Monday, September 30, 2013

Cyber Warfare - Building Your Nation's Cyber Army - Digital Arm Force

This article will be showing you why we need to really think of our nation’s cyber army. Where we are, which digital weapons we have? What are the challenges faced by your countries in the digital world. So, How to overcome this problem? How to recruit your digital arm force smartly? This article will help the government as well as private security firms too.

         History of Hacking

Over the past years we have seen many big hacking case studies which lead us to think seriously about cyber crime world. Some of the stories I want to share with you.

Moonlight Maze: Although the feds aren't talking publicly about a three-years-plus cyber-attack believed to be coming from Russia, a member of the U.S. National Security Agency's Advisory Board says the case, dubbed "Moonlight Maze," reveals huge cracks in the U.S. government's defense system. The Moonlight Maze stealth attack, which has targeted sensitive but unclassified information since it was launched in March 1998, is the "largest sustained cyber-attack" on the U.S., according to Adams. (Abreu, 2001)

Titan Rain:  Chinese hackers, some believed to be from the People's Liberation Army, have been attacking the computer networks of British government departments, the Guardian has learned. The disclosures came after reports that the Chinese military had hacked into a Pentagon military computer network in June. The incidents should be seen against the background of the forthcoming 17th Chinese Communist party congress, which could determine the next generation of leaders, and the PLA keen to flex its muscles, Mr. Neill suggested.

Aurora Experiment   :   A video was leaked to the press in late September 2007 showing exactly that scene. The simulated attack, named the Aurora Generator Test, took place in March 2007 by researchers investigating supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) system vulnerabilities at utility companies. DOE established the National SCADA Test Bed Program and developed a 10-year strategic framework for securing control systems in the energy sector. (Burkhart, 2008)
DDOS Attack on Estonia:  He stared at the error message: For some reason, the site for Estonia's leading newspaper, the Postimees, wasn't responding. Around dawn on April 27 — after an overnight meeting of the nation's crisis commission — the Estonian government removed a 6-foot-tall bronze statue in downtown Tallinn, the capital of Estonia. But the fighting died down quickly; hundreds of people were arrested, the windows were repaired, and street sweepers had cleaned up everything from the morning of April 28. From his office at the top of one of Tallinn's highest buildings, the 31-year-old had spent the past few years serving up a million page views a day, roughly comparable to the traffic in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. But now his paper's servers were being swamped with 2.3 million page views and had already crashed 20 times. He's proof that the geeks have triumphed in this country of 1.3 million. Some 40 percent read a newspaper online daily, more than 90 percent of bank transactions are done over the Internet, and the government has embraced online voting. (Davis, 2007)

Apart from all these attacks we have also seen “Operation Payback in year 2010”, “Stunex Virus, 2010” etc...

Cyber Intelligence

Intelligence is a very broad term. It can be defined as a logic, thinking, self-awareness, acting something.  We can say that intelligence means problem solving skills. It is a method of learning quickly. Well its very wide and general term. Talking about computer, internet, cyber world’s intelligence, I can define that via below mind map. Generally cyber intelligence is categorized in 2 parts. The below picture clears the view of it.
As we can see we have to see both terms of intelligence. Which are important factors within it and what kind of practical operations we can do with intelligence? So it’s very clear that we do intelligence gathering for obtaining those sensitive information of your opponent target (target can be any nation, individual, network, organization or any agent) which can be exploitable via intelligence operations. Intelligence operation mostly covers the things which I have mentioned in the figure. It can be an ethical way or non-ethical way depends on the situation. Mostly intelligence operations are done for self-depending and self-awareness. If any of these operation‘s motive is demolished, influencing, or something like that, then it would surely be an unethical way. (Wikipedia)

What We Have & What Yet To Be Developed ?

By seeing past few years’ hacking activity, it can be said that in the upcoming days, on field battle is going to disappear and online battle will begin. It clearly says that, small bunch of hackers will be considered more powerful against thousands of army people on the field. That is likely to be happening. Watching at current scenario I can say that:

         We Have                     :  Script kiddies, Crackers,
Under Development   :  Ethical hackers, Skilled hackers
      Yet To Be Developed   :   Cyber warrior, Nation’s Spy, Government Agent, 
                                             Militar, Intelligence Security Analyst, 

These are the resources we have and we need to build within our nations. Many of you will say USA had their military intelligence analyst and etc.. Yes it is certainly true but this scenario focuses on whole world country. The majority of the country is in this phase only.

Worldwide Status

Over the years we are used to play and see around these words starting from 198x to 2012. And those words are information security, firewall, pen testing, IDS, IPS, web application security, SCADA security, Botnets & DDOS.

From now onwards to upcoming years you will be watching only these below words which I am going to describe. Words will likely be, Next generation cybercrime, Next generation warfare, cyber war, information warfare.

