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Cyber War, Defcon 5 for Georgia

Aug 10, 20082 mins

previous post and in my lectures I define true cyber warfare as the use of network attacks to disable communication and other infrastructure preparatory to sending tanks across the border.  I used to joke that cyber warfare did not exist because there would have to be  neighboring states engaged in war that were also networked and I did not see any tanks rolling across the Canadian border with the US.  Ha.

In a

So, the Estonian and Ukrainian attacks of last year, and the continuous Chinese attacks do not constitute cyber warfare. However the threat presented by these attacks was grave enough to be classified as Cyber Defcon 4.   

But on Friday Russia did indeed send tanks across the border into neighboring South Ossetia in conjunction with cyber attacks that have disable much of Georgia’s ability to present their side of what is going on. The cyber attacks are attributed to the Russian Business Network (RBN) which has strong ties to the Russian Mafia, and thus the Russian government. RBN is responsible for much of the world’s cyber woes.  

one blogger tracking the attacks against Georgia.  Thanks to the comments below for links to the RBNexploit blog.  My own traceroute confirms that the Georgian Ministry of Foreign Affairs web site has DNS entries for a US hosting provider.  But the website, ,is still not responding.  Anyone with more info please contact me!

There is apparently only

published definition of DefCon 5:

Here is my previously

Cyber DefCon 5. Nation to nation attacks that are malicious with intent to destroy communication infrastructure and disable business processes including financial markets.

Since Friday, Georgia has been in Cyber DefCon 5.

 UPDATE:  Georgia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs website is now hosted on Estonian assets. I love Estonia.


Richard Stiennon is chief research analyst at IT-Harvest, the firm he founded in 2005 to cover the 1,600 vendors that make up the IT security industry. He is the author of Surviving Cyberwar (Government Institutes, 2010) and There Will Be Cyberwar: How the Move to Network-Centric Warfighting Set the Stage for Cyberwar. He is a member of the advisory board at the Information Governance Initiative and principal of TrueBit Cyber Partners. He also serves on the R2-TAC, the technical advisory committee for the Responsible Recycling standard for e-waste.

Stiennon was chief marketing officer for Fortinet Inc. and vice president of threat research at Webroot Software. Prior to that, he was vice president of research at Gartner Inc. He has a B.S. in aerospace engineering and an M.A. in war in the modern world from King’s College, London.

The opinions expressed in this blog are those of Richard Stiennon and do not necessarily represent those of IDG Communications Inc. or its parent, subsidiary or affiliated companies.

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