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“Satisficing” in 2020!- Choose the Best Available Option. February 25, 2020

Posted by Chris Mark in Politics, Uncategorized.
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herbertsimon2

Herbert Simon

As  we are well into this 2020 political cycle I thought it prudent to reference an important political (and decision making) concept.  In his seminal 1947 work Administrative Behavior the esteemed Political Scientist, Economist and Nobel Prize Laureate Herbert Simon referenced a concept he called Satisficing.  The concept was formally put forth in 1965.  So what exactly is Satisficing?  First it is a portmanteau which combines “satisfy” and “success”.   According to Wikipedia Satisficing is: Satisficing is a decision-making strategy or cognitive heuristic that entails searching through the available alternatives until an acceptability threshold is met.” The term satisficing,  is a combination of satisfy and suffice.”

We all Satisfice every day.  Consider the last car you bought.  (more…)

超限战 – “Warfare without Bounds”; China’s Hacking of the US February 24, 2020

Posted by Chris Mark in cyberespionage, cybersecurity, Politics, weapons and tactics.
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Unconditional_warfare

“Pleased to meet you…hope you guessed my name…But what’s puzzling you is the nature of my game.”
– The Rolling Stones; Sympathy for the Devil

UPDATE:  On Feb 10, 2020 The US Government charged 4 Chinese Military Officers with hacking in the 2017 Equifax breach.  On January 28th, the FBI arrested a Harvard professor of lying about ties to a Chinese recruitment effort and receiving payment from the US Government.  The attacks, subterfuge and efforts continue against the US.  Why?  Read the original post form 2016 and learn about Unlimited Warfare.

Original post from 2016: More recently, the With the recent US Government’s acknowledgement of China’s hacking of numerous government websites and networks, many are likely wondering why China would have an interest in stealing employee data?  To answer this question, we need to look back at the 1991 Gulf War. You can read my 2013 Article (WorldCyberwar) in the Counter Terrorist Magazine on this subject.

In 1991, a coalition led by the United States invaded Iraq in defense of Kuwait.  At the time Iraq had the 5th largest standing army in the world.  The US led coalition defeated the Iraqi army in resounding fashion in only 96 hours.  For those in the United States the victory was impressive but the average American civilian did not have an appreciation for how this victory was accomplished.

The Gulf War was the first real use of what is known as C4I.  In short, C4I is an acronym for Command, Control, Communications, Computers, and Intelligence. The Gulf War was the first use of a new technology known as Global Positioning Systems (GPS).  The Battle of Medina Ridge was a decisive tank battle in Iraq fought on February 26, 1991 and the first to use GPS.  In this 40 minute battle, the US 1st Armored Division fought the 2nd Brigade of the Iraqi Republican Guard and won decisively. While the US lost 4 tanks and had 2 people killed, the Iraqis suffered a loss of 186 tanks, 127 Infantry Fighting Vehicles and 839 soldiers captured.  The Chinese watched the Gulf War closely and came away with an understanding that a conventional ‘linear’ war against the United States was unwinnable.

After the Gulf War the Chinese People’s Liberation Army tasked two PLA colonels (Qiao Liang and Wang Xiangsui) with redefining the concept of warfare.  From this effort came a new model of Warfare that is published in the book “Unrestricted Warfare” or “Warfare without Bounds”.  Unrestricted Warfare is just what it sound like.  The idea that ‘pseudo-wars’ can be fought against an enemy.  Information warfare, PR efforts and other tactics are used to undermine and enemy without engaging in kinetic, linear battle.  Below is a quote from the book:

“If we acknowledge that the new principles of war are no longer “using armed force to compel the enemy to submit to one’s will,” but rather are “using all means including armed force and non-armed force, military and non-military, lethal and non-lethal means to compel the enemy to accept one’s interests.”

“As we see it, a single man-made stock-market crash, a single computer virus invasion, or a single rumor or scandal that results in a fluctuation in the enemy country’s exchange rates or exposes the leaders of an enemy country on the Internet, all can be included in the ranks of new-concept weapons.”

It further stated: “… a single rumor or scandal that results in fluctuation in the enemy country’s exchange rates…can be included in the ranks of new concept weapons.”

