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The largest cyberwar to date is quietly brewing, and the participants are not necessarily limited to the Middle East

The Internet is a powerful tool that is once again being used as a propaganda machine by groups not happy with Israel's invasion of Lebanon, and vice versa.  A number of US government web sites have been targeted by cracking groups.  The latest victim has been NASA who was attacked by a Chilean group of crackers.  With the seriousness of the situation in the Middle East escalating, security experts expect further attacks to be made on Israeli and American computer servers.

So far, NASA, University of California, Berkeley, various government web sites and Microsoft have been targeted.  Unfortunately, the fifty or so machines publically compromised last week are just the tip of the iceberg.  These systems are just peripheral to the amount of Israeli and Arabic computers under attack, but both sides are doing their best to conceal the extent of the attacks.

Hackers from both China and the US have occasionally sparred with one another since early 2001.  The initial cyberwar started after a US spy plane collided with a Chinese fighter jet in April of 2001.  Thousands of web sites in China and the United States were subject to defacements and hacker attacks for over a month -- and thus earned conflict the title of the first major cyberwar.

The difference between the Sino-American Cyberwar of 2001 is that governments from all sides are participating a bit more, and damages are considerably higher as well.  Lebanese newspapers report that the major Hezbollah-backed TV and radio stations have been compromised, and that whoever has retained control of these outlets is now broadcasting messages that Hezbollah's leader Hassan Nasrallah is a liar.  PCs compromised in Europe and Russia have been used to send anti-Semitic and anti-Arabic hate mail.  Israeli-based denial of service attacks against Hamas and Hezbollah websites have effectively crippled portions of the internet infrastructure on both sides of the conflict.

Digital warfare is certainly a component of modern warfare today: electronics espionage and jamming are almost as old as electronics themselves.  This new facet of digital sabotage is another story altogether, with digital warriors partaking from the comfort of their own cable modem virtually side-by-side with government intelligence agencies hacking and counter-hacking the same targets. 

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By yacoub on 8/3/2006 6:43:05 AM , Rating: 5
You might want to disable comments for this one before it explodes into a bunch of anti-semetic and anti-Arab flames.

RE: heh
By imaheadcase on 8/3/2006 6:50:59 AM , Rating: 1
I like how every news outlet spells it "Hezbollah", even though thats spelled wrong by 2 letters. lol

RE: heh
By Knish on 8/3/2006 6:52:08 AM , Rating: 2
RE: heh
By creathir on 8/3/2006 10:50:55 AM , Rating: 3
I would take wikipedia articles with a grain of salt... especially when trying to spell something properly. (He is refering to the transliteration of the word)

- Creathir

RE: heh
By Knish on 8/3/2006 5:14:40 PM , Rating: 2
Still, I haven't seen a single person here, including the original poster, throw around the "proper" spelling

RE: heh
By Tyler 86 on 8/4/2006 8:38:52 AM , Rating: 2
Wouldn't be Hizbulla would it?
... and "Shi'a" as Shite? ...

RE: heh
By Tyler 86 on 8/4/2006 8:46:17 AM , Rating: 2
... give or take an 'h'.

It's been Americanized, a common practice where people with less-than-American names like Enrique suddenly become a thrashing mix of Enrique and Ricky in the public eye unless the owner of the name explicitly says an alternative pronunciation is wrong...

I like Americanization. Rock on.

Hey! Frickin' Hezbollah are the reason why Daily Tech eats my posts! This means war! ... but you knew that, from the title of the article, of course.

RE: heh
By Samus on 8/4/2006 6:42:48 PM , Rating: 2
wow they let you write shite on here.

RE: heh
By masher2 on 8/4/2006 9:43:16 AM , Rating: 2
> "Still, I haven't seen a single person here, including the original poster, throw around the "proper" spelling"

Quite simply because, unless you're writing it in Arabic characters, there is no "proper" spelling.

RE: heh
By oTAL on 8/5/2006 10:16:19 PM , Rating: 3
Man.... I was reading your post and I was making a jon stewart "WHA-?" face...
You gotta be joking... so you mean that there is no correct spelling for Arabic, Hebraic, Chinese, Japanese, and Russian words, just because they use another alphabet? Maybe every newspaper in the world should start writing Al-Qaeda in Arabic or not writing it at all....

RE: heh
By masher2 on 8/3/2006 7:36:06 AM , Rating: 2
> "I like how every news outlet spells it "Hezbollah", even though thats spelled wrong by 2 letters. lol "

Transliteration is more of an art than a science. The latin spelling of words of non-Latin alphabets is subject to common usage, but not hard and fast rules. Why do you think "Peking" became "Beijing" awhile back? Do you really think they named the entire city?

