29 December 2016

** Is Pakistan’s Stability in India’s Interest?

By Umair Jamal

The thought of a failed nuclear-armed state next door is worrying India more and more. 

In Pakistan’s strategic threat perception, India remains a self-evident and long-term threat. However, one can argue that while India will continue to remain Pakistan’s primary strategic threat, it is not interested in weakening or destroying Pakistan, as the prevailing narrative in the country might suggest. In fact, to the contrary, New Delhi fears Islamabad’s “instability more than its strength.”

As Stephen P. Cohen argues in his book, Shooting for a Century: The India Pakistan Conundrum, until a few years ago, the prospect of a “failed” Pakistan didn’t disturb India, but in the contemporary situation, given the rise of Islamic extremism in Pakistan, its acquisition of nuclear weapons, and the state’s economic weakness, the thought of a failed nuclear-armed state next door is worrying India more and more.

Daniel S. Markey maintains that despite having suffered from a number of Pakistan-based terrorist attacks, New Delhi doesn’t view the military conquest or the breakup of Pakistan as a realistic approach to resolve the long-standing rivalry; rather, it sees Pakistan as an enormous mess and “not one India would want to inherit even if it had the military tools to sweep across the border unobstructed.” Arguably, India’s security is increasingly dependent on Pakistan’s stability.

India Successfully Tests Nuclear-Capable Intercontinental Ballistic Missile

By Ankit Panda

On Monday, India carried out its fourth successful test launch of its Agni-V nuclear-capable, three-stage, solid fuel intercontinental ballistic missile. The test was carried out off Dr. Abdul Kalam Island in the Indian state of Odisha.

India’s Defense Research and Development Organization released a statement noting that the test “further boosted the indigenous missile capabilities and deterrence level of the country.” The statement added that “all the radars, tracking systems, and range stations tracked and monitored the flight performance and all the mission objectives were successfully met.”

“All the test parameters of the missile, which was tested for its full range, were successfully achieved. The missile splashed down near Australian waters,” an Indian official told the Times of India.

“Successful test firing of Agni V makes every Indian very proud. It will add tremendous strength to our strategic defence,” said Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in a statement released on Twitter.

Are digital transactions in India really safe?

Even as the Narendra Modi government has turned its full attention towards promoting digital transactions, there are key questions being posed by the people -- is it is safe to trust the Internet? Is our country is ready for safe digital transactions?

So, the Rediff labs team analysed the data from the National Crime Records Bureau on cyber crimes that have been reported across the country.

The map, above, shows the change in the number of cyber-crimes reported in each state in 2014-2015. The top three states where the number of crimes increased the most in this period are Odisha, Tripura and Bihar. Cyber crime figures have also risen in states like Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh and Karnataka. The states that fared better include Sikkim, Goa and Arunachal Pradesh.

The map, above, shows how various state governments have responded to tackling cyber crime by comparing the number of persons arrested in 2014-2015. The data reveals that even though cyber crime is lower in states like Bihar, Tripura and Odisha, they have been highly responsive in arresting those who perpetrate such crimes. On the contrary, even though cyber crime cases are high, states like Maharashtra and Karnataka haven't had much success in tracking down the accused.

Considering the data on display, how then can the government assure safe online transactions?

Agni V Missile Launch Won’t Hamper India’s Relationship with China

C Uday Bhaskar

In what may be termed a significant strategic development, India successfully conducted the launch of the Agni V ICBM (intercontinental ballistic missile) of more than 5,000 kms on 26 December. Touchdown occurred in the waters near Australia and preliminary reports suggest that the principal technical parameters have been successfully accomplished.

This is cause for considerable satisfaction and the entire DRDO team and other agencies responsible for this launch are to be applauded. India embarked upon its integrated guided missile development program (IGMDP) in 1983 when PM Indira Gandhi was at the helm of affairs and former President, Dr Abdul Kalam – the much loved Indian ‘missile man’ was the project director for the Agni program.

Journey of the Agni Missile

As a young notetaker at the PM’s annual conference with the military commanders, one recalls the gravitas with which nuclear weapons and related missile capability were perceived and Mrs Indira Gandhi exhorting the techno-scientific apex of the country to enable India to acquire this capability. It was a period when India was under severe US-led technological sanctions and this program had to be pursued under very adverse conditions.

Why India Will Miss President Obama?

