//
you're reading...
Australian Current Affairs

Australia needs to prepare offensive cyber capabilities


Triton Unmanned Surveillance Aircraft

Triton Unmanned Surveillance Aircraft

Australians under attack in some future war may be able to call in cyber specialists able to infect an enemy aircraft with a Trojan horse virus and force it to land or to crash, its pilot helpless to intervene.

That’s one reason, says national security specialist Des Ball, that Australia needs to develop its own offensive cyber capabilities.

This extraordinary notion, worlds away from the layman’s view of dogfights, ack-ack fire and even long-range missile attacks, is contained in a series of papers, to be released today by the Kokoda Foundation think tank, on security challenges facing Australia.

In a joint paper, Ball and former Royal Australian Air Force officer Gary Waters say the government acknowledged in the defence white paper that cyber warfare posed a serious threat to Australia’s military capabilities and to the nation’s critical infrastructure and commercial operations.

“The cyber threat is clearly escalating,” they say.

“The unprecedented sophistication and reach of recent cyber attacks demonstrate that malicious actors have the ability to compromise and control millions of computers that belong to governments, private enterprises and ordinary citizens worldwide.”

Ball and Waters say that in some cases cyber specialists would be able to use wireless to directly engage the electronic systems of enemy weapons, including the controls of an attacker’s combat aircraft.

They could penetrate the firewalls protecting the avionics systems of these aircraft to insert Trojan horse viruses.

“This would conceivably allow Australian cyber specialists to effectively hijack adversary aircraft, and to choose between hard or soft landings for them.”

It also could disable or deceive electronic equipment on the aircraft.

Ball says that if Australia is going to prevent motivated adversaries from attacking its systems and stealing data, the broader community of security professionals, including academic, the private sector and government, must work together to understand emerging threats and to develop ways to safeguard the internet and the physical infrastructure that relies on it.

This year’s white paper argues that, in co-operation with the US, Australia needs to develop capabilities to guard its own information in cyberspace and to ensure the successful conduct of operations by exploiting cyber power.

The document says understanding of the cyber threat has increased markedly since the 2009 white paper.

The Cyber Security Operations Centre, set up by the government to deal with the threat, now provides a comprehensive understanding of how to respond to malicious cyber attacks on government networks.

It also has allowed Australia to increase “its intrusion detection, analytic and threat assessment capabilities, and improved its capacity to respond to cyber security incidents”.

Ball and Waters say much more needs to be done to plug gaps in Australia’s cyber defences and to develop “active cyber defence”.

And they say the use of long-range unmanned patrol aircraft, or UAVs, in conjunction with cyber capabilities, offers “extraordinary promise” in gathering intelligence on potential enemies.

Both the government and the opposition are considering buying long-range UAVs now being developed in the US.

The opposition has made the purchase of seven giant Triton unmanned patrol planes, the maritime version of the Northrop Grumman Global Hawk, a centrepiece of its plan to stop the flow of irregular boat arrivals.

The government is considering buying them for the RAAF to carry out a wider range of surveillance tasks.

This week at a Canberra seminar on the burgeoning use of unmanned aircraft, organised by the Williams Foundation military aviation think tank, the manager of maritime capability for the Australian Customs Service, Nic Arthur, said the oceans to Australia’s north eventually would be patrolled by unmanned aircraft looking for asylum-seekers and drug-smugglers.

Arthur said these UAVs, controlled from bases on mainland Australia, would work with manned aircraft and patrol boats.

But he cast doubt over whether the Triton would be the best for that job.

Arthur suggested that while UAVs certainly would help in the surveillance task, a Triton operating from a high altitude might not necessarily be the answer.

He said that each time the Triton’s radar noted a contact from 40,000ft (almost 12,200m), the aircraft might have to be brought down to a much lower altitude to identify it and that would reduce its endurance.

“The question of whether these will be the most appropriate platforms to be searching for small, wooden vessels which are unidentified (by an aircraft) operating at high altitude is something that needs to be investigated further,” Arthur said.

Unmanned aerial vehicles already play increasing military and civil roles around the world and are best known for the drone strikes on insurgent targets in the Middle East, Afghanistan and Pakistan. They have brought wide condemnation because civilians have been killed along with terrorists.

Australia does not use armed drones, though US unmanned aircraft have supported Australian forces involved in coalition operations in Afghanistan.

At the Williams Foundation seminar, RAAF chief Geoff Brown strongly rejected claims that the use of unmanned aircraft to hit enemy targets was cowardly or immoral.

Brown said the morality, ethics and rules of engagement that must be used by those operating armed drones were the same as those used by pilots of manned aircraft dropping bombs or gunners firing artillery shells at distant targets.

“To those who object to the use of unmanned aerial systems because they are ‘too cowardly, too remote, and too removed from scrutiny’, I offer no apologies,” Brown said.

“I ask those who argue the use of UAVs is cowardly to consider the safety of the sons and daughters, or brothers and sisters we commit to combat. War is not a sporting contest where the fairness of a level playing field is sought.”

He said advances in military technology had always sought to maximise advantages over an enemy and that was why the RAAF’s weapons included long-range bombs, Super Hornets and, in the future, Joint Strike Fighters.

“We will always strive to maximise the desired effect while minimising the risk to our forces,” Brown said.

“The debate over unmanned air systems needs to focus on the social, political, and bureaucratic environment that allows for conflict in the first place.

