The face of conflict is changing. While leaders like Kim Jong Un and Donald Trump still see conflict in the traditional light, many of their peers - and certainly the next generation - see conflict differently: Cultural, Economical, and Ecological. The kinetic warfare of the 19th and 20th century is a relic of past generations, a fact never more poignant than after recent speeches by three prominent politicians across two countries.
Ambiguity in cyberspace and the legality of hacking and manipulating sovereign nations; does it benefit the attacker, or the victim? We've all but survived the potential catastrophe of the 2016 election, and the Russian interference within it, but what does that mean for the future of cyber and psychological warfare throughout the world?
In late May, a former supervisor contacted me about an exciting new position he was helping to create conducting predictive cyber threat analysis, and in mid-June, I accepted a job offer to work for him. Moving from IT security implementation to IT security research & development was a huge intellectual challenge for me, and it's only been recently that I've been able to consider pursuing other intellectual hobbies, like blogging - or reading. The first novel I picked up was recommended to me by other security researchers: Ghost Fleet; it's only fitting that my return to blogging be about that novel.
While the plot of Ghost Fleet is very Tom Clancy's The Hunt for Red October-esque, it's better sourced and details a only slightly less probable prelude to war for which Tom Clancy was famous. Ghost Fleet depicts a dramatic fight-for-survival scenario wherein an arrogant and complacent America is caught off guard by a virtual (and literal) Pearl Harbor attack by the Chinese. The U.S., now denied its ability to utilize satellites for precision guided munitions, encrypted communications, and Google Glass (called "viz" in the novel) is now in a fight for survival against a technologically superior enemy. Left to repel the invaders using guerrilla-style tactics and antiquated pre-digital technologies, America can no longer rely on its technological advantage that enabled the humble JDAM and the fearsome F-35.
It was roughly two years ago today that I started my blog and released my first short story, DAISY, and set my first nonfiction work, Understanding IT. I wanted to take a step back to look at the performance of my various projects, and I realized something very important: Advertising is incredibly important, and something that I've completely neglected.
The F35's come from the 34th Fighter Squadron, Hill Air Force Base, Utah. Their commanderLt Col George Watkins, had this to say about the deployment to RAF Lakenheath:
"It's teamwork between us and the local population of the base here, as they're standing up their own F-35 squadrons here [...] so they can get some lesson's learned"
The deployment was planned months in advance according to the statement released by the Department of Defense, but the timing does come as international politics throughout the entire world are tense.
Two weeks ago, the U.S. launched 59 Tomahawk Land Attack Missiles (TLAMs) against Shayrat Air Base in Homs Province in response to a recent chemical attack carried out by the Russian-Backed Assad Regime. The attack was unsuccessful by most military measures. In fact, as far as Assad is concerned, militarily nothing has changed for the worse.
So why risk so much for a largely ineffective strike against an airbase? Why use TLAMs against hardened targets when B-2s would have made more sense? Why deploy a carrier group to the East Sea? To send a message to North Korea.
Last week, I put out a call to action to contact your Congressional Representative because of a bill that had passed, with little fanfare, the Senate aimed at removing Obama-era privacy protections for consumer privacy. While over 1,000 of you responded to this request, the measure unfortunately passed the House and the 100 pages of FCC regulations aimed at protecting user privacy is now no more.
While the Internet was outraged by a, now redacted, article posted by the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), about a test program that users can opt-out of, Internet Service Providers (ISP) have not yet rapidly capitalized on the release of these regulations. In fact, the first people to capitalize on this loosening of regulations have been the people who most opposed their loosening in the first place! Self-proclaimed privacy advocate Adam McElhaney, has set up a viral GoFundMe page with the intent to crowdfund the money required to purchase the internet history of the Senators and Representatives who voted for these rollbacks.
This is dangerous.
OmnicMeta recently released its report on the most popular PC mains for Season 4 of Overwatch's Competitive Play. Among the lower tiers, Mercy mains constitute about 20% of the competitors, and the difference between an average Mercy and a good one really rests on three simple tweaks to your gameplay.
While vacationing in Utah is typically associated with skiing, snowboarding, or mountain biking, the state has numerous tourist hotspots worth exploring, especially in the spring. At the tail end of the skiing season, there is usually still enough snow in the mountains to get a solid day or two in the snow, and the heat of summer hasn't taken hold over the arid desert areas of the state. The compromise of a spring visit ensures that a seven day trip to the state will have plenty for everyone.
When my sister visited us in Las Vegas, we made sure that she got the best that Nevada - and California - had to offer her within that one week, and we wanted to make her trip to Utah just as amazing. Flying in Friday night, and leaving the following Saturday evening gave us roughly seven days to explore as much of the state as possible without completely losing the relaxation that should accompany every vacation. Our itinerary focused a little more heavily on the domestic and cultural aspects of the state than the rugged outdoors, but can serve as a starting point for anyone unsure of what they want to do when they visit.