There’s No Real Difference Between Online Espionage and Online Attack

An office of the U.S. Air Force Space Command in 2010 (Reuters)

Back when we first started getting reports of the Chinese breaking into U.S. computer networks for espionage purposes, we described it in some very strong language. We called the Chinese actions cyberattacks. We sometimes even invoked the word cyberwar, and declared that a cyber-attack was an act of war.

When Edward Snowden revealed that the NSA has been doing exactly the same thing as the Chinese to computer networks around the world, we used much more moderate language to describe U.S. actions: words like espionage, or intelligence gathering, or spying. We stressed that it’s a peacetime activity, and that everyone does it.

The reality is somewhere in the middle, and the problem is that our intuitions are based on history.

Electronic espionage is different today than it was in the pre-Internet days of the Cold War. Eavesdropping isn’t passive anymore. It’s not the electronic equivalent of sitting close to someone and overhearing a conversation. It’s not passively monitoring a communications circuit. It’s more likely to involve actively breaking into an adversary’s computer network—be it ChineseBrazilian, or Belgian—and installing malicious software designed to take over that network.

In other words, it’s hacking. Cyber-espionage is a form of cyber-attack. It’s an offensive action. It violates the sovereignty of another country, and we’re doing it with far too little consideration of its diplomatic and geopolitical costs.

Four insignia of U.S. Air Force command—Cyber Command is second from the right

The abbreviation-happy U.S. military has two related terms for what it does in cyberspace. CNE stands for “computer network exfiltration.” That’s spying. CNA stands for “computer network attack.” That includes actions designed to destroy or otherwise incapacitate enemy networks. That’s—among other things—sabotage.

CNE and CNA are not solely in the purview of the U.S.; everyone does it. We know that other countries are building their offensive cyberwar capabilities. We have discovered sophisticated surveillance networks from other countries with names like GhostNetRed OctoberThe Mask. We don’t know who was behind them—these networks are very difficult to trace back to their source—but we suspect China, Russia, and Spain, respectively. We recently learned of a hacking tool called RCS that’s used by 21 governments: Azerbaijan, Colombia, Egypt, Ethiopia, Hungary, Italy, Kazakhstan, Korea, Malaysia, Mexico, Morocco, Nigeria, Oman, Panama, Poland, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Thailand, Turkey, UAE, and Uzbekistan.

When the Chinese company Huawei tried to sell networking equipment to the U.S., the government considered that equipment a “national security threat,” rightly fearing that those switches were backdoored to allow the Chinese government both to eavesdrop and attack US networks. Now we know that the NSA is doing the exact same thing to Americanmade equipment sold in China, as well as to those very same Huawei switches.

The problem is that, from the point of view of the object of an attack, CNE and CNA look the same as each other, except for the end result. Today’s surveillance systems involve breaking into the computers and installing malware, just as cybercriminals do when they want your money. And just like Stuxnet: the U.S./Israeli cyberweapon that disabled the Natanz nuclear facility in Iran in 2010.

This is what Microsoft’s General Counsel Brad Smith meant when he said: “Indeed, government snooping potentially now constitutes an ‘advanced persistent threat,’ alongside sophisticated malware and cyber attacks.”

When the Chinese penetrate U.S. computer networks, which they do withalarming regularity, we don’t really know what they’re doing. Are they modifying our hardware and software to just eavesdrop, or are they leaving “logic bombs” that could be triggered to do real damage at some future time? It can be impossible to tell. As a 2011 EU cybersecurity policy document stated (page 7):

…technically speaking, CNA requires CNE to be effective. In other words, what may be preparations for cyberwarfare can well be cyberespionage initially or simply be disguised as such.

We can’t tell the intentions of the Chinese, and they can’t tell ours, either.

Much of the current debate in the U.S. is over what the NSA should be allowed to do, and whether limiting the NSA somehow empowers other governments. That’s the wrong debate. We don’t get to choose between a world where the NSA spies and one where the Chinese spy. Our choice is between a world where our information infrastructure is vulnerable to all attackers or secure for all users.

As long as cyber-espionage equals cyber-attack, we would be much safer if wefocused the NSA’s efforts on securing the Internet from these attacks. True, we wouldn’t get the same level of access to information flows around the world. But we would be protecting the world’s information flows—including our own—from both eavesdropping and more damaging attacks. We would be protecting our information flows from governments, nonstate actors, and criminals. We would be making the world safer.

