Information Warfare: September 29, 2002


The latest scary story circulating in Internet security circles is that "the CIA believes at least a hundred nations are working on cyberwar (warfare via Internet or other communications links." It's probably true that there are a hundred nations on the planet containing at least one person who has tried to commit some kind of serious (not just grabbing MP3 files) crime on the Internet. Stealing information, or scrambling data that belongs to someone else, are the two most common kinds of Internet attack. Any Internet user with a minimal amount of ambition and persistence can find the free tools on the Internet that will turn the user into a cyberwarrior. Not much of a warrior, at least not against the big league cyberpowers (like Japan or the United States). But against your equally ignorant neighbor, you could be a real cyberterror. Saying there are a hundred nations getting into cyberwar is like the United States had hundreds of baseball teams. Sure, all the teams play the same game, but sending minor leaguers up against a major league club will, the vast majority of the time, result in a defeat for the little guy. So remember, when it comes to cyberwar, if it sounds too outrageous to be true, it probably isn't true.


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