Information Warfare: Taiwan Turned Into A Crash Test Dummy


August 8, 2013: Taiwan has been under heavy attack by Chinese hackers for over a decade. But government cyber security experts, while meeting and comparing notes with their American counterparts, have determined that Taiwan appears to have been where Chinese practice and try out new cyber weapons before using them on the United States and the rest of the world.

This is not a hunch but confirmed by using tools like pattern analysis. It was not just the many specific types of Chinese hacker attacks that first showed up in Taiwan and then, within months, the United States, there was also the examination of the hacker code left behind in damaged networks. There were patterns indicating the work of individual programmers and teams. There was a lot of work involved in building all the software and assembling the resources and carrying out attacks unlike those preferred (because they make money) by gangsters. All this had to be paid for by someone and the likely culprit was China.

Pattern analysis is one of the fundamental tools Operations Research (OR) practitioners have been using since World War II (when the newly developed field of OR got its first big workout). Pattern analysis is widely used on Wall Street, by engineers, law enforcement, marketing specialists, and now, the military. One system that was very popular in Iraq, Constant Hawk, used a special video camera system to observe a locality and find useful patterns of changing behavior. Some of the Constant Hawk systems were mounted on light aircraft while others were mounted on towers or other ground structures. For Constant Hawk, and subsequent uses of pattern analysis, special software compared data (photos, hacker code, hacker attacks, and text) from different times. When changes are noted, they are checked more closely, which has resulted in links that cannot be attributed coincidence. No matter what the enemy does, the pattern analysis will notice.



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