Excellent Sources for Cybercrime, Threat Analysis and Terrorism Consulting

Need to know more about global cybercrime or cyber conflicts? Need to get your agency up to speed on current terrorist tactics and threats? Or, are you an armchair cyber commando and just want to know more? Where do you turn? The following are Cyberarms recommendations:

Cyber Crime and Threat Analysis – Greylogic is the place to turn to. “GreyLogic is a veteran-owned small business registered in the State of Washington that specializes in the investigation of cyber conflicts by State and non-State actors, and monitors emerging threats in the global cyber landscape.

Unlike other Information Security companies, GreyLogic investigators and analysts go beyond the purely technical forensics of an attack to include geopolitical influences, bad actor profiles, individual and organizational connections (both hidden and disclosed), and other relevant data necessary for policy makers and corporate executives to properly evaluate the facts of an incident or threat before deciding on a course of action.” (from Website)

Greylogic has released to the public their findings on the Russia/ Georgia cyber conflict (Project Grey Goose Phase I) and the evolving state of cyberwarfare (Project Grey Goose Phase II). Confidential data is available to government/ corporate agencies.

Greylogic is led by CEO Jeffrey Carr, author of “Inside Cyber Warfare”.

Current Terrorist Tactics and Threats – Flashpoint Partners is the place to turn to. “Flashpoint Partners is a research and analysis enterprise focused on global security, with managing partners based in London and New York.  FP offers a host of contract consulting services which are available to international governments, law enforcement agencies, media outlets, academic institutions, and private corporations.  We have a proven track record in successfully completing critical projects for a variety of high-profile clients around the world–including the U.S. Department of Justice, the U.S. Department of Defense, Scotland Yard’s SO-15 Counter Terrorism Command, the United Kingdom Crown Prosecution Service, the Australian Federal Police (AFP), and the International Court of Justice at the Hague.” (from Website)

Flashpoint Partners is led by Evan Kohlmann, author of “Al-Qaida’s Jihad in Europe”. Mr. Kohlmann has provided consulting and analysis to an alphabet soup list of worldwide government agencies concerning various counter-terrorism topics and has testified as an expert witness in more federal court cases than I care to list.

I have had the pleasure of hearing both Jeffrey Carr and Evan Kohlmann in separate cyber-security related seminars and the knowledge and insight of both is amazing. I highly recommend both, check out their websites and if you get the chance to hear either in person or in an online webinar, you will not be disappointed.  

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The Weapon that Disabled Iraq’s Power Grid

In a prior post on EMP, I mentioned that an EMP weapon could have been used to take out Iraq’s power during the Gulf War. It appears that it may have been something much simpler. Meet the “Blackout Bomb”.

According to a 1999 Boston Globe article, “Blackout Led to Weapon that Darkened Serbia”, chaff (strips of metal military planes use to defend against missile attacks) was dropped mistakenly on a power station in Southern California.  The result – the power station was disabled and Orange County’s power supply was disrupted.

This simple technique was turned into a cluster bomb and used first against Serbia on May 2nd 1999. F-117A Stealth Fighters dropped these weapons on Serbia power stations and the lights went out in over 70% of the country. The weapon was used again 5 days later to hinder Serbia’s attempt to restore power.

In the opening days of Desert Storm, modified tomahawk cruise missiles were used against Iraq. The warheads were made up of bomblets that contained spools of carbon fiber wire. The fine wire shorted out power plants and disabled 85% of Iraq’s electrical production capability.

How exactly does this attack work? According to the FAS Military Analysis Network:

The BLU-114/B detonates over its target and disperses huge numbers of fine carbon filaments, each far smaller than the crude wire spools used in the gulf war. The filaments are only a few hundredths of an inch thick and can float in the air like a dense cloud. When the carbon fiber filaments dispensed from the BLU-114/B submunition contact transformers and other high voltage equipment, a short circuit occurs and an arc is often created when the current flows through the fiber, which is vaporized.

The graphite, which is a conductor of electric current, is probably coated with other materials to enhance these effects. At the spot where the electric field is strongest, a discharge is initiated, and electrons rapidly form an ionized channel that conducts electricity. At this stage current can flow and an arc forms. This causes instantaneous local melting of a certain amount of the material at the surface of the two conductors.

If the current involved is strong enough, these arcs can cause injury or start a fire. Fires can also be started by overheated equipment or by conductors that carry too much current. Extremely high-energy arcs can cause an explosion that sends fragmented metal flying in all directions.

Read more about this amazing weapon at FAS.org.