Paul's Blog

THOUGHTS ON CYBER WARFARE

Surviving Cyberwar (National Press Club, Dec 2010)


Paul de Souza and Richard Stiennon

The book launch event for Surviving Cyberwar at the National Press Club was a success! I got up early and got ready to go support Richard and listen to his speech here in DC. As I looked out the window I see snow—not a common sight in Virginia and definitely not a pleasant one when taking the DC metro and especially not when driving. However, neither snow nor rain would stop me from making it there! As I arrived at the National Press Club, I start to notice that Richard Stiennon is not the only one presenting today; I see Mike McConnell and others getting ready to present on other security issues. I had the opportunity to have a quick chat with Col Banks (Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Army) on cyber warfare and security in general, at which point Richard arrived. The networking continued on as I made my way to Richard’s presentation space. I had the opportunity to meet some interesting folks.
I have known Richard for awhile now, and we even had the opportunity to be the only two Americans presenting at CebIT (security conference) in Sydney, Australia this year. To talk security with Richard is always a fascinating intellectual experience, as he can easily walk one through security events with such clarity.
Anne Bader introduced Richard Stiennon to a fairly full room. Richard opened his presentation by explaining to the audience the reason why he wrote a book on Cyber War, which is to raise awareness on the issue and also to clarify certain terms and events that may or may not be considered cyber war. It is a book that, in my opinion, covers historical events of cyber conflicts and attempts to give the reader a better understanding of what happened not only from a historical perspective but also from a technological angle. As a writer, journalist and researcher, Richard has the ability to immerse the reader into the subject of cyber war.
Richard continued his speech by covering the story of Shawn Carpenter, an American Navy veteran previously employed by Sandia National Laboratories, who tracked down a Chinese cyber-espionage ring that is code-named Titan Rain by the FBI. The story came to national attention when it was featured in the September 5, 2005 issue of Time magazine. Carpenter, who was present in the room, is currently employed at NetWitness Corporation and is also a CSFI member.
Richard then talked about China’s strategic approach to cyber warfare by quoting Mr. Tim Thomas (The Dark Visitor http://www.thedarkvisitor.com/) and the father of information warfare in China, Dr. Shen Weiguang, who stated that “the main target of IW is the enemy’s cognitive and trust systems, and the goal is to exert control over his actions” in the IW introductory research piece for the Chinese military newspaper. Richard talked about his new own definition of APT – combination of (Adversaries, Perniciousness and Targets). He also covered the reality of social media attacks and how TRUST is the main security element of any relationship. We can clearly see this malicious trend getting more and more momentum as we all rely on trusted relationships to speed up our processes and operations. Breach of trust can be the hardest form of attack to be protected against.
Richard said, “Cyber Espionage is not Cyber Warfare.” It is an element of it, but it should not be mistaken by the media as Cyber War. Richard’s definition of cyber war: “Tanks must be rolling across borders in conjunction with cyber attacks.” He gave the example of the Georgia vs. Russia conflict as real cyber war. I recommend anyone interested in learning more about cyber security events and cyber warfare to read Richard’s book and support his work. Richard is a great asset to the overall education of cyber citizens, and his voice must be heard.

Paul de Souza, CSFI Founder Director

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Career Thoughts

I am humbled and honored to have the opportunity to manage and run one of the biggest and most active forums on the Internet dealing with cyber warfare and cyber security – CSFI (The Cyber Security Forum Initiative). With over 16 years of cyber security experience, I continue to actively raise Cyber Warfare/Cyber Security awareness worldwide. I have worked as a Chief Security Engineer for AT&T, where I designed and approved secure networks for MSS. I have also consulted for several governments, military and private institutions on best network security practices throughout my career.

CSFI and its divisions CSFI-CWD (Cyber Warfare Division), CSFI-LPD (Law and Policy Division) and CSFI-WD (Wireless Division) continue to grow and expand with more than 60,000 information security members.

One of my personal goals is to serve our security community to the best of my abilities, in the protection and defense of our American national security interests, the American people, and that of our international partners. I am always ready to serve and to give of my time and skills to help our society with the growing problems we experience in cyberspace. I thank God and my family for the opportunities I have had in life and the most precious of all opportunities, which is the chance to serve others. I love what I do, and I appreciate all the support I have received from friends, family and our CSFI members.

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Paul de Souza, CSFI Founder Director

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