cj#252> Is this for real?


Richard Moore

Date: Mon, 18 Dec 95
From: "Darrell D. E. Long" <•••@••.•••>
Subject: Navy hacked by Air Force


A few clicks and then the e-mail message entered the ship's control

War of the microchips: the day a hacker seized control of a US battleship

BY SIMPLY dialing the Internet and entering some well-judged keystrokes, a
young US air force captain opened a potentially devastating new era in
warfare in a secret experiment conducted late last September. His target was
no less than gaining unauthorised control of the US Navy's Atlantic Fleet.

Watching Pentagon VIPs were sceptical as the young officer attempted to do
something that the old Soviet Union had long tried to do and failed. He was
going to enter the very heart of the United States Navy's warships - their
command and control systems.

He was armed with nothing other than a shop-bought computer and modem. He
had no special insider knowledge but was known to be a computer whizzkid,
just like the people the Pentagon most want to keep out.

As he connected with the local node of the Internet provider, the silence
was tangible. The next few seconds would be vital. Would the world's most
powerful navy be in a position to stop him?

A few clicks and whirrs were the only signs of activity. And then a
seemingly simple e-mail message entered the target ship's computer system.

First there was jubilation, then horror, back on dry land in the control
room at the Electronic Systems Centre at Hanscom Air Force Base in
Massachusetts. Within a few seconds the computer screen announced "Control
is complete."

Out at sea, the Captain had no idea that command of his multi-million-dollar
warship had passed to another. One by one, more targeted ships surrendered
control as the codes buried in the e-mail message multiplied inside the
ships' computers. A whole naval battle group was, in effect, being run down
a phone-line. Fortunately, this invader was benevolent. But if he could do
it ...

Only very senior naval commanders were in the know as the "Joint Warrior"
exercise, a number of experiments to test defence systems, unfolded between
September 18-25. Taking over the warships was the swiftest and most alarming
of the electronic "raids" - and a true shock for US military leaders. "This
shows we have a long way to go in protecting our information systems," said
a senior executive at the airbase where the experiment was conducted.

The exact method of entry remains a classified secret. But the Pentagon
wanted to the first to test the extent of their vulnerability to the new
"cyberwarriors" - and had the confidence to admit it.

Now they believe they know what they are dealing with and the defences are
going up.

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 Posted by Richard K. Moore (•••@••.•••) Wexford, Ireland
 •••@••.•••  | Cyberlib=http://www.internet-eireann.ie/cyberlib