RE: heh
By Zoomer on 8/6/2006 10:39:59 AM , Rating: 3
That's different, for Peking and Beijing are both quite accurate romanization of the same 2 chinese characters pronounced in different dialects of.

Bei3 Jing1 is the hanyu pinyin of china's capital in what they call pu tong hua (literally meaning Ordinary Talk), the standard dialect as mandated by the central government.

More on hanyu pinyin -

RE: heh
By dilz on 8/6/2006 12:35:39 PM , Rating: 3
"Transliteration is more of an art than a science."

Indeed, and the task is made even more difficult when the language you're translating from (Korean) has prescribed rules for transliteration into English. That's why we have words like "Hyundai" that should really be written like "Hyundae" or "Hyunday." This should be easier than without rules, but it doesn't seem to work out that way.

To the poster above me who believes in language purity (print in Arabic or not at all), I'd say you need to evaluate the purpose of language. I believe masher meant to imply that the argument surrounding the spelling of the Lebanese political group in question can never be successfully settled because there are no grounds for evaluation, only approximation.

RE: heh
By tuteja1986 on 8/3/2006 10:10:41 PM , Rating: 2
lol :) Does US Army thinking about creating a cyber hack division.

RE: heh
By stmok on 8/4/2006 5:23:46 AM , Rating: 2
by tuteja1986 on August 3, 2006 at 10:10 PM

lol :) Does US Army thinking about creating a cyber hack division.

I'm not sure why you think its a joke. The US Military (Airforce/Army/Navy/Marines), already has a department that handles hacking, cracking, and monitoring of such activities. Its been around for a number of years.

They largely use open-source tools as well as develop their own custom solutions. Every year, they conduct war games (Red vs Blue) to simulate a major attack on US electronic infrastructure. (Their version of the "Annual Hackathon").

The idea is to look at the latest forms of attacks and methods and apply them in a simulated environment. (Study how to defend against attacks, as well as setting up a counterattack to kill another country's electronic infrastructure)...Everyone in the military knows, that future wars will involve the 5th battlefield (The web...Alongside air, land, sea, and space).

You may think its funny, but the military treats this stuff as serious shit. They often try to enlist folks with hacking and cracking talent. (The usual problem is competing with security companies, which usually offer much larger salaries and benefits).

RE: heh
By Tyler 86 on 8/4/2006 9:00:01 AM , Rating: 2
Arbitrarily repositioning the battlefields in number by discovery, I present to you this angle;

Before there was any battle at all, there was what started the battle; Propaganda is the '0th' battlefield.
It consists of any media outlet; TV, Radio, Newspapers, the Internet (explicitly 'the Web'), that is the majority of the current 'cyberwar', and is the most visible portion of any war.

Space is the 5th. The first battle upon it was simply of firsts... first man in space, first man on the moon, etc...

The 7th battlefield goes to information technology, seperate from 'the internet' - satellites, internal networks, electronic surveillance, guidance, security...
DEFCON & other 'hackathons' focus on that battlefield.
Engaging an enemy on that battlefield is much harder to do, and observing it is even harder. We only see glimpses of it publicly, such as the spy plane incident.

The CIA covers the majority of the 7th battlefield warfare, although there are other specialized government divisions as well.

This 'cyberwar' is mostly an propaganda war, not a ' real cyberwar'.

RE: heh
By Tyler 86 on 8/4/2006 9:07:09 AM , Rating: 2
Dammit, I left out religion...
5th is Religion... a major manipulable source in the middle east... The Crusades, Jihad, etc...
Space is the 6th...

Damn the cyberwar, this makes the 4th time I've had to retype this crap... Frickin "Oops!"... makes it so much harder to keep a constant train of thought.

RE: heh
By Tyler 86 on 8/4/2006 9:09:23 AM , Rating: 2
Religion is actually a subset of Ideology, which I would say would be the 5th battleground... it's seperate from propaganda in that it is playing on morality instead of authority...

RE: heh
By ElJefe69 on 8/5/2006 11:42:25 AM , Rating: 1
Blue berret of the us army. Information stealing, assasinations, spying.

some shithead told me that they dont have blue berret's in the army. My friend with shrapnel in his leg and 4 years service would gut you for thinking that way. - just a side nuisance comment before annoying posting ensues.

RE: heh
By JeffDM on 8/6/2006 11:42:44 AM , Rating: 2
For many languages, there isn't a single standardized romanization standard. Time gets it "right" but I wonder if they are trying to be egotists because I frankly have never seen it written that way in the past decade so it just looks like being different for the sake of being different.

