Inside Cyber Warfare

Jeffrey Carr

Part 27

Report Chapter

In 2010 the DPRK increased the priority of its cyber warfare unit (Office 121) to about 3,000 personnel. North Korean computers run off a Linux variant called Red Star, which has an interface similar to Windows, except with a red star replacing the Windows b.u.t.ton at the bottom left.[127]

[120] Kevin Coleman, "Is North Korea poised to revolutionize cyber warfare?", Defense Systems, November 15, 2010, accessed August 31, 2011,

[121] "N.Korea Trains Up Hacker Squad," The Chosunilbo, March 8, 2011, accessed August 31, 2011,

[122] Ibid.

[123] Jeremy Laurence, "North Korea hacker threat grows as cyber unit grows: defector," Reuters, June 1, 2011, accessed August 31, 2011,

[124] Mok Yong Jae, "North Korea's Powerful Cyber Warfare Capabilities," Daily NK, May 4, 2011, accessed August 31, 2011,

[125] Ibid.

[126] "North Korea And The Cyber Bandits," Strategy Page, March 25, 2011, accessed August 31, 2011,

[127] Joseph L. Flatley, "North Korea's Red Star OS takes the 'open' out of 'open source'," Engadget, March 4, 2010, accessed August 31, 2011,


In the aftermath of the 2007 attacks, Estonia established a Cyber Defense Center in 2008 with the a.s.sistance of NATO.[128] Since then, the center has been fully accredited as a NATO Center of Excellence, bringing with it funding and multinational support. Seven NATO member nations-Estonia, Germany, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Slovakia, and Spain-formally signed into the creation of the center. The United States is also an observer member, and Estonia has recently invited Iceland to partic.i.p.ate in the center.[129] According to the Estonian Minister of Defense, after a visit to the US Cyber Command, Estonian cyber capabilities are considered in high regard by the United States.[130]

In addition to the center, Estonia has also established a Cyber Defense League of volunteers that, in the case of conflict, would perform duties under a unified military command. The volunteers are comprised of cyber security professionals in the private and public sectors who carry out regular weekend exercises to prepare for possible cyber situations. This is considered so vital to Estonian national security that the league is considering a draft to ensure all experts are available in the event of a crisis. While volunteer cyber armies are not unheard of, their motives and loyalty are considered uncontrollable. Estonia is likely trying to harness a cheap and already developed national tool.[131]

[128] "NATO launches cyber defence centre in Estonia," s.p.a.ce War: Your World at War (May 2008), accessed August 30, 2011,

[129] "Foreign Minister Paet Invites Iceland to Partic.i.p.ate in Cyber Defence Centre," Estonian in Washington, accessed August 30, 2011,

[130] "Aaviksoo: Estonian cyberdefence is held in high regard in US," Estonian Ministry of Defence, accessed August 30, 2011,

[131] Matt Liebowitz, "Estonia Forms Volunteer Cyber Army," Security News Daily, January 6, 2011, accessed August 30, 2011,

European Union

In November 2010 the European Union (EU) conducted its first-ever pan-European cyber war simulation. Cyber Europe 2010, as the exercise was called, included experts across Europe who worked to hone their response to attacks from hackers trying to reduce the Internet connectivity around Europe. Moreover, the stress of this environment helped test the appropriateness of contact points among the partic.i.p.ating countries. The European Network Security Agency (ENISA) organized the cyber exercise, and all member nations-including Iceland, Norway, and Switzerland-partic.i.p.ated.[132] In March 2011 the European Union was hacked by cyber criminals in a very similar manner to the strikes on the European Commission.[133] ENISA is planning on attending the Cyber Warfare Europe conference in September 2011.[134]

[132] "Digital Agenda: cyber-security experts test defences in first pan-European simulation," Europa, accessed August 30, 2011,

[133] Tom Brewster, "European Parliament hit by cyber attack," IT Pro, March 30, 2011, accessed August 30, 2011,

[134] "Cyber Defence & Network Security 2012," Cyber Defence and Network Security, accessed August 30, 2011,


In 2009 France created the French Network and Information Security Agency (FNISA) to provide a national watchdog on the government's sensitive networks that would detect and respond to cyber attacks.[135] Since then, little has been exposed about the disposition of French cyber security until March 2011, when the French finance ministry announced that it had suffered a cyber attack during the Paris G20 summit.[136] The attack targeted doc.u.ments relating to the summit and other economic issues.

In August 2011, France announced its intentions to build network warfare capabilities. Cyber warfare specialists under the General Directorate of Armament (DGA) demonstrated their capabilities in September 2011 using a communications mini-drone to simulate an attack on a national communications satellite.[137] Personnel dedicated to France's cyber warfare capabilities include 130 engineers and researchers with links to French universities, as well as US and UK cyber experts who provide advice to other French departments on improving their organic network securities. The DGA intends to grow these numbers by 30 per year for the next 30 years.[138] A major focus of the DGA is currently to develop secure networks for the French Naval Forces, including Naval Aircraft, by implementing an intranet.

