Leonardo"s Notebook by Mattheus Mei

I have been impressed with the urgency of doing. Knowing is not enough; we must apply. Being willing is not enough; we must do.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Hacking, or Cyber-Terrorism?

In the past few weeks folks in the MSM have shown renewed interest in what we're doing as a country (and bloc) to prevent cyber-terrorism. Many are calling for a more stringent approach to a very real threat that is more possible and imminent than a missile attack.

Some of our allies are moving ahead to update their standards and systems in preparation for the proven reality of cyber-spying and terrorism. It was only, after all, last summer that the Chinese Government was successful in hacking into the Pentagon's e-mail system. More recently the German Government has been able to trace cyber-attacks to Beijing.

But what about jihaddists?

AmP has posted that the hacking of a Catholic website with the usage of Islamic paraphernalia, including replacing images of cardinals with that of asses and making statements transliterated into English about the 'illustrious' (crude translation) order. Thomas ends his post by positing this:

The Knights of the Holy Sepulchre should not only notify their ISP, they should notify the U.S. government.

But is this really cyber-terrorism? Or is it just hacking. After all, I'm doubtful the Knights use sophisticated programming to either 1) design their page or 2) control security. Granted the imagery and wording used is indicative of some islamo-centered anti-Catholicism (and anti-Americanism) but is this the "first shot" to be heard round the war in the great battle of cyberspace?

Probably not...

But it makes for great aggrandizement and fear mongering, much as he would testify that Global Warming 'yahoos' are foolish for immediately rushing to their conclusions about Climate Change.

The reality is that unless you're equating all "hacking" where there's damage to someone's site as cyberterrorism - which implies a gravity not necessary for punk kids showing off their disdain for a group or just showing off (even kids in say - oh Egypt), then this isolated event can't be called terrorism - but plain old hacking.

As for real cyberterrorism Shashdot has an interesting interview with the Air Force's Cyber Czar which discusses certain aspects of what the American Government is doing to prevent/neutralize these threats (interesting albeit brief and cursory for security purposes).

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