At a minimum, attackers who have control of a company's operational network could use it to ... turn on or off breakers inside the companies' infrastructure and hijack systems that monitor the health of the grid. That's an unsettling scenario, but there's a more troubling one still: the attackers might also be able to use their control of multiple grid-connected operational networks to create the kinds of failures that led to the Northeast Blackout of 2003.
Terrorists could use cyber capabilities to target any sector. But the most vulnerable industries are those with high proportions of old infrastructure onto which new technology has been grafted. According to...the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, in 2015, the average age of all fixed assets in the United States stood at 22.8 years, with hospitals and utilities some of the worst culprits. This average age is the oldest reported since 1925 for government assets and since 1955 for private assets.
Terrorism has changed dramatically in recent years. Attacks by groups with defined chains of command have become rarer, as the prevalence of terrorist networks, autonomous cells, and, in rare cases, individuals, has grown. This evolution has prompted a search for a new vocabulary, as it should... Lazy talk of “lone wolves” obscures the real nature of the threat against us, and makes us all less safe.
What began in 2001 as a focused effort to topple the Taliban and rout al Qaeda has become an endless, costly, and unrealistic effort with no clearly discernible endpoint... It has become our forgotten war, and the chief aim of those in charge of the operation seems to be keeping it off the front pages... And make no mistake, it is a war. Afghan civilian casualties hit a new high in 2016, and government security forces suffered more than 15,000 casualties and more than 5,000 killed.
numerous nations, from Denmark to Indonesia, have developed methods for nudging young men and women back from the extremist brink—a process known as deradicalization ... many of those ventures lack any kind of scientific rigor. Some, like Saudi Arabia’s government-run counseling program for prison inmates, claim suspiciously high success rates yet don’t permit any outside scrutiny; others are staffed by people who act on intuition rather than in ways validated by data.
as the rebels became increasingly radicalized, many began to see groups like ISIS as the bigger threat. Hezbollah morphed from needless aggressor to the only entity standing between Lebanon and a fundamentalist Islamic state ... And while Syria’s brutal civil war isn’t over—and the group faces enemies, both from within and without—Hezbollah has solidified its standing as the most powerful force in Lebanon. Once dependent on Assad for its survival, the group is now stronger than he is.
military campaigns to retake Aleppo and Mosul reveal a strange new paradox of modern combat: the difficulty, if not impossibility, of reclaiming urban terrain from entrenched rebels without paying a high humanitarian price. It is “strange” because at first blush, the offensive firepower of today’s armies would seem to work in their favor. Yet, even in the face of heavy artillery and indiscriminate air strikes, under-armed rebels have consistently been able to hold on to large swaths of cities.
In a kind of jihadi shell game, this summer the Nusra Front rebranded itself as the Jabhat Fateh al-Sham, or J.F.S., which means the Front for the Liberation of Sham, an area that includes Syria and parts of neighboring countries. It announced that it no longer had ties with any external group. Al Qaeda publicly concurred ... In jihadi-speak, this is known as “marbling”: local groups variegate their formal ties with global movements when strategically or financially convenient.
The Obama administration is giving the elite Joint Special Operations Command...expanded power to track, plan and potentially launch attacks on terrorist cells around the globe ... it will elevate JSOC from being a highly-valued strike tool used by regional military commands to leading a new multiagency intelligence and action force ... The missions could occur well beyond the battlefields...where Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) has carried out clandestine operations in the past.
Trumps... strong stance on fighting Isis and “Islamic terrorism” means he is unlikely to hand control of a country... to a scarcely less hardline group. The Baltic states are nervous about whether a Trump administration would defend them in the event of a Russian attack. Trump’s win certainly makes a president Le Pen more plausible. Trump has promised to reverse decades of US policy by recognising Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and moving the American embassy there.
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