By Prateek Kapil 

Last month, USA granted India the status of a major defence partner[1] although it is still unclear what it entails in terms of the level of technology transfer. However, it was yet another evidence of the fact that the Indo-US relationship is steadily progressing politically. The Obama administration has built up on the relationship throughout the 8 years and it remains to be seen what the incoming Trump administration will make of the current relationship. The India-US relationship changed due to strategic and economic reasons in the 1990s. The 123 was the initial center-piece of the relationship followed by the DTTI and now the major defence partner status. But the most important political speech[2] for the relationship was made by President Obama at Siri fort auditorium during his trip to India.

Here was a US president in nearly 70 years of our independence who spoke directly to the reality of India to the people of India. He invoked liberal and conservative Indian leaders of the past. He invoked the necessity for embracing diversity, eradicating poverty and developing strategic partnership based on common interests and values. He cited evidence from the genuinely natural aspects of the ‘natural relationship’ that is often invoked- democracy, creative spirit, the dignity of the individual, the progress of inclusive growth. He realized that India and the US are two big countries with unmatched diversity. The world’s oldest democracy and the world’s largest democracy had no option but to embrace each other’s status in the international system. It is all too often the case that such speeches are absorbed by a pinch of salt as acts of symbolism rather than substance. But the 2016 presidential election campaign has thrown up a remarkable[3] fact. President Obama’s speech in India was no different to the many speeches he gave to his own American people in the run up to the election. The speeches were same in tenor and substance. It reflected the same anxieties that he had about the United States as he had shared with the people of India. He did not distinguish between the internal divisions and external threats that face both India and US due to the similar nature of their societies albeit with vast differences in terms of economic development and capabilities. The Siri fort speech therefore, was intended to strike a chord at the most difficult of all strategic variables- the political level.

Russia, Pakistan, China warn of increased Islamic State threat in Afghanistan

By Peter Hobson

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia, China and Pakistan warned on Tuesday that the influence of Islamic State (IS) was growing in Afghanistan and that the security situation there was deteriorating.

Representatives from the three countries, meeting in Moscow, also agreed to invite the Afghan government to such talks in the future, the Russian Foreign Ministry said.

"(The three countries) expressed particular concern about the rising activity in the country of extremist groups including the Afghan branch of IS," ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova told reporters after the meeting.

The United States, which still has nearly 10,000 troops in Afghanistan more than 15 years after the Islamist Taliban were toppled by U.S.-backed Afghan forces, was not invited to the Moscow talks.

The gathering, the third in a series of consultations between Russia, China and Pakistan that has so far excluded Kabul, is likely to deepen worries in Washington that it is being sidelined in negotiations over Afghanistan's future.

Afghans object to being left out of meeting on Afghanistan

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — The Afghan government expressed concern over a high-level meeting on the country held in Moscow on Tuesday between Russia, China and Pakistan that did not include any Afghan representatives.

Afghan Foreign Ministry spokesman Ahmad Shekib Mostaghni said his government was not invited and hasn't been briefed on the agenda. He said this approach, regardless of the good intentions of the participants, would not help the situation in Afghanistan, where the government has been at war with the Taliban for more than 15 years.

Pakistan's Foreign Ministry said in a joint press release that the three countries discussed the "deteriorating security situation in Afghanistan" and the "increased activities of extremist groups," including local affiliates of the Islamic State group.

It said the three agreed to continue working toward an "Afghan-led, Afghan-owned peace and reconciliation process."

The joint statement said Russia and China, as permanent members of the U.N. Security Council, confirmed their "flexible approach to delisting Afghan individuals from the U.N. sanctions lists" as a contribution to peace efforts.

"The parties agreed to proceed with consultations in an expanded format and would welcome the participation of Afghanistan," it said.


Mohit Kandhari 

The refugees from west Pakistan settled in J&K deserve to be brought into the Indian mainstream. A tentative decision has been taken to give them identity certificates. But separatists and even some mainstream politicians are out to communalise the issue

At a time when the restive Kashmir Valley was gradually limping back to normalcy after witnessing one of the longest spells of unrest in the aftermath of killing of Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani, the issue of granting ‘identity certificates’ to the children of West Pakistan refugees for getting into central paramilitary and the Indian Armed Forces has once again ignited the spark and allowed discredited separatist leaders and disgruntled opposition parties to spearhead another agitation to protect Jammu & Kashmir’s special status.

Protest marches have been planned by separatist leaders and ‘wake-up’ calls have been belted out using loudspeakers fitted atop religious places, to mobilise large crowds to resist fresh attempts made by the PDP-BJP alliance Government to address the long-pending issue of resettlement of west Pakistan refugees on humanitarian grounds.

