Saturday, August 30, 2014

Red Sky Weekly: At the Intersection of Financial Warfare and Cyber

Financial Warfare? Carried out in cyberspace?

For months, we've been following the Russia | Ukraine conflict from the perspective of cyber as a means to an end. We've tracked and reported, both in this blog, and in more detail for our members and customers, the exploits of Cyber Berkut, Green Dragon, and suspected Russian involvement in the Ukrainian Presidential election (shortly after the US Congress passed legislation to back a US$1 billion loan guarantee, and US$50 million to help guarantee a fair election). And a few days ago, after much hand wringing, heated discussion, and finally, normalizing a would-be intelligence assessment, we published a piece that suggested that large investors and holders of long-term debt in the region are at higher risk than others for cyber attack. And we didn't talk about it, but the reality is,  those who've participated in sanctions should expect retaliation --and probably via cyber.

On that, I remembered a Bloomberg piece from July. The piece described a tool in the diplomacy toolkit that our leaders have been using for some time. Bloomberg describes it as Financial War.  In May, Newsweek published a similar piece entitled"How the west is pushing Putin's buttons".

"The U.S. antiterror arsenal includes Predator drones, Tomahawk missiles and men in gray suits who target rogue regimes' finances." (

So why is a cyber guy talking about Financial War, quoting Bloomberg and the Wall Street Journal? Because financial warfare, delivered via cyber is quickly becoming the diplomatic weapon of choice. What happens when bankers uphold sanctions by blocking wire transfers and suffer retribution as a result? When the owners of the banks that are blocked from receiving money grouse to their childhood friend, and when that friend is Vladimir Putin, and when even today, they practice judo together --when all of this occurs, it should come as no surprise that the bankers that our administration used as a weapon are retaliated against.

I'm keeping it short today, but want to leave you with a couple of think points...

When bankers (or others) are retaliated against, who will protect them? What kind of regulatory action will occur when bankers stick their neck out in support of diplomacy? Will bankers be punished for being hacked? And will (should) the government offset losses to investors if/when they occur as a result? 

  • Red Sky turned THREE this week! It's amazing, and it went by in a flash, but three years ago, Red Sky Alliance Corporation was born. 
  • We've begin populating reporting in the Beadwindow portal in Threat Connect
  • ...And the analysis engine has been in overtime. The portal is busy --it has been all summer, and going into labor day weekend, for some reason, we've started getting calls for new memberships. 
I'm keeping it short. It's the one sunny day we're expected to have this weekend, so I'm going to take advantage of it. I hope you do too.

Have a great Labor Day weekend!

Tuesday, August 26, 2014