America’s New War on Terror has gone digital

This week, the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, the National Security Agency and the Federal Bureau of Investigation unveiled some sort of dossier on a group called BlackMatter, which the government says is a “possible rebrand” of the DarkSide-based entity. in Russia and has been active since July, wreaking havoc on networks that support America’s already stressed food and agriculture sector.

An explosion damages instantly; cyber attacks crumble over time.

BlackMatter is a “ransomware as a service” group, which means that it offers specific services at particular prices to other criminal gangs, who pay for the expertise of the BlackMatter team in accessing systems and ransom of encrypted data.

In the past, private sector cyber defense companies, typically working with affected companies, have publicly collected, analyzed, and shared threat information about specific ransomware and cyber attack groups. The government’s role had largely been limited to warnings issued after an intrusion on software vulnerabilities, alerts on critical patches for commonly used systems, and solid advice on how to secure networks. Now it looks like the government will share what it knows and has been able to collect, through open or clandestine means, on ransomware groups whose activity harms U.S. commerce, possibly in real time. The move means that the United States is treating ransomware as a critical threat to national security, even if the systems of the United States government are not targeted.

We know that criminal gangs have trivialized ransomware and hijacked critical networks all the time, but because we don’t feel anything directly – not even the higher costs associated with ransomware payments – it’s hard to use the pieces of it. attention that we manage to tear off these days to, well, really take care. We don’t require our employers to protect us from ransomware like they might against the threat posed by an active shooter. It is not a physical threat; it is, at most, an annoyance for most of us.

Conceptually, it’s a bit offbeat; people have died where ransomware attacks were involved. Industrial monitoring systems – think of the machines that determine whether the water you drink is toxic – have been regular targets in 2021. But for most people, ransomware means your local Sinclair affiliate goes without graphics for a newspaper or two.

The government’s new communications strategy model borrows heavily from the psychological architecture of the global war on terror.

After September 11, many politicians conducted politics by producing, commodifying, and managing fear.

After 9/11, many politicians led politics by producing, commodifying and managing fear, mixing sensible political changes to protect Americans with massively damaging changes, adding poison to our politics and undermining our security. national for generations. Who benefited? The national security sector, which has made record profits and has proliferated across America.

Many companies in the field of the fight against terrorism are now active in the field of counter-cyberattack. They are following government guidance on what to say about the threat, which means any new cyber language calls for caution. Yet I think the government is moving in the right direction.

While the threat posed by ransomware is often more difficult to personalize or locate than terrorism, it is much more widespread and its effect over time on global economic resilience could be quite destructive. An explosion damages instantly; cyber attacks crumble over time.

Americans, generally suspicious of government and weary of decades of war, may respond with a shrug to stern warnings about cyber threats. So, as new laws are drafted and eventually passed governing mandatory reporting of cyber breaches, regulation of cyber insurance, basic cyber skills standards for small businesses, etc., we would be wise to ‘avoid militaristic language and beware of rules that encourage surveillance or privacy breaches under the guise of security.

We should certainly not feel like we are constantly under attack, as this could cripple us or allow politicians to act recklessly, using our votes as a cover. But we should expect more – from government, in terms of information sharing; our employers, who should be spending money to assess and protect vulnerabilities in the networks we use; and from each other. Stop sending screenshots of passwords in emails or DMs, for goodness sake!

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About Alexander Estrada

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