[ISN] 25th August 2004
isn at c4i.org
Thu Aug 26 05:44:39 EDT 2004
Forwarded from: Richard Caasi <rcaasi at ucsd.edu>
25th August 2004: Who knows what tomorrow will bring?
A handful of sites are stating that Eugene Kaspersky, founder of
Kaspersky Labs, believes that tomorrow will bring a massive terrorist
attack on the Internet. This is being quoted in a range of ways,
ranging from factual reporting to citing the story as an example of
However, Kaspersky is not predicting the end of the Internet tomorrow
- or even in the near future. The story stems from brief comments made
yesterday at a press conference which was dedicated to cybercrime and
the problems of spam.
At this press conference, Kaspersky commented that the possibility of
terrorists using the Internet as a tool to attack certain countries
was a reality. As an example, he cited the fact that a number of
Arabic and Hebrew language websites contained an announcement of an
'electronic jihad' against Israel, to start on 26th August 2004.
In an interview today, Kaspersky stressed that such information was
not necessarily trustworthy. 'We don't know who is behind these
statements.' He went on to clarify: 'It's not the first time the term
'electronic jihad' has been used. We've seen this before, with the
focus being on sending racist emails, and defacing and hacking Israeli
web sites. But it is the first time I have seen sites encouraging the
use of Internet attacks against one country as a form of terrorism.'
'As we've already stated many times in the past, it would be easy
enough to use a network of infected computers to launch such an
attack. We saw the impact that Sasser, Mydoom and Slammer had, on the
Internet, businesses and organisations. Just imagine if such an attack
was directed at one country or one critical point in the
infrastructure of the Internet. Computers are a tool - and just like
any tool, they can be used or misused.'
Kaspersky emphasised that the likelihood of a massive attack directed
against Israeli institutions tomorrow is low. However, he believes
that Pandora's box has now been opened. Hackers and virus writers can
be motivated by a range of factors: money, curiosity, or political
conviction. But whatever their motivation, the insecure nature of the
Internet and weak security precautions offer a wealth of
opportunities. 'Maybe it won't be tomorrow, or the day after tomorrow
- but sooner or later, terrorists will be using the Internet as
another weapon in their arsenal.'
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