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[ISN] War provokes hackers to launch attacks on Web
From: InfoSec News (isnc4i.org)
Date: Thu Mar 27 2003 - 03:44:15 CST
BY MIKE WENDLAND
FREE PRESS COLUMNIST
March 27, 2003
The Iraq war has unleashed a wave of attacks aimed at defacing Web
sites as a form of protest.
The Overseas Security Advisory Council, a group established by the
State Department and U.S.-based corporations that operate abroad, puts
the number of hacker attacks at more than 2,500. The council warned
its members that the longer the war continues, the more hacking
incidents they can expect.
"These digital attacks are causing business disruptions through online
vandalism of commerce portals and computers belonging to businesses,"
said the warning. "Government and military systems are also being
Think of it as the information age's electronic equivalent of graffiti
And it's not all antiwar sentiment being expressed. A U.S.-based group
called Hackweiser has been defacing dozens of small Web sites with
slogans like "HOORAY FOR WAR!"
The new English Web site run by the Arabic Al-Jazeera TV network
(http://english.aljazeera.net) remained largely inaccessible for a
second day Wednesday because of what are known as denial of service
attacks, in which hackers bombard a site with so many requests for
access that the computer servers running the site crash.
Rich Mogull, a research director for Gartner Inc.,
information-technology research firm, says most large corporations
have adequate security to foil the attacks, which he describes as
generally unsophisticated and dependent on known security flaws.
Ford Motor Co., for example, says it has had no problems with anyone
trying to hack into its dozens of public and private Web sites.
Scott Bailey, director of information risk management for Rehmann
Consulting's Troy office, said he's seeing an increase in unsuccessful
attempts to get into secure systems: "It's not the big corporations
that are being targeted. It's more typically small and medium-sized
companies that get nailed. So far these have been pretty
unsophisticated incidents and basic security is keeping them out."
Besides the Web page defacements, security experts have identified
four worms and viruses being spread as attachments to e-mail that try
to exploit interest in the Iraq war, according to F-Secure, a
Helsinki, Finland-based company that makes antivirus software.
One of the worms, called Prune, has a subject line like "U.S.
Government Material -- Iraq Crisis." F-Secure says it is likely aimed
at people with friends and relatives in the military who are very keen
to get any kind of information about the crisis and can be tricked
into opening the attachment and thus activating the worm, which then
tries to erase operating system files.
Details are at www.f-secure.com/virus-info/iraq.shtml.
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