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EMAIL INTERVIEW – James Carlini and Ken Sinclair
This is an interview with author and advisor on mission critical infrastructure, James Carlini. He will discuss some of the key concepts from his upcoming book, NANOKRIEG: BEYOND BLITZKRIEG, a book defining the changes in Military Infrastructure, Strategies and Tactics needed to win the War on Terrorism. It includes chapters on cyberterrorism and cyberwarfare, which is what we are going to discuss.
Sinclair: I know you have posed this question to
an audience at one of your presentations, if we are involved in a
cyber-war, where are the frontlines? What is your answer to that
Carlini: Forget traditional warfare and traditional battlelines. There are no “frontlines” from a traditional perspective in cyberwarfare. Battlefields are now in server farms, government and corporate data centers. Wars are waged across the network infrastructure.
Sinclair: Do you think we have adequate defenses in the United States?
Carlini: No, and that’s not just my opinion. A recent study by Hewlett-Packard Enterprise in 2016 stated that 86% of organizations have inadequate cybersecurity capabilities.
Sinclair: Sounds like whatever has been
implemented so far, is not that effective or all-encompassing?
Carlini: Much of the efforts done so far in cybersecurity are nothing more than building an ineffective, digital Maginot Line for cyber-defenses. We need to design and implement a much more sophisticated defense. We need to understand the type of enemy we are dealing with in today’s conflicts and their strategies to compromise infrastructure.
Sinclair: What are the defenses that will work?
Carlini: The right defenses have yet to be totally defined. Whatever are the “Best Practices” today, will be obsolete next year or maybe even next month. That is how fast things are changing.
We should be spending more time and money figuring out cyberwarfare and ways in protecting critical infrastructure, instead of continuing huge spending on conventional warfare.
Sinclair: Why do you say that?
Carlini: Weapons do not have to be flown into a battle zone or brought in by big transport ships, anymore. They are carried in electronically by the network. Trojan horses, worms, viruses, denial-of-service attacks, and other destructive malware weapons do not need huge supporting logistics or long timeframes to assemble to “hit the beach”. They can be sent off in a microsecond on an electronic pathway to the “war zone”.
Sinclair: This sounds like a totally different kind of war?
Carlini: It is. D-Day has become D-Microsecond. Welcome to “Electronic Jihad”, Ken. The Asymmetrical Warfare approach in the electronic age.
“Hit the Beach!” has been replaced with, “Hit the Grid!”
NANOKRIEG: A WAR WON AND LOST IN MICROSECONDS
Sinclair: What is NANOKRIEG? Why did you name this new type of warfare, NANOKRIEG?
Carlini: When it comes to NANOKRIEG, attacks aren’t measured in days or even hours. A whole cyberattack may last only a couple of seconds – or less. A nanosecond is a billionth of a second. Within less than minute, corporate operations can be totally ground to a halt. Stock markets can lose all their values through a downward vortex created by software algorithms dropping all stock prices to zero.
Cyberwarfare is the perfect tool for those engaged in Asymmetrical Warfare where their military resources are inferior to their enemies. We are in that type of situation now with elements of a sophisticated guerilla warfare and asymmetrical playing field.
Unlike Blitzkrieg, where the Nazis needed a coordinated attack of
different divisions of personnel, planes, tanks, and other resources,
all terrorists need today is a small cadre of software experts and some
basic computer systems to inflict major and possibly permanent damage.
Sinclair: How did this Asymmetrical Warfare come about? Where did it all begin?
Carlini: Just before the end of World War II, a Nazi SS Officer was given the task to continue the war even after Germany surrendered. With resources just about all dried up and the availability of manpower was just about all depleted, this SS officer, Otto Skorzeny, came up with a whole new approach to fighting wars which he defined as “werewolf” tactics.
The tactics were based on not having a large amount of personnel or supporting resources to carry out missions. It was basically a guerilla warfare approach to doing as much damage as you could with the minimum amount of people, equipment, and resources. Small groups or units carried out the attacks and then disappeared back into society.
Sinclair: What is the connection between the Nazi tactics and today’s tactics?
Carlini: Major Skorzeny perfected the tactics and actually trained other terrorists after World War II, including Yasser Arafat in Egypt. Arafat trained the Al Qaeda and ISIS spun out of Al Qaeda. So what is happening today can actually be tied back to that training Major Skorzeny provided.
Sinclair: What has changed in the 70 years after World War II?
Carlini: The “speed of war” has accelerated. As Sun Tzu, the author of The Art of War stated, “Quickness is the essence of the war.”
In less than a second, 1000s of pinpoint cyberattacks on different targets can be executed by high-speed transaction processors. Stocks could plummet. Exchanges could be totally manipulated and accounts could be wiped out – or transferred. Certain controls in power grids and other utilities, like maximum temperature levels or power load levels, could be overridden. Buildings, with all their new systems and sensors, could be attacked and manipulated to destroy the building.
Sinclair: Sounds like a lot of traditional military strategies have become obsolete. Enemies don’t really need a huge standing Army or large Navy anymore, do they?
Carlini: All of this can be done without divisions of trained soldiers or tons of advanced mechanical and armored equipment. Some major attacks could happen and no one would even know about them.
No company or financial firm wants to announce their protective measures are inadequate and that all their internal confidential information has been compromised. They would lose customers in a heartbeat.
We have already seen in multiple instances, where people’s credit card and personal information are stolen. Where were the safeguards? Where were the defenses against cyberattacks?
According to IBM, almost one out of four financial institutions (23.8%) are still exposed. Is your money sitting in one of these institutions?
Remember, riches and treasures do not need heavy equipment, trains, or convoys of trucks to pull them out. They can get taken out through the network as well. Electronic valuables and critical information have no physical weight, just virtual value.
Sinclair: How does all this relate to building owners and operators?
Carlini: Buildings need to have adequate protections so that their electronic systems are not open to attack and the building systems are not compromised.
Carlini was the Keynote Speaker on Intelligent Infrastructure & Cybersecurity at the recent CABA Intelligent Buildings and Digital Homes Forum in San Diego on April 26.
Carlini's book, NANOKRIEG: BEYOND BLITZKRIEG, will be out at the end of
this year. His current book, LOCATION LOCATION CONNECTIVITY is
available on AMAZON
Follow daily Carlini-isms at www.TWITTER.com/JAMESCARLINI
Copyright 2016 - James Carlini
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