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Defense

Infrastructure-based information system landscape

Sajad Abedi

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The discussion of cyber defense strategies is about a variety of issues, among which the most important issue is whether the significance of the potential damage caused by cyber-attacks can justify the use of a complex system for the implementation of this kind of defense. It is difficult to find an answer to this question because the available information is negligible and is often provided by sources whose impartiality is doubtful. In fact, the severity of the dangers of cybercrime (or, in other words, the constant hostile acts affecting information systems globally) cannot be simply determined.

But based on the evidence available, there have been significant cyber-attacks since 2007 (including deep-seated spyware interventions), all of which indicate cybercriminals that are more likely to be exploited Malicious actors; while information and communication systems in everyday activities have a very sensitive place to carry out physical and material operations, to store confidential and personal information or to exchange information among actors at distances.

In contrast to this wide range of malicious activities, the first issue that comes to be identified is the overall role that can have cyber defense.

In a defensive call, not only must have defensive and aggressive abilities, it should also prove the effectiveness of these abilities when needed, or, in other words, create a “reputable defense”.

Establishing “credible defense” in the cyberspace is a complicated problem, and the problems with identifying the root and the objectives of the attack will exacerbate it. The “Conficker” virus is a good example in this regard: the virus sped up in 2008 and 2009, infecting millions of computers, but its author was never identified.

Sometimes actors demonstrate “reputable defense” to showcase their cyber defense capabilities. But the current structure of the Internet and information systems prevents any kind of defense capability being displayed in real dimensions. An attack against a specific information system, for example, a power system for displaying power, allows you to convey persuasive reasons that prove the impact of the aggressive and defensive capabilities of the aforementioned actor, but on the other hand it can also have important adverse effects that they should take for responsibility. In addition, displaying power will not in a packet network, of course, have the same effect on a network.

In addition, the claim to have the ability to attack without passing the document and certificate damages the credibility of the deterrent system, but instead of showing the exact documents and the component, in addition to the ability, the knowledge that has been used in it for rival actors, it is possible to prepare for their support and increase the likelihood that rival actors will perform similar attacks.

For example, the analysis of the component part of the mystery behind the Stuxnet worm unveils its techniques and increases the likelihood that other potential authors will make the same development. But they do not provide definitive evidence of the role of having a specific actor. In this case, even the claims made in this regard cannot be stopped. (Gabi Ashkenazi, the Jewish general, when he retired, claimed he was the father of the Internet worm of Stuxnet.)

Stuxnet, of course, also poses other questions, including: why the same high-level techniques have not been used to hide the remains of the work? Or why the solution was not taken up to the “Stuxnet” worm upon completion of the attack? It will destroy itself to prevent the spread of knowledge used in it. But with the removal of footprints, the author reduces the ability to attribute their aggressive ability. Perhaps the Stuxnet worm has a two-way approach: showing its power at the expense of the diffusion of techniques (which may indicate that the author has more abilities), and provide enough evidence and evidence to prove your defensive ability.

Another issue in “prestigious defense” is the dependability of statements and claims: we must try to make it in the area of clarity and speed of data flow that we do not make false claims to be rejected by others and discredited, Because not only defense is not done, but the role of creator will certainly be questioned, and the loss of reputation in cyberspace will reduce the potential for defense.

For example, the US firm HBG (Federal Security Software Development Company) in 2010 claimed that it developed equipment that could detect hackers by analyzing data transmitted through social networks. Earlier this year, the company claimed that it had penetrated the Anonymous Group, had gained access to some of its members, and announced its readiness to sell the identity of the members to the FBI. In front of the Anonymous group, it also attacked the company’s site and published its tens of thousands of confidential emails over the Internet, disclosing the company’s intentions against WikiLeaks. Additionally, he announced that the people who had been nominated by HBG as members of the Anonymous group were not really members of the group, and that the methods used by HBGI to be not sure technically feasible. Following this revelation, the “HB” customers have gradually diverted from the company and the US government has begun research on the deal set between its defense services and the company.

A similar situation was made between NATO and the Anonymous group. In the spring of 2011, NATO released a report addressing the challenges of recent developments in cybercrime activism, in particular the operations of both WikiLeaks and Anonymous, claiming that the activities of the group (Anonymous It will not be late and soon its members will be identified and prosecuted. In response to NATO’s action, the Anonymous group stepped up its attacks on official sites, in particular the FBI, and announced in late July 2011 that it had attacked NATO sites and had several gigabytes of document he has stolen several documents on the Internet to prove his claims.

It should be noted that this action (prosecution of non-state actors), although not in the defense field, can undoubtedly proceed in the context of a long-running dispute between governments and an illegal group towards progression. In fact, this type of counteraction (and its methods used) is a reminder of the struggle against transnational or national criminal organizations.

