues express both forms of sialic acid, enabling cells to be coinfected with avian and human viruses (Olsen, 2002).

Viruses adapted to swine can also combine with human and avian viruses to produce triple reassortants that may have the ability to infect humans. The 2009 H1N1 swine influenza virus is an example of a triple reassortant

Influenza viruses demonstrate variations in their ability to be transmitted between humans. Molecular markers predicting the ability of a virus to be transmitted have not yet been determined. However, low temperature and low humidity are known to be environmental conditions that favor aerosol transmission, explaining the seasonal nature of normal influenza

(Lowen et al.,2007).

This morning I finished watching “The Time Is Now” Season 2 of MillenniuM and got to thinking about the swine, avian, and other pandemics out there that might happen. As we are in the midst of the H1N1 pandemic I thought it appropriate to give it a closer look.

Turns out that the H1N1 is a close relative of the 1918 H1N1 that only lack a couple of protein sectors to make its lethality and transmissibility nastier. Sure, you think “whew we’re good!” but the reality is that these two proteins could easily pop up because of the nature of the swine flu and the nature of the swine themselves that allow for easy re-assortant.

Simply, this bug, because it is from swine, and swine express both the vectors of avian protease areas as well as human.

Thus the likelihood of another shift to allow for these proteins to be installed within the virus is much higher a probability than one might think. It’s just a matter of time really before this happens and really, I think that the avian portion of the picture will re-assert itself and we will see the full effect of a triple reassortant virus.

This week the President declared an emergency, the WHO declared pandemic a while ago, and the press ran away with the ball like chicken little. The populace though, seem to be rather lax about the whole thing because they fail to understand the dangers I think. The following things make you more likely to have real problems should you contract this virus.

  1. Asthma
  2. Heart Disease
  3. Pulmonary diseases
  4. Immunocompromised individuals
  5. Obesity
  6. Pregnancy

Never mind that this virus has been striking people in their teens and 20’s who do not have any of these problems with their health. Because this is a respiratory illness that causes pneumonia, it is more likely to actually kill you than the average flu, and yes, the average flu kills about 200K people a year. H1N1 thus far has killed 246K people. It’s a bit more virulent. And yet, it is not 1918 virulent yet. In 1918 in 25 weeks approximately 25 million died from its effects. Swine flu is it’s tamer but mutation friendly cousin.

And you wonder why officials get spooked about this one?

So, yeah, I am kinda worried about this bug. I have the asthma and have to wonder about getting the shot or nasal swab to hopefully prevent getting sick. I also have to wonder about the CDC’s page that says that CT has “widespread” cases of Swine. Not pockets, its just all the hell over the place. Of course people are not dropping dead of it as I have heard… But, I don’t want to be in ICU with acute respiratory issues because I got it and have asthma. That would be bad. Guess I will have to talk to the doctor.

This all got me thinking though about BW and just what’s been going on since our last episode with the Anthrax that was sent to Tom Delay and others. Which, whatever happened to that case huh? Is it closed now because that guy committed suicide after they hounded him? Last I had heard there was no concrete evidence that he had in fact manufactured the Anthrax to the BW level and sent it. This got me thinking though about the old Sov program in BW.

I took a stroll though Google and came up with an interesting story back in 2004 by the CBC on Biopreparat and VEKTOR. Evidently even in 04 there was monkey business going on in the old Sov state. They had allegedly moved their BW programs to the military area and went completely black.  To give you perspective, the defection of two high ranking doctors back in the late 80’s pretty much put a crimp in the Sov’s bioweapons programs… But, evidently not enough of one to stop them.

Nope, they have kept on making new and improved weapons. In fact, they came out back in 2001 with a report that they had “accidentally” created a vaccine resistant strain of anthrax. A strain they refused to give any data or samples about when asked by the rest of the world to assure that it was indeed resistant to not only the Sov vaccine, but also the US and others.

They just said nyet. So who knows what they have now.

But Putin is our friend! W looked into his soul!

Right.

Oh well, I have dug up a bunch of docs for you to peruse. I guess the real thing for me here:

What’s your labile swine flu pandemic plan?

Written by Krypt3ia

2009/10/28 at 23:46

Big Bang scientist ‘planned to blow up oil refinery in terror attack that would wipe out city the size of London’

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By Peter Allen and Nabila Ramdani
Last updated at 5:54 PM on 13th October 2009

A nuclear scientist turned Al Qaeda agent was targeting a Total Oil refinery in a bid to cause an explosion which would have destroyed a city ‘the size of London’, it emerged today.

