Terrorism and the Tactics of Network Destruction

kelley kwalker2 at gte.net
Tue Oct 9 21:03:55 PDT 2001

the MO here is not unlike anarchists and, especially, the formation and dispersion of a black bloc action....

<fwd> http://eprairie.com/analysis/viewanalysis.asp?newsletterID=3010


CHICAGO - Open source and complexity theory hold the strategic keys to managing risk in this age of terrorism, writes Eric Norlin of the Denver-based Titanic Deckchair Rearrangement Corporation. ----------------------------------------------------------------------

Let's explore a simple analogy...

The terrorist organization is a network a loosely affiliated group of nodes that exhibit emergent properties as they form for a task and then disband. Their organization fits within the standard model of modern complexity theory: nodes of prominence emerge naturally as the forces of co-evolutionary development (namely, natural selection and auto catalysis) battle it out.

That is to say that terrorists are, in a sense, born and not made (and no, I don't mean that as some slight on Arabs, Muslims or Islamic culture).

The Internet is also a loosely affiliated group of nodes that exhibit emergent properties. In fact, if the structure of the two were lined up side by side, they would be nearly indistinguishable. As such, that which seriously damages the Internet could, from a tactical standpoint, teach us valuable lessons about damaging the terrorist network.

The Nimda virus hurt the Internet more than any major corporation is willing to acknowledge, but make no mistake about it this sucker seriously impeded performance and leaves certain systems still cleaning up. In other words, a virus at least temporarily, brought a large portion of the Internet to a crawl. This should be our first clue.

Terrorist networks are distributed intelligence. Thus, they do not respond to the attacks of a command and control architecture i.e., tank battalions are pretty senseless. Hacks against computer networks, on the other hand, provide a useful outline for harm:

1) Take down a few key hubs.

etc. <...>

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