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Regardless of What Happens in Ukraine, The New Russia/China Alliance Poses Major Cyber Threat Globally

Julio Rivera is a business and political strategist, the Editorial Director for Reactionary Times, and a political commentator and columnist.

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While the last 24 hours have provided some ease in tensions regarding the ongoing Ukraine crisis, with reports that Russian forces may be beginning to dismantle at the Ukrainian border, a new cyber offensive based around DDOS attacks has surfaced. But whether or not Russian forces actually invade Ukraine, western nations should be more than concerned with the recently announced Russia-China alliance that’s declared a “new era” in geopolitics. 

According to reports, under the new cooperative, the US will be challenged as the world’s top global power. But even if the Ukrainian situation should once again heat up and spiral out of control, there is little potential for any conventional Russian military operations directly against the US. 

The danger for the us actually lies in the fact that both China and Russia have been engaging in reconnaissance hacking that gives both nations an ability to remotely attack American targets for upwards of a decade.

The presence of new President Joe Biden has seemed to usher in an increasingly aggressive posture in the territorial ambitions of both China and Russia over the past year. While Russia has long desired to reclaim Ukraine, the former Soviet Republic that previously boasted the world’s 3rd largest nuclear stockpile, the Chinese have turned up the heat on Taiwan due to the perception of US weakness in the aftermath of the Afghanistan pullout

Even President Trump has weighed in on the subject, as the former president told Michael Savage on Tuesday that, “The problem that we have is that we’re not respected as a country anymore,” . 

While any Russian attacks against Ukraine would be met with force from NATO, the Kremlin, potentially with support from China, could initiate a widespread cyber offensive in retaliation. And if the Russian/Chinese alliance continues to find new allies, cyber powers Iran and North Korea could join the fray.

For the past few weeks, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Agency (CISA) have continually issued warnings of potential cyberattacks. The legitimate fear of new cyber warfare operations are based on years of consistent cyberattacks coming from both China and Russia’s intelligence agencies, assisted by their respective state-sponsored hacking groups known as Advanced Persistent Threats (APTs).

These government affiliated groups have continually conducted reconnaissance cyber operations, including the talked up SolarWinds hack, and have acquired a treasure trove of intelligence as a result.

Russian APT Group Nobelium were behind the SolarWinds attack, and were able to penetrate private sector companies like cybersecurity firm FireEye, in addition to several US Government agencies like DHS and the Treasury Department. Nobelium also cracked entities in the energy and infrastructure sectors.

Although there was some confusion initially regarding who may have been responsible for the attack, experts eventually identified the attack as Russian based on its resemblance to Russian hacks against Ukrainian targets in the Petya/NotPetya attacks of 2015-2016. Like SolarWinds, those attacks also touched virtually every sector of the Ukrainian economy, and the Russian hackers also used an update to a commonly used software program as the entry vector to install malware.

Chinese government hackers also pose a similarly dangerous threat to America. In 2018, Chinese state-sponsored hackers penetrated a US Navy contractor working with the Naval Undersea Warfare Center in Newport, Rhode Island. This attack happened 3 years after NBC published an NSA map that revealed “more than 600 corporate, private or government ‘Victims of Chinese Cyber Espionage’ that were attacked over a five-year period, with clusters in America’s industrial centers.”

This document also cited examples of the Chinese hackers gaining access within America’s critical infrastructure which has occurred again on many occasions recently. If that intelligence is leveraged today, it may potentially have a catastrophic impact against the US from the other side of the world.

During a February 14th conference call, DHS and the FBI briefed state and local government entities and cybersecurity personnel on the signs of Russian activity on their networks. Regardless of whether Russia attacks Ukraine or not, it is imperative that the US tightens up its cyber defenses as to not provide countries at a militaristic disadvantage with any equalizers.


Julio Rivera is a business and political strategist, the Editorial Director for Reactionary Times, and a political commentator and columnist. His writing, which is focused on cybersecurity and politics, has been published by numerous websites and he is regularly seen on National and International news programming.

 

Opinion

Pence v. Trump 2024? Former Veep Leaves the Door Open

WHOA!

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There has been an incredible amount of speculation as to whether or not Donald Trump will be again running for President in 2024, and there are a number of factors still at play that could create seismic shifts in the race to come.

For instance, if Trump’s former Vice President Mike Pence were to decide to run against him in 2024’s primary…

Mike Pence is not ruling out the possibility of going head-to-head with his old boss Donald Trump in a 2024 Republican presidential primary, a new report suggested on Monday.

‘We’ll go where we’re called,’ Pence told the New York Times when asked about the possible head-to-head.

‘That’s the way Karen and I have always approached these things.’

