How Hezbollah Came to Dominate Information Warfare: Israeli Media

Hezbollah Secretary General Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah

Long time ago Hezbollah began significantly investing in propaganda, and laid the groundwork for the effective use of information warfare, which is the ability to gain an advantage over an adversary through the management of information, according to an article published by JPost.

JPost mentioned that Hezbollah operations have long been governed by the mantra,

“If you haven’t captured it on film you haven’t fought.” “The group grasped the importance of documenting its successes as early as 1994 when Hezbollah fighters and a cameraman infiltrated an Israeli military occupation compound in Lebanon and raised a flag inside the base, captured the event on film – and scored a major propaganda coup.”

“Hezbollah maintains a unit solely dedicated to psychological warfare that specializes in burnishing Hezbollah’s public image. Newspapers, social media outlets and television programming comprise Hezbollah’s information warfare portfolio. The group uses its information- related capabilities to advertise its many successes, including summer camps for children and a robust public works program.”

Hezbollah propaganda is well-honed, targeted and specific, and it emphasizes specific themes that include resistance ideology, martyrdom and establishing legitimacy through the provision of social services, according to JPost.

“The history of Hezbollah’s information warfare efforts is perhaps best told through the story of the evolution of its active media arm, Al-Manar, a satellite television station that broadcasts from Beirut and can be seen around the world. After the first broadcast of Al-Manar (The Beacon) in 1991, Hezbollah began regularly scheduled broadcasts three years later and serves a critical role as the main dissemination point for Hezbollah news and propaganda. Hezbollah’s extensive media operation also includes radio stations, print publications and a network of over 50 websites that operate in multiple languages.” “Al-Manar began trying to influence Israeli public opinion by broadcasting actual battlefield footage showing Israeli soldiers being killed and maimed.”

Equally as impressive as Hezbollah’s television and video production is its extensive use of new media and information technologies, including a major Internet presence, the Israeli paper added.

The Zionist paper pointed out that Hezbollah is constantly working to refine its technical capabilities, as evidenced by a move toward faster fiber-optic networks that can enhance the group’s data-streaming capacity and provide a stouter defense against Israeli electronic warfare capabilities.

“Hezbollah not only prevented Israeli units from jamming its networks south of the Litani River in the July 2006 war, it reportedly had equipment in place to jam Israeli radar and communications systems.”

“For operational security reasons, Hezbollah migrated to closed telephone circuits that operate independent of Lebanese government networks. During fighting in the Syrian town of Qusair in 2013, Hezbollah again showed its penchant for operations security by devising a complex system that allowed its fighters to talk freely on open radio communications without having to be too concerned about conversations being intercepted.”

Hezbollah has been a fact of life since the early 1980s and, given the group’s remarkable ability to operate in the information environment, will likely remain the most dominant and capable terrorist group in the Middle East for decades to come, JPost’s article concluded.

SourceIsraeli media

 

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Russian Cyber Troops And US Presidential Election

January 11, 2017

Written and produced by SF Team: J.Hawk, Daniel Deiss, Edwin Watson

The months after Hillary Clinton’s stunning loss to Donald Trump in the US presidential election have been dominated by stories concerning “Russian hackers.” If US media reports are to be believed, swarms of Fancy Bears and Cozy Bears have been roaming the Grizzly Steppe in order to throw the election to Donald Trump by…revealing the corruption within the Democratic Party and the Hillary Clinton camp. Naturally, these stories are the product of the last-ditch effort by the outgoing administration to trigger a new “cold war” with Russia and to shift attention away from Democrats’ failings. However, they have had the side effect of bringing attention to Russia’s cyber-war capabilities and the global cyber battlefield.

This is not the first time Russia’s cyber capabilities came into the spotlight. The concept of the “Russian hacker” entered Western consciousness during the 1999 NATO bombing of Serbia, and then resurfaced during the conflicts with Georgia and Ukraine, with a number of countries with Russophobic leadership, such as the Baltic States, routinely complaining of being a target of Russian cyber attacks.

Russia does in fact possess cyber war capabilities. The Information Operations Troops officially became operational in 2014 under the command of Deputy Defense Minister Pavel Popov, with several distinctive entities focusing on technology development, communications security, and recruitment of specialists versed in hacking methods and tactics. IO Troops are also receiving support from the Special Research Center of the MOD, research institutes such as the NII Kvant, and specially formed “scientific companies” of military draftees and contract soldiers already possessing applicable skills and talents recruited from Russia’s extensive hacker community who would help unravel and reverse-engineer Western malware being used against Russia.

