Ashton Carter Reconfigures US Intelligence for Cyber War on ISIS

The ultimate overseer of US security, Defense Secretary Ashton Carter, has undertaken to personally design and chart America’s cyber war against the Islamic State.
He expects Canada, Australia, New Zealand and Britain – the other four members of the “Five Eyes” Club – to jump aboard, followed by most Western governments.
(The Five Eyes club of the five English-speaking countries was born out of their World War II intelligence-sharing collaboration and their pledge not to spy on one another.)
There has been a public outcry about the Islamic State’s free exploitation of the media in the cyber domain to promote its vicious agenda and secret communications via Internet-connected devices, cell phones and networks, while the West stands by helpless to stop the traffic or crack hostile encryption programs.
Carter will have his hands full to plug the breaches in Western digital defenses against Islamic terror.
After a series of conferences, or workshops, with US cyber command chiefs, the defense secretary plans to set out the scale, content and intensity of the cyber campaign against ISIS. This will necessitate reconfiguring the ties between the cyber command, the 16 US intelligence bodies and the military.
But first, to avert accidental internecine cyber war and “friendly fire” among the various US intelligence agencies, the defense secretary will need to compile a usage manual, setting out clear rules of engagement and guidelines for regulating the use of cyber weaponry. They must cover authorization, communications, intra-agency supervision, law enforcement, security-related eavesdropping and wiretapping inside America as well as links with US allies, far and near.
Carter will face the initial difficulty of delineating the mostly indistinguishable boundaries of the cyber world.
As for the tools of war, DEBKA Weekly’s cyber experts highlight two main areas:
1. Jamming, disrupting and blocking electromagnetic and digital signals, with the emphasis on the Internet’s social networks, instant messaging systems, telephony and video transfer.
The weapons here are electronic warfare and planting Malware, Trojan horses, or Advanced Persistent Threats (APT) in enemy networks.
2. Strategic and tactical espionage against those networks to pinpoint the whereabouts of individual terrorists, groups, cells or organizations, which may encompass hundreds or thousands of activists. Invasive spying will map their inner and outer links and bring to the surface the dynamic and trends which prompt their operations, in order to pre-empt them.
Defense Secretary Carter has taken upon himself the daunting task of imposing a new order and relationships on a crowded field of civilian spy bodies, cyber specialists and the military, while balancing their interests against the exigencies of cyber warfare and inspiring their trust in his ability to strike that balance.
He must convince them all to accept new norms, whereby intelligence bodies intent on protecting their sources – their working capital – must blow those sources if need be to thwart and destroy terrorists and their plots.
As for the enemy, when terrorist organizations are pushed into a corner and their regular means of communication disrupted by counter-measures, they will turn increasingly to encryption programs and apps such as Twitter’s Telegram, to obstruct hostile observation.
 

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Font Resize
Contrast