Information Warfare: October 1, 2002


An American invasion of Iraq is likely to generate a nasty surge in cyberwar attacks on American targets. The continuing violence in Israel and relentless rabble rousing in the Arab media have made it fashionable among young Moslems to "do something" for the cause. While there are fewer volunteers to be suicide bombers, and the rapid demise of the Taliban discouraged those eager to have a shoot out with U.S. forces, there is still the Internet. While Internet use, and computer programming skills, are much less common in Moslem nations than in the West, there are still millions of Moslem men with access. While most Moslems who have become programmers are not eager to endanger their careers by becoming cyberwarriors for Islam, it doesn't take many Internet experts to get a serious cyberwar campaign going. Moreover, there has been increasing cooperating between Western anti-capitalist and anti-war groups, and these organizations do contain a larger proportion of computer savvy people. 

Since September 11, 2001, there has been a great surge in Internet attacks against American targets, and just snooping around, at American targets. You don't have to be an expert to indulge in Internet mischief. If you know your way around the Internet, there are plenty of easy-to-use hacking tools available for free. Moreover, it's easy to get a mass operation going on the Internet. The fear is that the Iraq attack will motivate more Internet savvy Moslems to spend a lot of time and effort launching annoying and (in a few cases) damaging attacks on Americas enormous Internet infrastructure. This threat is not much of a secret, as many of the actual or potential cyberwarriors speak freely on the Internet (at least for those who can surf the net in Arabic, Urdu and other languages spoken by young Moslems.) The more knowledgeable cyberwarriors use encrypted email and chat rooms, but even these can be compromised by intelligence organizations. The U.S. government has not given any official warnings about all this, the danger is being discussed and attempts are being made to measure how large a threat there is. 


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