Adlene Hicheur , 32, also compiled a ‘wish list’ of senior European politicians as ‘assassination targets’ including French president Nicolas Sarkozy and the country’s interior minister Brice Hortefeux.

Hicheur is currently on remand in Paris after being charged on Monday afternoon with ‘criminal activities related to a terrorist group’.

The Rest

Well, finally the Hollywood ideal has become the real scenario where terrorism is concerned. A scientist who worked at the LHC was evidently planning on bombing large oil facilities etc in a plot that would rival 9/11… In the EU that is. The alleged plan he had in mind would devastate an area the size of London one claim makes.

In any case, we are starting to see the paradigm shift here and people should be paying attention. No longer are we just dealing with unschooled madrassa  programmed kids and wanna be’s. We are starting to see more and more guys who are like Mohammad Atta. Educated and completely and utterly bent on doing destruction to others for their God.

Today details of the ‘brilliant and solitary’ physician’s sinister plans were made public by security sources who have been collecting evidence against him for the past year-and-a-half during a surveillance operation.

During that time he was using a pseudonym on the Internet as he corresponded with leading members of Al Qaeda’s notorious North African unit.

Money transfers had already taken place between the two, as a plan was concocted to target Total, the multinational oil company which operates in most European countries including Britain and France.

There had also been an exchange of ‘technical expertise’, with the young boffin offering his considerable scientific know-how.

However, Adlene had ruled out any possibility of acting as a suicide bomber, insisting that a kamikaze attack would be less effective than a more conventional one.

So there you have it. Scientific know how that could have potentially really made for a big bang (no pun intended.. Ok, maybe a little) This guy was definitely smarter than the average shaheed though. He had no plans to do himself in just yet with a bomb vest. Instead he wanted to remote det something big.

Of course all of the headlines make him out to be a nuclear scientist. Really, he may know about nuclear theory but he was at CERN looking for the Higgs Boson! C’mon! Nope, he certainly could have planned and carried out a big attack, but he was caught. Caught mind you even though he was using a pseudonym online etc. Likely he was not a master mind enough to be using TOR for his transmissions….

It’s also interesting to note that he was in contact with the Algerian Maghreb. These are the same guys who had that little incident with the plague last year. These guys are on the edge and of all the Qaida out there, seem to be the ones on the move where bigger attacks using CBRN are concerned.

Keep your wits about you kids…

Written by Krypt3ia

2009/10/14 at 01:25

EMP/HERF/HEMP: What.. Me Worry?

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Recently I have been hearing more and more in the news how the senate and house have been having hearings on EMP threats to this nation. As I began to hear more of this, I inevitable came to the question of “Why now?” I mean, this has always been a threat as far as I am concerned. Of course now its even more pressing an issue as we are so “interconnected” today with the internet and communications infrastructure in general… But, just what was it that was making them get all hot for this now I wondered. Had they heard something from some intelligence body and were all freaked out?

I had thought on this a while and really had kinda just forgotten about it until this last Friday when I was headed home from work and listening to NPR’s Science Friday show. As if on qeue, I turned on the radio and there was Congressman Roscoe Bartlett railing on the dangers that we face should a terrorist or a nation state decide to use an EMP/HEMP device on the US’ infrastructure.

I sat in the car at the end of my trip still listening to the end of his interview, when it was over I knew I had to really take a deeper look into why these people had suddenly had a fire lit under their collective do nothing asses. Come to find out that perhaps that fire was lit 9.12.01 and has been steadily becoming a blaze as the eggheads began to show the congress-critters just how fucked we would be if someone used an HEMP on us.. Only now, something had changed in their collectively lazy minds.. We had been attacked on our own soil and SHIT WE’RE FREAKED OUT!

So, today I sat down and Googled the dhs.gov, .gov, .mil, and other domain spaces with key words of EMP/HEMP/HERF etc. What I found is a plethora of documents that began to spring up around 2003/2004 concerning the threatcon of a terrorist or nation state EMP attack… Funny thing too.. Gee, 2003, that was the year of the great blackout of the northeast.

