Foreign actors have launched ever intensifying and targeted cyber attacks against the U.S. government and major corporations for years. Just in 2018 these assaults included:
- malware detected in major home/office wifi routers with internet kill switches
- 87 companies in the nuclear, defense, energy and financial industries infected
- 20+ defense, law enforcement, media, and pharmaceuticals companies hit
- four email accounts of senior aides at the National Republican Congressional Committee hacked and surveilled for months
- data accessed from hundreds of millions of Marriott guests and Facebook users
These are just the tip of the iceberg.
Here is a wild but also reasonable hypothesis.
We know that defense, nuclear, financial and infrastructure systems were compromised by one or more foreign actors (Russia, North Korea, China). These vulnerabilities likely still exist.
Let’s assume Russia is the hostile actor, threatening to sabotage one or more critical systems should their demands not be met. Let’s further assume they have made this threat known to the heads of the nation’s intelligence community, Department of Justice, FBI, Congressional leaders. This is their leverage. Should any action be taken to remove their puppet president, they will simply bring America to a grinding halt. The possibility is more real than makes any of us comfortable. Power grids could be knocked out; our defensive capabilities made ineffective; ATMs and banking services shut down; basic internet and phone access killed. We’d experience a total blackout.
At least half of this scenario is fact. Would it not explain why the GOP bends to the whims of the puppet president?
The threat of a very real cyber onslaught would explain the inexplicable. It would explain the arrogant cockiness and flagrant criminality we see at the highest levels of government. These people believe they are immune to consequences. They believe they are protected.
That so-called Trump “base” isn’t the answer and we all know it. And just how compromised can one get to save his measly reputation at the cost of selling the entire country down river? Who really gives a flip if you’re gay or have a mistress or play with whips? I daresay, not too many nowadays. These excuses hide what’s really in play.
So if this is the situation, if the country is held hostage by the threat of an overwhelming cyber event, then the weird sublimation of people like Lindsey Graham and Mitch McConnell makes sense. I’m not condoning any criminal activity on their part. However, a cyber hostage-taking helps explain why they have collectively feared to oppose Trump. He represents another power, a more dreadful outcome.
The solution? A tedious, minute-by-minute defense against further attack and simultaneously, a thorough disinfection campaign. My bet is that both of these are in motion and that the USG is not the sole player with known outside groups (perhaps alied powers) intensely involved. Military cyber offenses directed at our enemy is the third indispensable part of this campaign.
Until this scary scenario is cleaned up and crucial components safeguarded, we will remain under the thumb of the puppet. But once we see a full-on assault of the puppet, we can presume the invisible backbone of America is relatively safe from the cyber assault.
CREDIT: Graphic by KasperskyLabs.