Cyber-attacks on Cuba have intensified

Cyber-attacks on Cuba have intensified
Fecha de publicación: 
17 May 2023
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These days, information has been released about the massive espionage programs carried out by the CIA and the US National Security Agency (NSA), as well as the growth of cyber-attacks on websites belonging to Cuban political and mass organizations, administration and students.

A recently released research report by China's National Computer Virus Emergency Treatment Center reveals how the United States has developed a significantly more offensive cyberspace strategy, planned and organized a large number of "color revolutions" worldwide, with the help of powerful network and communication technology.

The United States leads the countries that have developed complex global computer scanning systems to achieve supremacy in the acquisition of key information in the military, political and industrial fields. The programs PRISM, Eshelon, Carnivore, NarusInsight, Turbulence, CO-TRAVELER, Dropmire, X-Keyscore) prove me right.

We will be talking about these issues with Daniel Ramos Fernández, digital business director of the Cuban Telecommunications Company (ETECSA) and an expert in computer systems and cybersecurity.

DRF: As early as 2017, these systems were capable of intercepting over 1.7 billion telephone calls and emails on a daily basis worldwide, accessing to information from more than 5 billion mobile phones and knowing the location and movements of their owners.

Among the programs leaked in 2013 by Edward Snowden, a former CIA official and analyst at the private intelligence consulting firm Booz Allen Hamilton, was PRISM, which authorized the NSA to have unauthorized access to all stored private data on the servers of large internet companies such as Microsoft, Google, Apple, Facebook, Skype, among others. It included emails, chats, photos, videos, file transfers, and other data and metadata.

Beginning in the 1960s, the US government and its intelligence agencies woven a network of more than 120 radio stations that spanned several countries, with the aim of destroying the Cuban Revolution, attacking national sovereignty, and promoting subversion against the constitutional order ratified freely and sovereignly by our people.

OPS: On September 9, 2001, two days before the terrorist attack on the Twin Towers in New York, Cuba became the first State accused of planning cyber-attacks against the United States, when at the hearing of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, which dealt with the issue of "the global threat," the then director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, Admiral Thomas R. Wilson, identified Cuba as a possible "cyber-attacker" country. Also in February 2006, the State Department, headed by Condoleezza Rice, created the Task Force for Global Internet Freedom, which aimed to focus on monitoring especially China, Iran, and Cuba. Subsequently, various anti-Cuban operations were carried out using information and communication technologies.

DRF: Various subversive operations carried out by the Yankee government and its intelligence agencies were channeled through organizations, foundations, international professional companies, and natural persons. Zunzuneo stands out, which under the guise of an innocent social network, covered up a secret operation financed and directed by the USAID. In 2012, Zunzuneo attracted over 40,000 Cuban subscribers who were unaware of this situation, until it was denounced by ETECSA, that behind the service, there were contractors who collected private information for political purposes.

Surf, consisted of the entry of equipment and software for the installation of illegal antennas for illegal access to the Internet. Also, the Piramideo project and the creation of fake Radio and TV Martí accounts on Facebook were operations carried out by the Office of Broadcasting to Cuba (OCB), belonging to the United States government. The goal of all of them was detected and this operation failed. As part of this monstrosity, countless events have been developed with the purpose of providing the counterrevolution with tools and technologies and coordinating subversive actions against our country.

OPS: Although it is true that since the early 2010s, cyber-attacks were frequently carried out on Cuban Internet websites, such as the one carried out against the CubaSi Portal on April 18, 2013, which affected it for several hours, these attacks have intensified since July of 2021.

DRF: Let’s not forget that the US Department of State created on February 7, 2018 an Internet Task Force for Cuba made up of government and non-government officials with the goal of “promoting the free flow of information” and “expanding access to the Internet and the independent media” in Cuba, in response to the provisions of the Presidential National Security Memorandum of June 16, 2017, issued by Donald Trump in the city of Miami, where the US President, surrounded by members of the Cuban-American far-right, announced a change in policy towards the Cuba in order to tighten the blockade and limit travel between the two countries.

A task force is a term of the US Armed Forces, and defines a temporary unit to work on a specific operation or mission. In this case, the intention is to disseminate destabilizing messages against the established order in Cuba and attack the institutionality and legitimacy of the government.

The war in the Internet field that is waged against us has the common goal of disabling state websites with the aim of causing damage and affecting the stability of the country. Fundamentally, denial-of-service cyber-attacks have been detected, known as DoS/DDoS, which generate many requests to a server above its processing capacity so that it collapses, some aimed at taking control of the website's databases and obtain valuable information and, in recent times, aimed at misconfiguring certain websites and hanging counterrevolutionary banners.

In the media, the target is to damage the image of the country and exercising political influence over the population. There is greater coordination and organization of the attacks, as well as the use of hundreds of websites, blogs and collaborators on the Internet that systematically lie about the Cuban reality, as a basis for fabricating fake news, which is often replicated by powerful media, whose agenda coincides with US politics. No need to say that millions of US dollars are being moving around in this operation.


OPS: An example of this occurred in the days of the Caimanera event, where websites from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Foreign Trade, the Communist Party of Cuba, the Presidency of the Republic, the Government of Caimanera, the Government of Havana and from the University of Informatics Sciences were attacked and simultaneously, they activated the entire network to misrepresent and manipulate what was happening in Caimanera and in Cuba.

A sample taken from 23 posts on Facebook (one group, eight webpages and 11 personal profiles) generated 100,297 reactions, 14,757 comments and were shared 16,358 times. They insisted on sowing the lie that the repression by the special forces was brutal and that human rights, freedom of expression and strike are violated in Cuba. Many of them call for unity among all Cubans against the revolutionary government. The Yankees and their lackeys knew very well that they were playing with fire, due to the characteristics and geographical location of Caimanera.

Linked to this event, in the Facebook group “Soy de Río Cauto,” a person living abroad called for the population to use more drastic methods in the demonstrations against the government, such as the use of Molotov cocktails. On the Telegram channel of another counterrevolutionary, there was a call to set fire to a work center in Havana.

DRF: Given this scenario, it is necessary to increase monitoring measures to maintain cybersecurity in the country's services and infrastructures, remove vulnerabilities in the institutions' systems, strengthen organizational and technical actions, make international complaints about these events, promote the digital political communication and the coordination with leftist movements in Latin America and progressive movements in the world.

Translated by Sergio A. Paneque Díaz / CubaSí Translation Staff

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