Cyberwar? © Chappatte/Globecartoon (permission to reproduce granted by creator, 10.12.2010)
Fans of WikiLeaks have launched numerous, high-profile Denial-of-service attacks (DDoS) on sites that turned against WikiLeaks recently. Targets as varied as Sarah Palin, Mastercard, the Swedish government, and the Swiss bank Postfinance have come under attack for either criticizing WikiLeaks or for refusing some services to Julian Assange.
I don’t know the details of all the services that have been refused to Assange, but in the Swiss case, Postfinance closed down the Swiss bank account of Julian Assange because Assange had provided a fake postal address in Geneva. The bank simply followed normal procedures vis-a-vis account holders that provide false information. The client may have been high profile, but the procedure was normal.
In revenge for a variety of acts designed to curtail WikiLeaks’ space for maneuver by the above-mentioned institutions, a group, calling themselves „Anonymous,“ has been waving a kind of cyberbattle in the name of free speech and in support of WikiLeaks. These attacks by “Anonymous” are problematic for several reasons: » More
New weapon of mass destruction? Photo courtesy of ktvyeow/flickr
Defence IQ has published a very interesting podcast on cybersecurity with Dr Nigel Inkster. He is the Director of Transnational Threats and Political Risks at the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS).
The talk clarifies some important dimensions about the spectrum of activities from cybercrime to full blown cyberwarfare. The context of two major cybersecurity events, a cyber-attack in Georgia during the 2008 South Ossetia war and a 2009 attack in the UK on MI5 are considered.
The talk addresses the potential dimensions and impact of cyberwarfare (on military vs. civilian targets) For the most extreme forms of cyberwarfare, Dr Inkster notes, “…none of these attacks are going to be confined to the military domain, all of them are going to have a significant impact on civilian populations.” He further outlines areas of potential vulnerabilities to infrastructure.
The podcast ends with a consideration of the efforts that governments are making to develop defensive and offensive capabilities.
Defense IQ is a cyber security forum that provides military personnel and the defence community throughout the world with information regarding current military and defence issues. It offers focused content such as podcasts and presentations, and hosts webinars, conferences and summits on defense issues.
Please also check out our Special Report on cyberwarfare.
Cyberwar: Concept, Status Quo, and Limitations (istock.com)
For all the talk about cyberwar, what does it actually mean?
In a recent policy brief, Myriam Dunn defines it as “warlike conflict in the virtual space that primarily involves information technology means.”
According to her, it’s the last rung on the ladder of cyberconflict, as measured by potential damage.
While milder forms of cyberconflict – cybervandalism, internet crime and cyberespionage – are relatively frequent, we lack established knowledge on potentially more destructive forms such as cyberterrorism and cyberwar. This is why the debate on cyberwar is extremely prone to speculation, she warns.
You can download the paper here.
Also, you may want to check the ISN’s Digital Library for further resources on information and cyber warfare.
Nebulous at best, incomprehensible at worst: International norms surrounding cybersecurity have left some countries trailing in their efforts to secure their data and networks. We’re focusing on these issues and more in the ISN Weekly Theme: The Fog of Cyberwar.
And as always, feel free to follow us on Twitter.