Why did we ship a fortune to our mortal enemy and not get the indicted cybercriminals living in Iran who attacked us, in return?
The U.S. is in a cyberwar. It’s common knowledge. If you did have a doubt, it was reported today that The Obama administration is preparing to elevate the stature of the Pentagon’s Cyber Command, signaling more emphasis on developing cyber weapons to deter attacks, punish intruders into U.S. networks and tackle adversaries such as the Islamic State.
The challenge with cyberattacks is you often can’t figure out who specifically is doing the attacking. When you actually can figure it out, it is a fantastic opportunity to set an example so others don’t follow in their footsteps.
This past March, Iranian hackers were indicted in the U.S. because they attacked financial institutions and a dam in Rye, New York. The seven accused were believed to have been working on behalf of Iran’s government and the Islamic Revolutionary Guard. No one expected the Iranian government to hand them over so the press conference seemed to be designed to show the government is doing something about nation-sponsored cyberattacks. The implication was – we will eventually get these people.
Attorney General Loretta Lynch said they conspired together and with others to conduct a series of cyberattacks in all which cost the victims tens of millions of dollars. She went on to say these attacks harmed hundreds of thousands of people in the U.S.
Identifying these people is what the security industry would consider a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
All we needed now was leverage – something of value to give in exchange for these people who attacked us.
This week, we found out that we sent Iran $400 million dollars in an unmarked plane, at night and in untraceable foreign currency.
Obviously, in exchange for all this cash, we could name our price – get anything we wanted, right?
There is potential proof that this money was given in exchange for four hostages – which president Obama denies.
But if the money wasn’t in exchange for the hostages, why did we not get the cyber-attackers?
The biggest threat this country faces is cyberattacks. Ransomware is just one problem – we learned this week that drones can be used to sabotage industrial systems.
The Dark web is making it easy for Russian and Chinese hackers to learn from each other and further allows “state sanctioned” hackers for hire to attack the U.S. from a distance.
The OPM hack by China puts in the hands of this government, all federal workers – including spies and further, the database had their personal information such as lovers, sexual secrets, where they work and more.
Any foreign government could use this data against American citizens at any time.
For example, in the South China Sea where China and the U.S. don’t see eye-to-eye on the islands which China constructed and turned into military bases. If we have an aircraft carrier nearby, the Chinese government would likely know who is on the boat and can also find out about their families via simple Google searches. This information can be used to blackmail anyone on the boat. A simple threat to someone’s kids or spouse will make them think twice before following orders.
In short, one hack has altered our national security landscape making us far less secure.
And when we had a chance to set an example. To get a hold of hackers who attacked private companies and public infrastructure, potentially endangering American lives, we did nothing.
One wishes something as crucial as this got the media coverage it deserves but instead, the top political news of the day and I kid you not is Donald Trump choosing an advisory team with no women, Donald Trump is Crazy as well as other crucial news like Donald Trump’s Campaign Website Won’t Let You Cancel Recurring Donations and of course What Happened After I Wrote That Cargo Shorts Story.
We do have a leader and he resides in the White House and this week we learned he sent a secret plane in darkness filled with money to a terrorist sponsoring country and didn’t even get the criminal hackers who attacked the U.S. in return.
Will this hurt his approval rating? Will it factor in to who we elect in November? Absolutely not. Because as long as we have journalists and a public more concerned about Melania Trump’s softcore porn pics than they are about their own national security, we all get the government, and country we deserve.