Afghanistan, India, and Trump

Rakesh Sood
Given his limited choices in stabilising Afghanistan, which include supporting a national election, U.S. President-elect Donald Trump will find India to be a reliable and trusted partner in this process

On January 20, next year, Donald Trump will take over as the 45th President of the United States of America, at a time when the U.S. remains engaged in the longest war in its history — the war in Afghanistan. He will be the third President to deal with the war launched in 2001 by U.S. President George Bush and sought to be brought to a conclusion by his successor U.S. President Barack Obama.

Even though ‘Operation Enduring Freedom’ ended on December 28, 2014 implying an end to formal combat operations by the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) forces, the U.S. still maintains approximately 9,800 troops as part of the international troop presence numbering over 12,000 under ‘Operation Resolute Support’. Primary responsibility for fighting the insurgency was transferred to the Afghan National Security Forces (consisting of the military and the police) two years ago but U.S. presence is essential to provide critical domain awareness, intelligence and surveillance support, air power and special forces.

China, Pakistan, Russia to Meet on Afghanistan, Angering Kabul Leaders

Ayaz Gul 

Top Foreign Ministry officials from China, Pakistan and Russia will meet in Moscow on Tuesday to review what they perceive as a "gradually growing" threat to their frontiers posed by Islamic State extremists in Afghanistan.

"This is an existing forum for undertaking informal discussions on issues of regional peace and stability, including the situation in Afghanistan," Pakistani Foreign Ministry spokesman Nafees Zakaria told VOA.

Pakistan's foreign secretary, Aizaz Chaudhry, will lead Islamabad's delegation, he added. Officials say future meetings could include Iran.

Chinese, Pakistani and Russian officials say they were driven to joint action by the efforts of IS affiliates to establish a foothold in Afghanistan.

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani's national unity government has reportedly questioned the motives of the trilateral dialogue, which will take place without Kabul being represented.

China's Aircraft Carrier: The Ultimate Weapon or Paper Tiger?

Dave Majumdar

A recent op-ed in the Chinese state-run Global Times confirms what military analysts have been saying for years: China wants to turn its one aircraft carrier into a much larger force of multiple carriers that can be used to gain geostrategic advantage over America. 

The op-ed, posted on December 25, also warns America what may come next for China's flattops:

"The Chinese fleet will cruise to the Eastern Pacific sooner or later. When China’s aircraft carrier fleet appears in offshore areas of the US one day, it will trigger intense thinking about maritime rules.

The distant sailing of the Chinese aircraft carrier fleet is not aimed at provoking the US nor at reshaping maritime strategic structure. But if the fleet is able to enter areas where the US has core interests, the situation when the US unilaterally imposes pressure on China will change.

China should speed up launching its new aircraft carriers so as to activate their combat.

In addition, China needs to think about setting up navy supply points in South America right now."

Aboard a U.S. Eye in the Sky, Staring Down ISIS in Iraq and Syria


A Navy sailor maintaining a fighter jet on the deck of the U.S.S. Dwight D. Eisenhower last month. Joint Stars and other surveillance planes “paint a picture” of the Islamic State on the ground for United States fighters and bombers to attack. 

ABOARD A JOINT STARS SURVEILLANCE PLANE, Over Northern Iraq — Flying at 30,000 feet, the powerful radar aboard this Air Force jet peered deep into Syrian territory, hunting for targets on the ground to strike in the looming offensive to seize Raqqa, the Islamic State’s capital.

It was on a mission like this several weeks ago that analysts discovered a hiding place in the central Syrian desert where the Islamic State was stashing scores of oil tanker trucks that provide the terrorist group with a crucial financial lifeline. Acting on that tip and other intelligence, two dozen American warplanes destroyed 188 of the trucks in the biggest airstrike of the year, eliminating an estimated $2 million in oil revenue for the Islamic State, also known as ISIS or ISIL.

Russia: Ukraine's Ban on Military Exports Not a Big Problem

MOSCOW — A senior Russian military official says domestic industries have learned to produce engines and other parts previously imported from Ukraine.

Deputy Defense Minister Yuri Borisov said in a Tuesday interview with online Gazeta.ru that the lack of supplies from Ukraine hasn't had a significant impact on Russia's military capability. Borisov says Russia acted quickly to develop the industrial capacity to supply its own military hardware.

Ukraine cut all military exports to Russia after Moscow's 2014 annexation of Crimea and support for a pro-Russia insurgency in eastern Ukraine.

