October 25, 2021

Cyber Terrorism is a Growing Threat

A screenshot from Anonymous‘ video threatening Israel / YouTube

A screenshot from Anonymous ‘video threatening Israel / YouTube

Bill Gertz wrote an article entitled “FBI Warns U.S. Companies of Cyber Terror” which was published in the Washington Free Beacon Website on April 2, 2015. Gertz explained that the FBI has issued a warning to U.S. companies that cyber terrorists from the Middle East and North Africa are planning to conduct cyber-attacks against Israeli and Jewish interests over the next few days.

The FBI pointed out the following: “Several extremist hacking groups indicated they would participate in a forthcoming operation, #OpIsrael, which will target Israeli and Jewish Websites. Given the perceived connections between the government of Israel and Israeli financial institutions, and those of the United States, #OpIsrael cyber pirates may also shift their operations to target vulnerable U.S.-based financial targets or Jewish-oriented organizations within the United States. Based on historical attacks, the FBI assesses that attacks which may spawn from #OpIsrael to target U.S.-based systems will likely constitute only a small percentage of overall activity.”

Gertz pointed out that the FBI warning notice explained that members of at least two cyber terrorism hacking groups are currently trying to recruit hackers for the attacks next week. The first cyber-attacks #OpIsrael occurred two years ago and was conducted on April 7, 2013 to coincide with Israel’s Holocaust Remembrance Day, which begins the evening of April 15. These cyber terrorists’ organizations are found in the Middle East and North Africa and “routinely conduct pro-extremist, anti-Israeli, and anti-Western cyber operations.”

Bill Gertz explained that the FBI thought that the threat to U.S.-based infrastructure from the coming cyber-attack is low for well protected networks. However, the FBI is notifying several possible targets as part of the warning system. FBI spokesman Joshua Campbell said the notice was sent as part of FBI efforts to advise private industry of cyber threat indicators. The FBI spokesman stated “This data is provided in order to help systems administrators guard against the actions of persistent cyber criminals.” The FBI explained that the threat assessment based on past #OpIsrael attacks; these cyber terrorists are capable of low-level Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks and Web site defacements. DDoS attacks normally involve hijacking remote computer servers to generate mass entry requests at targeted websites that permit remote log-ins. The flood of tens of thousands of requests causes the targeted sites to crash.

Bill Gertz pointed out that according to the FBI, “The most likely targets for the campaign are Israel-based systems or the systems of worldwide Jewish-oriented organizations like synagogues or cultural centers. Based on historical targeting preferences, the attackers will likely focus primarily on Israeli financial institutions, but may also target Israeli media outlets.”

Newsweek reported on March 30, 2015 that the hacker group Anonymous threatened an “electronic Holocaust” in a video. A masked figure appeared in the video who said the attack would come on April 7, 2015 five days before the beginning of Holocaust Remembrance Day that ends in the evening of April 16. In Israel the day is called Yom HaShoah. The masked figure said the following: “We will erase you from cyberspace in our electronic Holocaust. As we did many times, we will take down your servers, government websites, Israeli military websites, and Israeli institutions.” The video also accused Israel of “crimes in the Palestinian territories.”

Gertz wrote that according to Newsweek, Benjamin T. Decker, senior intelligence analyst at the Levantine Group, a Tel Aviv-based security group, said hackers have made similar threats in the past. Decker said the following: “For the most part, this is posturing. This is actually the fourth year that Anonymous has carried out this OpIsrael attack and called on their supporters to erase Israel from the internet. As the years have progressed we have seen that, despite their increasing sophistication in hacking techniques, we have seen less damage against Israeli cyber infrastructures, largely due to Israel’s pioneering of most cyber warfare tactics, both offensive and defensive.”

Gertz explained that the FBI doubts the denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks will produce much in the way of damage because in the past these types of cyber terrorism attacks have been “disorganized” and many companies have taken measures to protect themselves from these types of disruptive cyber strikes. However, the FBI warning notice pointed out those cyber terrorist hackers could “shut down websites, deface them, and compromise sensitive information that could be used for further harassment operations and identity theft.” The FBI warning notice said companies should conduct data backup operations and implement recovery plans with copies of sensitive or proprietary information that is kept in separate and secure locations.

