The cyber-attacks launched against Georgia during the recent military clashes with Russia are just the latest in a growing escalation of security hacks targeting government computers and Web sites around the world. Estonia, Lithuania and the Pentagon were all hacked successfully in recent months. IT security researchers expect government hacks and cyber-terrorism will only increase.
Lest any of us forget the age in which we live, the cyber-attacks on Georgia
this past week have highlighted that the Internet is becoming the latest
weapon used in terrorism or military campaigns.
During the past year or so, there have been a number of high-profile reports
and accusations of hacking of government computers and Web sites around the
Here are a few examples:
Much has been written comparing the latest
cyber-attacks on Georgia
to the situation last year in Estonia.
Starting in late April 2007, hackers began a major campaign against Estonian
government and commercial sites. At the time, the country's leadership was
locked in a heated debate with the Russian government over a memorial to fallen
soldiers. Most of the attacks were DDoS (distributed denial of service). Estonia
blamed the Russian government for the attacks, while Russian officials denied
any culpability. Many subsequent reports have laid the blame on Russian
hit by hackers:
In late June, hackers defaced Lithuanian government and
commercial Web sites with anti-Lithuanian rhetoric as well as the communist
hammer and sickle symbol. Lithuanian government officials said the attacks were
most likely linked to protests over legislation banning Soviet symbols in
the country. The government reportedly received advanced notice of the attack
and was able to prepare defenses. Lithuania
did not openly accuse the Russian government of involvement.
In June 2007, the Pentagon took down part of its
unclassified e-mail system after the system was breached. The shutdown
though day-to-day operations were not affected. Though the
never officially accused China
and the Chinese government denied responsibility, it was widely reported that
the Pentagon suspected China
"I think anybody in any kind of conflict, any
nation, is going to use whatever they're capable of as far as cyber-attacks or
misinformation campaigns using the Internet," said Don Jackson, director
of threat intelligence for SecureWorks, in an Aug. 13 interview with eWEEK.