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Cyber Warfare

The head of the NSA (National Security Agency) just announced that a foreign nation-state (presumably Russia) consciously targeted presidential candidate Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign, in order to affect the US election:

There shouldn’t be any doubt in anybody’s minds, this was not something that was done casually, this was not something that was done by chance, this was not a target that was selected purely arbitrarily. This was a conscious effort by a nation-state to attempt to achieve a specific effect.

This is cyber warfare, and I’m not sure what can be done to defend against it. In an era where voters are strongly influenced by political information exchanged through social media, with little or no fact checking, there may not be any way to stop a bad actor from throwing an election, with potentially disastrous results.

How many “Manchurian Social Networks” exist already? Given how easy it is to create and spread disinformation, it is guaranteed that this situation will just get worse as more countries and special interests will pour money and effort into cyber warfare activities.

After all, conventional warfare is way more expensive and dangerous. Why do that when you can achieve the same ends more cheaply and easily by getting people elected who will do your bidding?



  1. Yudith wrote:

    Usually, I’m not a big fan of conspiracy theories, but when I read this one, it had this ring of truthiness… It simply didn’t surprise me at all. It felt like “The non news of the day. On a related topic, water is wet.”

    Thursday, November 17, 2016 at 6:07 am | Permalink
  2. Jonah wrote:


    So much for change

    Thursday, November 17, 2016 at 7:11 am | Permalink
  3. Jonah wrote:

    And fake news helped

    Thursday, November 17, 2016 at 9:05 am | Permalink
  4. Don Hall wrote:

    I’m confused, Yudith. “Ring of truthiness” in my mind means fake news. Is that what you’re saying?

    Thursday, November 17, 2016 at 12:49 pm | Permalink
  5. Redjon wrote:

    Trump supporters and other Republican voters will soon understand that they, too, will need to learn to live with the election results of November 8, 2016.

    Thursday, November 17, 2016 at 4:17 pm | Permalink
  6. Just me wrote:

    They & the Electoral College.

    Thursday, November 17, 2016 at 5:34 pm | Permalink
  7. Ralph wrote:

    Cyber hacking, or warfare if you like, is a greater threat than many of us may imagine. Check out a recent interview with Ted Koppel, veteran reporter (ABC News, Nightline), who recently published the book “Lights Out”, where he describes his research and findings about the potential vulnerability of our power grid, which is intimately connected to the web, to foreign hacking and the potential catastrophic consequences of an extended wide-spread power outage. Imagine trying to evacuate large swaths of the northeast or west coast when the lights go out for a few weeks. Chaos, to say the least.

    Also some discussion about how our digital world of instant “news” and social media has affected journalism, politics and how people acquire their “facts” these days.

    Thursday, November 17, 2016 at 9:19 pm | Permalink
  8. Yudith wrote:

    For clarification, for me, “truthiness” doesn’t mean “false”; it means “something that sounds true”. Whether it’s true or not is irrelevant. This news, here above, felt true. Is it true? Did I checked? Who cares? The importance thing is it felt right, which means it resonated in a subconscious level. However, “truthiness” was what Trump supporters felt when they said no to the mean mommy and elected the alpha male. Freud would have loved this election.

    Friday, November 18, 2016 at 6:18 am | Permalink
  9. Ralph wrote:

    There’s truthiness, basically a gut feeling, as Yudith explained. And then there’s a new kind of deeper truth, Trumpiness, which comes from much further down the intestinal tract.

    Get used to it, but you may want to stock up on your favorite “medicine” of choice.

    Calling Dr. Daniels, Dr. Jack Daniels…

    Friday, November 18, 2016 at 10:54 am | Permalink

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  1. Political Irony › Manchurian Social Networks! on Friday, November 25, 2016 at 12:03 pm

    […] week ago I posted an article arguing that the easiest way to throw an election would be to spread disinformation over social networks. […]