President Barack Obama issued an executive order to punish foreign hackers

On April 1, 2015 this writer was invited to participate in a special program by the international television station NTN 24 with headquarters in Bogotá Colombia. This Spanish television station is seen in South America, the Caribbean, and the United States and this writer is a frequent contributor to their programs when it involves the United States. He is introduced as a Republican Party political analyst with expertise in foreign affairs and national security issues. In order to be fair and balanced NTN 24 also invites either a Democrat or another person representing a leftist position. The special report dealt with President Barack Obama’s executive order to punish foreign hackers which was issued on April 1, 2015.

This writer stated that he supported Obama’s executive order to punish foreign hackers but criticized the president from not doing this when he assumed power in January 2009. Our nation has endured tens of thousands cyber strikes from several nations and criminal mafias for many years, even before Obama became president. Why did Obama wait so long to protect the nation?

As usual, President Obama ignored Congress when he could have easily obtained bipartisan support for such a measure. How Congress could not support such a measure to protect the nation from cyber terrorism? Is it extreme arrogance or is it simply the fact that President Obama wants to govern through executive orders ignoring the Constitution’s separation of powers clause? Why go to Congress when he has a pen and a phone to sign executive orders, and memoranda like Obama told an astounded nation?

Peter Baker wrote an article entitled “Obama Expands Options for Retaliating Against Foreign Hackers” which was published in the New York Times on April 1, 2015.

Baker explained that the executive order authorizes financial and travel sanctions against anyone involved in cyber terror strikes originating or directed from outside the country that pose “a significant threat to the national security, foreign policy or economic health or financial stability of the United States.” A few months ago President Obama blamed North Korea for the hacking of Sony Pictures Entertainment as it was about to release the comedy movie The Interview. The picture made fun of North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un. President Obama used existing authority to impose economic sanctions on North Korean officials and a North Korean intelligence agency. However the new executive order will expand his authority to the rest of the world.

President Barack Obama stated the following: “Cyber threats pose one of the most serious economic and national security challenges to the United States, and my administration is pursuing a comprehensive strategy to confront them. As we have seen in recent months, these threats can emanate from a range of sources and target our critical infrastructure, our companies and our citizens.”

Baker explained that among actions that could draw retaliation under the new executive order would be strikes that “target vital resources like power grids; steal money, trade secrets or personal information; or disrupt large computer networks.” The United States government could punish those responsible “by freezing assets in the United States, barring Americans from doing business with them and blocking them from entering the country. They would be cut off from American goods and technology.”

The sanctions in the Sony case were based on existing authority specifically targeting North Korea, but the new order has no geographic limits, mirroring the approach to counterterrorism, counternarcotics and transnational criminal organizations. John E. Smith, acting director of the Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control said that “This allows us to target the activity itself wherever it arises.” Identifying cyber pirates is difficult. In cyber strikes on JPMorgan Chase, Target and Home Depot, for example, it has been hard to identify the perpetrators.

Republicans criticized Obama for not involving Congress. Cory Fritz, a spokesman for House Speaker John A. Boehner of Ohio stated the following: “These executive actions can only do so much. The president needs to work with Republicans to enact the types of common-sense measures that passed the House in recent years with strong, bipartisan majorities but stalled in the Democratic-controlled Senate.”

China is conducting cyber warfare and stealing our military and industrial secrets

The United States has identified Russian and Chinese hackers tied to previous strikes. In 2014 the Obama administration indicted of five Chinese officers of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army and charged them in the theft of data from U.S. companies.

General Keith Alexander, the former director of the National Security Agency, has described the cyber theft from China, and perhaps from other nations, as “the greatest transfer of wealth in history” and has estimated our loss to be a trillion dollars. Former Secretary of Defense, Leon Panetta, as well as former Chairman of the Senate Homeland Security Committee, Joe Lieberman, warned us several times of the great danger that the United States is facing of an impending surprise Pearl Harbor-like cyber attack coming from space and that could devastate our electrical grid, banks, financial institutions, water and sewer systems, and military and government computers.

