There have been no reports of any coordinated cyberattack on the Internet or other networks — but there could be hacker activity in the wake of the apparent terrorist attacks against the U.S., an Internet security expert said.
Michael Cheek, director of intelligence for iDefense, a network security monitoring service based in Fairfax, Va., said that as of 1:30 p.m. EDT on Tuesday, there had been no evidence of any cyberattack related to the events in New York and Washington, D.C. Cheek said that iDefense was on high alert since 9:30 a.m. for any possible hacker actions and had issued an alert to its clients to be on the lookout for any unusual activity.
In fact, the number of cyberattacks has dropped to as much as 60 percent of what occur on an average day, said Norm Laudermilch, vice president of managed services for Riptech, a security intelligence service provider in Alexandria, Va.
“The rates of attacks have dramatically dropped today — I think most of the people who normally do these kinds of malicious attacks are just as horrified by everyone else at the events today,” he said.
The types of attacks logged by Riptech are usual everyday occurrences, such as Web site defacements or port scans. “Theres been nothing too exciting today,” Laudermilch said.
Riptechs offices are about 4 miles from the Pentagon; Laudermilch said he felt the impact of the explosion when the plane hit the Pentagon this morning.
IDefenses Cheek said that he thinks there is a good chance some sort of hacker response will follow if it turns out the attacks in the U.S. were indeed the work of foreign terrorists.
“For the most part, things that occur in the physical world do end up spilling over into the cyberworld,” Cheek said. “I think you should stay tuned. I think there could be some response if this turns out to be related to some sort of Middle Eastern terrorist attack. Generally, there has been — not a direct link — but an association there between political and diplomatic events and the wired world.”
Earlier this year, after a U.S. military plane landed on Chinese soil, hackers in China and the United States apparently were locked in a cross-nation cyberskirmish. Several sites were defaced with anti-U.S. slogans.
The Computer Emergency Response Team Web site at Carnegie Mellon University reported no unusual activity, nor did the National Infrastructure Protection Center at the FBI.