DNI’s Annual Threat Assessment

The office of the Director of National Intelligence released its “Annual Threat Assessment of the U.S. Intelligence Community.” Cybersecurity is covered on pages 20-21. Nothing surprising:

  • Cyber threats from nation states and their surrogates will remain acute.
  • States’ increasing use of cyber operations as a tool of national power, including increasing use by militaries around the world, raises the prospect of more destructive and disruptive cyber activity.
  • Authoritarian and illiberal regimes around the world will increasingly exploit digital tools to surveil their citizens, control free expression, and censor and manipulate information to maintain control over their populations.
  • During the last decade, state sponsored hackers have compromised software and IT service supply chains, helping them conduct operations—espionage, sabotage, and potentially prepositioning for warfighting.

The supply chain line is new; I hope the government is paying attention.

Posted on April 15, 2021 at 6:13 AM10 Comments


Winter April 15, 2021 8:11 AM

The most deadly part of Cyber War is the way states are trying to spread disinformation about the pandemic and vaccination. Given that the pandemic has already killed more than 3 million people (300,000 Americans, for those who are not interested in other humans), a disinformation campaign is underway to double that number by letting vaccination campaigns fail.

This is really a low cost and low risk strategy to inflict a lot of death and destruction on your neighbors.




Clive Robinson April 15, 2021 9:21 AM

@ ALL,

From the list,

“Authoritarian and illiberal regimes around the world will increasingly exploit digital tools to surveil their citizens, control free expression, and censor and manipulate information to maintain control over their populations.”

Now that realy is the US Pot calling the kettle that is the rest of the world black”.

What we actually know,

1, Any nation that has either the technical ability, or the money to buy it are spying on their citizens without exception, because they are trying to keep up with the US/UK lead.

2, The reason this spying on citizens is comparatively simple is the failure of Governments to hold the ICT industry to account.

That is a nation does not in any way have to be an “Authoritarian and illiberal regime” to run such surveillance. They do not need to be run by Dictators, Despots, Tyrants, or Criminals, in fact the opposet tends to be true, surveillance tends to be worse in more open societies where there is sufficient tax take to fund the technology of surveillance.

Then there is that realy awful notion that,

“The best form of defence is attack / strike first”

Often coupled with the ludicrous “We are the Good Guys” and “Might is right” thinking. Which is historically why the dictatorship of the “King Game” started in the first place. Oh along with that psychotic religious excuse of “God told me to do it” expressed as the “Divine Right” of the “God Head”.

Sometimes I wonder when society is going to stop falling for such ridiculous propaganda and self delusion.

Perhaps I should ask instead what is the inate weakness in the general citizen that alows it to continue year after year, each year the yoke of oppression getting that little bit heavier.

As once noted “The tree of liberty…” is almost always a failure. Because religion and politics creep back in and so the screw turns, the wheel goes around and more get pushed into the rut to be crushed by them.

In short the report like so many others is a rather sick joke of propaganda, ment to hide the truth of what those on who’s behalf it was written.

Winter April 15, 2021 9:40 AM

“Perhaps I should ask instead what is the inate weakness in the general citizen that alows it to continue year after year, each year the yoke of oppression getting that little bit heavier.”

Divide and Conquer? (fear for those dangerous Democrats/Republicans/Muslims/Fascists/Communists/Immigrants)

Adrian April 15, 2021 3:34 PM

WhatsApp technical team recently addressed 2 security vulnerabilities (one of them (CVE-2021-24027)) in WhatsApp for Android. As per security researchers Remote attackers could have exploited these vulnerabilities to execute malicious code on a target device. see full article on WhatsApp vulnerabilities to Hack Mobile

SpaceLifeForm April 15, 2021 5:17 PM

@ Winter

Divide and Conquer? (fear for those dangerous Democrats/Republicans/Muslims/Fascists/Communists/Immigrants)

Yes. See Fox and Facebook.

There is always an enemy. Always a bogeyman.

It’s unreal how many people have been brainwashed into thinking that there is this invisible bogeyman that is out to get them.

Trust me on this, I have receipts.

metaschima April 15, 2021 5:48 PM


Thanks for the articles, this is what I have been suspecting. The Russians are deep into US politics and disinformation. I don’t see how’s it’s not considered a cyber war at this point.

Clive Robinson April 16, 2021 2:25 AM

@ SpaceLifeForm, Winter,

Yes. See Fox and Facebook.

The US News MSM is ultimately run unfortunatly by people some not even Americans who are finding themselves becoming toothless tigers and not the King Makers they thought themselves to once be, and think they should still be.

Thus their Empires are fading and they have become dangerous, way way more dangerous than any elected officcial or leader of another nation can be.

Their sole aim is for control thus power to support their delusions. The nonsense seen in Australia is just the start, the fact the Australian Goverment caved in has just emboldened these aging dangers to mankind.

Why use toothless tigers as a comparison, well they illistrate the problem point.

In rural India and similar places they knew the dangers such creatures represent and in times past villages etc would call upon tiger hunters to kill them as soon as a villager was hurt or killed. Thus an animal with a taste for “long pork” rarely lasted long.

These days politicians become involved and prevaricate so much that man killer tigers will kill significant numbers unless stopped[1], then politicians will turn on the hunters and threaten jail etc all driven by the MSM and it’s replacment “Social Networking” by those who do not live in problem areas.

Thus the politicians behaviours become clear and they actively encorage the problem because they see benifit in so doing. Because from chaos comes profit for a chosen few.

Look around any –supposadly– civilised Western Nation and you see politicians behaving this way. The fears may be real or imaginary, it does not matter it’s the Orwellian way they are used by politicians and the fact they need tools to carry it out is why the more traditional MSM and Social Media behave the way they do. From their perspective “eye balls are the source of profit” the more fear you create the more eye balls you attract.

Which brings us around to yesterday. For various reasons not all immediately obvious SolarWinds has come and not gone away over night as cuber espionage stories generally do. Thus the politicians have decided it’s time to stir it up, hence yesterdays little flurry. Unfortunately neither Russia or China are going to go away, and they are unlikely to stop as long as the US carries on attacking them (the US started the game but are unhappy about the blow back). There is a mounting tide of resentment towards the US and something tells me this is not going to end well.

[1] India has a rising tiger population all be it a,lot more slowly recently, and 40-50 people are getting killed a year. Rather than deal with the problem the politicians stir it up and waste many resources as the problem gets worse. They subscribe to silly ideas such as man killers can be tamed or put in zoos or relocated… Ask yourself what reputable zoo would risk taking a man killer in and have it later kill a keeper etc, likewise who would accept it in their area? It takes little or no imagination to see how the news headlines would be on that… As for actual captivity it would br a life sentence more or less in solitary confinement…


Denton Scratch April 16, 2021 7:43 AM

I didn’t know that “prepositioning” was a verb. But “pre-positioning” makes sense, in context.

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