Information Warfare: November 14, 2002


Over the last year, one a 36 year old British hacker, Gary McKinnon, broke into about a hundred unclassified military networks (after scanning some 64,000 for vulnerabilities). One break in this past February did damage that shut down 2,000 PCs in the Washington, DC area for three days. The Department of Defense noticed that a lot of the break ins appeared to be by the same person, and eventually tracked the hacker to Britain. The U.S. is trying to extradite the hacker for prosecution in the United States. Apparently the British government is cooperating, because they have also been prosecuting hackers more vigorously in the last few years. While the Department of Defense has been increasing it's Internet defenses over the last few years, priority has been given to classified sites, and those that are more essential to actual military operations. As a result, many of the unclassified sites (like the ones you consult when looking for general information about something military) are easier to hack into. Usually, these sites are hacked into by amateurs for bragging rights. It's unusual for someone to break into so many of these unclassified sites. Professional cyberwarriors concentrate in the classified networks. Apparently this fellow is going to be vigorously prosecuted in order to make an example and scare off some of the amateurs who make a nuisance of themselves messing around with unclassified networks. 


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