National cyber-war capabilities are very difficult to assess because of the covert and non-kinetic aspect of their operations.  However, circumstantial evidence suggests Russian cyber-forces possess state-of-the-art capabilities that few, if any, other countries surpass. Obama’s and McCain dismissal of Russia as an inconsequential and backward country is ludicrous when one considers that it possesses the combination of capabilities required for waging cyber warfare effectively: mathematical and programming prowess. The skill of Soviet and Russian mathematicians is evident in the realms of nuclear and spaceflight technologies, where Russia has long been a world leader. Russia is also home to a sophisticated programming culture born out of sheer necessity. Once USSR began to fall behind the West in processor power, that lag forced its programmers to become efficient at writing code that could perform without overtaxing limited processing power. It is that skill that made Russian programmers so highly sought after USSR’s fall.

Russia’s cyber-war prowess is also testified to by the fact that there is not a single cyber operation that can be definitively ascribed to Russian state operators. In other words, if Russian cyber forces are in fact operating around the world, they are doing so in a way that defies detection or at least attribution. It is also evident that the US government has proven to be extremely wary of entering into a cyber-conflict with Russia. While the Obama Administration has laid out a number of alternatives to supposedly “punish” Russia for supposedly “hacking” the US elections, its officials and experts openly acknowledged they did not wish to risk a Russian cyber-retaliation against the sprawling US cyber-empire.

The cyber-battlefield thus became yet another area in which Russia successfully deterred US aggression thanks to its own capabilities. In the longer term, once the US intelligence community comes to terms with this fact, this clash may lead to international norms regulating and, in fact, prohibiting cyber warfare against sovereign states. Ironically, it is Russia that has been consistently proposing an international legal framework governing cyber operations, starting with the 2009 proposal for an international information security treaty and the 2011 “International Code of Conduct for Information Security” that was presented to the UN General Assembly. Predictably, both were rejected out of hand by the Obama Administration. However, the US unwillingness to entertain international agreements on cyber warfare was correctly interpreted–and later confirmed by Edward Snowden– as a sign of US desire to use offensive cyber-war capabilities in the future, possibly in support of “color revolutions”, that led to the 2014 establishment of IOT. If the relations between Russia and US do improve during the Trump Administration, addressing the problem of cyber-warfare will likely be part of that agenda.

The US Is Sleepwalking Towards A Nuclear Confrontation Dmitry Orlov

 

 

Information Warfare is not “Optional”

 

Nations without information warfare capabilities in the 21st century are like nations without armies and navies in the 20th century. They are defenseless.

May 29, 2016 (Ulson Gunnar – NEO) – Imagine a nation without an army, a navy or an air force. What would its prospects be of defending itself against even moderate aggression? What if it had an army, even a formidable one, but was missing an air force and/or navy? Would its chances be any better?

Before the invention of human flight, war was fought in two dimensions by armies and navies upon the surface of the planet. With the introduction of aircraft to warfare, a new dimension was added. Nations that fell behind the curve building and rebuilding their air forces would find themselves consistently at a disadvantage. Those nations that stayed ahead of the curve would cite air power as key to their victories throughout recent history.

Today, undoubtedly, information warfare is no longer a novelty. It has been honed into a weapon of devastating effect able to confuse, divide and destroy nations in a dimension conventional warfare often cannot even reach.

The use of the Internet and information warfare soared to new heights during the Arab Spring. Hardly the spontaneous uprising it was portrayed as across the Western media, for years beforehand the US State Department together with tech-giants Google and Facebook prepared armies of information warriors to disrupt, divide, confuse and take over the information space in the respective nations the US targeted for regime change in 2011.

Like an air force entering undefended airspace, the US State Department’s information warfare capabilities met little resistance and quickly overwhelmed and assumed control over information space in Libya, Egypt, Tunisia and Syria. Only Syria and Egypt’s immense conventional military and political power prevented tragedies like that which unfolded in Libya from repeating itself elsewhere. However, it cannot be denied that across the region, information warfare was neglected and unnecessary leverage was conceded to the US amid a much larger theater of conflict.

Vulnerabilities in the Information Space 

While the Internet and its use in information warfare is relatively new, information warfare is not. The US and the British before them have spent over the decades, and for the British, centuries, investing in whatever forms of media existed at the time to ensure their voice among it was loudest if not the only voice to be heard.

Today, the US through a myriad of nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) reaches deep into a foreign nation’s information space and media creating entire fronts to broadcast their messages from.