Until then, Russia had depended on Ukrainian defense industries to provide numerous components for its weapons, the legacy of close ties between the two ex-Soviet neighbors.

Borisov says Russia has launched its own production of helicopter engines and ship turbines that previously were purchased from Ukraine.

Israeli Military Official Says Low Chances of War in 2017

By Aron Heller

TEL AVIV, Israel (AP) — The Middle East regional chaos has weakened Israel's enemies and created a low probability of war involving the country in 2017, a senior Israeli military officer said on Wednesday.

The official said the army has concluded that neither Hezbollah militants in Lebanon nor Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip are interested in sparking a new conflict with Israel.

Hezbollah is bogged down in the Syrian civil war and has sustained heavy losses, while Hamas is deterred and in crisis mode having lost much of its support from the outside, he added.

Still, he cautioned that an unexpected "dynamic of escalation" could always risk sparking a new conflict.

"In 2017, the most probable war is one that both sides didn't want," he said, sharing a year-end Israeli intelligence assessment. He spoke to reporters on condition of anonymity in line with military protocol.

U.N. discovers that some peacekeepers have disturbing pasts

By Kevin Sieff

BUTARE, Rwanda — The three officers had received blue badges and slipped blue covers over their helmets. They were now U.N. peacekeepers, sent from Burundi to help protect victims of a brutal war in the Central African Republic. 

But each of them had a past the United Nations was unaware of. When the deployments became public, Burundian activists were aghast. 

One of the officers had run a military jail where beatings and torture occurred, according to civil-society groups and former prisoners. Another had committed human rights violations when anti-government demonstrations erupted in Burundi last year, U.N. officials would eventually learn. The third had served as the spokesman for the Burundian army, publicly defending an institution accused of abuses. 

They set out for the Central African Republic in different U.N. deployments over the past year. In each case, U.N. officials soon determined that the allegations against the soldiers and their units were credible enough to send them home. 

The secret source of fake news. It’s discovery will change America.

Summary: Our leaders have made a discovery of the sort that changes the destiny of nations. It is a secret that explains much of modern American history. We have become gullible, seeing the false beliefs of others but credulously believing what our tribal leaders tell us. The avalanche of “fake news” is the logical response by our ruling elites.

We caused the rising tide of fake news

After WWII our ruling elites have grown increasingly bold in their lies (see the Big List of lies by our government). They have seen how we credulously believe even the most implausible stories, and that we inflict little or no penalty when their lies are discover (even Bill Clinton’s conviction of contempt of court and disbarment for lying under oath didn’t dent his popularity among Democrats).

The rising tide of fake news naturally results as awareness of our gullibility spread among our ruling elites. We see the lies of our foes but remain delusionally ignorant about the lies of our tribe. This is comically obvious on comment threads, where attacks on tribal truths are brutally repulsed, but politically pleasing and outrageous lies go without contradiction or protest.

Top U.S. General: Two More Years to Beat ISIS


BAGHDAD, Iraq—The general commanding coalition forces in Iraq predicts it will take two years of hard work to clear the so-called Islamic State from its twin capitals of Mosul and Raqqa, and then to burn out the remnants that will likely flee to the vast empty desert between Syria and Iraq.

In a Christmas Day sit-down with The Daily Beast at his headquarters, Lt. Gen. Stephen Townsend would not put specific timelines on the battle. But he mapped out a grinding campaign that he thinks is going slowly but as well as can be expected, considering how much time ISIS had to prepare and how brutal its fighters are willing to be.

“A fighter walking out of a building will hold a child over his head so we can see him through ISR until he reaches another building,” he said, using the military acronym for intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance.

The grim battle against ISIS is taking place against a backdrop of continuing sectarian tension in Iraq, which could get worse if newly empowered militia groups let their influence go to their heads. A new Iraqi law that goes into force this week makes militia forces here legal. Such groups—especially Iranian backed Shiite armed forces—have been accused of war crimes against Iraq’s Sunni minority. The U.S. has ordinarily eyed these units warily.

