Week 4 Case Study 2
Social Engineering Attacks and Counterintelligence
CIS 502 Theories of Security Management
Social engineering attacks and counterintelligence have major impacts to our national security. In July 2010, the Afghan War Diary was released in WikiLeaks. In October 2010, WikiLeaks also released the largest military leak in history, the Iraq War Logs, revealing the war occupation in Iraq. This type of information is considered as classified data by the Department of Defense.
What is social engineering?
Social engineering is essentially the art of gaining access to buildings, systems or data by exploiting human psychology, rather than by breaking in or using ...view middle of the document...
The Pentagon has also struggled for years to develop its own prediction tools. That data became to be known as the “Afghan War Diary,” a record of 77,000 military logs dated between 2004 and 2009 that were spilled onto the internet by WikiLeaks. In a paper that was published by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, a team of researchers used the leaked logs to somewhat accurately predict violence levels in Afghanistan for the year 2010. The analysts combed the documents, trying to determine the implications of the WikiLeaks release, everything from whether military or intelligence-gathering tactics and procedures have been revealed and compromised, to whether specific intelligence sources have been endangered. They also have looked for incidents of civilian casualties that might not have previously been reported, anything concerning allies or coalition partners, and even derogatory comments regarding Afghan culture or Islam.
WikiLeaks argues that their work is based on the defense of freedom of speech and media publishing, and that they are in the noble search of creating a common historical record and the support of the rights of all people. But are they just putting people, nations and peace in danger with their reckless and dangerous pursuit of some idealist notion? Some ranking Republican on the House Homeland Security Committee thinks so, and they have now urged the Attorney General to prosecute WikiLeaks founder, Julian Assange, and urged Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, to designate the organization as a foreign terrorist organization. Beyond partisan lines, congressional members are outraged at the danger of this organization’s actions. Mainly, destroying the trust and openness certain individuals have or in reality had, when dealing with the United States. Surprisingly, even Iranian leader Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has lashed out against the website.
While most of the information that is “dumped” on their site, without any real review, is in fact mostly nonthreatening. But benign information can still harm the United States’ national security. Certain revelations of compliance to other states or countries, or what the U.S. is willing to negotiate before negotiations are done, is very harmful to the United States’ ability to act and in turn affects its ability to protect its citizens.
As legislators are seemingly trying to figure out what to do with the WikiLeaks, perhaps it will be fitting for policymakers, academics and students alike to consider what the benefits are of these pursuits of “openness,” when compared to the adverse dangerous effects on national security and the American people.
What is the importance of forming a sound information security workforce?
In a world full of information at the fingertips of skilled hackers, one must ask the question: “when is a leak damaging enough to be considered an attack?” If Wikileaks were leaking information that was damaging to several different nations...