In November, the company Strava released an anonymous data-visualization map showing all the fitness activity by everyone using the app.
Over this weekend, someone realized that it could be used to locate secret military bases: just look for repeated fitness activity in the middle of nowhere.
Posted on January 29, 2018 at 2:17 PM •
This very interesting essay looks at the future of military robotics and finds many analogs in nature:
Imagine a low-cost drone with the range of a Canada goose, a bird that can cover 1,500 miles in a single day at an average speed of 60 miles per hour. Planet Earth profiled a single flock of snow geese, birds that make similar marathon journeys, albeit slower. The flock of six-pound snow geese was so large it formed a sky-darkening cloud 12 miles long. How would an aircraft carrier battlegroup respond to an attack from millions of aerial kamikaze explosive drones that, like geese, can fly hundreds of miles? A single aircraft carrier costs billions of dollars, and the United States relies heavily on its ten aircraft carrier strike groups to project power around the globe. But as military robots match more capabilities found in nature, some of the major systems and strategies upon which U.S. national security currently relies — perhaps even the fearsome aircraft carrier strike group — might experience the same sort of technological disruption that the smartphone revolution brought about in the consumer world.
Posted on August 25, 2017 at 6:34 AM •
Crowdstrike has an interesting blog post about how the Russian military is tracking Ukrainian field artillery units by compromising soldiers’ smartphones and tracking them.
Posted on December 23, 2016 at 8:46 AM •
It makes for interesting reading.
Someone noticed that parts of it read like standard modern office procedures.
EDITED TO ADD: I originally called this a CIA manual, but the CIA had not been formed yet. And, yes, I seem to have blogged this before — in 2010.
Posted on June 10, 2016 at 9:54 AM •
This FBI alert is interesting:
(U//FOUO) In May 2015, the wife of a US military member was approached in front of her home by two Middle-Eastern males. The men stated that she was the wife of a US interrogator. When she denied their claims, the men laughed. The two men left the area in a dark-colored, four-door sedan with two other Middle-Eastern males in the vehicle. The woman had observed the vehicle in the neighborhood on previous occasions.
(U//FOUO) Similar incidents in Wyoming have been reported to the FBI throughout June 2015. On numerous occasions, family members of military personnel were confronted by Middle-Eastern males in front of their homes. The males have attempted to obtain personal information about the military member and family members through intimidation. The family members have reported feeling scared.
The report says nothing about whether these are isolated incidents, a trend, or part of a larger operation. But it has gotten me thinking about the new ways military personnel can be intimidated. More and more military personnel live here and work there, remotely as drone pilots, intelligence analysts, and so on, and their military and personal lives intertwine to a degree we have not seen before. There will be some interesting security repercussions from that.
Posted on August 12, 2015 at 5:49 AM •
The news media is buzzing about how the US military identified the location of an ISIS HQ because someone there took a photo and posted it.
Quoting Air Force General Hawk Carlisle, head of Air Combat Command:
“The guys that were working down out of Hurlburt, they’re combing through social media and they see some moron standing at this command. And in some social media, open forum, bragging about the command and control capabilities for Daesh, ISIL. And these guys go: ‘We got an in.’ So they do some work, long story short, about 22 hours later through that very building, three [Joint Direct Attack Munitions] take that entire building out.”
It’s not clear how the location was identified: physical objects in the background of the selfie, location information in the EXIF fields, or something else.
I’m not sure I believe this story, but it’s certainly possible.
EDITED TO ADD (6/7): Here’s the photo. Looks like the roadsign in the background helped a lot.
Posted on June 5, 2015 at 2:38 PM •
According to a Reuters article, the US military tried to launch Stuxnet against North Korea in addition to Iran:
According to one U.S. intelligence source, Stuxnet’s developers produced a related virus that would be activated when it encountered Korean-language settings on an infected machine.
But U.S. agents could not access the core machines that ran Pyongyang’s nuclear weapons program, said another source, a former high-ranking intelligence official who was briefed on the program.
The official said the National Security Agency-led campaign was stymied by North Korea’s utter secrecy, as well as the extreme isolation of its communications systems.
Posted on June 1, 2015 at 6:33 AM •
New research: Max Abrahms and Philip B.K. Potter, “Explaining Terrorism: Leadership Deficits and Militant Group Tactics,” International Organizations.
Abstract: Certain types of militant groups — those suffering from leadership deficits — are more likely to attack civilians. Their leadership deficits exacerbate the principal-agent problem between leaders and foot soldiers, who have stronger incentives to harm civilians. We establish the validity of this proposition with a tripartite research strategy that balances generalizability and identification. First, we demonstrate in a sample of militant organizations operating in the Middle East and North Africa that those lacking centralized leadership are prone to targeting civilians. Second, we show that when the leaderships of militant groups are degraded from drone strikes in the Afghanistan-Pakistan tribal regions, the selectivity of organizational violence plummets. Third, we elucidate the mechanism with a detailed case study of the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade, a Palestinian group that turned to terrorism during the Second Intifada because pressure on the leadership allowed low-level members to act on their preexisting incentives to attack civilians. These findings indicate that a lack of principal control is an important, underappreciated cause of militant group violence against civilians.
I have previously blogged Max Abrahms’s work here, here, and here.
Posted on March 19, 2015 at 8:09 AM •
In the latest example of a military technology that has secretly been used by the police, we have radar guns that can see through walls.
Posted on January 27, 2015 at 1:08 PM •
Jonathan Zittrain argues that our military weapons should be built with a kill switch, so they become useless when they fall into enemy hands.
Posted on September 23, 2014 at 8:22 AM •
Sidebar photo of Bruce Schneier by Joe MacInnis.