On April 15, 2011, the US Congressional Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations conducted a hearing on Chinese cyber-espionage. The hearing revealed the US government’s awareness of Chinese cyberattacks. In describing the situation in his opening remarks, subcommittee chairperman Dana Rohrbacher* astutely stated:

“[The]United States is under attack.”

“The Communist Chinese Government has defined us as the enemy. It is buying, building and stealing whatever it takes to contain and destroy us. Again, the Chinese Government has defined us as the enemy.”

Given the Chinese perspective on Unlimited Warfare, it becomes much more clear that what we are seeing with the compromises are examples of ‘pseudo wars’ being fought by the Chinese.  It will be interesting to see how or if the US responds.

*thank you to the reader who corrected my referencing Mr. Rohrbacher as a female.  My apologies to Chairman Rohrbacher!

Autocracy, Anocracy, & Democracy – “Verbal Masterba(bleep!)…” January 25, 2016

Posted by Chris Mark in Laws and Leglslation, Politics.
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Election season in the US is always interesting.  Passions run high and people are quick to proclaim their positions on government and politics.  Unfortunately, as many will likely agree, election season also gives voice to many who should probably remain silent.

Recently I was taken to task on Facebook and lectured on the concept of governance and democracy by a particularly obtuse and offensive individual.  When I attempted to explain that democracy should NOT be considered a strictly binary proposition and that the US was indeed a democracy, his attacks became personal and I was accused of (among other things) “verbal masturbation”.  According to this master of the English language: “Most folks like me would call your ideas verbal masturbation.  They sound good from the outside but are really kinda stupid”…he actually wrote: “Kinda”…somehow this person drew a line between my comments on democracy and his belief that the federal government would force parents to stand by while their 12 year old daughters got abortions without consent.  I am at a loss as to the logic… But…I digress.  Back to democracy! (more…)

Because I Said So September 23, 2012

Posted by Heather Mark in cybersecurity, Industry News, InfoSec & Privacy, Laws and Leglslation, Politics.
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Last week, Democratic leaders made some minor news when they sent a letter to President Obama suggesting that he issue an executive order on Cybersecurity.  Their position is that, since Congress seems to be at loggerheads over the issue, the president should take the opportunity to force action by issuing an Executive Order.  In fact, Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano told a congressional committee that just such an order was in its final stages.  So what might we see in this forthcoming order?

According to reports, the order will attempt to regulate sixteen “critical” industries.  The guidelines will be voluntary, after a fashion.  Compliance with the standards may determine eligibility for federal contracts.  The White House has not made any secret about its intentions on Cybersecurity.  In fact, the White House website lists  “Ten Near Term Actions to Support Our Cybersecurity Strategy.”  Brevity prevents me from getting into a deep discussion about those actions here, but you can read them and draw your own conclusions.

The questions remain, however – 1) how stringent (read intrusive) will the requirements be?; 2) Will they be relevant to the threats in the landscape?; 3) How will compliance be policed? and 4) How much additional cost are we potentially adding our already stretched budgets?

Another question that merits examination is whether or not the standards will be redundant.  Many industries are already straining under the weight of a variety of infosec requirements – whether industry-regulated or government mandated?  Will another layer of regulation mean increased efficacy of data protection strategies and mandates or will it be just another layer of red tape?

 

 

 

“Democracy or Friendship?” – The US Role in Supporting Democracy July 31, 2012

Posted by Chris Mark in Laws and Leglslation, Politics.
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Heather Mark completed her PhD in Public Policy & Public Administration ‘several year’ ago.  Her Dissertation was titled: “The Role of the United States Foreign Policy in the Global Adoption of Democratic Governance”.  The US has long espoused the position of supporting democracy.  Does the US actually practice what it preaches?  Here is an excerpt from Heather’s dissertation:

“As the twentieth century wore on, however, the threats to democracy became less specific, but presidents and policymakers continued to use the ideology to frame their policy statements.  This begs the question: “Do the actions of the United States actually further the cause of democracy, as policymakers indicate?”  If the U.S. public knew the effect of U.S. actions on democracy, would the rhetoric still be as effective?”

Download and read her dissertation here.  Make your own decisions regarding the US’s role.

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