In the 70’s people were inspired with this ‘Hacking’ word and they started adopting those things just for knowledge purpose. In 80’s curiosity of learning hacking, became a trend. In 90’s, hacking took people to whole new big level. People in 90 are used to hack for anger/revenge. They became angrier in today’s time. People made a small group of hackers, activists who are hacking for protesting things behalf of the nation’s people. Thus cyber warfare comes into play. (The Next Generation Of CyberCrime : How its evolved; Where it's going)

Building Nation’s Powerful Cyber Army

This is very essential process and very unique process. Nation or organization recruits their cyber army without any proper methodology. I have a proper methodology. This is just my opinion and view. It doesn’t mean that it has to be right. I was reading an article of miller and came to know about my views. So here is the procedure that how you can build your nation’s cyber army.

1. The first step is very common as we are doing in penetration testing. Its information gathering. The only thing is different in this is, which information we need to gather. Firstly, we have to check which kind of threat we are facing in our country such as massive Ddos attacks, mass deface of websites, loosing private confidential information etc.. This is very crucial step because our ultimate aim of building a digital army is to fight with such kind of problems. You might have heard the word “Engage” between start of any fight. It’s usually said by the referee. Same, we need to identify the goal and the ultimate aim for engagement. What kind of threat actually is in front of us and which kind of weapons we have right now. Then we list down the weapons we have in our case one country can list down the digital weapons such as they have good coders, good network engineers, good ethical hackers, good intelligence analysts etc..

2.     So our first step is over. Finally we identified the problem. Next step is to recruit digital soldiers. Now what should we consider and what not to before recruiting digital soldiers. Many nations as well as private organization just hire good hackers which are really not needed. Rather than hiring real hackers you hire only focused people who are good learners, cool-calm-collected. Person who are willing to learn and who have a basic understanding and a little bit of hands on knowledge in your desired field’s requirement. The main idea is to train them and to make them better so they will be also thank full to you and they won’t break your trust either. However if you hire real hackers they may steal your information, they might have some other vision in their eyes and they can be manipulated by your opponents.

3.     The next step is which kind of soldiers we need to hire? Make sure you are making your nation’s cyber army that means you are making a team. Have you ever wondered which kind of soldiers you really need? Ask yourself whether you need coders, network pentesters, web application pentesters or reverse engineers? The best way to make your cyber army is to hire a different kind of variety soldiers. Here is a list of categories. You need to hire at least 3 soldiers of each category. The more you need, more you can hire.

·        Coders
·        Cryptologists
·        Hardware Hackers
·        Military IT Professionals
·        Integrated Chip Professional
·        Web Pentesters
·        Network Pentesters
·        Cloud Specialists
·        SCADA & Other System Professionals
·        Mainframe System Professionals
·        Reverse Engineers
·        Malware Analysts
·        Telecommunication Experts
·        IT Security Governance
·        Software Testers
·        Satellite Experts

4.     Our next step is to provide resources for your army. Now your main job starts. You can choose your own methodology. But some useful and common methodology is group learning, teaching via foreign experts through webinar etc. Another important thing is to provide them resources. Resources can be technical as well as non-technical.  Many companies do provide special laboratories to their army some people provide only corporate office to their employees. Moreover you need to provide them all tools, OS and each and every hardware and software they required. As it is very broad term I am leaving it up to you that how and which kind of resources you are providing to them.

5.     Educating your army once is not a smart thing to do. You have to make them updated via different things.  You have to give them new and more weapons for fighting with cyber bullies. Make your team aware of new and upcoming hacking or information security conferences. Find other inner circles of playing around with hacking within it. Those inner circles can be deep web, hacking forums etc.. Always encourage them to think different and to try a new experiment with the thing on which they are working.

The recruiter must keep in mind that you don’t need real hackers you need real quick and effective learners because MOST ATTACKS TECHNOLOGY ARE BEING DEVELOPED TODAY, WONT BE THAT MUCH OF EFFECTIVE IN UPCOMING YEARS. So you need persons who are always willing to learn.

Building nation’s cyber army doesn’t depend on only persons which government or private sector hires. It also involves many roles within it. Government should do partnership with private security firms because they are most effective and capable to handle any kind of threat. Also the government should take one step ahead of foreign expert’s knowledge within their cyberspace. They have to build a better shield for many vulnerable areas of their nation such as military, stock exchange, political environment, Government intelligence. These are very sensitive areas of  the nation, once if they are attacked and exposed anything can be done. They have to develop a tactical shield for attack & defense both. (Miller) (Tan, 2010)

In a Nutshell

Cyber security is very sensitive area. A Nation must setup some protocols and they should also make it understand to people for their nation that, IT IS NOT GAME.  Setting up rules and respecting them is more difficult but essential thing. Be good not to be a bad. Hack to learn, don’t learn to hack.


Abreu, E. (2001, May 09). Cyberattack Reveals Cracks in U.S. Defense . Retrieved from
Burkhart, L. A. (2008, 01). Cyber Attack! - Lessons Learned:Auora Attack. Retrieved from
Miller, C. (n.d.). Kim Jong - il and Me :How to build a cyber army to attack the U.S. Independent Security Evaluators.
Tan, E. (2010, Sep 14). How to build a cyber army. Retrieved from
The Next Generation Of CyberCrime : How its evolved; Where it's going. (n.d.). Retrieved from
Wikipedia. (n.d.). Intelligence - Wikipedia, The free encyclopedia. Retrieved from