Offensive military operations in cyberspace, be they CNE or CNA, should be thepurview of the military. In the U.S., that’s CyberCommand. Such operations should be recognized as offensive military actions, and should be approved at the highest levels of the executive branch, and be subject to the same international law standards that govern acts of war in the offline world.

If we’re going to attack another country’s electronic infrastructure, we should treat it like any other attack on a foreign country. It’s no longer just espionage, it’s a cyber-attack.


Swiss Vote to Curb Immigration in Referendum

Switzerland voted in favor of new immigration curbs, risking a backlash from the European Union and thwarting the ability of companies to hire top talent abroad.

The measure, which requires the government to set an upper limit for foreigners, was supported by 50.3 percent of voters, the government said at a press conference in Bern. Voters in the cities of Zurich and Basel and cantons in western Switzerland opposed the measures, while those in rural German-speaking cantons and the Italian-speaking region of Ticino backed it.

“It’s a change of system with wide-ranging consequences,” including to relations with the European Union, Justice Minister Simonetta Sommaruga said, adding that the result was due to rising unease among citizens. “We can’t be sure how these negotiations will turn out.”

Immigration has supported economic growth, and the EU bloc is Switzerland’s top export destination. Roughly a fifth of its 8 million inhabitants come from abroad. About 45 percent of employees in its chemical, pharmaceutical and biotech industry are foreigners, according to scienceindstries, an association whose members include drugmakers Roche Holding AG (ROG) and Novartis AG (NOVN), and food company Nestle SA. (NESN)

Economic Defeat

In the run-up to the vote, the initiative “against mass immigration” pitted companies small and large against the euro-skeptic Swiss People’s Party SVP, the biggest in the lower house of parliament. Corporations argued they need top talent from around the world to maintain their competitive edge, while critics, many of them members of the SVP, said the flood of newcomers is leading to worse working conditions, crowded trains and a housing shortage.

“It’s an economic and foreign policy defeat,” said Christian Levrat, a member of parliament’s upper house for the Social Democrats. The economic elite “allowed a state of affairs where people felt the losers” of the open borders, he said.

The vote also risks creating a rift between Switzerland and the EU, its biggest trading partner. The decision to open the borders 12 years ago was negotiated as part of a package of agreements that allow Swiss companies access to the common market, the government has warned.

“That’s the open question — one doesn’t know what the EU will do,” said Andreas Ladner, professor of public administration at the University of Lausanne. “The EU has indicated that the initiative violates its free movement of people and won’t be tolerated.”

‘Progressive Self-Isolation’

“In the interest of Europe, Germany, but also in its very own interest, Switzerland shouldn’t take the path of progressive self-isolation now,” said Andreas Schockenhoff, deputy chairman of German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union. “Switzerland’s economic power in the last few years was also founded on foreign skilled workers. Switzerland would be ill-advised to restrict the influx too much.”

The European Commission, the EU’s executive body, “regrets that an initiative for the introduction of quantitative limits to immigration has been passed by this vote,” is said by e-mail from Brussels. “This goes against the principle of free movement of persons between the EU and Switzerland,” it said. “The EU will examine the implications of this initiative on EU-Swiss relations as a whole.”

In response to public unease about the number of newcomers, the government had already enacted yearlong curbs on residence permits for citizens of EU countries including Germany and France. There are also quotas for citizens of non-EU countries such as Australia and Canada.

Talent Needed

“We do need to hire talented individuals,” Credit Suisse Group AG (CSGN) Chief Executive OfficerBrady Dougan told reporters on Feb. 6. “Having access to talent is something that’s important for all the businesses here.”

In a sign of how anxious the Swiss population is about foreigners, another initiative, which would cap the immigration rate at 0.2 percent of the resident population, is in the pipeline. The government, which opposes that measure too, hasn’t set a voting date yet.

Today’s initiative against immigration, which supporters illustrated as a tree with monster-like roots crushing Switzerland on a campaign ad, doesn’t specify how high the ceiling should be for newcomers. It gives lawmakers three years to revise national legislation.

