A Call For Help

Grind for April 1st, 2019

“A thousand-mile journey starts with one step. Then again, so does falling in a ditch and breaking your neck.”

Moving Forward

The Headline

Australia asks for help in its cyberwar against ISIS

The Grind

As announced on Wednesday, hackers working for the Australian government have been engaged in a cyberwar with ISIS.

The effort is orchestrated by the Australian Signals Directorate (ASD), whose agents have posed online as ISIS leaders to inhibit recruitment campaigns and disable communication systems.

“Just as the Coalition forces were preparing to attack the terrorists’ position, our offensive cyber operators were at their keyboards in Australia – firing highly targeted bits and bytes into cyberspace,” says ASD director Mike Burgess, referring to America’s efforts against ISIS in Syria.

“Communications were degraded within seconds. Terrorist commanders couldn’t connect to the Internet and were unable to communicate with each other. The terrorists were in disarray and driven from their position – in part because of the young men and women at their keyboards some 11,000 kilometers or so from the battle.”

The Details

Burgess on Wednesday bragged about the agency’s successes in disrupting enemy coordination efforts on the ground and noted that ASD develops cybersecurity tools for the Australian government.

He is sharing this information now because the ASD needs more hackers.

“By being more transparent about what the work really involves we hope that a wider range of people might consider a career in ASD’s offensive cyber mission,” he said. “And while a lot of staff have technical backgrounds, offensive cyber is not just for techies. And it’s not as male dominated as the movies would have you believe. Our most experienced covert online operators are all women.”

Dark Roast

The Headline

New Bruneian policy includes death by stoning as punishment for gay sex

The Grind

Starting April 3rd, residents of Brunei who commit the “crimes” of adultery or gay sex can be legally punished with death by stoning. Thieves can be punished with the amputation of a hand or foot.

The draconian punishments are part of a strict Islamic legal system called Sharia Law.

Brunei announced in 2014 its decision to adopt Sharia Law, but was forced by global criticism to delay its implementation.

“As well as imposing cruel, inhuman, and degrading punishments, it [Sharia Law] blatantly restricts the rights to freedom of expression, religion, and belief and codifies discrimination against women and girls,” argues Amnesty International researcher Rachel Chhoa-Howard.

The Details

Brunei is a tiny nation of about 430,000 people located on the island of Borneo. In recent years, it has grown even more conservative than its neighbors Malaysia and Indonesia.

In Brunei, it is illegal for citizens to engage in activities like:

— Drinking alcohol

— Spending time alone with a member of the opposite sex to whom you are not related or married

— Eating, drinking, or smoking in public during the month of Ramadan

— Watching pornography

— Saying anything bad about the Sultan

— Celebrating Christmas

— Having a baby out of wedlock

— Failing to pray on a Friday

As noted in The New York Times, the new policies on gay sex and adultery apply to all residents and visitors.

Did you know… During his lifetime, Herman Melville’s Moby Dick sold only 50 copies.