Kill with a borrowed sword – An Origins Story

If you've seen me speak in the past 15 years, you've seen a slide that looks something like this: It was my adaptation of an ancient Chinese stratagem for the information age in which an adversary would use our infrastructures as weapons against us. I originally used it as a reference for information operations, but it turns out it was a good model for the attacks on September 11, 2001 as well. AQ terrorists could never have built missiles that could be delivered with the precision and explosive and incendiary impact as they achieved by hijacking commercial airliners. In 2001, I also used the concept to promote a capability I'd started advertising in 2000 as an "Information Outcomes Cell" which proposed to use commercial IO capabilities…


I am Big Data and so are you

Bob Gourley, former CTO of DIA and current CTO of CrucialPoint LLC was guest lecturing at my Georgetown “Information Warfare and Security” class and was discussing mega technology trends when it occurred to me - the next revolution in big data is going to be about me and you. We are sitting on a treasure trove of data about ourselves that will be aggregated into big data repositories and analyzed and mined to augment our lives. Quantified self data from your Nike Fuel band, input from your Google Glass, your email, schedule, events you have attended, foods that you ate, times you got sick, searches you conducted, games you played, movies, books, music, social network status, your social graph, news you’ve read, on and on and on.... All…


State Sponsored Cyber Threats – The Long View

"Thinking about state-sponsored cyber threats over the long term doesn't come easy to Western strategists. This essay takes a look at at the strategic implications of thinking only in the short-term." Source: OODA Loop - State Sponsored Cyber Threats - The Long View


Tim Cook’s Freshman Year: The Apple CEO Speaks

"We want diversity of thought. We want diversity of style. We want people to be themselves. It’s this great thing about Apple. You don’t have to be somebody else. You don’t have to put on a face when you go to work and be something different. But the thing that ties us all is we’re brought together by values. We want to do the right thing. We want to be honest and straightforward. We admit when we’re wrong and have the courage to change." Source: Tim Cook's Freshman Year: The Apple CEO Speaks - Businessweek


Chinese IW – 1996

Digging through some old files and found this from 1996: ::::::::::::::::::::: May 10, 1996, Friday SECTION: Part 3 Asia-Pacific; CHINA; MILITARY; EE/D2609/S2 LENGTH: 308 words HEADLINE: INFORMATION WARFARE; China: characteristics of information warfare explored SOURCE: Source: Jiefangjun Bao', Beijing, in Chinese 16 Apr 96 p6 BODY: [6] Text of report by Chinese army newspaper Jiefangjun Bao' At present, information warfare remains a very abstract concept. In order to clearly understand and master information warfare, we have to conduct a more detailed analysis of information warfare by dissecting it into a number of combat forms, each with a unique content, including an all-frequency electromagnetic war, a computer virus…


Siri – the Augmented Intelligence Agent

My latest thinking about Siri over at TechGrid… "Siri does not represent a foray into the realm of artificial intelligence, but rather a necessary stutter-step in that direction which can be more accurately referred to as Augmented Intelligence. Despite an ability to engage in limited natural language processing, Siri is only capable of augmenting the capabilities of an iPhone in ways that were pre-defined by her programmers. This augmentation will only be improved upon with future iterations of Siri and some day soon, she may become more context aware. For example, ask Siri to play a game and she’ll trigger on the word “play” and look for a song or playlist that match the remainder of the interpreted words “play a game”. Tell her you…


Dronegate: The First Casualty is our Cybersecurity Paradigm

Out of respect to the original blog, my comments on this article can be found by following the link below the excerpt. These are important issues and we should be examining and debating them in detail. "As of yet, there is no definitive narrative of the virus that hit the U.S. drone fleet at Creech Air Force Base in Nevada this September. Original reports stated that drone cockpits had been infected with a keylogger virus and, while there was no indication that classified information had been stolen or that missions had been compromised, the virus has proven tenacious, resisting efforts to disinfect machines and forcing the Air Force to wipe entire hard drives. Sources said that officials at Creech never informed the 24th Air Force, the…


Facebook devours Twitter – a simple strategy…

Facebook is about to eat Twitter for lunch. I'm slowly recognizing that more and more of my activity is migrating from Twitter to Facebook. I've also been wondering if Apples upcoming IOS 5 integration with Twitter is a strategic mistake on Apple's part? What will it take for Facebook to finish Twitter off? Here's my lists of recommendations of what to do and not do. Give me a separate "subscribed" news feed - I want to be able to toggle back and forth between people I am subscribed to and people I am friends with in my newsfeed. An integrated view is nice, but sometimes I just want to see my friends and vice versa. Public Subscribe Button - I already have a button for follow me on Twitter and a button to friend me on Facebook. What…