Trump was not thrilled with the idea.

Meanwhile Trump, despite not formally declaring a 2024 bid yet, has eyes on the competition – including Pence.

In a statement to DailyMail.com, his spokesman slammed his old deputy as ‘desperate’ and mocked him for trying to ‘chase’ his ‘lost relevance’ amid the former running mates’ latest divide over backing separate candidates in the Peach State’s gubernatorial election.

Former President Trump is said to be waiting until after the 2022 midterms to make an official announcement regarding 2024, but there have been plenty of hints regarding his potential campaign – the latest of which came from former First Lady Melania Trump.

 

There has been an incredible amount of speculation as to whether or not Donald Trump will be again running for President in 2024, and there are a number of factors still at play that could create seismic shifts in the race to come. For instance, if Trump’s former Vice President Mike Pence were to decide to run against him in 2024’s primary… Mike Pence is not ruling out the possibility of going head-to-head with his old boss Donald Trump in a 2024 Republican presidential primary, a new report suggested on Monday. ‘We’ll go where we’re called,’ Pence told the New York Times when asked about the possible head-to-head. ‘That’s the way Karen and I have always approached these things.’ Trump was not thrilled with the idea. Meanwhile Trump, despite not formally declaring a 2024 bid yet, has eyes on the competition – including Pence. In a statement to DailyMail.com, his spokesman slammed his old deputy as ‘desperate’ and mocked him for trying to ‘chase’ his ‘lost relevance’ amid the former running mates’ latest divide over backing separate candidates in the Peach State’s gubernatorial election. Former President Trump is said to be waiting until after the 2022 midterms to make an official announcement regarding 2024, but there have been plenty of hints regarding his potential campaign – the latest of which came from former First Lady Melania Trump.  

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Opinion

Verdict Reached in First Russian War Crimes Trial

This is just the first of many, certainly.

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Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has been a brutal one, and increasingly so as the Kremlin’s soldiers find themselves in more and more trouble of their own making.

As the war grows ever more impossible for Russia to win, the troops sent into Ukraine have been committing a series of worsening atrocities.  It’s terrorism at the least, (and very likely a full-fledge genocide), and it belies just how poorly things are going for Russia.

Now, in the first war crimes trial of the conflict, a verdict has been reached.

In the first of what could be a multitude of war crimes trials held by Ukraine, Russian Sgt. Vadim Shishimarin, 21, was sentenced for the killing of a 62-year-old man who was shot in the head in a village in the northeastern Sumy region in the opening days of the war.

Shishimarin, a member of a tank unit, had claimed he was following orders, and he apologized to the man’s widow in court.

His Ukraine-appointed defense attorney, Victor Ovsyanikov, argued his client had been unprepared for the “violent military confrontation” and mass casualties that Russian troops encountered when they invaded. He said he would appeal.

There was no doubt about the court’s legitimacy, either.

Ukrainian civil liberties advocate Volodymyr Yavorskyy said it was “an extremely harsh sentence for one murder during the war.” But Aarif Abraham, a British-based human rights lawyer, said the trial was conducted “with what appears to be full and fair due process,” including access to an attorney.

Given the sheer amount of heinous deeds the world has witnessed in Ukraine, there is no doubt that more war crimes trials will be coming.

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has been a brutal one, and increasingly so as the Kremlin’s soldiers find themselves in more and more trouble of their own making. As the war grows ever more impossible for Russia to win, the troops sent into Ukraine have been committing a series of worsening atrocities.  It’s terrorism at the least, (and very likely a full-fledge genocide), and it belies just how poorly things are going for Russia. Now, in the first war crimes trial of the conflict, a verdict has been reached. In the first of what could be a multitude of war crimes trials held by Ukraine, Russian Sgt. Vadim Shishimarin, 21, was sentenced for the killing of a 62-year-old man who was shot in the head in a village in the northeastern Sumy region in the opening days of the war. Shishimarin, a member of a tank unit, had claimed he was following orders, and he apologized to the man’s widow in court. His Ukraine-appointed defense attorney, Victor Ovsyanikov, argued his client had been unprepared for the “violent military confrontation” and mass casualties that Russian troops encountered when they invaded. He said he would appeal. There was no doubt about the court’s legitimacy, either. Ukrainian civil liberties advocate Volodymyr Yavorskyy said it was “an extremely harsh sentence for one murder during the war.” But Aarif Abraham, a British-based human rights lawyer, said the trial was conducted “with what appears to be full and fair due process,” including access to an attorney. Given the sheer amount of heinous deeds the world has witnessed in Ukraine, there is no doubt that more war crimes trials will be coming.

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