The intel war in Britain

Musa Khan Jalalzai

All of these warnings and statements during the last two years are indicative of the frustration and irritation of British government and its law enforcement agencies vis-à-vis the imposed intelligence war in cyberspace

Intelligence unambiguously linked with defence and security provides a decisive advantage to law enforcement agencies and military commanders in times of war and peace. Some significant events in Europe and Asia recently occurred that left deep impacts on the evolving nature of EU intelligence cooperation on law enforcement level with the United Kingdom. Major Private and state intelligence agencies failed to intercept and disrupt the exponentially growing networks of radicalised groups and lone wolf attacks; for that reason the increasing number of dangers across borders could not reflect in their policies and strategies. The current waves of lone wolves attacks in EU are the most extensive and dangerous the continent has ever seen due to the massive increase in migrants in EU that caused insecurity and political pressure, while their involvement in recent terror-related attacks in Brussels, France, and Germany raised serious questions about the nature of their perceptions and resentments towards European values. Majority of people, who entered the EU and the UK, used false documents and information to hide their identity. Britain learnt a lot from these consecutive EU intelligence failures, and adopted an intelligence-led operational mechanism against terrorists and radicalised elements.

What’s Wrong With ARSOF?

by Sadcom via Happycom

When talking about the U.S. Army Special Operations Command (USASOC), we have to differentiate between “ARSOF” (Army Special Operations Forces) and all the units within the USASOC purview. First, USASOC does not have proponency over the Special Operations Aviation Regiment (SOAR), any JSOC unit, the 75th Ranger Regiment, or the 528th Sustainment Brigade. USASOC’s main two subordinate commands, the U.S. Army John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center and School (USAJFKSWCS) and 1st Special Forces Command (Airborne) contain the majority of forces that are what most refer to as “ARSOF.” That is, the three regiments of Special Forces (SF), Civil Affairs (CA), and Psychological Operations (or “Psyop,” also known by their mission acronym of Military Information Support Operations (MISO)). These three forces are really what USASOC concerns itself with, as SOAR’s proponent is Army Aviation and their working partner is JSOC. Likewise, the Ranger’s proponent is the Infantry and they work mainly with JSOC as well.

Within USASOC, therefore, and within its two subordinate commands, SF is king. Much like JSOC running SOCOM, SF runs USASOC, USAJFKSWCS, and 1st SF Command. In fact, when many people within USASOC or even within DoD talk about ARSOF they are really talking SF. This makes sense on one level: the Army values combat arms and the tactical level, and SF provides that in spades. A CA or Psyop officer in Afghanistan does not hunt down and kill terrorists. It is much more difficult to figure out the CA and Psyop effects in the short-term. Their activities are concerned with the long-term and the non-linear. They also do not have the luxury that SF enjoys of being able to deviate from their specialty and run around killing terrorists. SF, supposed to be concerned with building local capacity, can build that local capacity ostensibly while leading local forces in killing terrorists and insurgents. Psyop and CA, when they do work through the locals, are still bound by their core specialties of influencing and building civil capacity respectively.

There has never been, nor will there ever be, a CA or Psyop commander of USASOC. Three star generals within ARSOF come from commanding TSOCs and command of TSOCs come from being Group (brigade level, commanded by a colonel) commanders in combat or something similar. Even though it is a stretch to say that SF really commands forces in combat at the Group level, CA and Psyop definitely do not. Therefore, with the current personnel system, you could be the smartest colonel in the entire DoD, capable of amazing leadership, but if you are CA or Psyop you will be lucky to make it to 1 star general, much less higher.

Weakened Militarily, ISIS Still Has Power to Sow Deadly Mayhem


In the past few weeks, the Islamic State has sustained a string of military defeats: ousted from its refuge on the Libyan coast, struggling to maintain its hold on the Iraqi city of Mosul, and losing ground in Syria. Yet as the deadly truck attack on a Christmas market in Berlin made clear, those losses do not diminish the group’s extraordinary power to inspire terrorist mayhem around the world, and may even help fuel it.

In just the past year, even while under near continuous bombardment by the American-led coalition, the Islamic State has claimed responsibility for more than three dozen attacks, stretching across 16 countries on four continents.

That figure does not include the organization’s home terrain in Syria and Iraq, where it has lost 50,000 fighters in the past two years, according to the Pentagon — nearly as many dead as the United States lost in the Vietnam War. Many of the attacks beyond the Middle East were carried out by assailants who cited their inability to reach the group’s Syria refuge, its self-proclaimed caliphate, as a motive for acting at home.

Year in Review: Militaries Got More Cyber in 2016

Alex Grigsby is the assistant director for the Digital and Cyberspace Policy program at the Council on Foreign Relations. 

This year marked a turning point in military uses of cyberspace. For the first time, the United States, United Kingdom, and Australia acknowledged deploying offensive cyber tools against the Islamic State. The fact that the United States, China, Russia, and others break into adversary computer networks is not new–intelligence organizations have done so since the early 1990s. But openly acknowledging that a military, as opposed to largely civilian intelligence organizations, is using malware to gain an advantage during an armed conflict breaks new ground. 

