Network Discovery (Nmap, Cinema, Iraq Warriors, and American Feminists)

What You See Is What You Get — or Is It?,” by Margaret Heffernan, WITI Careers mailing list, 24 May 2005,

In The Matrix Reloaded, our heroine needs to take over the city’s electricity network to turn off alarms.


While in Battle Royale, our hero’s friend needs to subvert the system’s security network


What do both characters use? Nmap, a network discovery tool. Network discovery lets you know what a network is like. Is it just one computer? Many? Are they secure? Easy to penetrate and subvert?

Likewise, they can be social networks, whether Family/Steep/Pre-Modern Nets…


Ideological/Flat/4th Generation Nets…


or combinations of these…


I’ve written before that in war, the style of network takedown depends on the style of network. But how can we quickly determine what type of network we are dealing with?

In an otherwise bitchy whiny article, Margaret Heffernan gives us a very low tech version of nmap

If offered a drink, always accept — and see who goes to get it. You may be told the hierarchy’s flat, but it isn’t that flat if only assistants get the coffee.

Of course, this won’t always work. Lawrence of Arabia famously includes a scene of Prince Faisal, the head of a very steep network, serving a guest himself. But if a warrior knows the local culture, he can quickly do network discovery with very little technology. This is vital to winning the Second Battle of Iraq in the Global War on Terrorism.

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