In every occasion if you dig deep enough you will find the reasons for someone’s actions, even if they seem completely random. For a while now we have watched as congress has pushed one stupid internet control law after another. For many (us included) we have felt that this was at the request of the MPAA, RIAA and other copyright holders. After all the measures and consequences in the laws were geared toward them and helping them to “prevent piracy”.
Still there were other items that did not seem to make any sense (at the time) that popped up or that someone tried to tack onto laws like PIPA and SOPA. Some of these were new powers to the NSA, Department of Homeland Security and the FBI. They wanted to (and in some cases have already) extend their powers to monitor traffic over the internet. It seems that they wanted to spy on everyone and were looking at ways to dig into everyone’s personal information.
Bills like CISPA seemed to be the end of personal privacy as it would allow companies to freely share their users’ data with the government or other corporations (along with any traffic that happened to pass through their networks).
Now it looks like the reason for the draconian and ridiculously restrictive laws and bills is coming clear. In 2009 President Obama ordered US intelligence assets to continue development of a worm for a sophisticated cyber-attack on Iran which began under the Bush administration. This was the Stuxnet worm that allowed for penetration into SCADA devices by infecting the programmable logic controllers in them. The target was Iran’s nuclear program and it was effective by delaying the program by two years. The problem was that in 2010 Stuxnet managed to get out on the Internet and spread. It was picked up by researchers that did what they do; they broke down the code and analyzed what it did.
Now if you remember not that long ago the head of NSA claimed that Anonymous could possibly hit the SCADA systems in critical US infrastructure services. This was in February of 2012 and even referenced Stuxnet in the report. At the time it was seen by many as fear mongering against Anonymous (and it was). The real reason to push this for this and to have Anonymous as the scapegoat was because the US had initiated a clandestine cyber-attack on Iran and government officials were (and still are) concerned that there would be retaliation. Many US infrastructure services use the same type of SCADA devices that were targeted by Stuxnet.
What makes things even more interesting is that this appears to have been a bi-partisan, multi-national effort with people from both political parties and some help from Israel. Although we would never want to claim that this is the first of its kind we have a feeling that this is one of the first for the US and that it was not a complete success. It truly looks like someone has left a clear track back to the US which may invite retaliation. Now this foolishness on someone’s part does not mean that they can just implement new laws to increase monitoring and surveillance. What it means is that the infrastructure services in the US should have already increased their security to prevent issues like this from happening.
The release of this information is also critical as we move further into an election year in the US and also prepare for votes on CISPA and other laws that are designed to monitor and control the internet. Nothing is accidental in situations like these. The information that has been released was more than likely intentional and surely does not even scratch the surface of what is going on and what it to come in the next wave of attacks by and against the US. Although the new push for laws like CISPA, SOPA, PIPA and others make more sense there is still no reason to implement them or allow control or monitoring of the internet on a large scale by any government.