On January 24, 2013, Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano, speaking at the Wilson Center, a think tank, said that we are facing an impending threat of a cyber attack equivalent to the attack of September 11, 2001. She said that many of our banks have experienced many cyber attacks. Similar other officials, she is concerned that our electrical grid, water and sewer systems, as well as our armed forces are facing a clear and present danger. Napolitano explained that our Navy is being subjected to 100,000 cyber attacks per hour. China has also penetrated U.S. computer systems that regulate our oil and natural gas pipelines.

China stole the design of the F-35, our most modern aircraft, which cost us $392 billion to develop. Now the Chinese will improve the design of our most modern aircraft and develop one that could be superior to ours.

Only a few years ago, China’s military was extremely weak and did not have a space program or cyber warfare capability. After stealing our military technology, China’s armed forces were modernized rapidly and now they have a great capability to conduct space and cyber warfare. It did not help our national security when many U.S. multinational corporations, such as General Electric, General Motors, and Boeing, established research and development centers in China. The PRC was able to acquire our highly sophisticated technology for free, in addition to the technology that it continues to steal through spying or cyber theft from the United States and other developed Western nations.

Unfortunately, the Obama administration, as well as previous administrations, has been unable to stop China’s increasing cyber warfare against our nation. Michael Hayden, former director of the CIA and a retired four-star general, warned that China had been trying to catch up with the U.S. military for several years, especially after the first Gulf War. Hayden said the following regarding China: “I stand back in awe about the Chinese espionage effort against the United States. We have a nation-state successfully attempting to steal secrets not just from our nation-state, but from American industry.”

Richard A. Clarke, who served several presidents in the Security Council of the White House, wrote a book entitled Cyber War (2011). He described how China has sold the United States “chips, routers, and hardware” for our computers and digital networks that have “logic bombs, trapdoors, and Trojan horses.” The Chinese government can press a special button and our Chinese computers and parts will no longer work. Our country purchased 84,000 false electronic parts from China and installed them in airplanes, helicopters, and missiles. General Patrick O’Rielly, director of the Agency of Missile Defense, stated the following: “We do not want that a missile interceptor of $12 million will not function due to a $2 false electronic part.” How could the Obama administration purchased anything from China for our defense when that nation is engaged in cyber warfare and currency warfare against us?

Panic in the United States and other nations over cyber theft from China

Dyer in his book The Contest of the Century (2014) explained that the American business community, which was once the most important supporter of strong ties with China, has become greatly concerned over cyber theft of American multinationals and businesses. Jeffrey Immelt, the CEO of General Electric, who has placed factories and research and development centers in China, is now having regrets. He stated “I am not sure that in the end they (Chinese) want any of us to win, or any of us to be successful.” Some companies, such as the Canadian Nortel, have been subjected to cyber theft for many years. Nortel discovered that it was being hacked in 2004. This company eventually went bankrupt in 2009. When businesses and multinationals are subjected to constant cyber theft over the years, there comes a time when they can no longer compete with Chinese companies.

Mandiant, a U.S. Internet-security company, has stated that it has traced hacking attacks on 141 companies in the United States and 15 other countries to one particularly Chinese military unit based in Shanghai. The hackers are actually part of a People’s Liberation Army group called the unit 61398.

Richard Clarke, who served in the National Security Council of the White House, stated the following: “What has been happening over the course of the last five years is that China-let’s call it for what it is-has been hacking its way into every corporation it can find listed in Dun & Bradstreet. Every corporation in the United States, every corporation in Asia, every corporation in Germany. And is using a vacuum cleaner to suck data out in terabytes and petabytes.”

Dyer wrote that as the result of China’s cyber warfare against the United States, “Congress has started introducing restrictions in some areas for all Chinese information-technology products, from computers to smart phones.” This writer hopes it is not too late for our nation to defend itself from China’s outrageous cyber warfare attacks.

Obama has attacked free speech since he assumed office

After Obama issued his executive order to punish foreign hackers on April 1, 2015, he tried to reassure the world that his new powers would be used carefully. Michael Daniel, the president’s online security coordinator stated that “We will not, certainly, be using this to target free speech or interfering with the free and open Internet, and we’re not going to be going after the innocent victims of people whose computers were taken over and used by malicious actor.” This writer does not believe in such reassurance when the Obama regime has attacked the freedom of the press and the freedom of speech so many times.

