The West Is Preparing a Cyberattack To Blame on Russian Hackers

A 10-day simulation of a large-scale cyberattack on the global financial system was conducted with the goal, as officially stated, of increasing cooperation that could help minimize any potential damage to financial markets and banks. The simulation scenario involved the leakage of classified information into the public space and the subsequent fabrication of false news, which, according to the legend of the exercise, led to global financial chaos.

Representatives from the World Bank, International Monetary Fund, Bank for International Settlements and the Israeli Ministry of Finance, as well as officials from Austria, the Arab Emirates, Great Britain, Germany, Israel, Italy, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Thailand and the United States participated in the cyber exercise. Israeli cyber official Rahav Shalom-Revivo said that only sophisticated attackers could carry out such a large-scale attack on the global financial system.

Commenting on the “Collective Strength” exercise conducted in Israel, the experts of the Russian Institute for International Political and Economic Strategies note that a similar anticipation of events could be observed on the eve of the outbreak of the COVID-19 virus. In New York City on Oct. 18, 2019, Johns Hopkins University, with the participation of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the World Economic Forum, conducted a pandemic drill, dubbed Event 201. It is noteworthy that the exercise involved representatives of the same countries that met again to plan for the future of humanity in Israel.

The organizers of Event 201 offered their partners a scenario that a new strain of coronavirus had appeared in Brazil, killing 65 million people. Two months after the exercise, China officially announced the new disease; it is unclear how it entered its territory.

The Collective Strength exercise simulated a scenario of a large-scale cyberattack that spreads a malicious computer virus across all countries, similar to COVID-19, only 10 times faster. The Internet would be completely paralyzed, electricity would be cut off and life support systems — heating, water supply and sewage systems — would stop working. Industrial enterprises would freeze up; transportation would stop; civilization would plunge into chaos in a matter of days.

A year earlier, the founder of the World Economic Forum, Klaus Schwab, had warned of the threat of a “frightening scenario of a comprehensive cyberattack, which would bring a complete halt to the power supply, transportation, hospital services, our society as a whole.”

Note that the global cyberattack scenario presented in the Collective Strength exercise can be accomplished only by the U.S. military’s cyber command. Effective cyberattacks are a key element of the Pentagon’s current military doctrine, the so-called Third Offset Strategy, or TOS-3, developed by the U.S. Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments.

The third counterbalance strategy is aimed at increasing the importance of the most effective types of weapons in today’s environment, primarily cyber weapons. The key role in the implementation of TOS-3 is played by the American nonprofit company MITRE Corporation (Center for Technology and National Security), working in the field of systems engineering and creating developments in the interests of the U.S. government authorities, primarily the Department of Defense. Within the framework of TOS-3, this corporation has been allocated more funds from the federal budget than, for example, the famous RAND Corporation.

MITRE is a world leader in cybersecurity and is involved in the Pentagon’s cyberwarfare project, the so-called Plan X. According to the DARPA website, “Plan X is a foundational cyberwarfare program whose engineers are developing platforms the Defense Department will use to plan for, conduct and assess cyberwarfare in a manner similar to that of kinetic warfare.” To that end, the program will connect cyber communities of interest, from academia to the defense industrial base, the commercial technology industry and user experience experts.

As part of Plan X, MITRE created STIX (Structured Threat Information eXpression) and TAXII (Trusted Automated eXchange of Indicator Information) protocols for cyber-threat reporting.

A special place in the developments of MITRE is occupied by the Adversarial Tactics, Techniques, and Common Knowledge framework, a kind of virtual encyclopedia of techniques of various hackers. This matrix provides a comprehensive view of the behavior of virtual attackers when compromising networks and can be used for offensive operations on the Internet. In particular, ATT&CK can be useful in cyberintelligence.

One of MITRE’s most ambitious projects clearly aimed at attack rather than defense is the Unfetter project, created jointly with the National Security Agency. It enhances the ability of cybersecurity specialists to identify and analyze security gaps in enemy computers. The names of MITRE software products are symbolic. As we know, Styx (STIX) in ancient Greek mythology is the embodiment of primeval horror and gloom, and the name of the river in the underworld of death. The abbreviation ATT&CK speaks for itself.

Among the main programs of the company are developments in the field of command and control of multi-domain operations. This means that MITRE specialists are working on the creation of a single digital theater space, and the main battles in this war will take place in virtual space, but the destruction of strategic and infrastructure facilities will be comparable to the damage from missile and bomb attacks. According to The New York Times, the list of U.S. cyber command targets includes civilian institutions and municipal infrastructure, including power grids, banks and financial networks, transportation and telecommunications — i.e., all those targets that were identified in the Collective Strength exercise scenario.

The U.S. Cyber Command used MITRE developments to attack the power systems of Venezuela and Russia. In Venezuela, this led to widespread power outages throughout the country and caused a humanitarian disaster. In Russia, U.S. military cyberattacks on Russian power grids were successfully repelled, according to Russian presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov.

In June 2019, The New York Times, citing knowledgeable sources, reported that the U.S. had been stepping up attempts to infiltrate Russian power grid control systems since 2012. Now, however, the story said, Washington’s strategy has become more aggressive and is leaning toward placing malware on Russian networks. The Kremlin confirmed that strategic areas of Russia’s economy have been and are repeatedly subjected to cyberattacks from abroad. “Our agencies are constantly fighting this to prevent harm to our economy and our sensitive areas,” Peskov said.

Commenting on a New York Times article about attempts by U.S. intelligence agencies to introduce malicious code to conduct cyber attacks on the Russian energy system, Peskov added, “This information indicates the hypothetical possibility of all signs of cyber warfare, cyber warfare against Russia. The so-called Duck Test is widely known: If something looks like a duck, swims like a duck and quacks like a duck, it is probably a duck.”

There is a strong suspicion that, should the global cyberattack predicted during the Collective Strength exercise occur, the sophisticated attackers who perpetrated it would be the notorious Russian hackers, behind whom, of course, Moscow stands. In fact, all the lofty words of cooperation and security enhancement are just a cover for the true purpose of the operation, which is to probe for weaknesses and block the intended responses and defenses. In other words, it is a false-flag operation. The Duck Test as applied to the possible initiators of a global cyberattack unambiguously points to the U.S. cyber command. We can suffice to recall how we repelled the U.S. and Israeli cyberattack on Iran with the Stuxnet virus, which targeted supervisory control and data acquisition systems and is believed to be responsible for causing substantial damage to the Iranian nuclear program. Now our partners in the West seem to be up to something more impressive.

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