Voter Turnout

“It’s clear that immigration needs to be reduced,” said SVP President Toni Brunner. “ I won’t stipulate any numbers. What is clear we need to be more selective.”

While polls signaled rejection by a narrow margin, research consultancy gfs.bern had said a high turnout among immigration opponents could tip the scales, mirroring what happened in 2009, when voters unexpectedly passed an initiative backed by the SVP banning construction of new minarets.

Voter turnout in Switzerland is generally about 40 percent. It was 55.8 percent today, the government said. That’s one of the five highest participation rates ever, according to Claude Longchamp, head of pollster gfs.bern said.

While immigration may be a contentious topic in neighboring Italy, Austria and France, Switzerland stands apart because the anti-immigration vote targets some of the biggest economic contributors.

Among arrivals from the EU between 2010 and 2012, 69 percent were highly skilled. That compares with a rate of 35 percent within the 28-member union, data from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development shows.

Housing Worry

“I don’t think the Swiss people voted this way because they want to isolate themselves, but because they’re worried” about housing and public transport, said Martin Landolt, president of the Bourgeois Democratic party.

The steady stream of newcomers helped national output to exceed its pre-crisis level by 5 percent, theSwiss National Bank (SNBN) said. Immigration generates a gain of at least 6.5 billion Swiss francs ($7.2 billion) for the government annually, Liebig at the OECD said.

Business lobby Economiesuisse will “push for a restrained implementation,” it said in a statement today. The “ negative consequences to the Swiss business hub must be kept at a minimum,” it said.

Historical Influence

Skilled immigrants have played a prominent role in Swiss business for hundreds of years.

Geneva’s tradition of watchmaking traces its origins to the arrival of Huguenots in the 16th century, while in 1839 two Polish immigrants joined forces to form the company known today as Patek Philippe. Similarly, German immigrant Heinrich Nestle founded Nestle SA, the maker of Nespresso coffee, and Beirut-born Nicholas Hayek was the force behind Swatch Group AG. (UHR)

More recently, Klaus Schwab, the founder of the World Economic Forum, headquartered by Lake Geneva, was born in Ravensburg, Germany, in 1938. Heads of state and corporate executives head to the mountain resort of Davos each January for the Forum, helping put Switzerland further in the spotlight.

Even so, critics of immigration say Switzerland has now taken in too many. Italians are the biggest group of foreigners followed by Germans, according to 2012 data.

“It’s cumulation of unease that has been allowed to grow for years,” said Philipp Mueller, member of parliament’s lower house for the pro-business Free Democrats. “I can’t blame the population.”

Winners of Re-Thinking the Future’s International Architectural Thesis Award 2013 (PHOTOS)

Starting with 525 registrations, 265 entries were shortlisted for the first round of screening. The competition pool was then narrowed down to 80 submissions that advanced to the next level of grading.

Finally, the jury — which consisted of 15 renowned architects from around the globe — selected three winners who were ranked by score in each of the following categories:

  • Sustainable Design
  • Residential / Housing
  • Public / Institutional
  • Transport Terminal
  • Mixed-Use Design

Check out the winning designs below.

Urban paradox | Chun Shing Tsui<br /><br />

Click above image to view slideshow
Urban paradox | Chun Shing Tsui

Mixed-Use, First place: Urban paradox | Chun Shing Tsui, The University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong



Mixed-Use, Second place: THE CITY WITHIN THE CITY | Nicolas Lee, Syracuse University School of Architecture, United States

Wine Anatomy | Alison Chan

Click above image to view slideshow
Wine Anatomy | Alison Chan

Mixed-Use, Third place: Wine Anatomy | Alison Chan, The University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong

Center for Musical Experimentation | Victor Diaz Ortega

Click above image to view slideshow
Center for Musical Experimentation | Victor Diaz Ortega

Public/Institutional, First place: Center for Musical Experimentation | Victor Diaz Ortega, Universidad Europea de Madrid, Spain

Reebok Concept Store in Janki | Kama Kośka

Click above image to view slideshow
Reebok Concept Store in Janki | Kama Kośka

Public/Institutional, Second place: Reebok Concept Store in Janki | Kama Kośka, Warsaw University of Technology – Architecture for Society of Knowledge, Poland