Using hackers as a national resource

Misha Glenny's TED talk entitled "Hire the Hackers" was sent to me about a dozen times today. I was reminded of the excerpt below taken from my 1995 thesis. Reviewing it after all these years, it is not perfect, but does raise some important points and the central theme still rings true. Step Seven: Use Hackers as a National Resource The digital underground should be viewed as an asset to the United States. They use illegal means to satisfy their curiosity about the workings of computer technology because the system has denied them other means of accessing the digital realm they love. Harvard Law professor Laurence H. Tribe even suggests that access to technology may be a required goal of democratic society. He states: It’s true that…


Realizing the Metaverse

I've got some thoughts on virtual worlds just posted on TechGrid: "In reading the book, it really makes one wonder why we haven’t created better instances of virtual worlds in today’s technology environment. The closest thing to the OASIS of Cline’s novel is Second Life, but it still has a lot of shortcomings. It got me wondering what are some of the minimal requirements that could improve upon the virtual world we already have that would make it more valuable in a social and business context. The goal is to make it the type of environment a virtual worker would be logged into in conducting their daily business (coding, writing blog posts, etc). Here are some ideas…" Source: Realizing the Metaverse — TechGrid


It always amazes me…

to discover which posts are the most popular on this site. The 24 Ringtone is the top post by far along with the 23 Devices my iPhone has replaced, followed by complaints about SpamHaus and DirecTV. My prediction essays get a fair bit of traffic, but nothing compared to the four posts above. Even after all these years, I still get email from people asking to help them with their SpamHaus issues.


The impact of emergent technology

From an interview with William Gibson: "One of the things that’s unknowable is how humanity will use any new technology. No one imagines that we’d wind up with a world that looks like this on the basis of the technology that’s emerged in the last hundred years. Emergent technology is the most powerful single driver of change in the world, and it has been forever. Technology trumps politics. Technology trumps religion. It just does. And that’s why we are where we are now. It seems so self-evident to me that I can never go to that Technology: threat or menace? position. Okay, well, if we don’t do this, what are we going to do? This is not only what we do, it’s literally who we are as a species. We’ve become something other than what our…


MacBook Air – the Missing Sync

I'm excited to take a look at the new MacBook Air laptops that Apple released today. Excellent form factor with decent performance might make them the ultimate travel machines. It seems clear that these devices are targeted at folks who already have a computer, but want a portable computer for when they are out and about. Thinking about how this model applies to me, the MacBook Air is a perfect device, with one significant shortcoming. I want it to sync with iTunes on my desktop. It occurs to me that managing my media library on these devices is a huge hinderance. I have a Mac Pro desktop that stores by massive music library and makes it available over my home network to any connected device. However, when I am on the road, none of…


‘Stuxnet’ Worm Far More Sophisticated Than Previously Thought

Interesting revelation. One major red flag associated with this worm was the fact that folks were claiming it got distributed widely via removable media. Turns out that might not be the case... "As first reported on July 15 by KrebsOnSecurity.com, Stuxnet uses a vulnerability in the way Windows handles shortcut files to spread to new systems. Experts say the worm was designed from the bottom up to attack so-called Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) systems, or those used to manage complex industrial networks, such as systems at power plants and chemical manufacturing facilities. The worm was originally thought to spread mainly through the use of removable drives, such as USB sticks. But roughly two weeks after news of…


Please support Pedaling for Patriots!

Over the past few months, it has been an honor to work with Rob and Kim Richer on their dream to ride their bikes (pedaling kind) from coast to coast to raise awareness and money for the CIA Officers Memorial Fund.  They started their ride today and are documenting everything on the website Pedaling For Patriots. If you can make a donation to this great cause, please do.  In the least, please spread the word to your friends and colleagues by linking to their site on your blogs, Facebook and Twitter streams.  Your support is greatly appreciated!


Snapshot in time – September 11, 2001

A few interesting screenshots from the Terrorism Research Center on September 11, 2001. Here is a message that Neal Pollard and I wrote that greeted our visitors when they first hit the terrorism.com domain. Having founded the company on the 1st anniversary of the OKC bombing we were sensitive to drawing too many conclusions too soon and were worried about the backlash against Muslim Americans. In reality, we had already drawn some of our own conclusions and were sharing them with our customers and colleagues. However, given we were the top result for "terrorism" on Google and were getting millions of visitors, we felt we had a responsibility to provide calm consistent messaging focusing energy on the rescue operations.  Several months…