Ya know.. the one that “trees” allegedly caused? Yeah…

The primary document that I came up with that was the most recent is: The Report of the Commission to Assess theThreat to the United States from Electromagnetic Pulse (EMP) Attack which, in 208 pages covers all of the problems this nation (and I assume other places) has regarding our infrastructure where an attack of this type is concerned. Suffice to say, that this document has some rather dire things to say. Including the following passage on the magnatude of weapon that could cause a major failure of our infrastructure;

The magnitude of an EMP event varies with the type, design and yield of the weapon,
as well as its placement. The Commission has concluded that even a relatively modest-to small yield weapon of particular characteristics, using design and fabrication informationalready disseminated through licit and illicit means, can produce a potentially devastating E1 field strength over very large geographical regions. This followed by E2 impacts, and in some cases serious E3 impacts operating on electrical components left relatively unprotected by E1, can be extremely damaging. (E3 requires a greater yield to produce major effects.) Indeed, the Commission determined that such weapon devices not only
could be readily built and delivered, but also the specifics of these devices have been
illicitly trafficked for the past quarter-century. The field strengths of such weapons may
be much higher than those used by the Commission for testing threshold failure levels of
electrical system components and subsystems.

Laymans terms, even a small device placed in the right place or even an HEMP (High Altitude) of moderate size, would likely bring this nations infrastructure to a grinding halt and it would stay down for some time. You see, our infrastructure is very much dependent on itself to feed itself. If the power goes out, then there is no power after the reserves run out to keep the other systems running. In fact, even the power generation, and its getting to you requires the very power that is generated to get it TO you and regulate it so that things don’t implode in on themselves! In essence, the grid goes down, then everything goes too soon afterward. No cell phones, no emergency services because you cant call them because the phones and cell phones don’t work.. because there’s no power… You see where I am going. The system, and by system, I mean the utilities infrastructure, is not only antiquated in many ways and stretched, but also, that which is not antiquated, is EXCEEDINGLY susceptible to this and other E1-E3 attacks. How do we know? Because the commission actually set up tests as best they could, and they could crash systems with low end EMP devices, thats how.

Yet, the commission also admits the following thing in this passage;

Additionally, analyses available from foreign sources suggest that amplitudes and frequency
content of EMP fields from bomb blasts calculated by U.S. analysts may be too
low. While this matter is a highly technical issue that awaits further investigation by U.S.
scientific experts, it raises the specter of increased uncertainty about the adequacy of
current U.S. EMP mitigation approaches.

Even our testing and our data is suspect and we may even be in a worse state of affairs than we think from bad data!

Yay!

So lets break it down shall we? What’s vulnerable and just how much?

The Power Grid:

Fear not only the terrorist though my friends.. Did you know that nature too has actually D0S’d our power grid in the past? Yep, its true.. From lightning to the more fearsome EMP bursts from the sun. We live in a world where our very society hinges on the power being available to keep our lights on, our food cold, and our MTV on the tube and it could all be taken out by an EMP burst from the sun. Now that’s one hell of an EMP.


A key issue for the Commission in assessing the impact of such a disruption to the
Nation’s electrical system was not only the unprecedented widespread nature of the outage
(e.g., the cascading effects from even one or two relatively small weapons exploded
in optimum location in space at present would almost certainly shut down an entire interconnected
electrical power system, perhaps affecting as much as 70 percent or possibly
more of the United States, all in an instant) but more significantly widespread damage
may well adversely impact the time to recover and thus have a potentially catastrophic
impact.

High-value assets (assets that are critical to the production and delivery of large volumes
of electrical power and those critical for service to key loads) in the system are vulnerable
to EMP through the loss of protection equipment due to E1 and even if E3 levels
were not large enough to cause damage. The largest and most critical of these are
transformers. Transformers are the critical link (1) between generation and transmission,
(2) within the transmission network, (3) between the transmission and distribution
systems, and (4) from the distribution to the load.

Wait though, it gets better… Did I mention that much of the equipment, like transformers, actually is not something we can get “COTS” ? Did you know that it would take a year or more in some instances to get a new one? Now imagine that more than one.. More than three… Have been taken out permanently by an E1-E3 event?


The transformers that handle electrical power within the transmission system and its
interfaces with the generation and distribution systems are large, expensive, and to a considerable
extent, custom built. The transmission system is far less standardized than the
power plants are, which themselves are somewhat unique from one to another. All production
for these large transformers used in the United States is currently offshore.