[135] Peter Sayer, "France creates new national IT security agency," CIO, July 10, 2009, accessed August 30, 2011,

[136] "Cyber attack on France targeted Paris G20 files," BBC News, March 7, 2011, accessed August 30, 2011,

[137] Pierre Tran, "France Sets Stage To Build Network Warfare Capabilities," Defense News, August 15, 2011, accessed August 30, 2011,

[138] Ibid.


Germany established a Cyber Defense Center (CDC) in June 2011 to combat the growing attacks on German networks.[139] The Cyber Defense Center is modestly staffed with six employees from the Federal Office for Information Security, two from the German Office for the Protection of the Const.i.tution (a domestic intelligence agency), and two from the Federal Office of Civil Protection and Disaster a.s.sistance. These 10 employees will eventually be joined by representatives from the Federal Police, Federal Office of Investigation, the Bundesnachrictendienst (a foreign intelligence agency), the German armed forces, and the Customs Criminal Investigation Office. The center is the result of the "Cyber Security Strategy for Germany," approved in February 2011, which also plans to work closely with the private sector.

A few weeks after the CDC was established, it became a target of a group of hackers known as the "n0n4m3 crew," or the No Name Crew. The hackers broke into the CDC networks and stole information from a program used by German police to help track criminals.[140] Two of the hackers involved were subsequently tracked down and arrested, but the successful attack on the CDC is likely to increase the focus and resources allotted on the center by the German government to avoid further embarra.s.sment.

[139] Jorge Benitez, "Germany establishes new Cyber Defense Center," The Atlantic Council, June 16, 2011, accessed August 30, 2011,

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[140] Brian Donohue, "Hacking Crew Attacks German National Cyber Defense Center," Threat Post, July 22, 2011, accessed August 30, 2011,

[149] "Iran capable of countering cyber attacks," Press TV, July 8, 2011, accessed August 30, 2011,

[150] Lee Ferran, "Iran to US, Israel: Bring On the Cyber War," ABC News - The Blotter, August 8, 2011, accessed August 30, 2011,

[151] Kevin Coleman, "Iran Talks Cyber Tough," Defense Tech, August 12, 2011, accessed August 30, 2011,


Israel is no stranger to cyber warfare; maybe one of the most successful known acts of cyber warfare occurred when Israel shut down Syria's anti-aircraft radars so Israel's Air Force could fly undetected to destroy a suspected Syrian nuclear site in 2007. In February 2010 the Israeli Intelligence Directorate published a paper highlighting the necessity of cyber capabilities to the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF). The paper also realized the importance of cyber defense centers set up in the United States and the UK.[152]

In June 2010, word was released that Israel had begun setting up a cyber warfare unit, but with a twist-the unit was using the same recruiting methods that the IDF uses for Israeli commando units. These teams are dispatched to target countries, where they not only act as a covert commando unit, but also launch cyber attacks from inside that country. The unit is structured under the military intelligence department.[153] This goes along with the Israeli strategy that cyber warfare is an alternate means to conventional warfare, one that can be employed much more often because of the lack of formal consequences.[154]

In early 2011 Israel convened a panel of cyber experts to discuss the future of the Israeli cyber defense and security issues.[155] The panel concluded that not only do offensive cyber capabilities need to be used, a strong defense for the Israeli cyber infrastructure is also necessary. Soon after this session, Israel set up a cyber command to address these needs.[156]

The 80-person command is said to be primarily a defensive unit, although it is very likely the unit will have offensive capabilities.[157] The command will coordinate efforts between the government, cyber industry, and universities. There is also a plan to develop cyber studies at the secondary school level. The cyber command is part of Unit 8200, which is primarily an intelligence-collecting unit and is the largest unit of the IDF.[158]

[152] Arnon Ben-Dror, "Military Intelligence: Israel Defence Forces are prepared for Cyberwarfare," Defence Professionals, accessed August 30, 2011,

[153] "Israeli Cyber Commandos," Strategy Page, accessed August 30, 2011,

[154] Dan Williams, "Israeli official sees cyber alternative to 'ugly' war," Reuters, February 3, 2011, accessed August 30, 2011,

[155] Barak Ravid, "Israel planning strategy to defend computer networks from attack," Haaretz, March 4, 2011, accessed August 30, 2011,

[156] "Israel sets up cyber command," Defence Web, accessed August 30, 2011,

[157] Ibid.

[158] Damien McElroy, "Israel's unit 8200: cyber warfare," The Telegraph, September 30, 2010, accessed August 30, 2011,

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