I enlisted in the Marine Corps back in 199eh, way too long ago. As a young Marine, we were “encouraged” to pick up books on the Commandant’s reading list. For those who are not familiar with the world’s biggest knuckle dragging fraternity, the Commandant of the Marine Corp is a four-star General in charge of the entire Marine Corps. Unbeknownst to those outside the Corps, they actually prefer well-educated Marines.
As an avid history buff, reading was one of those “extra” training periods that I definitely did not mind. Rifleman Dodd, The Defense of Duffers Drift and Starship Troopers were a few of these books. Actually, I am not sure if Starship Troopers was on the list, but the book did teach a lot about small unit tactics and the warrior mindset. As a young Marine Infantryman, I wanted to make sure I made it past my first firefight, so I was an avid reader of history. One book that caught me by surprise was SunTzu’s Art of War.
No, I am not talking about the Art of War movie, featuring Wesley Snipes, I am talking about THE Sun Tzu, the Chinese General, philosopher and poet. Probably General Mattis in a former lifetime. If you don’t know who General Mattis is, he is the Marine Patron Saint of Chaos. A modern day Patton, Eisenhower all rolled into one human. Sun Tzu lived in a time much easier than today, but no less deadly. He documented his campaigns, his strategies, and most importantly, understanding your enemy. Sun Tzu’s strategies are still employed today. Some of his quotes I have carried over into the cyber arena.
“Appear weak when you are strong, and strong when you are weak.” Weak when you are strong so you can out best your appointment. If you are weak, stand to and hold the line, even if you feel you are about ready to pass out. All you have to do is out last your opponent.
“Supreme excellence consists of breaking the enemy’s resistance without fighting.” Strive to better yourself, and when you are confident in your ability, learn more.
“To know your Enemy, you must become your Enemy.” Think like a hacker and see what they see in your vulnerabilities.
If you adopt the mindset and think as your adversary, think of this. ‘So in war, the way is to avoid what is strong, and strike at what is weak.’ If a hacker is targeting your facility, make it extremely difficult for a hacker to get to the vital areas of your facility. They more than likely will give up and move on to a softer target.
Be the hard target.