• United States



by CSO Contributor

Hackers Take Up War Theme; Cutting Through the Cyberhype; U.K. Firms Ill-Prepared for Disaster; CIA Sets Up Department to Implement Middle-East Plan

Mar 24, 20034 mins
CSO and CISOData and Information Security

Hackers Take Up War Theme

Many media outlets report an increase in hacker activity, especially with war-related themes or targets. An AFP story on the African news portal site iAfrica today says attacks by computer hackers against company Internet sites have been increasingly focusing on U.S. companies, with many of the incidents clearly aimed at protesting the U.S.-led war against Iraq. So far this month, two thirds of all attacks launched on the Internet have hit the sites of companies from the United States and Canada; double the number recorded for March last year, according to British specialists mi2g, while European site attacks have dropped from 30 percent of the total last year to 21 percent. The Hindu Business Line from India reported over the weekend that Indian and India-related sites are vulnerable as well. Although the initial target of the hackers has been the U.S. and U.K. websites where defacement has been conducted by cyber-protesters wishing to spread the anti-war message, the paper says industry analysts note that Indian and Israeli websites may soon be targets. The conflict over Kashmir between India and Pakistan means that any wordwide event, be it the World Trade Center disasters or the Israel-Palestine conflict, have repercussions on Indian websites, with sympathizers of the Kashmiri militants using the opportunity to make a point on the Net, according to the story. IDG News Service also reports that the beginning of war in Iraq prompted a rash of protest hacking on the Internet, with new war-themed viruses and Web page defacements directed at U.S., U.K. and Australian interests, but says that the devastating new worms and viruses that were predicted by some have so far failed to materialize. Furthermore, while clearly prompted by the hostilities in the Gulf, however, the hacking activity that has taken place so far does not appear to be coordinated or part of a larger master plan to disrupt the Internet. Cutting Through Cyberterror HypeBoston Globe. Why not? For one thing, cyberterrorism lacks a certain somethingnamely, terror. Besides, the ability to bring down large chunks of the nation’s infrastructure would require intimate knowledge of every key component of the network. What kind of software is running on the critical servers? Which version? What patches are installed? Are there backup systems, and can these be compromised? Bray says, a teen punk looking to cause a minor disruption can get by with just a smattering of knowledge. Somebody looking to declare war on the Great Satan would want to be certain of doing long-lasting damage. Given the complexity of the Net and of corporate and government networks, the needed know-how is tough to come by unless you’re a rogue employee with access to inside information. Attention to security is crucial, but the focus on cyberterror is hype.

Internet-based terrorism simply hasn’t lived up to its press clippings, writes Hiawatha Bray in todays

U.K. Firms Ill-Prepared for DisasterBBC News story today, more than a quarter of a million businesses in the UK are ill-prepared for how a disaster such as a terrorist attack could affect their technology systems. A survey commissioned by information technology services company TDM Group found that although 79 percent of firms claim to have back-ups in place that would have their systems up and running within minutes of a disaster, 360,000 firms, mostly in the manufacturing industry, have no such plans. And Dennis Wijsmuller, Managing Director of TDM Group, thinks that the high number saying they are prepared was probably exaggerated. “People don’t want to admit they are not ready,” he said.

According to a

CIA Sets Up Department to Implement Middle-East PlanHaaretz today. CIA officers will coordinate supervision and monitoring of the implementation of the road map, and track both sides’ implementation of their responsibilities, with one team focusing on the reorganization of the Palestinian security services. A government source, according to Haaretz, said last night that the U.S. administration is getting ready to implement the plan, with an emphasis on the security aspects as the key to any progress.

The U.S. Central Intelligence Agency is establishing a special department that will be responsible for implementing the road map for an Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement, according to a story in the Israeli paper