The lack of a documented example of confrontation between governments in cyberspace does not mean that there is no such conflict. Rather, it shows that hostilities between the governments are more or less hidden for specific reasons (including the insistence on concealment of their abilities, attempts to avoid physical or economic coping, etc.). In addition, most of the activities in the cyberspace are made using spy services, and these groups have a prominent place in defensive actions. In the perspective of developing and developing cyber defense, this should be considered. There are two main options for governments to organize the development of defensive and aggressive capabilities:

– What France has chosen and confirmed in the White Defense and National Security Council of France, that two defensive and offensive functions should be separated:

France has assigned the Department of Defense to the “National Security Agency for Information Systems” and the offensive section of the Ministry of Defense and the General Directorate of Security.

– In front of the United States, he has chosen a strategy for combining two defensive and aggressive functions in one set, and both have been transferred to a single organization (the NSA).

Finally, it is important to emphasize that, in order to make the attacking and counteracting functions more effective against attacks, it is essential to apply multi-sectorial industrial relations in the field of informatics and to establish international cooperation and to develop and defend defense acceptable cybercrime influences.

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Defense

The Chinese Navy: A new force is rising in the East

Themistoklis Z. Zanidis

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The information coming to the West from various sources, either open or closed, regarding the Chinese Navy, concludes on the finding that in the last couple of decades an extensive program of modernization and numerical expansion of the Navy, by the Chinese authorities, is underway. The fundamental pillar of China’s (not-so-future) Navy, known as the People’s Liberation Army Navy PLAN, (will be) for its aircraft carriers; cruisers; destroyers; amphibious assault ships; and submarines. In general, China is arming with modern multi-purpose ships, with the purpose of attacking and defending capabilities. Its discernible ambition is to use its fleet against the dominant US Navy, whose presence is pronounced in the China Sea and consequently in the Pacific Ocean. As a matter of fact, the Chinese Navy is already considered to be the second most powerful in the world, exceeding historical Naval Powers such as the United Kingdom and Japan. Indicatively, we note the fact that the once dominant Royal Navy is currently comprised of only 9 destroyers and 2 aircraft carriers, while the Chinese, respectively and exceeds those numbers.  It is the swiftest growing Navy in the world. Literally, since 2014, the Chinese Navy has launched more warships than the Royal Navy has on duty today.

This article will be focusing on the rapid development of the Chinese Navy, which incidentally is only one aspect of Beijing’s overall maritime strategy (another aspect refers to the construction of military bases on tiny islands within the entire Chinese Sea and abroad, as in Djibouti).  China aims to secure the homeland from a possible attack from the sea and to protect their vulnerable maritime supply lines. In the Chinese strategic culture, the Age of Humiliation is of paramount importance, because it had been the period when the Chinese were subservient to Westerners. Therefore, the Never Again of the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) is the legitimizing substance which keeps it in power but simultaneously a commitment that satisfies the nationalist Chinese instincts. China is keen to return to its former position, before its contact with the Western Powers, so its policy is towards this strategic target.

It was not until the 1990’s that the Chinese forces consisted of out-of-dated naval vessels with limited offensive and defensive capabilities. Furthermore, the Chinese fleet was limited to about 150 main units (destroyers, frigates, submarines) and no conventional aircraft carriers. Today, China has both fiscal and technological ability to build domestic projects at a rapid pace. In order to understand the class size of the Chinese naval armaments program we will note that in 2016 and 2017 the country’s Navy launched 18 and 14 units respectively, while the US Navy launched only 5 and 8.

 The Center for Strategic and International Studies estimates that in the forthcoming 15 years, the Chinese Navy will deploy 430 surface units and 100 submarines, while other valid US estimations set this number up to 530. The U.S. Pentagon estimates that this year alone (2020) the Chinese Navy will deploy 78 submarines; 60 stealth-guided-missile ships; 40 corvettes fit for the environment of the Chinese Sea (while 60 more are waiting to be delivered); 24 modern all purpose frigates; 20 state-of-the-art destroyers; 12 cruisers with a delivery horizon in the current decade; 4 fleet support ships; 3 helicopter carriers; 5 ships of amphibious assault missions; and 2 aircraft carriers with the third already under construction.

The informed reader may be concerned as this extensive construction of warships is inconsistent with the Silent Rise which was the official doctrine of the Chinese government until recently. According to it, the country should, at all costs, continue its uninterrupted economic growth, capitalizing on the globalization. This will happen only if the country manages not to provoke the United States as well as neighboring countries, many of which are close allies to Washington (like Japan and South Korea). However, it seems that the Chinese elite is increasingly abandoning this doctrine while adopting a more provocative stance through a peculiar nationalism, especially as economic growth decelerates. In this context, the extensive reinforcement of the Chinese Navy is deliberated and resulting in an increasing concern of neighbor states and the United States, which realizes that the balance of naval power is gradually turning at its expense. China, in order to become a great power again should secure its sovereignty, especially the homeland, from possible attacks. This is incidental to the expulsion of all the American forces which are based in the region and specifically from the China Sea. The Chinese high strategy can only be fruitful with the presence of a modern and powerful Navy (blue-water Navy) combined with an extensive network of military bases which Beijing is rapidly building on tiny, sometimes disputable, islands throughout the China Sea. With those facts and the Chinese demands, no state including the Philippines, Malaysia, Brunei, Taiwan, Vietnam, and Japan, feels safe, although the published Chinese military doctrine remains chiefly defensive.

