Thursday, May 17, 2007

A New Form of Warfare?

From the Telegraph:
Estonia has been hit by a prolonged series of "cyber attacks" that disrupted leading websites and caused alarm in Europe and the Nato alliance, it emerged last night.
While the Baltic nation and its former master, Russia, are locked in their worst dispute since the collapse of the Soviet Union over the removal of a Soviet war memorial in Tallinn, Estonia has been subjected to a barrage of web assaults, disabling sites for the government, banks, newspapers, private companies and political parties.
Nato last night was reported to have sent internet experts to investigate the attacks as an "operational security issue" that go "to the heart of the alliance's modus operandi."
Nato does not yet define cyber-attacks as military action, but the unprecedented scale of the "denial of service" attacks - which involve hackers firing huge amounts of information at websites to freeze them - has caused great alarm.
Merit Kopli, editor of Postimees, one of two main newspapers in Estonia, was quoted as saying: "The cyber-attacks are from Russia. There is no question. It's political."
Russia's ambassador to Brussels, Vladimir Chizhov said that such claims were a "serious allegation that has to be substantiated".
While planning to raise the issue with the Russian authorities, EU and Nato officials have not directly linked Russia or Russians to the attacks.
Needless to say, it's there still seems to be doubt about who's responsible, but such action is to be expected when the relationship between two relatively industrialised nations turns bellicose. Can we see government-backed hackers attacking an enemy's intnet resources as being akin to the licensing of privateers?

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