War Gaming WikiLeaks–and the First Amendment

At least according to this short piece, the US and Europe are holding a war game today to “simulat[e] how they would in future stop a Wikileaks-type hack.”

I find this to be a really troublesome development. After all, the way to stop a “Wikileaks-type hack” is for DOD, by itself, to implement some very basic security measures on their networks. You know? Like preventing soldiers from inserting writable disks with a Lady Gaga label into SIPRNET-linked computers?

Granted, they have resisted such basic security measures for years, even in the face of two viruses and the WikiLeaks leak. But they don’t need the EU’s help to implement very basic security fixes.

Where they would need help from Europe, though, is in choking off a media outlet by denying it both funding and server space–something they tried to do with WikiLeaks, with only partial success. While they did succeed in choking off funding, they failed to prevent the publication of WikiLeaks generally.

Indeed, when DOJ was recommending Bank of America work with a private spying company to combat WikiLeaks, the plan was to go after WikiLeaks’ server in Sweden.

Need to get to the Swedish document submission server. Need to create doubt about their security and increase awareness that interaction with WikiLeaks will expose you.

Not only does this suggest DOD is still looking elsewhere to solve the problem created by their own abysmal network security.

But it also means the US and Europe are plotting out ways to shut down free speech in the future.

7 replies
  1. JTMinIA says:

    Is an attack by the gov’t of Country X against a civilian target inside Country Y an act of war by X against Y?

    I ask because I believe that our Exec Branch has determined that cyber-attacks are acts of war.

  2. WilliamOckham says:

    As a follow-up, I would have described the two scenarios as defending against a Duqu-style attack and defending against a Stuxnet-style attack. That would have made for a much more interesting article and would be more accurate. Here’s the description (with my annotation in bold):

    In the first scenario, a targeted stealthy cyber-attack (Advanced Persistent Threat – APT) attempts to exfiltrate and publish online, secret information from EU Member States’ cyber security agencies [exactly what Duqu did in the EU except that the targets were different]. The second simulation focuses on the disruption of supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) systems in power generation infrastructures[This describes the Stuxnet attack on Iran].

    What we’re really doing is saying, “Um.. Sorry for showing everybody how to pull off these kind of attacks. Can we help show you how to defend against them?” Except we have no clue how to defend against them…

  3. orionATL says:

    “plotting” is le mot juste here.

    plotting out = determining/writing down a series of actions to be taken

    plotting = scheming


    “first amendment” ?

    where constitutional guarantees of individual freedom from gov’t zealousness are concerned,

    our united states department of defense does not count below ten, ever.

    for war, you see, is an all encompassing game, like american football, only bigger.

    and like football in america these days,

    any and all cheating is o.k. as long as it is our team cheating.

    the idea, actually, the compulsion, is to win – whatever it takes…

  4. Ken Muldrew says:

    Emptywheel wrote,

    “After all, the way to stop a “Wikileaks-type hack” is for DOD, by itself, to implement some very basic security measures on their networks.”

    They, and all the other departments in government, might also consider sharing their information with citizens. Sort of like a democracy. That would be a pretty simple way of neutralizing Wikileaks.

    Lee Hamilton to an unrepentant enemy of democracy,

    “A democratic government as I understand it, is not a solution, but a way of seeking solutions. It is not a government devoted to a particular policy objective, but a form of government which specifies the means and methods of achieving objectives… If we support that process [secret govt. operations] to bring about a desired end–no matter how strongly we may believe in that end–we have weakened our country, not strengthened it.”

  5. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Is this part of a concerted effort to stop a once and future Wiki-Leaks from disclosing legitimate state secrets or the expansion of programs designed to influence or ban more general discussions that someone in power considers inappropriate, however constipatedly a right wing ideologue, junta or politician might define that.

  6. KWillow says:

    If they’re successful in “crushing” Wikileaks, various governments may find themselves in the same position as corporations that “crushed” Napster.

    And if credit companies won’t work with Wikileaks, maybe people could send them… cash?

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