Sunday, November 8, 2009

60 Minutes on CyberWar

For those who missed the 60 minutes piece on CyberWar here it is ...

Watch CBS News Videos Online

We will discuss this in class tomorrow.


aec38 said...

Sharing and Searching with Friends – Intelligence Gathering Streamlined

I found an article that relates to the ongoing digitization of war. The article (source found below) article interesting because it reminded me of our speaker Brian Drake who spoke to the class about social networking in particular he spoke a little about Aspace. It also reminded me of Intellipedia. As I remember, both of these sites are social networking sites for the intelligence community.

Aspace and Intellipedia are social networking sites, but are not the same as Facebook, MySpace or many other social networking sites that are geared toward the public. Instead, Aspace is a site that is populated by verified individuals and experts within the intelligence community that use the site to find others with specialties unavailable locally, or to collaborate in ongoing investigations. Intellipedia is another industry specific social networking site that functions as moer of a wiki. It hosts several articles, which are edited by experts, on several topics that are of interest to the intelligence community. The most important thing about those sites is that they are able to harness current networking technology to revolutionize the intelligence gathering and sense-making process in security investigations.

In this article, there is mention of a technology that is helping to index video feeds of warzones using keyword tagging that would make the large repository searchable. The general model for the idea was adopted from YouTube which also uses keywords tagged by the creator and the viewers. For the YouTube viewer the benefit is instead of having to search through a pile of videotapes, you can just type in a few keywords and see relevant materials in seconds. Better yet, you can see the material in all of your friends’ video collections. Going back to the military application of such an idea, we can see how ‘friends’ video collections’ would be helpful. For example, one person that has a particular interest is able to tag all videos of a certain sort. Later, when people would go to this person for help in an investigation they can simply search through his video collection first, sometimes finding what they need, thus streamlining the collaborative efforts of the intelligence/military community.
Article: “Military Video System Is Like YouTube With Artillery” URL:

aec38 said...

Gigapixel Camera and the Panoptic Future

In the privacy section of the course we discussed at length the need for a balance between privacy and security. One of the extreme positions possible is for a total surveillance society, that is under authoritarian control assisted largely by the use of surveillance technology – this vision is most famously depicted in George Orwell’s 1984. The Angel Fire technology in the article “Tivo Goes To War,” is one technology that makes this panoptic Orwellian vision of the future more possible.

The Angel Fire technology allows users to "to zoom in and observe more closely any area within the collected image cone, as well as allowing playback of significant events, essentially providing a Google Earth, TiVo-like capability to monitor areas of interest." In the right hands this provides an unprecedented ability to monitor a certain area. However, in the wrong hands it could be a deadly tool for the reconnaissance of intel. This particular article is a bit dated, being written in 2007. But a similar technology and application can be found in the 1.8 Gigapixel camera built for the Pentagon called the ARGUS IS. The camera is designed to fit on an A-160T Hummingbird robot helicopter. Once deployed it will give the special forces the ability to track everything on the ground in real time. Coupled with the Tivo-like Angel Fire, the hostile parties in a surveilled area are not safe. Moreover, the camera comes with software that allows for 65 different video windows or streams, that are each able to be configured to automatically track items of interest, such as moving vehicles. Scary, with regard to the panoptic situation discussed above, is the cameras resolution. The resolution is so good that it can offer “dismount tracking” or in other words can proceed to follow individual people on foot after they exit a vehicle – automatically.

Considering what the Argus IS camera can do, and technologies inevitable push towards an increasingly surveilled society, it is only logical to think about the digital footprint that we all could leave if the ARGUS IS camera was used near us. Sure, the technology presented in the article is developed for the military and deployed in wartime over war stricken zones. However, there is always the issue with such dual-use technology, for it to be abused or misused once created by those who steal it or those who created it in the first place. In this situation one's digital footprints could be un-erasable and could get a person in trouble at any point in the future after being caught by the Argus IS.

“TIVO Goes to War” URL:
“Special Forces’ Gigapixel Flying Spy Sees All” URL:

Mallory said...

The Argus IS camera sort of reminds me of the MyLifeBits project mentioned in another blog post. While Argus IS can monitor from the sky (and zoom in as if it was a foot above you), the MyLifeBits project works to record every interaction you have during the day- effectively recording other people's lives as well. The user of MyLifeBIts acts as a surveillance camera/recorder walking around your street, office, coffee shop etc while the Argus IS camera records everything from above. Both can be severely detrimental to personal privacy. Individuals would not know that a camera is watching them from a helicopter flying overhead or can even depict who they are. Future plans for government biometric systems could identify the way you walk, your face, even the shape of your earlobe! The F.B.I. is planning on amassing trillions of bits of data into its Next Generation Identification database. This database would combine biometric modales to identify terrorists, criminals, illegal aliens, etc. It is would also be used by civilian employers to perform background checks on employees. This system would integrate existing fingerprint databases with palm prints, tattoo patterns, scars, and iris identification technology. Advances in technology such as the Argus IS camera coupled with advancing biometric software, could pose a huge threat to our privacy in the years to come.


Keith Levinsky said...

One thing that struck me as very interesting and important was the how much money was being stolen. I knew we had discussed in class that crimes occur online and that massive amounts of money could be stolen. I did not realize, however, that 10 million dollars could be stolen in a day. Like Sean Henry stated, these robberies of millions of dollars would make headline news if they occurred at an actual bank. The question is then: why are these attacks not getting more publicity? They clearly endanger people's livelihoods in bank accounts. One reason might be that a physical bank robbery normally puts the lives of people taken hostage in danger as well. Bank robberies and hold-ups have also been glorified in American culture. The fact that these people have not been caught also makes this case even more notable.
The entire episode seems to emphasize fear: fear of cyber crime, cyber war on the electrical grid, and cyber espionage from China and Russia. As mentioned, these tactics could be used to prepare people for these dangers. These members of the government all are emphasizing that these vulnerabilities need to be addressed. The media also may be doing this to establish red lines to enemies such as China or Russia.