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Re: [GZG] [HIST] Military Hackers

From: agoodall@s... (Allan Goodall)
Date: Sat, 31 Oct 1998 00:48:45 GMT
Subject: Re: [GZG] [HIST] Military Hackers

On Wed, 28 Oct 1998 09:48:12 -0500, Adrian Johnson

>The problem with trying to maintain a select damage approach to hurting
>someone else's economy is that with a "modern" industrial economy,
there is
>so much interconnectedness that it is difficult/impossible to forsee
>one small action's overall effects will be - (the butterfly flaps it's
>wings in China, and you get a tornado in Kansas...).  Look what
>recently in the US and Canada when ONE General Motors plant went on

However, that is the exception that proves the rule. If you look at the
strike, you will see that sales of Japanese cars rose in the period when
was on strike. Likewise Chrysler and Ford. Yes, the economies of the
were adversely affected, but it is possible for a see-saw effect to give
advantage to another country.

Things do change when you attack a single economic sector or country.
Attack a
sector and all companies in that sector are adversely affected. Look at
happened to ALL mining stock in the wake of Bre-X. Likewise, collapse
the US
economy and a lot of countries are going to hurt, including Germany and
because of the amount of investment made by those countries in US

If you know what you're doing, though, you can make a killing if you
inside knowledge as to what is going to happen.

>to take a limited poke at the other guy's economy would be REALLY
>- at least to control exactly.  

Depends on HOW limited. In the wake of the Oklahoma bombing, the US
dipped. Investors like nice, stable countries. Usually they see the US
that, but if they think the US was about to plunge into a race war, or a
against anti-government militias, the US dollar would suffer.

So, what if you sell US dollar futures (I'm not sure you CAN do this, I
know THAT much about the stock and money markets), hoping to buy them at
later date. Then, you detonate a bomb some place nice and nasty. Oh, and
the bomb a low-yield nuke. The US dollar collapses, you buy dollars to
make up
for those you sold on spec, and you make a killing. By the way, you're a
terrorist organization. You've just hurt the US economy and made a good
of change yourself. 

Info war isn't going to be large scale. It's going to be micro scale. It
be plausibly deniable info warriors taking out a corporation in order
for a
domestic rival to take advantage. It could be VERY easy to do. Shell
is, I believe, a Dutch company. What happens if Exxon has another major
on its hands (this time, due to an implanted computer glitch fouling up
tanker's radar). Suddenly the Dutch Shell corporation gets benefits from
Exxon's damage (of course, this kind of thing could affect the entire
petroleum sector, so you'd have to tread lightly). That's just a gross
example. I think info war will be FAR more pervasive than conventional
and far less damaging or noticable. It could even go on between
owned by allies without a negative effect being seen at the political

>Can you imagine what the US would
>have done if the Iraqis had driven one of those missing Soviet
>(they've lost hundreds - we have a friend who plays SG2 with us at
>conventions who is part of the US Special Forces;  he's a NBC
>and is one of the people who goes after things like anthrax bombs
mailed to
>the President and missing Russian nukes - interesting stories!) into
>and set it off...  Bagdad would be a smoking glassy hole in the desert.

Very good point. On the other hand, if Iraqi hackers had destroyed the
Bank of
America's assets due to some nasty hacking attacks, it would be hard to
justify nuking Baghdad as a response...

>Attacking an economy like that is an extremely personal way of making
war -
>if you collapse a bank by mistake, all the thousands of customers will
>become ardent supporters of bombing you into the stoneage if somebody
>out how it was done.  

I disagree. There's a definite level of escalation. You won't be able to
the case on the international scene that nuking someone was justified
one of your banks was collapsed. This is the same as killing those US
in Lebanon didn't justify nuking anyone. It's a question of scale.
someone economically still isn't the same as taking a life, and you'd be
pressed to use the world's most feared weapons on a country that didn't
kill a
single soul in your country.

Besides, you're also assuming that you can PROVE who did it... What if
Jihad started to put together a group of hackers, then moved them all
over the
world, how would a nation retaliate with force? Info war gives
unparalleled capabilities against the state. A hacker can't do anything
an Abrams tank on the street outside his house, but he could certainly
nasty damage to a nation's economy. What do you do when that person is
in your country? Or even a citizen of your country? Military might as a
response goes out the window.

>Just a thought.

And some very good ones, too. 

I'm not sure if any of this can be used in a SG2 or DS2 game, but it's
certainly food for thought. I would roll it into a campaign system for
DS2, or FT, though. Imagine building a superdreadnought, only to have
all work
stopped on it because of a hacking attempt that collapses the NAC's

Hmmm, I kind of like that idea...

Allan Goodall

"We come into the world and take our chances
 Fate is just the weight of circumstances
 That's the way that Lady Luck dances
 Roll the bones." - N. Peart

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