Delivery time for these items under benign circumstances is typically one to two years.
There are about 2,000 such transformers rated at or above 345 kV in the United States
with about 1 percent per year being replaced due to failure or by the addition of new
ones. Worldwide production capacity is less than 100 units per year and serves a world
market, one that is growing at a rapid rate in such countries as China and India. Delivery
of a new large transformer ordered today is nearly 3 years, including both manufacturing
and transportation. An event damaging several of these transformers at once means it
may extend the delivery times to well beyond current time frames as production is taxed.
The resulting impact on timing for restoration can be devastating. Lack of high voltage
equipment manufacturing capacity represents a glaring weakness in our survival and
recovery to the extent these transformers are vulnerable

There you have it. The grid, the very SAME grid that the government now wants to make more “computerized” is insanely vulnerable to this type of attack. Come to find out too, that its actually pretty much vulnerable to many other types of attacks or accidents too. It’s just that an EMP would be large scale and or, would have a feedback loop associated with it that would systemically kill great swaths of the grid. Much like what we saw in 2003, August when the *cough* trees, caused the northeast to go down.

Oh, and by the way, think on this too. A cyber attack on these same systems, if carried out properly, could have the same effect. If you kill or futz with the SCADA you can kill the system and have that same feedback loop occur. So, if you are thinking well, whew! I really don’t foresee a nuke detonation at altitude you might want to consider our current security posture too and feel your sphincter tighten a bit. All it would take is a concerted effort and something along the lines of a BOTnet and BOOM, we could have deep power outages that could take protracted times to repair.

So where does that leave us? If the power is out, then nothing can really run unless you have backup power. However, backup power requires that you get more fuel, unless you have a Mr. Fusion handy, then you could just dump your compost into it. Nope, you will need a truck to bring you oil or diesel.. Of course you will need to call them.. But your cell phone is fried, and so are the towers, and the towers that may have escaped the full blast? They are overloaded just like the day of 9/11. You are not getting through.

So lets break it down by service.

TELCO/COMMS:

  • Cell phones and towers are highly susceptible
  • Landlines are not so much, but the switching stations that are more modern and thus will be inoperable

GAS/OIL:

  • Just one word SCADA Its been tested and is highly vulnerable to EMP even to the point of having problems with radar causing systems to fail
  • Gas and oil production would be at a standstill or worse, the plants could actually catch fire from pressure etc

RAIL:

  • Switching systems on rail have gone to the computer and as we have seen recently, can get hosed up and cause large scale accidents
  • The systems are basically SCADA/DC systems that are vulnerable to this type of attack
  • Most of these systems reside in small metal boxes near the rail.. Open to attack

SHIPS/TRUCKS/PLANES/NAVIGATION SYSTEMS:

  • GPS and other NAV systems on ships/trucks etc today are all micro circuit based and have proven to be vulnerable to attack by E1-E3 events
  • Most cars and trucks now have microchip systems within them that regulate the operation of the car. No chip, no run.. so the car becomes a large paperweight
  • Motorcycles not so much, unless you have a goldwing or something along those lines
  • Air travel will be down. Not only the planes systems will be fried but also the towers will be without power and their computer aided radar will be offline

FINANCIAL:

  • The financial system is a bit more resiliant to the power loss potential of an attack. However, their computer systems are still not shielded for an EMP event and thus, even redundant systems would be fried.. and without power after the generators ran out of diesel

What does this tell you all? It tells you that even though we have known about this type of attack since, oh, 1962, we have done nothing to really shield any of our systems that we have put in place. No Faraday cages, no shielding on the circuits, nada. It would have been too costly and no one could concieve of such an attack on us!

Right…

I vote more on the saving money thing and being generally lazy, but, I am jaded.

So where do we go from here?

The commission has made recommendations and even put in the monetary figures that would be necessary to take care of the issues. Will they happen? Will they happen especially since we are going to have a “smart grid” now that is going to likely be just as, if not MORE vulnerable to attacks both EMP and cyber?

My answer.. nope.

Why? Because inevitably people will say that the congress-critters are over reacting and that this attack is not likely to happen. If the Qaeda boys get their hands on a nuke, they aren’t going to get this kind of nuke! No! They are going to get a suitcase nuke and blow the fuck out of some poor city like Boston!

Whats that? The Russian navy just had TWO subs that avoided our SOSUS nets off the East Coast last week? Meh, Pooty Poot said not to worry! They were just here to listen to our “rock and roll” before heading down to Cuba for a good time! It’s not like they could carry a small yield ICBM style nuke that would make a damn fine HEMP! C’mon!! Don’t be crazy!

