Information warfare is overlapping traditional military domains, in order to conduct a fight in the air it is possible to used new hacking techniques as the US Air Force demonstrated.
According to the Maj. Gen. Burke Wilson, commander of the 24th Air Force, the US Air Force modified EC-130 Compass Call aircraft, normally used to jam enemy transmissions, to hack enemy networks.
“We’ve conducted a series of demonstrations,” “Lo and behold! Yes, we’re able to touch a target and manipulate a target, [i.e.] a network, from an air[craft].” Said the official.
No details were given, but Wilson was able to confirm that their attack can “touch a network that in most cases might be closed”, this means that the attack works also against air-gapped networks. The US Air Force can use this technique of attack to hack into foreigner military networks. If you are able to attack a network by the air, you are able to pass many of the troubles that is entering in this type of networks.
“That doesn’t mean that we may not still try to touch a target through a traditional networking set of capabilities, but to be able to go and use the other domains [e.g. from the air] I think is really the future,” the official added.
The interesting thing about all this, is that they can cyber attack a target from many sides, and even do a simultaneous/combined attack( by air and by land).
Times have changed and in the past cyber-attacks weren’t at the top of priorities, “used to be… an afterthought” but “Today it’s front and center.”
“The focus over the last couple of years — [and] it’s really taken on a lot of momentum here over the last year — [is] integrating not just air capabilities, but air, space and cyberspace capabilities into the fight,”
There is other changes in the mix, and US military are teaching their combat commanders about cyber attacks that can be done in the real world, this also means that their IT staff is getting a training to think more like a fighter pilot, and less like a IT technician.
“We’re bringing an operations culture and skillset to what has traditionally been an information technology mission,”, “I think we have some of the best cyberspace operations talent in the world.”
Wilson added, “we’re about halfway through the build of the cyber mission force,” “At the end of this month we should have 17 teams at initial operating capability and three teams at full operating capability.”
We are going in large steps for a cyber war, were many nations will have a saying on it, so every single one of them are preparing the best they can. Besides the US, there are other countries that are developing similar hacking techniques.
About the Author Elsio Pinto
Edited by Pierluigi Paganini
(Security Affairs – Aircraft , US Air Force)