It all started in late February when Defense Secretary Ash Carter declared that the United States was looking to attack 

“the ability of someone sitting in Raqqa to command and control [self-declared Islamic State, also known as ISIS] forces outside of Raqqa or to talk to Mosul or even to talk to somebody in Paris or to the United States. So these are strikes that are conducted in the war zone using cyber essentially as a weapon of war. Just like we drop bombs, we’re dropping cyber bombs.” 

Robert J. Samuelson: Cyberwar threat isn’t limited to Russia

By Robert J. Samuelson

It may be wishful thinking, but it’s just possible that Vladimir Putin has done us a great favor. He has alerted us to the true threat of cyberwarfare in a way that – again, just possibly – might prompt us to view it as a serious national danger and begin to take effective countermeasures.

Of course, Americans are aware of the hazards of cyberattacks. Every few weeks, it seems, we’re confronted with a high-profile hacking that, typically, involves the theft of massive amounts of personal or corporate data. A recent example is Yahoo’s disclosure that in 2013 it was hacked and lost data on about 1 billion users.

But the standard response to these breaches has been subdued. We see cyberattacks “as mostly annoyances – inconvenient, maybe even a little disruptive, but nothing we can’t live with,” says Jeffrey Eisenach of the American Enterprise Institute. This complacency is not entirely misplaced.

So far, cyberattacks have not endangered our economy or way of life. The breaches mainly represent a new form of crime whose costs are exasperating but manageable. The truth is that most cyberattacks fail.

The Best Natural Defense to Psychological Warfare

by J. “Zhanna” Malekos Smith

Using false information to disorient and mislead an adversary is not a new tactic of contemporary warfare. In fact, false signaling is not even unique to the human species, for animals and insects predate us in using these techniques to feign weakness to predators and ensnare prey.

But what does set human beings apart in this regard, is the systematic production and distribution of false information to psychologically harm a target. Using broadcast media, cyberspace, printed media, and plain word of mouth, “a lie can travel halfway around the world while the truth is still putting on its shoes.”

And as the threat and effect of psychological warfare becomes more pronounced in cyberspace, policymakers must address this burgeoning security threat. For if a foreign power can freely employ technical and political artifice to undermine core democratic institutions, then this is the way a democracy ends, not with a bang, but with a whimper.

Thus, as a baseline to fortifying the psyche of the United States intelligence community, who in turn help inform and advise America’s political and military leadership, this article recommends a creative health-based approach.


By Alyssa Shames 

Now that APT reports have been exposed, the “thrill” of discovering and calling out suspected nation state actors engaged in clandestine cyber activity has become almost routine. Excitement over what was once considered a difficult thing to do (detecting “advanced” cyber adversaries) is now expected. And therein lies the problem. The rush to attribute and increase marketing visibility in the wake of such incidents has taken the place of adding value through the exchange of actionable information. 

As a result, the cybersecurity community appears to be at an almost breakneck speed in producing APT reports. Certainly, the research that is offered to the public under the auspices of information sharing provides some proficient technical analysis and indicators of compromise that can help organizations detect if similar activity is occurring against their networks. But what is the real benefit of revealing to the world what is known? Does it capitalize on the business marketplace? 

The Cyber Arms Race


Back in August, The Cipher Brief sat down with Leo Taddeo, Chief Security Officer for Cryptzone, to discuss the cyber threats posed by Russia and China. While China primarily uses its cyber collection capabilities “to compete on an economic level,” Russia places a greater “emphasis on collecting military and diplomatic information,” says Taddeo. As we move into 2017, Russia and China will continue to use their cyber capabilities to influence U.S. policy--both at home and abroad. ​

The Cipher Brief: How would you characterize Russian and Chinese cyber capabilities?

Leo Taddeo: Starting with the Chinese, the hallmark of Chinese cyber collection capability is to enable their State Owned Enterprises (SOEs) to compete on an economic level. We see a lot of network intrusions and extrications of intellectual property (IP). That’s a hallmark of Chinese hacking groups, particularly 61398, which, as you know, was the subject of an indictment in the western district of Pennsylvania, where there was hacking into U.S. Steel, Westinghouse, and others.

So that is emblematic of the Chinese hacking effort. If you take a look at their economic plan, many of their hacking groups are aligned to collect the kind of IP and business technology that will enhance the key activities that they need to grow their economy.