Target Hack Was Just the Tip of the Iceberg

by Kevin D. Freeman on February 5, 2014

There was a startling revelation from Senator Mark Warner. Basically, he admitted that there was more to the hacking of 100-million+ Americans credit cards than meets the eye. Here are some comments from CNBC:

Transcript:  “In all this, we got a hint yesterday from senator Mark Warner from Virginia who suggested that U.S. Intelligence knows a lot more about this hack attack problem than it can say publicly. Take a listen to Mark Warner yesterday —‘Quite honestly, I think we’re going to see and I know from my role in the intel community this is a crime that happens daily to financial institutions, retailers at a level that frankly, if most Americans realized, I think would find rather confounding.’ So, Warner suggesting there that U.S. Intelligence knows more about this than American consumers do.”

Now, pair this statement regarding Target with comments from General Keith Alexander on 60 Minutes as reported in Forbes:


Robert Lenzner, Forbes Staff  12/15/2013 @ 9:00PM |4,402 views

Some Foreign Nations Have The Cyberwar Capability To Destroy Our Financial System, NSA Admits

On the CBS program 60 Minutes tonight, National Security Agency (NSA) director Gen. Keith Alexander admitted that “a foreign national could impact and destroy a major portion of our financial system” by placing a virus in our computer systems “and literally take down the U.S. economy” if the virus was spread around . . .

… While mentioning known attacks by China, (Deborah) Plunkett (another NSA official spokesperson) told CBS: “Don’t be fooled. There are absolutely nation states who have the capability and the intention to do just that,” ie “literally take down the U.S. economy.” If this revelation is widely discussed tomorrow morning, it could very well have a serious negative effect on stock prices.

That is frightening enough. The risk is far more than a credit card or even identity theft.

Now, let’s add the revelation from Bill Gertz that the Obamacare website was linked to Russian satellite Belarus:


The Belarusian Connection

Obamacare network vulnerable to cyber attack


U.S. intelligence agencies last week urged the Obama administration to check its new healthcare network for malicious software after learning that developers linked to the Belarus government helped produce the website, raising fresh concerns that private data posted by millions of Americans will be compromised.

The intelligence agencies notified the Department of Health and Human Services, the agency in charge of the network, about their concerns last week. Specifically, officials warned that programmers in Belarus, a former Soviet republic closely allied with Russia, were suspected of inserting malicious code that could be used for cyber attacks, according to U.S. officials familiar with the concerns.

The software links the millions of Americans who signed up for Obamacare to the federal government and more than 300 medical institutions and healthcare providers.

“The U.S. Affordable Care Act software was written in part in Belarus by software developers under state control, and that makes the software a potential target for cyber attacks,” one official said.

Cyber security officials said the potential threat to the U.S. healthcare data is compounded by what they said was an Internet data “hijacking” last year involving Belarusian state-controlled networks. The month-long diversion covertly rerouted massive amounts of U.S. Internet traffic to Belarus—a repressive dictatorship located between Russia, Poland, and Ukraine.

“Belarusian President [Alexander] Lukashenko’s authoritarian regime is closely allied with Russia and is adversarial toward the United States,” the official added.

The combination of the Belarus-origin software, the Internet re-routing, and the anti-U.S. posture of the Belarusian government “makes the software written in Belarus a potential target of cyber attacks for identity theft and privacy violations” of Americans, the official said . . .

To Continue Reading:

Basically, what this means is that foreign governments and terrorists have access to critical systems including government websites. If Target can be hacked and if the ACA website is vulnerable, how can we be complacent?

Yet, despite this reality and the threat to national sovereignty, many Federal agencies remain unprotected. Four in ten data breaches go unreported according to Congressional reports:


Report: 4 in 10 Government Security Breaches Go Undetected

DHS, DOJ, DOD, EPA, NASA, Energy, State routinely hacked


A new report by Sen. Tom Coburn (R., Okla.) details widespread cybersecurity breaches in the federal government, despite billions in spending to secure the nation’s most sensitive information.

The report, released on Tuesday, found that approximately 40 percent of breaches go undetected, and highlighted “serious vulnerabilities in the government’s efforts to protect its own civilian computers and networks.”

“In the past few years, we have seen significant breaches in cybersecurity which could affect critical U.S. infrastructure,” the report said. “Data on the nation’s weakest dams, including those which could kill Americans if they failed, were stolen by a malicious intruder. Nuclear plants’ confidential cybersecurity plans have been left unprotected. Blueprints for the technology undergirding the New York Stock Exchange were exposed to hackers.”

Nearly every agency has been attacked, including the Departments of Homeland Security, Justice, Defense, State, Labor, Energy, and Commerce. NASA, the EPA, the FDA, the U.S. Copyright Office, and the National Weather Service have also been hacked or had personal information stolen.

In one example, hackers breached the national Emergency Broadcast System in February 2013 to broadcast “zombie attack warnings” in several midwestern states.

“Civil authorities in your area have reported that the bodies of the dead are rising from their graves and attacking the living,” the message said. “Do not attempt to approach or apprehend these bodies as they are considered extremely dangerous.”

“These are just hacks whose details became known to the public, often because the hackers themselves announced their exploits,” the report said. “Largely invisible to the public and policymakers are over 48,000 other cyber ‘incidents’ involving government systems which agencies detected and reported to DHS in FY 2012.”

Even worse, nearly four in 10 intrusions into major civilian agencies go undetected, according to the report.

“Weaknesses in the federal government’s own cybersecurity have put at risk the electrical grid, our financial markets, our emergency response systems, and our citizens’ personal information,” Coburn, ranking member of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, said in a statement. “While politicians like to propose complex new regulations, massive new programs, and billions in new spending to improve cybersecurity, there are very basic—and critically important—precautions that could protect our infrastructure and our citizens’ private information that we simply aren’t doing.”

The report places much of the blame on basic “lapses by the federal government,” including failures to address routine security, such as changing passwords and installing anti-virus software . . .

To Continue Reading:

Now, put all of this in the context of Unrestricted Warfare as defined in a 1999 publication of that title, written by two Senior Colonels of the People’s Liberation Army (which we quoted before in a post about Apple stock having an unexplained Flash Crash):

“…if the attacking side musters large amounts of capital….and launches a sneak attack against its financial markets, then after causing a financial crisis buries a computer virus and hacker detachment…while carrying out a network attack against the enemy so that the civilian electricity network, traffic dispatching network, financial transaction network…are paralyzed, this will cause the enemy nation to fall into social panic, street riots, and a political crisis.”


This is a new form of warfare. It is Global Economic Warfare. It is happening before our very eyes. Sadly, most Americans are unaware of the seriousness of this threat. And, as we are learning, even our Federal Government remains ignorant and thus powerless to address it.

We have covered these issues at length in this Blog, on radio and television interviews, and in our writings (learn more at and visit the Newsroom for interviews and see comments from some of the people we have briefed in the “Praise” tab for both Secret Weapon and Game Plan).

Learn how to protect yourself by reading my new book, Game Plan:  How to Protect Yourself from the Coming Cyber-Economic Attack.

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