Regarding the Chinese Navy, it’s noticeable that the modernization program is traced back only to 2012, when President Hu Jintao, during the 18th Congress of the CCP, ordered the country to be transformed into a sea power. More recently, President Xi Jinping declared that the current situation urges China to develop its naval forces promptly. This statement was followed by a 55% increase in defense spending between 2015 and 2020, making China the world’s second-largest spender behind the United States (China’s defense spending is estimated at $260.8 billion in 2019). The significance of the Navy for the country’s leadership is reflected in its budget, which increased by 82%, reaching $57 billion. As a result, six shipyards across the country have lifted the burden of building an advanced fleet capable of dealing with the dominant US Navy. The construction of advanced warships is the implementation of the Chinese Dream, the vision of the current President for a powerful China which is respected home and abroad.

The result of this policy is astonishing.  In 2018 China became the country with the most warships on order, surpassing South Korea with 43.9% share in global orders. In February 2020, at the peak of the Covid-19 crisis, China fell to 4th place with a 35% share in global orders, a testament to the country’s industry dynamics. Despite the impressive armament program, it should be noted that a capable naval force consists not only of modern warships, but also as a key component consists of  well-trained crews who have a deep knowledge of the maritime environment. This knowledge can largely be taught in naval schools, but actual engagement with the maritime environment is also required. Seamanship is exactly that, the long-term contact with the sea and the valuable experience that a nation acquires from this contact. For many centuries China has become a land power by turning its back on the sea. The current leadership seems to have understood this historical mistake and tries to change it by turning the Chinese people back to the sea from their school years.

Today, the US Navy is the most powerful in the world as it enables the United States to demonstrate its power globally. At the same time, it protects peace and free navigation on the high seas.  It is a key contribution to world trade which is essentially maritime, and eventually to the global economy. Chinese officials occasionally admit that despite the Chinese Navy’s numerical superiority, it still lags behind technologically from the US Navy. Even in terms of tactics and training, the US Navy is a highly professional force tested in real war conditions as distinct from the Chinese which has not yet demonstrated its true value and capabilities in realistic conditions. However, the situation across the China Sea seems to be tilting in favor of the Chinese side as its naval forces are dramatically strengthened due to the proximity of the area of operations to the Chinese coastline.

Beijing’s growing military network is making it increasingly difficult for U.S. ships to sail safely into the disputed area to effectively support their allies. One of China’s main targets now is Taiwan which is considered Chinese territory. As a result, Chinaωstrongly opposes any attempt towards Taiwanese independence and that is the main reason behind China’s amphibious force, a capable force ready to invade the island at any time.The Chinese leadership seems to have fully recognized the domains in which it lags behind its main rival and is trying to fill the gap by developing more and more contemporary navy ships and continuous crew training in order to be ready to cope with a realistic conflict. Similarly, the United States is closely monitoring the progress of its most important rival for the world’s hegemony.

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Defense

Who Exactly Fights For The UN-backed Sarraj Government?

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The latest turn of the tide in the Libyan conflict ended in the forces loyal to the Government of National Accord led by Fayez al-Sarraj pushing back the Libyan National Army and establishing full control over the capital Tripoli and the surrounding areas. Coverage of these developments in Western media was shaped along the tune of justice being restored by legitimate forces. Is that narrative off-key, and what exactly are these ostensibly legitimate forces?

First and foremost, the recent successes achieved by the GNA were only made possible by military support provided by Turkey, who supplied Sarraj with drones, military advisors and Syrian fighters recruited among the Turkish proxies notorious for their criminal tendencies. Contrary to the narrative enforced by the West depicting the GNA militias as a legitimate regular army, in reality these forces are little more than a bunch of criminals and radical elements financed by the Turkish intelligence.

Knowing this, it makes sense that the GNA forces resort to any means, including those explicitly forbidden by the international humanitarian law. The GNA supporters, however, choose to ignore these crimes turning a blind eye to the violations of Geneva conventions committed both by the fighters and their backers.

Finding evidence of these crimes presents no difficulty, as the fighters make little effort to hide them. In fact, they often unknowingly document their own atrocities. Perhaps the most telling example is the video published on the official Facebook page of the militia named Tripoli Protection Force that features armed members of the group driving in a vehicle marked with Red Crescent symbols. The raid showed on video ended in capture of a number of people who were promptly declared agents of the LNA. The video is still online.