Never mind the idea that the Chinese have their hands on technology for E1-E3 devices that need not be high altitude. Did you know for instance that those BIG ASS transformers that take a YEAR to get are pretty much made only by them? Yeah, uh, the Chinese make our transformers that are the linchpin to our grid.. Ya know, the ones that are really really vulnerable?

Lets postulate here a bit too.. We’ve been worried about the Chinese market in fake chip sets getting into our military hardware.. Gee, how about them being in our big ass transformers? Hell of an exploit were they to hide chips or features in those transformers..

Click.. ZZZZZ POP! There goes the grid, and there goes our dominance in the world. Sure, you can say the Chinese would be only shooting themselves in the head being our biggest lender and trading partner… But, if you were them and you really didn’t care because you would WIN the war simply, wouldn’t you do the same thing?

So back to where do we go from here… For me I think its going to be looking into a faraday cage for the basement.. More power generation tools like solar etc for the house, and stocking up on non perishables. That’s about all one can do really. You see, your government is too big and too ossified to really effectively remedy the situation. While they argue with each other over who’s sleeping with who’s wife and what it means to be a “Real American” the enemies are collecting the armaments necessary to take us down.. At least for a while.

All YOU can do is prepare and take care of yourself and yours.

Lets hope this doesn’t happen.. But if it does.. Be ready.

For more reading go HERE

Listen to Roscoe Bartlett HERE:

General Chilton: STRATCOM On CYBERWAR

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Gen Chilton

Gen Chilton

//BEGIN

General Kevin P Chilton: Commander of STRATCOM was on NPR the other day and I happen to catch only part of it. I went on down to the “Google” and came up with the audio at the npr.org site of course. Anyway, Chilton is rather frank in this interview about how we are lacking in many respects when it comes to the issue of “Cyberwar” In one particular question he answers the larger issues as they stand today;

BOWMAN: And increasingly so. This is from a speech you made back in February: In a cyberspace domain, here are some obvious things. We are under attack. We are behind. We are reactive. We are not proactive. How do you become proactive here?

Gen. CHILTON: Well, there’s three things that we’re trying to change in the military – under STRATCOM leadership writ large. In all our services and the way we think about cyberspace, we’re trying to change the culture, the conduct and our capabilities.

Culture, of course, is probably one of the more difficult ones. You can’t just fix that with investment, but we’ve grown up with a culture, and I think it’s probably true in our personal lives, that cyberspace and our computers are just a convenience. They make life easier.

What the switch we have to make in the military is the realization that we’re dependent on cyberspace for military operations on air, land and sea and in space, and we cannot effectively conduct out operations in those areas without the cyberspace domain and our military networks.

So they’re not just a convenience, they’re a necessity, and that means when you have a problem there, the commander in charge of forces ought to be, whether he’s in charge of air, land or sea forces, ought to be very worried about his networks and paying attention to their health, are they defended properly, etcetera.

In the conduct area, we need to do a better job of training people to point out that anybody in the military who’s using a computer plugged into a military network is the same as a gate guard standing in front of a base, protecting the gate. And if they don’t do their job correctly, they can allow someone to intrude on those networks and steal information or interrupt operations.

So training is part of the conduct change, and then we have to hold people accountable. We haven’t done a very good job of that, in my view, for people who don’t follow the rules, because we haven’t seen it as being that big a deal. It is a big deal, and we know it will be in the future.

And then in a capability area, that’s investment in the technologies to make sure our military men and women have the same kind of technologies available that you can invest in to defend and protect your home computer, to include automatic connections to your Internet service provider that can push antivirus software to you as soon as it’s made available electronically, so you don’t have to go, as we often do in the military, machine to machine with a disk and upgrade the defenses on the computer.

So we need those capability and technology investments, as well.

So, there you have it.. We are not prepared and we are really quite dependant on the infrastructure and have plugged it into just about everything. In essence, all our eggs are in one privately held basket that could be attacked and used against us. Never mind that, the intelligence gathering that goes on today as well as theft is staggering because the ideals of security have not been an important thing to us as a nation or economy.

