A vigilante hacker destroyed the Internet in North Korea. Now he’s taking off his mask | Trending Viral hub


“That’s not nice and it’s not a good standard,” Schneider says. He says much of the slowness with which the US government addresses cyberattacks is due to its care to avoid unintentionally hitting civilians, as well as violating international law or provoking dangerous reactions.

Still, Schneider admits that Cáceres and Angus are right: The United States could be using its cyber forces more, and some of the explanations for why don’t amount to bureaucracy. “There are good reasons and there are bad reasons,” Schneider says. “We have complicated organizational policies, we don’t know how to do things differently, we’re bad at using this kind of talent, we’ve been doing it this way for 50 years and it worked well for dropping bombs.” .”

By all appearances, U.S. offensive hacking has become less aggressive and less agile over the past half-decade, Schneider notes. Beginning in 2018, for example, Gen. Paul Nakasone, then head of Cyber ​​Command, advocated a “defend forward” strategy aimed at bringing cyber conflict to the enemy’s network rather than waiting for it to occur on U.S. soil. . In those years, Cyber ​​Command launched disruptive hacking operations designed to cripple Russian Internet Research Agency troll farm spreading disinformation and drink take down the infrastructure of the Trickbot ransomware groupwhich some feared at the time could be used to interfere in the 2020 election. Since then, however, Cyber ​​Command and other US military hackers appear to have remained relatively quiet, often leaving the response to foreign hackers to agencies law enforcement agencies like the FBI, which face many more legal limitations.

Cáceres isn’t entirely wrong to criticize that more conservative stance, says Jason Healey, who until February served as a senior cybersecurity strategist at the U.S. Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency. He responds to the Cáceres cyberhawk’s arguments by citing the Subversive Trilemma, an idea put forward in a 2021 article by researcher Lennart Maschmeyer: hacking operations have to choose between intensity, speed and control. Even in previous, more aggressive years, U.S. Cyber ​​Command has tended to increase control, Healey says, prioritizing it over those other variables. But he notes that there may, in fact, be certain targets (such as ransomware gangs or hackers working for the Russian GRU military intelligence agency) that could justify resetting those dials. “For those purposes,” Healey says, “you can actually free the dogs.”

P4x is dead, long live P4x

As for Cáceres himself, he says he is not opposed to US hacking agencies taking a conservative approach to limiting their damage or protecting civilians, as long as they take action. “You have to be conservative,” he says, “and then you have to fuck everything up.”

Arguing that more aggressive cyberattacks would lead to escalation and counterattacks by foreign hackers, Cáceres points to attacks those foreign hackers are already carrying out. AlphV’s ransomware group Catastrophic attack on Change Healthcare In February, for example, they paralyzed the medical claims platforms of hundreds of providers and hospitals, effects as disruptive to civilians as any cyberattack can be. “That escalation is already happening,” says Cáceres. “We are not doing anything and they are still increasing.”

Cáceres says he hasn’t completely given up on convincing anyone in the U.S. government to take his more cautious approach. Getting rid of P4x’s handle and revealing his real name is, in a sense, her last attempt to get the attention of the US government and restart the conversation.

But he also says he won’t wait for Pentagon approval to pursue that approach on his own. “If I go forward with this alone, or with just a few people I trust, I can move forward much faster,” he says. “I can fuck up people who deserve it and I don’t have to report to anyone.”

In other words, the P4x handle may be dead. But the P4x doctrine of cyber warfare lives on.


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