Korean Diaspora | Carlos Zarco Sanz<br /><br />

Click above image to view slideshow
Korean Diaspora | Carlos Zarco Sanz

Public/Institutional, Third place: Korean Diaspora | Carlos Zarco Sanz, European University of Marid, Spain

(Re)Interpretations of Nature | Nathan Fisher

Click above image to view slideshow
(Re)Interpretations of Nature | Nathan Fisher

Residential/Housing, First place: (Re)Interpretations of Nature | Nathan Fisher, Lawrence Technological University, Canada

Micro Housing | Donghyun Kim

Click above image to view slideshow
Micro Housing | Donghyun Kim

Residential/Housing, Second place: Micro Housing | Donghyun Kim, Cornell University, United States (previously featured here on Bustler)

Digital Constructive Shell | Ofir Menachem

Click above image to view slideshow
Digital Constructive Shell | Ofir Menachem

Residential/Housing, Third place: Digital Constructive Shell | Ofir Menachem, Tel Aviv University, Israel

Urban Renewal | Riccardo Torresi

Click above image to view slideshow
Urban Renewal | Riccardo Torresi

Sustainable Design, First place: Urban Renewal | Riccardo Torresi, University of Ferrara, Italy

Manufacturing Sceneries: The Concealment of the Bailiwick of Guernsey | Peter Bullough

Click above image to view slideshow
Manufacturing Sceneries: The Concealment of the Bailiwick of Guernsey | Peter Bullough

Sustainable Design, Second place: Manufacturing Sceneries: The Concealment of the Bailiwick of Guernsey | Peter Bullough, Aarhus Architecture School, Denmark


Click above image to view slideshow

Sustainable Design, Third place: VITA VESSEL – A DOOMSDAY VAULT | Ranjith Kumar KN, Anna University, India

Nicosia International Airport | Charoula Lambrou

Click above image to view slideshow
Nicosia International Airport | Charoula Lambrou

Transport Terminal, First place: Nicosia International Airport | Charoula Lambrou, Newcastle University, United Kingdom

Casajal International Airport | Luis Alonso Perez Monge

Click above image to view slideshow
Casajal International Airport | Luis Alonso Perez Monge

Transport Terminal, Second place: Casajal International Airport | Luis Alonso Perez Monge, Universidad de Costa Rica, Costa Rica

Manhattan: progettare il margine / East Side | Caterina Spadoni

Click above image to view slideshow
Manhattan: progettare il margine / East Side | Caterina Spadoni

Transport Terminal, Third place: Manhattan: progettare il margine / East Side | Caterina Spadoni, Alma Mater Studiorum, Università degli Studi di Bologna, Italy

Images courtesy of IATA 2013.

Singapore hit by rare outbreak of rioting, 27 arrested

Officials stand around a bus with a smashed windshield following a riot in Singapore's Little India district, December 9, 2013. REUTERS-Rob Dawson
Singapore's Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean (front R) and Minister in Prime Minister's Office S Iswaran (front 2nd R) look at the site of two burnt vehicles following a riot in Singapore's Little India district, December 9, 2013. REUTERS-Rob Dawson

1 OF 3. Riot policemen watch burning vehicles during a riot in Singapore’s Little India district, late December 8, 2013. A crowd set fire to vehicles and clashed with police in the Indian district of Singapore late on Sunday, in a rare outbreak of rioting in the city state. Television footage showed a crowd of people smashing the windscreen of a bus, and at least three police cars being flipped over. The Singapore Police Force said the riot started after a fatal traffic accident in the Little India area.

Aftermath of riot in Singapore

(Reuters) – A crowd of around 400 people set fire to vehicles and clashed with police in the Indian district of Singapore late on Sunday after a man was hit and killed by a bus, the first major riot in the city-state for more than 40 years.

Police said they had arrested 27 suspects after the riot, which started after a private bus hit and killed a 33-year-old Indian national in the Little India area.

The riot is likely to fuel concerns about discontent among low-paid foreign workers. Last year, Singapore saw its biggest outbreak of labor unrest in years when around 170 bus drivers from mainland China went on strike illegally.

Several videos posted online showed a crowd of people smashing the windscreen of the bus while the victim remained trapped under the vehicle.

