• United States



by CSO Contributor

Blogs of War; Hackers Target al-Jazeeras Site; Gains and Gaps in Planning for Terror Attack; Security Tightened for Japanese Spy Satellite Launch

Mar 26, 20034 mins
CSO and CISOData and Information Security

Blogs of War

War-themed blogs, appearing on sites such as and, have become a popular alternative news source since fighting broke out in Iraq a week ago, sometimes beating newspapers and television with war developments, according to a story today. Bloggers range from journalists stationed in the region to armchair observers commenting on round-the-clock televised war coverage from their homes. One man writing under the name “Salam Pax” purported to be in Baghdad last week, CNN reports. Soldiers own weblogs are among the most popular. The U.S. military has adopted an open stance toward blogging, and to soldiers’ access to electronic communications in general. For example, CNN cites Will, a 29-year-old U.S. Army Reservist and self-proclaimed “computer geek,” who set up a blog site at His last posting came on Sunday when he informed readers he’s shoving off from “CONUS” or Continental United States. But, he reported, he can’t say where he’s heading, underscoring that in this age of instantaneous communications certain details such as troop movements remain sacred secrets. Hackers Target al-Jazeeras SiteGuardian Unlimited. Neither, which gets the most hits of any Arabic website in the world, nor, which launched on Monday, were available this morning after suspected attacks crashed both sites. While al-Jazeera’s English website has no multimedia capability and so can’t show video, its TV arm has come under attack in the US for showing footage of US prisoners of war and allied fatalities, the Guardian says. The Arabic website showed video footage of US servicemen and women captured by the Iraqis on Sunday, prompting the site to be deluged with hits. The broadcasters communications manager Jihad Ali Ballout told the Guardian, There are rumours that the attacks originated in the US but at this moment in time we cannot verify that. According to an AP story on the matter in the Toronto Star, Nabil Hegazi, assistant to the managing editor of the English al-Jazeera website, denied that an attack was the reason the site was unavailable. He said it was difficult to access because traffic was almost four times more than expected. The Web host, like al-Jazeera, is based in the Persian Gulf state of Qatar. The servers that host the Al-Jazeera site are in France and the United States.

The English-language and Arabic websites of Qatar-based broadcaster al-Jazeera were forced down this morning after a spate of suspected hacker attacks last night, according to the U.K.s

Gains and Gaps in Planning for Terror AttackThe New York Times. Tara O’Toole, director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Civilian Biodefense Strategies, said, I think people don’t appreciate the kind of scale of effort that is needed and has not been achieved. I think there is also an understandable reluctance to talk truthfully about how vulnerable we are, lest we encourage would-be terrorists and undermine our own defense. I don’t think we’re a lot less vulnerable now than we were in 2001.” On the other hand, Julie L. Gerberding, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said her agency had markedly increased its preparedness level since Sept. 11. The government has also stockpiled antibiotics, treatments for burn and blast victims, and antidotes to chemical weapons and nerve gases. A federal program called the Strategic National Stockpile, part of the Department of Homeland Security, says it has enough medicine to treat 12 million people exposed to anthrax, 100 million exposed to plague and 50 million exposed to tularemia, a bacterial infection. The program says it can deliver the drugs anywhere in the country in 12 hours or less, the Times reports. But there is still a way to go. For instance, it is not clear whether states are equipped to get the emergency medicine to people who need it.

With war under way and the government warning that America is at high risk of terrorist attacks with chemicals, germs or radiation, experts say the nation’s response capacity is greater than it was in the past, but still has significant gaps, according to a story in

Security Tightened for Japanese Spy Satellite LaunchAsahi Shimbun. Details on the exact liftoff time, the course and orbit for the satellites, and even their capabilities have not been released. Japanese space agency officials are usually more forthcoming with information on rocket launches. The government began developing domestic technology to launch spy satellites after North Korea fired a Taepodong missile over the Japanese archipelago into the Pacific Ocean in 1998.

Amid growing tensions over North Korea and Iraq, officials have strengthened security to unprecedented levels and remain tight-lipped ahead of Friday’s scheduled launch of Japans first two spy satellites, according to a story in the English language