U.S. Successful With Cyber Defense Protection Racket

9 June 2013 — Moon of Alabama

“Nice computer systems you have here. It would be a shame if something bad were to happen to them. You may want to buy some cyber protection?”

The New York Times reports on a scam with which the Unites States will milk billions of dollars out of the coffers of Persian Gulf monarchies:

The Obama administration has begun helping Middle Eastern allies build up their defenses against Iran’s growing arsenal of cyberweapons, and will be doing the same in Asia to contain computer-network attacks from North Korea, according to senior American officials.

The report is solely based on unnamed “senior U.S. officials” who assert, as uncritically stenographed by  Thom Shanker and David Sanger, various fantastic Iranian or North Korean capacities in cyberattacks. Thus we get:

  • “Iran’s growing arsenal of cyberweapons”
  • “crippling infrastructure attacks that Iran appears to be working on against American and allied targets”
  • “Iran’s swift advances in its computer weaponry, particularly its ability to disrupt existing infrastructure”
  • “growing danger of computer-network attacks from Iran or North Korea”
  • “Iran, in particular, is viewed as having greatly accelerated its computer efforts”
  • “The emerging Iranian program is far more disciplined and mature than Tehran’s previous efforts”
  • “Iran now is believed to be hiring foreign computer programmers associated with Internet criminal activity”
  • “Iran and other nations now are able to purchase powerful malware that, while costly, is available on the black and gray markets”

There is not one fact, not one, in the story that justifies any of the above statements. They are all just pure assertions.

The only “evidence” the stenographers wrote down is an attack on internal networks of Saudi Arabia’s oil company Aramco which wiped out some hard disks. But that attack turned out to have been an insider attack and any connection of it to Iran is just speculation with no supporting evidence.

Another case cited as “evidence” is an attack on some South Korean bank and media companies that was first attributed to North Korea and China but turned out to have been based on a rather unsophisticated spear-fishing attack originating in South Korea itself.

Thus both cases cited as Iranian or North Korean attacks were likely to have come from other sources.

But based on such scaremongering the U.S. will now – generously – sell software, hardware and training to Gulf monarchies to protect from Iranian “threats” that likely do not exist at all. Those countries will have to pay hundreds of millions dollars for those “services” to “defend” against “threats” that mysteriously came up from unknown sources and are now cited as justification to pay out for their “prevention”.

This doesn’t just sound like a protection racket. It is one.

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