Police said the 27 arrested were of South Asian origin and that they expected to make more arrests in coming days. About 300 officers were sent on to the streets to quell the riot.

A statement by the Civil Defence Force (CDF), which oversees ambulances and fire fighting, said rescuers trying to remove the body had “projectiles” thrown at them when they arrived on the scene.

Footage showed police cars being flipped over and several vehicles on fire. The CDF said an ambulance, three police cars and a motorbike were burnt.

The Singapore Police Force said the violence started following the bus accident.

“Shortly after, a riot broke out involving a crowd of about 400 subjects”, it said in a statement, adding that around 10 police officers were injured.

Singapore Police Force Commissioner Ng Joo Hee said: “As far as we know now, there was no Singaporean involved in the riot.”

“The unwanted violence, rioting, destruction of property, fighting the police, is not the Singapore way,” Ng said.

Little India is usually packed with people on Sundays, with many construction workers from Bangladesh and India gathering there to spend their day off.

Singapore has not seen a riot of this scale since 1969, when Chinese and Malay residents clashed violently. The country has tough laws on rioting that carry a sentence of up to seven years in prison and possible caning.

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, in a Facebook post, called the riot a “very grave incident”.

“Whatever events may have sparked the rioting, there is no excuse for such violent, destructive, and criminal behaviour. We will spare no effort to identify the culprits and deal with them with the full force of the law,” he wrote.

The riots came on the same day that Singapore’s ruling political party adopted a new resolution, the first since 1988, about its social aims.

The eight-point mission statement from the People’s Action Party included a resolve to strengthen the Singaporean identity where people of different races, religions and backgrounds “live harmoniously together, embrace one another as fellow citizens and work together for a better Singapore”.

Footage on Channel NewsAsia showed several vehicles in flames and debris strewn across Racecourse Road, one of the main thoroughfares in Little India. Many other private cars were reported to have been damaged as well.

Police said they had the incident under control within an hour of receiving their first call.

Bosnia draws back from unrest, protesters vow to persist

A protester speaks to a police officer in front of a government building in Sarajevo February 8, 2014. REUTERS-Antonio Bronic

(Reuters) – Bosnia drew back on Saturday from three days of unprecedented unrest over unemployment, political paralysis and corruption that for some brought back painful memories of the Balkan country’s 1992-95 war.

Small protests were held in the capital, Sarajevo, in northwestern Bihac, where protesters threw stones at the home of the head of the cantonal government, Mostar in the west and the central town of Bugojno.

But there was little sign of the kind of rioting that has left hundreds of people injured, most of them police officers.

Police in Mostar were out in force, stopping and checking cars entering the town, which is divided at the Neretva river between Croats and Muslim Bosniaks. In Tuzla, epicentre of the demonstrations, dozens helped clear debris from the gutted building of the local government.

“I’m glad we did it,” said Sanela Fetic, an unemployed 35-year-old who took part in both the protests and the clean-up.

“Now we’ll clean up this mess, like we’ll clean up the politicians who made this happen.”

</p><br />
<p>              Bosnian police forces secure the entrance as protesters stoned a local government building in the Bosnian town of Tuzla, 140 kms north of Sarajevo, Thursday, Feb. 6, 2014. Several hundred protesters clashed with police as they tried to storm into the building of the local government and confront the officials there whom they blame for allowing the city's major state-owned companies to go bankrupt after dubious privatizations. (AP Photo/Darko Zabus)</p><br />

The unrest began on Wednesday in Tuzla, when anger over factory closures in the once-healthy industrial hub turned violent, spreading by Friday to Sarajevo and other towns.

For years, fear of a return to conflict has kept a lid on anger over the dire state of the Bosnian economy and the inertia of a political system in which power is divvied up along ethnic lines.

In Sarajevo, protesters set fire to the Bosnian presidency building and the seat of the cantonal government, with part of Bosnia’s national archive lost in the flames.

Special police forces keep Sarajevo Canton administration building during a demonstration in Sarajevo, Bosnia - Herzegovina

The presidency, with its three members from Bosnia’s Serb, Croat and Muslim Bosniak communities, has become symbolic of the division and dysfunction of the former Yugoslav republic.

Sarajevans streamed past the charred buildings. Broken glass crunched under foot and chairs hurled from offices by protesters lay strewn on the ground.