“It is only at that level that we can begin to frame the moral and ethical questions of carrying out such missions.”

Former Australian army general Jim Molan said that if there were an international agreement to limit or stop the use of drones in war, it would most likely be ignored.

“We will not stop or regulate the use of these things in war,” Molan said.

“We did not stop balloons, poison gas, machineguns, nuclear weapons, high-velocity small arms, the longbow, weapons in space, battleships or a range of other truly evil things.”

Another speaker warned that terrorists could use over-the-counter technology to turn remote controlled aircraft into flying bombs.

Mark Corcoran, from RMIT University, said the technology was accessible to terrorists. “Security for unmanned aircraft, on the commercial side, has in my belief not been given the attention it deserves,” Corcoran said.

Source: The Australian – War by remote control

About Craig Hill

Teacher and Writer. Writing has been cited in New York Times, BBC, Fox News, Aljazeera, Philippines Star, South China Morning Post, National Interest, news.com.au, Wikipedia and others.

Discussion

2 thoughts on “Australia needs to prepare offensive cyber capabilities

  1. Reblogged this on http://www.HumansinShadow.wordpress.com and commented:
    Thank You, Craig, for this important News!

    Posted by curi56 | July 7, 2013, 20:12
  2. Reblogged this on James' World 2.

    Posted by Mohenjo | July 9, 2013, 11:16

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

If you liked what you just read, click "Subscribe" to become a follower of the Craig Hill site. You will receive an email each time a new post is published.

Join 14,825 other followers

An archive of all my old posts

Follow me on Twitter

Most Recent Posts Post on My Blog About China: China News

What have we learnt in the past century?

What have we learnt in the past century?

It is 100 years since we were supposedly getting over the war to end all wars, World War I, and forming the League of Nations with the purpose of preventing such a conflict and slaughter happening again. Regrettably, the only good that came out of it was the proposal to form the League of Nations; […]

China’s borders will likely remain shut for months, but some may be wary of visiting even after they reopen

China’s borders will likely remain shut for months, but some may be wary of visiting even after they reopen

Last week, the Biden administration warned American companies about the risk of doing business in Hong Kong, citing Beijing’s increasing crackdown on the city. “The bottom line is that businesses should be aware that the risks faced in mainland China are now increasingly present in Hong Kong,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters. […]

China Threatens to Nuke Japan in ‘Full Scale’ War if They Intervene in Taiwan

China Threatens to Nuke Japan in ‘Full Scale’ War if They Intervene in Taiwan

In an ominous new video that was circulated by the Communist Party of China, they vow to use nuclear bombs on Japan “continuously until it’s unconditional surrender” in an all out war if they decide to intervene in China’s planned re-taking of Taiwan.   “When we ‘liberate’ Taiwan, if Japan dares to intervene by force – […]

Afghanistan: No Peace Without a Clear Vision

Afghanistan: No Peace Without a Clear Vision

Peace is the absence of war, while war is the absence of peace! A negotiated peace in Afghanistan presents a number of challenges. The duration of the war over several decades has created a number of situations, that requires an in-depth examination in light of the peace negotiations that took place between the United States […]

US-China rivalry rooted in lost trust

US-China rivalry rooted in lost trust

As early as 2005 John Gersham and Melvin Goodman alerted against the trend of an over-militarized US foreign policy. The warning has been a recurrent theme of American debate, although it gained little traction. The debate recently spilled into mainstream media with The Economist averring that “an over-militarized foreign policy that embraces unrealistic objectives is liable to fail.” […]

Overnight News Headlines (Australia): July 20, 2021

Overnight News Headlines (Australia): July 20, 2021

Originally posted on Craig Hill:
Children account for 15 per cent of Australian farm deaths, says AgHealth study – 15 per cent of farm deaths are children under 14 years old, according to an AgHealth Australia study; A Ballarat farmer says she is shocked almost one in six … Australia’s first body image program for…

China in the News: July 20, 2021

China in the News: July 20, 2021

Ford unveils lower-priced Mustang Mach-E in China to qualify for subsidies – Previously, this was the only Mach-E priced low enough to qualify for China’s EV subsidies. It was joined by Extended Range RWD and AWD versions as well as the … NZ in ‘position of vulnerability’ over China hacking accusations – New Zealand has […]

Cadence Column: Asia, July 19, 2021

Cadence Column: Asia, July 19, 2021

China faces a three-pronged attack in the realm of public opinion. The Olympics converge with COVID; the third is three levelings up in Chinese military aggression. COVID is seen in the public eye as having mainly originated from China. Even with conspiracy theories surrounding Fauci and Gates, no explanation lets China off the hook. That […]

Overnight News Headlines (Australia): July 19, 2021

Overnight News Headlines (Australia): July 19, 2021

Originally posted on Craig Hill:
Race on for Australian rare earth supplies as fears grow over China’s market ‘monopoly’ – It comes two years after David Gainer, the US Consul General to Perth, visited a rare earths mine near Laverton in outback Western Australia just days into the … Swim league to be launched in…

China in the News: July 19, 2021

China in the News: July 19, 2021

First human death due to monkey B virus reported in China – Patients of rare viral infections transmitted from the monkey have been reported in China and the U.S. in succession. According to China’s state-run Global … Commentary: A pity China can’t seem to ditch its wolf warrior diplomacy – Despite recent exhortations from President […]

%d bloggers like this: