Black Code: Inside the Battle for Cyberspace
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Cyberspace is all around us. We depend on it for everything we do. We have reengineered our business, governance, and social relations around a planetary network unlike any before it. But there are dangers looming, and malign forces are threatening to transform this extraordinary domain.
In Black Code, Ronald J. Deibert, a leading expert on digital technology, security, and human rights, lifts the lid on cyberspace and shows what’s at stake for Internet users and citizens. As cyberspace develops in unprecedented ways, powerful agents are scrambling for control. Predatory cyber criminal gangs such as Koobface have made social media their stalking ground. The discovery of Stuxnet, a computer worm reportedly developed by Israel and the United States and aimed at Iran’s nuclear facilities, showed that state cyberwar is now a very real possibility. Governments and corporations are in collusion and are setting the rules of the road behind closed doors.
This is not the way it was supposed to be. The Internet’s original promise of a global commons of shared knowledge and communications is now under threat.
Drawing on the first-hand experiences of one of the most important protagonists in the battle — the Citizen Lab and its global network of frontline researchers, who have spent more than a decade cracking cyber espionage rings and uncovering attacks on citizens and NGOs worldwide — Black Code takes readers on a fascinating journey into the battle for cyberspace. Thought-provoking, compelling, and sometimes frightening, it is a wakeup call to citizens who have come to take the Internet for granted. Cyberspace is ours, it is what we make of it, Deibert argues, and we need to act now before it slips through our grasp.
http://www.infowar-monitor.net/2009/09/breaching-trust-an-analysis-of-surveillance-and-security-practices-on-china’s-tom-skype-platform/. See also John Markoff, “Surveillance of Skype Messages Found in China,” New York Times, October 1, 2008, http://www.nytimes.com/2008/10/02/technology/internet/02skype.html?pagewanted=all. Years after the release of the Citizen Lab’s TOM-Skype research, researchers from the University of New Mexico found the exact same
with a massive DDOS attack. It overwhelmed Georgian computers, including the government’s websites and the country’s banking and 911 systems. As it turned out, the reason the Georgian Internet went dark this time around had to do with a seventy-five-year-old woman named Hayastan Shakarian, a “poor old woman” who had “no idea what the Internet is.” She had been scavenging for firewood and old copper and accidentally cut a fibre-optic cable running parallel to a railway line, severing a key
Reuters, June 12, 2012, http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/06/12/us-media-tech-summit-flame-idUS-BRE85A0TN20120612; Greg Miller, Ellen Nakashima, and Julie Tate, “U.S., Israel Developed Flame Computer Virus to Slow Iranian Nuclear Efforts, Officials Say,” Wall Street Journal, June 19, 2011, http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/us-israel-developed-com-puter-viras-to-slow-iranian-nuclear-efforts-officials-say/2012/06/19/
and Indonesian telecom companies presumably did in 2008: share users’ data without their consent with a private company servicing law enforcement and intelligence? • • • In 2011, the German hacker collective, Chaos Computer Club (CCC) announced that it had discovered and examined a backdoor trojan horse made by the German company DigiTask as part of a “lawful interception” program to listen in on Internet-based communications. In Germany, courts have long allowed the use of backdoor programs to
global cyberspace security and governance, each of these can provide a more robust foundation for the empty euphemism of “multi-stakeholderism,” and principles upon which to counter growing calls for a single global governing body for cyberspace. Citizens, the private sector, and governments all have important roles to play in securing and governing cyberspace, but none to the exclusion or pre-eminence of the others. Civic networks need to be players in the governance forums where cyberspace