Terrorism: February 13, 2000


lawless zones.--Stephen V Cole

Attorney General Janet Reno announced on 9 Feb that the FBI would launch a massive investigation into recent cyber attacks that shut down a number of major web sites (eBay, Amazon, Yahoo, CNN.com) in the previous days. These attacks were conducted by unknown parties for unknown reasons, perhaps just to show it could be done. In these attacks, software is infiltrated into hundreds of servers, all of which then start generating messages to the targeted site. With millions of Emails arriving in the space of a few minutes, the sites shut down automatically, disrupting electronic commerce. None of the "denial of service attacks" have penetrated security in the sites. Defense against such attacks is impossible. Incoming messages usually have phony return addresses, so it is hard to tell real ones from fakes. Even if this can be done, computer time is needed to check each incoming message, and eventually the system is overwhelmed simply trying to keep


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