President Obama has been attacking free speech since the beginning of his administration. Obama promised to have an open and transparent administration. However, he has presided over the least transparent administration. The abuses of the freedom of speech and freedom of the press by his administration have been appalling. In fact, Barack Obama committed several crimes as well as Attorney General Eric Holder. Both of them should be prosecuted.

Leonard Downie, former executive director of the liberal newspaper The Washington Post, wrote a critical 30-page report entitled “The Obama Administration and the Press.” Downie, a professor of journalism at Arizona State University, pointed out that Obama did not follow through with his promise to have a transparent administration after severely criticizing the lack of transparency of the administration of George W. Bush.

Downie wrote the following: “In Washington the officials of the Obama administration each day are more fearful to talk to journalists. The war of the government against leaks and other efforts to control information are the most aggressive since the government of Richard Nixon.” He explained that government officials are being subjected to lie detectors while their e-mails and telephone calls are being spied upon. These actions have spread fear among government officials to speak to journalists even about routine matters. The government has also implemented a program called “Insider Threat” by which government officials have been told to spy on anyone who speaks to the press.

These are the actions that are typical of communist regimes such as the ones in Cuba and Venezuela. Michael Oreskes, vice president and editorial director of the Associated Press, stated the following: “The Obama administration has been extremely controlling and reluctant to the intervention of the press.” Frank Sesno, former chief of CNN in Washington, who currently works as director of the School of Media and Public Affairs at the University of George Washington, told professor Downie that “the combined efforts of the Obama administration are restricting the flow of information.” Mainstream pro-Obama media looked the other way.

Now President Obama wants to take over the Internet by exercising what is known as “net neutrality.” This is nothing more than an attempt to control the freedom of speech and the freedom of the press. Our websites bwcentral.org and www.libertadusa.com (in Spanish) are under constant and relentless cyber-attacks. In a three-day period, bwcentral.org received over 100,000 cyber-attacks. If net neutrality is enacted into law, anti-communists websites like ours may be shut down.

The Justice Department spied on journalists

It is quite disturbing that top officials of the Obama administration constantly lie to Congress and to all Americans. The outgoing Secretary of the Justice Department, Eric Holder, was the first attorney general in our nation to be declared in “Contempt of Congress” for refusing to provide requested documents regarding the gun-running Operation Fast and Furious to Mexican drug cartels and for constantly lying and committing perjury. The Justice Department provided guns to Mexican drug cartels.

Those weapons were used to kill 300 Mexicans as well as an American law enforcement official. The Department of Justice was caught spying on many reporters and their sources of the Associated Press. Following the lead of the president, Attorney General Eric Holder testified in Congress that he was not aware that this search was being done by the Justice Department.

The Associated Press wrote a letter to the Justice Department on May 13, 2013 denouncing “unprecedented intrusion” of the federal government for secretly listening to telephone calls of 100 journalists and their offices over a two-month period. The letter was written by Gary Pruitt and indicated that at least 20 of the telephone lines were listened to during April and May 2012 in their offices in New York, Washington, D.C., and Hartford, Connecticut. Nothing similar to this in such a large scale has ever been done in our nation. It is unprecedented. It is an outrageous violation of the freedom of speech and of the press!

One more time the White House tried to distance itself from this new scandal. Press Secretary Jay Carney, who lies as frequently as the president, said that “beyond the newspaper reports, we have no knowledge whatsoever of what the Justice Department did.” This reprehensible conduct by the Justice Department is similar to the one followed by the KGB in the Soviet Union or Seguridad del Estado, Cuba’s secret police. It is another abuse of power by the Obama administration. It is also an attempt to silence the whistleblowers who speak to the press. Whistleblowers from now on will be reluctant to criticize abuses by the Obama administration if they expect their conversations to be listened to or fear that they will be fired or demoted.

Conclusion

The Obama administration needs to insure that nations, such as China, Russia, Iran and even Cuba, as well as Islamist radicals and foreign criminal mafias do not steal our military and industrial secrets. Obama has been negligent for too many years in protecting our nation from cyber spying, cyber warfare, and cyber terrorism. In this respect as well as in negotiating with Iraq, Iran, Russia, China and Cuba, Obama has proven to be the worst Commander-in-Chief of our Armed Forces in history. Our national security is at a greater risk since he became president in January 2009. Let us pray to God that our next president can dig our beloved country out of the hole that it currently is.

 

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