Print 55 comment(s) - last by The Boston Dan.. on Aug 7 at 8:19 PM

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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A more alarmist name would be "killbot factory"
By mattsimis on 8/3/2006 6:51:41 AM , Rating: 2
Calling the results of bored kids with PCs a "Cyberwar" is glorification to the extreme. I also dont buy the effect a "cyber attack" has on someone like Hezbollah, these are people whose majority of supporters dont have Internet access (so looking at websites isnt high on their agenda) and fight in a real, physical world with rockets and AKs.

Stopping by their local Cyber Cafe for a bit of haxor'ing the mainframe on their way to a rocket launch site isnt going to happen.

Im sure there is some state sponsored hacking going on, but its too focused and tactical to call a "war".


By The Cheeba on 8/3/2006 6:53:43 AM , Rating: 2
Sure, except Hamas and Hezbollah recruit overseas almost exclusively over the internet.

And don't forget that the TV takeover in Beruit is likely IDF sponsored if not the IDF themselves.

By shadowzz on 8/3/2006 8:07:54 AM , Rating: 2
Apathy is the glove into which evil slips its hand.

By Tyler 86 on 8/4/2006 9:40:11 AM , Rating: 2
Surgical is the glove into which a doctor slips its hand.

Neither hand cares for that which it effects, yet both only can exist in demand for a greater whole.

Otherwise, the apathetic wouldn't be interfering with TV stations...

By Tyler 86 on 8/4/2006 9:42:23 AM , Rating: 2
Oh, I missed the post to which the apathetic comment applied. Damn it.

Well, the idea went as such;
Interfering with the TV stations damages those TV stations.
Whoever is doing the hacking doesn't care about the TV station.


By shadowzz on 8/4/2006 12:07:49 PM , Rating: 2
LOL, yes I was talking to the poster who is thankfully moderated down asking for the israelis and the lebanese to just blow each other up. I think thats a horrible stance to take in these situations.

By The Boston Dangler on 8/7/2006 8:19:29 PM , Rating: 2
It's more than just kids trying to out-leet the other side. The US Air Force is exremely active in out-1337ing everybody. Example: The first shot fired in the Gulf War was a DoD virus smuggled in a printer, and installed in middle-of-nowhere Iraq. The order is given, and Iraq suffers nearly total disruption of telecom and electric services, as well as any network connected military systems. The practical upshot is that it's much easier to reactivate power stations and phone switches, rather than dropping bombs and building new ones.

Props on the excellent use of a Simpsons referance.

"Paying an extra $500 for a computer in this environment -- same piece of hardware -- paying $500 more to get a logo on it? I think that's a more challenging proposition for the average person than it used to be." -- Steve Ballmer

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