With overseas scholarships and training programs they aim at luring young, ambitious journalists into becoming indoctrinated and reliable outlets of US propaganda and ideally, collaborators with US interests when opportunities present themselves.

In many nations, particularly throughout the developing world, governments do not take advances in information technology seriously, failing to recognize the importance of maintaining control over it and countering efforts to co-opt and use it against them. Their views of how to manage the media are very often outdated, leaving them particularly vulnerable across the entirety of their information space.

In these nations, information from the government’s point of view is often disseminated through press releases or government-owned broadcasters that hold little credibility both domestically and internationally.

Building Better Defenses for Information Space 

Defending one’s information space depends on occupying it fully, first and foremost. This means making it difficult if not impossible for foreign nations to set up and operate media operations within a targeted nation’s borders to begin with.

Occupying Your Information Space: Russia’s relatively recent NGO laws forcing foreign-funded organizations to register as foreign agents undermines their legitimacy simply by demanding in reality the transparency these organizations often demand disingenuously as a means of attacking and undermining a targeted government.

By exposing the foreign-funded nature of their operations, effectively exposing the disingenuous intentions and financial motivations they harbor and making it difficult for them to operate while giving space to legitimate, indigenous and most importantly, constructive opposition, squeezes them out of a nation’s information space like a well planned garden crowds out weeds.

Controlling and Projecting From Your Information Space: Russia’s RT, China’s CCTV, Iran’s PressTV and South America TeleSUR are all examples of another means of filling and dominating one’s information space.

Not only do these news organizations adequately cover the news in their respective nations alongside a myriad of similar state-run media operations, they are able to communicate with, appeal to and persuade audiences well beyond their borders. It is a way of countering US and European propaganda both at home and abroad, balancing what has been for decades a lopsided information war.

Because these operations are run as professional, internationally aware and objective news organizations with minimal overt government influence, they are effective at appealing to foreign audiences.

For nations sorely lacking such news organizations, particularly across Southeast Asia, Africa and the Middle East, nations like Russia and China already exporting defense capabilities of a more conventional kind, could consider exporting defensive capabilities for information space.

Neglecting Information Warfare Invites Attack 

Nations that have habitually neglected information warfare have invited attack. Nations with notoriously unsound defenses for their information space are often flooded with foreign NGOs who occupy and control it to such an extent, governments are forced to capitulate to otherwise easily countered propaganda campaigns.

Investing in information warfare is not “optional” any more so than investing in a properly trained and equipped conventional military. The reality of the 21st century is that wars are no longer fought merely on land, sea, and air. They are fought in information space as well and failure to understand and defend against such threats accordingly is as bad as leaving a nation’s borders undefended, its skies unwatched, and its shores unguarded.

Ulson Gunnar, a New York-based geopolitical analyst and writer especially for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.

 

Unit 8200 … ’Israel’s’ Electronic Surveillance Unit

Saleh Na’ami

Revelations concerning the vast espionage operations carried out by the American National Security Agency [NSA] against US allies, led commentators and writers to shed light on the role played by “Unit 8200”, which is “Israel’s” massive electronic surveillance unit.Unit 8200 ...

“Israeli” military commentator Amir Rapaport stressed that the role played by “Unit 8200” – a branch of the “Israeli” military intelligence [Aman] – has made “Israel” second only to the United States, in the field of eavesdropping.

In an article he wrote for the online edition of “Israeli” Maariv newspaper, Rapaport explained that the tremendous strides made by the entity in the field of producing high-tech equipment has been largely employed in the development and expansion of eavesdropping operations carried out by the unit.

He also referred to a prominent role played by private companies in supplying the unit with inventions to boost its eavesdropping capabilities.

Rapaport pointed out that the sophisticated computers belonging to ‘Unit 8200′ are able to monitor messages of intelligence value by processing millions of communications channels and billions of words.

In the same context, an investigation conducted by military commentator Yoav Limor revealed a shift in how the unit, led by a senior officer with the rank of Brigadier General functions, since the eruption of the Arab revolutions.

“A graduate of Unit 8200 became synonymous with the word genius”, and service in this unit has become “a passport in the eyes of “Israeli” youths” to become millionaires because of their absorption into leading technology companies, or their participation in the start-up of companies.

Social Media Sites

He pointed out in his investigation, which was published on the “Israel” Today website that Unit 8200 has become interested in observing social networking sites frequented by young Arabs – especially Facebook and Twitter – to acquire insight into the possible changes in the Arab world, so that “Israel” won’t be caught by surprise, as was the case with the outbreak of the Arab revolutions.

