The assumed brightline between information warfare and warfare has become blurry.
Here is the LA Times reporting that the British have used government spy hackers to attack an Al Qaeda newspaper, replacing the bomb making instructions with the winning cupcake recipe from an Ellen episode. Huh?
In its summer edition last year, Inspire featured an article titled “Make a Bomb in the Kitchen of Your Mom.” But British spy agents belonging to GCHQ infiltrated the pages and “corrupted” them, erasing the instructions and leaving the cupcake recipe in its place.
The Daily Telegraph in London also ran a story that said “the code, which had been inserted into the original magazine by the British intelligence hackers, was actually a web page of recipes for ‘The Best Cupcakes in America’ published by the Ellen DeGeneres chat show.”
The Guardian reports on the well-established Chinese military hacking unit “known as the cyber blue team.” China announced that it had established the group to influence culture.
Rather than hacking attacks aimed at obtaining private or secret information, Ye and Zhao said China was threatened by psychological operations that used the internet to shift public opinion against governments. They cited the “domino effect” seen in the Middle East and north Africa created by Facebook, Twitter and other social media that are banned by China’s great firewall of censorship.
A couple of days ago, the United States announced it’s new International strategy for cyberspace. The big change? The United States wanted to make clear that we can respond with military force when hacked. That’s right, the next North African kid who messes with the US firewall might face some Cruise missiles.