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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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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 (blog) 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 (blog) 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.


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