Cartoon by Joep Bertrams

Cyber Warfare Iranian Style

Huffington Post: Repressive regimes fight against the “medium” to control the delivery of content against the fundamental math that controls the Internet’s robotic programming. They are limited in how much control they can exert because of the reality that the world’s dependency on the commerce functions of the Internet are now universal and existential. Also, there aren’t that many activists. As a proportion of total internet traffic, they are a nit. So closed regimes engage in a balancing game of placing boundaries around the portions of the internet the regime’s interests needs to wall off. Sidebar, it’s all about building walls isn’t it? Physical and virtual.

Activists in turn fight back by finding ways to pretend they are in a part of the internet that a regime does not control. The 2018 method of choice for this “hiding from the man” game is to use a virtual private network (VPN) that makes one appear to be in another part of the world; for instance, in Paris when you’re actually in Tehran. This opens up the entire Internet to keep coordinating with your fellow activists even if the regime has built walls. Back before this kind of stuff was a commercial off the shelf service you could install for every computer in a company or individuals could buy for not very much, there were other ways this location spoofing was done. I used to offer friends in sensitive positions remote access to a specially configured spare server in my rack so they could log in and do what they needed to do while appearing to be in the United States. The machine was in server farm that took a strong volume of robotic web page inquiry traffic from all over the world, in many instances from known foreign government owned IP address, so that the channels to and from it were constantly open. It was a discrete tunnel built on one of my favorite design principles, “fly low and avoid the radar”.

The cyber warfare goes back and forth like a cat and mouse chase. Today’s regime hunt for the VPN’s to shut down. Activists try to stay a step ahead opening new VPN’s before the last one is killed. It’s a grassroots form of a self-annealing connection hopping security design based on millions of nodes acting independently. It drives closed regimes bat shit.

In the meantime, the “medium” content delivery engines continue to expand the messaging, a robot reaching out to society and activating an expanding global network of concern based on the simplicity of affinity algorithms and the mechanics of echoing >>>