Limor pointed out that Unit 8200 is also responsible for leading the electronic warfare in the “Israeli” army, in addition to its photography operations. Meanwhile, officers and soldiers working in it are in charge of conducting field operations during wars and military operations.

Limor explained that the unit includes officers and soldiers among its ranks that escort the infantry troops during military operations and wars, charged with gathering tactical intelligence on the battlefield. Limor points out that the unit played a key role in electronic warfare against the Iranian nuclear project, and contributed to the development of the “Stuxnet” virus, which in 2009 targeted and disabled the computerized systems that control the centrifuges responsible for uranium enrichment in Iran’s nuclear facilities.

New documents, recently uncovered by the “Israeli” official Archive on the occasion of the fortieth anniversary of the 1973 War, showed that the unit is responsible for what has become known as the “special means”, which includes planting listening devices in the offices and vital facilities in Arab countries, especially countries that are in a state of hostility with “Israel”.

Unit 8200 closely works with the “Sayeret Matkal” unit, the most elite special unit in the “Israeli” army, which is under the direct command of the head of the Military Intelligence Division.

In addition to its specialization in assassination operations carried out across the Arab world, “Sayeret Matkal” plays a central role in intelligence gathering through planting listening devices and photography, based on prior coordination with Unit 8200.

Advanced leading technology companies in “Israel” compete to absorb the officers and soldiers who end their service in Unit 8200 due to their significant abilities in the technical field.

According to a report recently aired on “Israel’s” Channel Ten, service in Unit 8200 has become “a passport in the eyes of “Israeli” youths” to become millionaires because of their absorption into leading technology companies, or their participation in the start-up of companies.

Source: Al Jazeera, Translated and Edited by website team

06-04-2016 | 12:10

Hezbollah Calls for Forming Investigative Committee against Internet Hacking

Local Editor

Loyalty to Resistance Bloc stressed that the government should immediately form a high investigative committee to probe the scandalous internet hacking action and its effect on the financial, security and political levels, and refer all the perpetrators in this regard to the judiciary.

Hezbollah parliamentary bloc on Thursday convened under the chairmanship of MP Mohammad Raad.

The bloc underscored the necessity to resort to national consensus and seek thereby a parliamentary electoral law prone to ensure a fair popular representation.

In a different context, the bloc considered that the Saudi label of Hezbollah as a terrorist group comes from an unbalanced, failing regime that abides by the foreign policy.

Hezbollah bloc also condmened the terrorist attacks in Coute Du Voire Republic of Côte d’Ivoire and Turkey as well as the Saudi aerial aggression on Yemen’s Hajja.

Source: NNA

17-03-2016 – 21:20 Last updated 17-03-2016 – 21:20


LEBANON – Telecoms Minister Links Illegal Internet to Israeli Spy Networks

 

Telecommunications Minister Boutros Harb vowed Wednesday to hunt down illegal internet providers, saying they were linked to ‘Israel’ and thus posed a danger to Lebanon’s national security.

Antennas“We will not allow the violation of the country’s sovereignty and national security,” Harb said in a televised news conference, according to the Daily Star. “This is an attack on the Lebanese people’s privacy, and we will not allow these dangerous crimes to pass by without punishment.”

His comments come one day after two Lebanese nationals were indicted for installing unauthorized internet networks east of Beirut.

Harb said that while investigations are still ongoing, there was no doubt that the same people who are behind these illegal internet networks were also behind the al-Barouk network, which was discovered to have satellite connections to ‘Israel’ in 2009.

Source: Websites

16-03-2016 – 13:13 Last updated 16-03-2016 – 13:13

 

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Israel Announces $26 Million Cyberattack on Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions Movement and Muslims in the West

American Everyman

(I guess they are getting serious about the internet of things)

from AlterNet

…However flawed his framing might have been, Estrin’s reporting makes one thing clear: The Israeli crackdown is poised to escalate its campaign to unprecedented levels. An unknown number of Israeli tech companies are threatening to unleash a wave of cyber-attacks, including “sly algorithms to restrict these online activists’ circle of influence” as well as “forensic intelligence gathering, such as detecting digital or semantic signatures buried in activists’ coding so they are able to track and restrict their online activity.”

Those acts of sabotage will take place alongside a flood of “content that puts a positive face on Israel.”

The non-profit Firewall Israel, sponsored by a government-linked think tank known as the Reut Institute, is “building an online platform to help pro-Israel activists around the world communicate about anti-Israel activism in their communities,” the article states.

[read more here]

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