To some, the scenes were uncomfortably reminiscent of the wartime siege of the city by Bosnian Serb forces in surrounding hills, a 43-month bombardment that claimed more than 10,000 of the estimated 100,000 lives lost in the war.

“I’m struggling not to cry,” said Enisa Sehic, 46, an economist. “This is like a flashback to the not so distant past.”


The agreement ending the war created a highly decentralised and unwieldy system of government, splitting the country into two autonomous republics joined by a weak central authority. One half, the mainly Bosniak and Croat Federation, is split again into 10 cantons, each with its own prime minister and cabinet ministers.

The apparatus is hugely expensive and feeds networks of patronage political parties from each side are reluctant to give up.

The former warring sides have little common vision of Bosnia’s future. While Bosniak leaders want greater centralisation, Croat hardliners are pressing for their own entity, while Bosnian Serb leader Milorad Dodik says he sees no future for Bosnia at all.

With governance frequently hostage to ethnic politics, the economy has struggled to keep up with its ex-Yugoslav peers. More than one in four of the Bosnian workforce is jobless.

Failure to reform the constitution to open up high-level state jobs – such as the presidency – to those not from Bosnia’s three main communities has frozen the country’s bid to become a member of the European Union, which neighbouring Croatia joined last year.

Some Sarajevans argued that force was the only language their leaders would understand.

“This had to happen. If they were smart, it wouldn’t have,” said 56-year-old Mirsad Dedovic.

“Part of me was sorry when I saw what was happening yesterday. But then again, let it burn.”

Calls went out on Facebook for country-wide protests at midday (1100 GMT) on Monday.

The United States, which brokered the 1995 Dayton peace deal, and the EU that Bosnia wants to join, have proven helpless in prodding the country’s divided political leaders toward reform and greater centralisation.

On Saturday, the head of the Sarajevo cantonal government, Suad Zeljkovic, joined his counterpart from Tuzla in resigning, Fena news agency reported. But it was unclear if the unrest would have any greater political consequences, or serve as a wake-up call for the national leadership.

“This is about 20 years of accumulated rage coming to the surface, and it’s very difficult to assess what will happen next,” political analyst Enver Kazaz told the Bosnian daily Dnevni Avaz.

“The protesters come mostly from a generation of youngsters without hope, whose future has practically been taken away from them.”

Music Lovers, Here’s Your First Weekly Playlist – WIred

The tracks:
Washed Out, “You and I”
Aluna George “Outlines”
Marty Robbins, “El Paso”
Cymbals, “Winter ’98″
Ghostbeach, “Miracle”
Palma Violets, “Best of Friends”
Saxon Shore, “With a Red Suit You Will Become A Man”
Phantogram, “Bill Murray”
Joey Bada$$, “My Yout”
Broken Bells, “Holding On For Life”


humor. storytelling. general stupidity.

unbolt me

the literary asylum

Becky's blog. Just a Zimbo in Masvingo, Zimbabwe, Africa

"An eye for an eye will only make the whole world blind" - Mohandas Gandhi. Then so be it.

Neurodivergent Rebel

Rebelling against a culture that values assimilation over individuality.


Unlimbited Tree Service was started with one goal in mind: To enhance the beauty and value of residential and commercial properties while ensuring the safety of their occupants. With Unlimbited, you know that you're getting the very best.


Fashion blog by Parisa

Beaches RVs

Beaches RVs offers a range of quality Campervans, Caravans etc.

Texas Native Threads

Uniquely Texas, Simply you.

Histoires de photos

Photographe spécialisé argentique Nord


Food . Culture . Community . Japanese . Sansei

Mission: Loved

Prayer, Worship and Missions ministry of Dylan Raines

Janine Nissa

Fashion - Travel - Lifestyle


Mindfulness, Spontaneity and Authenticity

Salt of Portugal

all that is glorious about Portugal


Travel and my anecdotes

This Veggie Life

A Vegetarian | Nature Blog

Gardening 4 Gains

Sowing the seeds of today's dreams so tomorrow they are harvested as realities


The Casual Way to Discuss Movies

Game Cosmos Press

Reports from the video gaming worlds with vivid photographs and TLDR's

%d bloggers like this: