Cheeseburger Gothic

Digital siege

Posted July 9, 2019 into Blunty by John Birmingham

It's book launch time, it must be thinky column time too.

At the Instrument.

Cod, Mark Kurlansky’s enjoyable history of the big mouthed Atlantic all rounder, is just as much a history of human politics, economics and warfare, ranging from the murderous adventures of maximum Viking Eirik the Red to the three strange and mostly bloodless "Cod Wars" between Iceland and Great Britain in the decades after the Second World War.

A thousand years of human folly and conflict, with the cod swimming through it all; European colonisation, the American War of Independence, the rise of the slave trade.

The seemingly porous state of Australia’s defences against cyberattack has been exposed by serious intrusions or attempted intrusions.
The seemingly porous state of Australia’s defences against cyberattack has been exposed by serious intrusions or attempted intrusions.
In living memory, Germany lost two wars in part because of that fish. While first the Kaiser and then the Führer’s Volk suffered privation and malnutrition in the First and Second World Wars, their English enemies harvested the North Sea for megatons of protein to feed millions of soldiers and factory workers.

Crediting an Allied victory to plentiful supplies of fish and chips might seem an amusingly hot and salty take on such a grim topic, but it does go to a hard truth in the history of human conflict. Starving your enemy can be just as effective as bombing, shooting or stabbing them.

In any future global conflict involving the post-industrial West, siege and starvation, the most medieval of tactics, are likely to be among the first deployed.

And the more advanced the belligerent, the more vulnerable they are to digital disruption of real-world supply chains...

6 Responses to ‘Digital siege’

Murphy_of_Missouri would have you know...

Posted July 9, 2019
Invest in paper, typwriters, and analog.

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Therbs would have you know...

Posted July 9, 2019
I can see a book coming on. One about the end of civilisation. Erm, hang a bit ...

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NBlob is gonna tell you...

Posted July 9, 2019
"The seemingly porous state of Australia’s defences against cyberattack has been exposed by serious intrusions or attempted intrusions."
Are they? Have they been significantly interrupted?
Hodgepodge, Jerry Rigged, post-Hoc? yes, indoubidably.
But, vulnerable ?
Every target of $ value, or just worthy of a "digital wristy in an anonymous chat-room" has been atacked 9 wise west of Tuesday for the past decade.
Possibly by Corrupted Nerds of the spotty oik variety, not weaponised hackers with Skillz.
But Shirley said services have mirrors, redundancies, fail safes?

John Birmingham mutters...

Posted July 10, 2019
They haven't been interrupted because the purpose of a probing attack is to probe. Not to attack. You establish you can penetrate the system. You survey the weaknesses. And you leave. There's no point collapsing anything until you need to.
They do it to us. We do it to them. It will end badly.

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Dave W asserts...

Posted July 10, 2019
Having not read Cod, I don't know how much it goes into the whole supply chain logistics of feeding a war with only (or mainly) northern European resources v a global opposition.

But there's a reason that the word ersatz entered the anglo lexicon: so many German items were. From memory, everything from painkillers to rubber had to be fabricated rather than harvested.

And yes, break today's supply chains and we're in trouble, I believe. Three weeks of fuel. No domestic car manufacturing capability (because why would we need to think about retooling to a military capability when the US is on our side, right?).

In a way, though, I think Aus is better off than a place like the UK. I believe that if we could solve the fuel issue, we can at least feed ourselves. The UK's food supply chain is based on just in time from across Europe, North Africa and the Americas. Oops.

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wyvernsridge mumbles...

Posted July 24, 2019
1. I hope that Alvin Toffler's "War and AntiWar" is in your reference bookcase. TL:DR "Societies make war the same way they make money".
2. "Effects based Operations" or "Effects-based Strategy" depending on the level you are working on. lots of reading out there - good examples from WW2 - lots of more wonkish stuff from the US think tanks. The problem is how to do BDA (ie. "Bomb Damage Assessment) meaning how to check that your actions actually had the effect you envisaged.
3. If you ever get a chance to, talk to the author of the NRMA paper on Fuel Security in Australia (AVM John Blackburn Retd) - if you do, take your notebook, you'll need it!

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