Rather than blowing up systems or stopping them with something as coarse as a denial of service attack, the Sunburst Trojan horse that infected the infamous SolarWinds Orion product was designed to not interfere with the systems of its ultimate victims in any way. As the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency puts it, “This threat actor has the resources, patience, and expertise to gain access to and privileges over highly sensitive information if left unchecked. CISA urges organizations to prioritize measures to identify and address this threat.”
…FireEye provided the first and most concise description of what Sunburst can do: “After an initial dormant period of up to two weeks, it retrieves and executes commands, called “Jobs”, that include the ability to transfer files, execute files, profile the system, reboot the machine, and disable system services.”
Sunburst operates with a great deal of subtlety to avoid detection…It can disable, but so far no federal agency has reported a stoppage. If I were the alleged Russian government or government-sponsored hackers, why would I disable a system that’s sluicing valuable information my way?
This is just a look-in from outside the federal chain of command. It may be stating the obvious from a geek perspective; but, that’s a boatload more informative than the 1950’s black-and-white movie we get from the Associated Press or the Trump PR Band-Aid.
Owing to America’s disproportionate military, financial, and technological power, the breakdown of rational politics in the United States is the most dangerous fact for the world today. And while President Donald Trump’s recent election defeat is a necessary step toward restoring sanity to American politics, it is only the first of many that will be required to stop the downward slide of the US and convince the rest of the world that the country no longer poses a threat to itself or others.
There are two urgent challenges facing America and the world in the wake of the US election. First, President-elect Joe Biden must take on the long uphill struggle to restore some measure of domestic political stability. Second, other regions of the world should forge their own paths of global cooperation, rather than waiting in vain for the US to return to global leadership.
Jeffrey Sachs rocks! He is a high-order player in the world of economics and politics. Which means creeps like Trump hate him. Most Trump followers, of course, have no idea who he is or what he has to say.