Let’s Talk About Cyber War



“Speaking to a group of U.S. business leaders last week, Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta issued a dire warning that foreign hackers are becoming increasingly sophisticated and that their online attacks on transportation systems, banks and other vital facilities are escalating.”

Based on the numerous blog articles that this class has presented on cyber security, I’m pretty sure we have proven this quote to be true. Certain cyber activists, like Defense Secretary Panetta, are again lobbying congress for a more defined structure on how to handle and protect the United States from what he calls a potential “cyber Pearl Harbor”.

The United States has become an increased target for foreign nation sponsored cyber attacks, and we’re pretty unprepared. In August, measure S.3414 was presented to the Senate. Measure S.3414′s basic goal was to, “… enhance the security and resiliency of the cyber and communications infrastructure of the United States.” This measure was unfortunately blocked by a Republican filibuster. Why it was blocked, I’m not going to get into (politics can be a dangerous zone to enter), but what is clear is that there is a need for a more defined government cyber defense policy.

This need has now materialized itself in a bipartisan House bill that only addresses the area of information sharing between targeted companies and the federal government. This new bill, H.R. 3523, is aimed to “… provide for the sharing of certain cyber threat intelligence and cyber threat information between the intelligence community and cybersecurity entities, and for other purposes.”

As the topic of cyber defense has reached a governmental level, it is becoming very clear time and time again that there is an apparent need to a centralized cyber defense measure. The fate of H.R. 3523 is not known yet, but time will tell if we as a country make the move to a more secure digital future.


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Twitter Can Give You A Virus, It’s Not the Avian Flu…


Twitter. People either love it or hate it. I view Twitter as a “Diet Facebook”, I still know what people are doing and thinking at every second of the day, I just don’t get Farmville notifications to go with it.

Recently, Twitter users have been the target of a new Trojan infiltration scheme. A Twitter user will receive a DM, direct message, from a supposedly trusted source with a nondescript but tantalizing message. The messages usually reference a supposed elicit picture or video of said user, with a link that will, supposedly, take the user to the referenced content.

According to reports, users are taken to “YouTube”, please note the quotes. They are then prompted that an update is needed to view this video, with a link to download a file titled “FlashPlayerV10.1.57.108.exe”. In reality, people are actually downloading a Windows compatible Trojan application, right to their computer. Simple social engineering.

What makes this so easy is not only the promise of discovering embarrassing content about yourself on the internet, but the fact that a URL shortening service is being used to disguise the actual target URL. Using URL shortening services on Twitter is not uncommon, so to the average Twitter user, there is no apparent cause for alarm when receiving one of these messages.

This should go without saying, but, if your Twitter account happens to be the one sending out these false messages, change your password immediately. If the information is coming from a friends account, it is recommended that you alert them, and recommend that they change their password too. 

People just need to remember to be safe, make sure what you are receiving is real content. If you’re unsure about a link, don’t click it, or at least verify it with the sender. Happy Tweeting.

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