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Re: [Full-disclosure] [funsec] Internet attacks against Georgian web sites

From: Radoslav Dejanović <radoslav.dejanovic_at_nospam>
Date: Fri Aug 15 2008 - 20:18:32 GMT
To: Paul Ferguson <fergdawg@netzero.net>


Paul Ferguson wrote:

> Also, I wish to say:
>
> "It is clear that there are anti-Georgian forces at work on the
> Internet."
>
> "Who they are, and what their motivations are 9at this point),
> remains to be seen."

Just for the record...

There were in the past several such "cyber wars" between Croatia and Serbia, with the scenario not quite unlike this one. The scenario is as follows:

  1. there's some political tension between countries;
  2. someone on one side decides that it would be highly patriotic to attack servers on the other side;
  3. someone on the other side retaliates by attacking other country's servers;
  4. more individuals join in, adding to the magnitude of the event; clueless media joins in with headlines like "brave local patriots are hacking the (evil) other side into oblivion; we have won the real war, we're going to win this one too";
  5. governments do not quite understand what is going on, but they do not intervene because they can get some political points out of that mess (cracked government web pages are collateral damage and in fact good for propaganda);
  6. after some time, the "cyberwar" ceases.

IMHO, what is going on in Georgia is a scenario like the one above. I don't think there's any real cyberwar between governments going on, but in fact local groups of people who believe that they're showing their patriotism. Therefore:

  • who they are: groups of individuals, not a state operated force
  • what are their motivations: showing patriotism and having a "legitimate" target to practice "cyberwar", as nobody is going to prosecute a patriotic attack on enemy country's infrastructure.
  • how to end it: it will end by itself.

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