Additionally, he said one thing that really kinda freaked me out. They are still using SNEAKER NET! I am assuming that he is referring to the SCI areas, but, geez..  I guess that this should be a real wake up to those of you who read me and perhaps take what I say with a grain of salt, that I am telling it as it is kids. We are behind in a big way and we need to catch up quickly. Imagine if indeed we as a nation focused on the problem with the same technological knowhow and mandate from the powers that be that the NSA had in placing the NARUS systems into the internet backbone eh? We might have a chance…

Meanwhile, Chilton also makes it more accessible to the masses (with a question from the phone listeners) just how fragmented and likely not too easily fixable the whole cyber security initiative is. Remember all the stove piping being a key finding as to why 9/11 happened unbeknownst to our intelligence agencies? Yes, that same problem is what any “Cyber Tsar” will face once they take the job. A scrabbling for all the marbles or pieces of the pie will ensue and we, the people, will be left holding the digital bag.

Working in the defense industry, I see this every day when it comes to intrusions and issues of reporting intel back and forth. It’s gotten a little bit better of late, but it’s still a real pain in the ass and often, the reports come to us in a mostly useless form… That is unless you have SCI clearance and a “need to know” So really, they are mostly useless to someone actually doing forensics or incident response on systems perhaps infected with a 0-day worm from China.

Finally, Chilton does some talking about nuclear options and EMP attacks. He says that he would not remove any option from the President’s purview. Of course I kinda agree with that assessment, but, nuking a country over a cyber attack for me is a little excessive. However, the real use for all out cyber warfare would be to have them in tandem with physical, conventional attacks on the targets too. So in reality, if we can “attribute” the attacks to a certain country and are attacked physically, sure, the nuke option is a possible one. However, as the general says, attribution is near impossible… So really, it’s not going to happen that way. Certainly though, a combined cyber attack followed by an EMP to finish the job would be one hell of a digital apocalypse.

Imagine one day being sent back to the 19th century style of living. No cell phones, no internet, no TV, no power, no water….

Can you say pandemonium?

Sure there’s shielding, but that is only for the C&C.. What about the rest of the country huh?

So, in the end, we have another report, another bubbling of the idea that a cyber war is possible and we are not up to the challenge…

If you’re not a little freaked… Well, enjoy the apathy. So when I write about all of the issues about securing networks and having policies, this is the sum of what could happen if the country does not take all those little bits of security to heart.

EPIC FAIL

NPR Talk Of The Nation

//END

MS-13 Trafficking in Qaeda Members?

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MS-13 member with Arabic tattoos (police photograph)

MS-13 Smuggles Muslim Terrorists into U.S.

Paul Williams, PhD

From Family Security Matters via CICENTRE


Al Qaeda and the Latino Gang-Bangers

The situation at the border now poses a grave threat to national security.
Agent Mike Scioli of the U.S. Border Patrol confirms that the Tucson sector of the Border Patrol is facing a worsening problem with Mara Salvatrucha, a Salvadoran street gang that now controls the flow of arms, drugs, and illegal aliens into the U.S.

Two members of the violent gang were collared last week in Tucson and Nogales. Twenty have been brought into custody since President Barack Obama assumed the oath of office on January 20, 2009.

But the Salvadoran gang is bringing more than guns, dope, and Mexican peasant workers over the border.
In the wake of 9/11, Mara Salvatrucha attracted the attention of top al Qaeda officials, who realized that the gang could be used to smuggle operatives and weapons into the United States.[1] An agreement was forged between the terrorists and the gang-bangers. In exchange for safe passage across the border, al Qaeda – through its cells in South America – agreed to pay the Maras from $30,000 to $50,000 for each sleeper agent they managed to smuggle into the country with bogus matricula consulars.[2]
The rest here…
Usually I read things from CICENTRE and have a bit more cred for the sources, however, this articles source kinda worries me. I personally know something about the MS-13 set and I really don’t have much recollection of them being Coyotes for Al Qaeda, nor the types to really want to affiliate with them… However, money is money and they are pretty much in for the money and power, so they might just be doing this very thing.
The infiltration game is theirs though, so who else would you go to to get your agent provocateurs into the country but the Coyote’s who do it daily huh? Given that our border is so porous still, I hardly think its overly hard to get into this country. Now, tag that with an efficient group who smuggles as well as gathers fake papers and you have quite the force to be reckoned with.
Now, just how many of those pesky Al Qaeda look like Mexicans I wonder? Even shaven do they pass for a Mexican on a consular pass? I don’t really think so. My bet would be on proxies that are South American or Mexican who have been drafted into the Qaeda group for the sole purpose of attacking the US. Maybe as couriers to actual sleepers or just cells…
I have to tell you though.. That southern border would sure be an easy way to infiltrate with a nuke or a biological huh?
Yeah…

Written by Krypt3ia

2009/08/04 at 18:41