The Latest Threat to America: The Cyber Grey Zone


We have written before about the Grey Zone – those attacks on a sovereign nation that just don’t quite meet the threshold for war. Right now, the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) is actively baiting the US. They’re having a blast knowing the Biden Administration is just as chicken as Obama’s and are taunting us on many fronts. Their nukes are spinning up, they have launched rocket attacks and they have deployed sea-going vessels into areas they have never been before.

Their latest trick appears to be hacking non-military systems like the GPS system used by cars and all forms of logistics, AIS or the Automatic Identification System, a radio technology that helps sea-faring vessels avoid running into each other, and the all pervasive Internet of Things (IoT) to access non-military but vital systems that control commerce, industry and the supply chain.

It’s like they are sending a message: We’re at war but you can’t retaliate, sucker!. As the Tweet below says: “HEY DID YOU EVER THINK ABOUT BALLAST TANKS? SHAME IF SOMETHING HAPPENED TO THEM” or “THAT DELI SCALE IS ON BLUETOOTH WHICH MEANS WE CAN HACK THE TILLS” And it’s not hard. Any kind of disruptive influence can cause disorder within these systems and can cause significant and irreparable damage to the vessel, company or factory. Shut downs like yesterday’s several hours long “malfunction” with the Tower of London which controls the passage of vessels on the upper Thames, or the Target hack a few years ago that crippled the checkout tills.

Right now the global supply chain is stretched beyond its limits. Already Christmas 2021 is looking bleak for consumer goods and we are looking at being stretched for food imports and many other essential household goods.

The military is on high alert. The focus is switching from land war to the sea and the Navy is gearing up ready for action around the globe, particularly the South China Sea where many expect the next power struggle to manifest itself as the Chinese make a play for Taiwan before its might diminishes along with its collapsing population.

That AIS system we referenced above, is being hacked and ships from all nations are “appearing” in places they shouldn’t.

Meanwhile, Putin is up to his old tricks. He likes asymmetric warfare. He loves that Russia has the best (state-sponsored) hackers. The military and financial imbalance that existed when President Reagan broke up the “Evil Empire” no longer applies. Now it’s about smarts and ruthlessness and Putin has both in spades – especially when compared with our failing president. Remember this?

We need to be smarter. But with the agencies entrusted with our cyber security being more interested in politics than national safety we might have a while to wait.