Information Warfare: December 22, 2002

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Internet security experts feel that its only a matter of time before Islamic terrorists take advantage of the many Internet vulnerabilities and launch a major attack. Such an operation would be rather low tech, using the freely available, and easy to use, hacking tools that millions of teenage wannabes use to make mischief on the net. Intelligence agencies (or anyone willing to spend the time looking around on the net) have noted an increasing presence of Islamic activists on the Internet. Islamic hackers are increasingly in touch with each other on the net, and hundreds of individuals using simple hacking tools could pull off some spectacular, if not particularly damaging, attacks. Massive DDOS (Distributed Denial of Service) attacks on government or Internet management sites could shut down some of the targets for hours, or even days if the attackers got lucky, or unexpectedly expert. Some Islamic hackers have publicly threatened to release weapon grade computer viruses if Iraq is attacked. This would have its biggest impact on small businesses and home users, Government agencies and companies are better protected against this sort of attack. Another thing to worry about is the backlash from millions of more capable non-Islamic hackers in the target countries. The counterattack could do a lot more damage to Internet sites in Islamic nations. The governments, and populations, affected, would tend to blame the West for the counterattack. And the cycle of Internet violence would go on.

 


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