Belmont Club

The ghost in the machine 2

Zepplin vs the PterodactylsForeign Policy has a long article on the Russian cyberwarfare campaign. The most interesting aspect was how they mobilized bloggers to carry the Kremlin’s agenda forward.

“But sophomoric pranks and cyberattacks were only the first shots of a much wider online war in which Russian bloggers willingly enlisted as the Kremlin’s grass-roots army. For Russian netizens, ‘unconventional’ cyberwarfare—winning the hearts and minds of the West—became more important than crashing another server in Tbilisi. Managing information seemed all the more urgent as there were virtually no images from the first and the most controversial element in the whole war—the Georgian invasion of Tskhinvali, the capital of South Ossetia—and the destruction that, were one to believe the Kremlin’s account, followed shortly thereafter.”

In January of this year the old Belmont Club, hosted on Blogspot, carried a long post called the “Ghost in the Machine” focusing on cyberwarfare. It contained a description of China’s system, the so-called Three Headed Monster.

the “Three Headed Monster”: the “NET Force” corresponding to a general staff; the “Red Hackers Union” (RHU). These are several hundred thousand patriotic Chinese programmers and Internet engineers who wished to assist the motherland — all behind the Golden Shield Project (also known as The Great Firewall of China) manned by 30,000 Ministry of Public Security employees to keep the targets from repaying Beijing in kind.

One of the reasons that Russia and China spend so much effort on cyberwarfare is that Western information institutions — universities, the press and even the Internet — are so vulnerable to disinformation. The MSM in particular is structurally incapable of classifying and analyzing new information at a near real-time rate. It can be cyberherded easily. And because it is institutionally perpetually amateur, it often can’t even tell when it is being had. Plus many of its major connected nodes are probably compromised and the small world property means that these compromised nodes will spread the poison.