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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 masher2 (blog) 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.

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