RE: heh
By Knish on 8/3/2006 6:51:08 AM , Rating: 2
I'm a little surprised the mainstream meida hasn't picked up on this much yet. I frequent a lot of israeli university sites, and I've seen 3 or 4 defacements in the last few weeks. I am actually a little surprised about the US machines that were hacked though

RE: heh
By RogueSpear on 8/3/2006 9:33:34 AM , Rating: 2
I'm sure that the Israelis have a far better handle on pretty much all things tech related than we do here in the states. It really never ceases to amaze me some of the technology that comes out of Israel on a regular basis. Here in the states technology is all but overlooked by the current administration who mistakenly think that we have complete control over the "internets". The US has so completely dropped the ball in this area that I'm afraid it's probably too late to do much about it.

RE: heh
By masher2 on 8/3/2006 10:22:10 AM , Rating: 1
> "I'm sure that the Israelis have a far better handle on pretty much all things tech related than we do here in the states"

"All things tech related". Wow, what a sweeping statement. That explains why Israel still imports virtually all its advanced defense technology from the US, I suppose...or why US universities and research facilities are still the highest rated and most desireable in the world? Or why US patent filings outstrip the rest of the world combined?

In the field of computer science, Israel is very strong. Saying Israel is the world leader in "all things tech related" is, however, quite false.

RE: heh
By Scabies on 8/3/2006 11:31:09 AM , Rating: 2
They may import most of their advanced defense technology from the US, but more platforms and implementations are based originally on Israli tech than you think. Some of their equipment outperforms it's US counterpart, and if you think about it where is there room in Israel for an F-16 factory?

RE: heh
By masher2 on 8/3/2006 11:50:03 AM , Rating: 3
> "Some of their equipment outperforms it's US counterpart..."

Some, yes. Certainly not most of it.

> " if you think about it where is there room in Israel for an F-16 factory? "

How about the Negev desert? Several thousand square miles of land, much of which is virtually unpopulated.

RE: heh
By stmok on 8/4/2006 5:36:56 AM , Rating: 2
Israelis are also one of the best producers of UAVs.
Their Python short-range AAM is one of the best in the world, alongside Russia's AA-11 Archer. USA is a bit behind in the short-range AAM department with their AIM-9X Sidewinder. (came to the world much later than the other two, but it should be in operational service now).

All these missiles are 90deg+ off-bore sight solutions, meaning you can use a head-mounted targetting solution to guide a missile to a target without needing to manoeuvre your plane.

I wouldn't underestimate their special forces either. They have much experience in regards to using the "hit squad style" approach to go after terrorist leaders and such. So much so, that the US Special Forces wanted to train with some Israeli advisers in hunting certain insurgent leaders in Iraq. (Learn from Israeli experiences).

RE: heh
By Tyler 86 on 8/4/2006 9:32:41 AM , Rating: 2
Iron in a blast furnace will eventually melt if no hammer is applied to shape it into a blade...

Israel's military is constantly being hammered, and thus, constantly being refined.

Israel's blade may be sharper on certain points, but it's still a dagger compared to a claymore...

Israel's tech sector is primarily joined with America's tech sector through the international parties owning the technology...

It's like saying "China has a far better handle on pretty much all things tech related than we do here in the states" by looking at it's production...

It's not particularly telling of a country's true technological position. Certainly, China is a technological player in the game... and they get some of the coolest videogames in Japan first...

... but the US has plans on a Lunar base by 2020... so...

That's not too telling of the technilogicial position, is it? ;)

RE: heh
By Tyler 86 on 8/4/2006 9:52:02 AM , Rating: 2
Holy crap, just about every nation has plans for a Lunar base by 2020.. wow, I almost crapped my pants.

.. but 5$ says the US scores the first touchdown.

RE: heh
By poohbear on 8/3/2006 9:07:16 AM , Rating: 2
yep this thread is gonna blow up into flames soon enough. It's funny how u say anti-semitic and anti-arabic. U do know arabs are also semitic, right? lol not your fault tho, lotsa BS and ignorance on the middle east, what's one more tiny detail?;)

RE: heh
By Knish on 8/3/2006 9:17:21 AM , Rating: 2
yacoub (the original poster) and I are both from Israel so I can probably clarify this for you.

While Semitic refers to refer to the root languages of the middle east, calling something anti-semetic almost always refers to something as being anti-jewish. This is very well documented and I've never seen anti-semitic to refer to anything other than jewish people.

RE: heh
By drwho9437 on 8/3/2006 9:11:52 PM , Rating: 2
Yes let's not let anyone talk someone might be offended by someone else's thoughts!

Arabs are semetic, so I never did like that term.

RE: heh
By ElFenix on 8/4/2006 6:25:38 PM , Rating: 2
arabic is a semitic language



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