When the GNA militants are not busy driving medical vehicles, they engage in torture of civilians such as these Egyptian workers who were violently beaten and abused by the fighters. The Egyptian nationals had been working in Tarhuna before the town was captured by the militias loyal to the GNA.

UN expressed “deep concern” over the detention and torture of Egyptians in Tarhuna, urging the authorities in Tripoli to investigate the incident. In its turn, Egypt took offense and claimed that it will launch an independent investigation, emphasizing that it is ready to make a strong response to the GNA aggression.

These examples are but a small part of the violations committed by the GNA militias. Despite the support it receives from the UN and its foreign backers, the GNA will not be able to contribute to a safer, stable Libya, unless it gives up on the radicals who do not abide by the law. It has long been evident for everyone except the GNA allies abroad.

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Defense

Sino-American Rivalry: Impact on South Asian Security

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The US-China relationship is an extremely complex one; it is driven by many different dimensions each dimension has got its own logic. The United States of America, being a dominant power of the world, has engaged itself with many nations throughout the world. Mainly it has engaged itself in those regions of the world from where it considers any entity could pose a threat to its interests as well as its dominance. Washington has remained an influential state because of its active involvement in most parts of the world for its national interest, particularly economic benefits. However, China being a re-emerging power, wants to influence the world through its engagement with more nations employing initiatives such as Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) or via economic engagement with various nations. However, the nature of relations between Washington and Beijing has changed ever since Donald Trump’s presidency. Under the Trump Administration, the US has shifted from viewing China as a strategic partner to a strategic competitor. There are multiple areas where Trump Administration has challenged Beijing, such as trade and economy, Asia-Pacific region, technology, Chinese military modernization, South Asian region, and Beijing’s pursuit for alternative global markets.

In this regard, the South Asian region assumes much importance when it comes to great powers politics such as the US and China. Over the time, the occurrence of events, incidents and initiatives such as 9/11 and Chinese BRI have added more significance to the region for great powers politics. On one hand, the incident of 9/11 provided a reason for the US to engage itself in the region actively, particularly Afghanistan, under the pretext of the War on Terror or security issues. On the other hand, active Chinese involvement through BRI compelled the United States to increase its influence by engaging with more nations in South Asia for containing China and its initiative. When it comes to South Asian security, three countries, namely Afghanistan, Pakistan and India, hold much importance in determining the security of South Asia. The presence of American forces in Afghanistan after the incident of 9/11 has presented a dilemma for Beijing. Because it considers presence of the US troops at its backyard as a severe threat. In this regard, China wants the withdrawal of American forces from Afghanistan to fulfil its desires by engaging more actively with Kabul for its development and stability through BRI or other economic engagement.

Moreover, peace and stability in Kabul is Beijing’s fundamental interest because chaos in Afghanistan could trigger extremism, terrorism, and fundamentalism resultantly that will threaten not only the peace, security and stability of the region but can spill over into the adjacent Xinjiang region of China. However, Afghanistan is considered the “graveyard of empires” therefore, China does not want to risk its position by getting involved in Afghan affairs that are not in the interest of the people of the country. Similarly, China supported the “Peace Deal” between the US and Taliban representatives on February 29, 2020, in Doha, Qatar. After the US forces withdrawal from Afghanistan, it is highly likely that China is going to deepen its involvement in Afghanistan further because it fears the return of Uygur militants in Xinjiang after a withdrawal of US troops. While the United States wants to engage India in the region to counter China, in this regard, since long, the US has been supporting Delhi in defense and trade ties to minimize the influence of Beijing in South Asia. As the US former Secretary of State John Kerry said that America wants to see India in a more dominant role in South Asia. However, American support towards India and giving it special waivers not only generate serious threats for China but also for Pakistan. Similarly, China and Pakistan have been trying to further strengthen their relations by increasing cooperation in multiple fields via the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).

As far as the American history about problem-solving of this region is concerned, it portrays bad picture where the US has the most significant stake in spoiling the regional peace along with generating various problems such as the birth of terrorism, gun culture, deaths and destruction, economic instability and many other issues as well. The emergence of gun culture and terrorism within Pakistan started after its alliance with the US during Afghan War and in War against Terror. It is mostly believed that the growing Sino-American rivalry is one of the primary reasons behind the worsening security conditions in South Asia. However, the friction between both countries could trigger new conflicts resultantly it would push the region into turmoil. Any misadventure created because of American support and favour to India and its policies of sidelining Pakistan and China in Afghan issue at this stage could further escalate the tensions among regional states resultantly invoking threats for the peace and stability of the region. In this regard, there is a dire need that both the US and China review their policies concerning South Asia and try to avoid conflict or misadventure for the sake of peace, stability and development of the region.

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