RE: [iwar] Arab/Israeli "CyberWar" of our own making

From: Ozair (
Date: 2001-06-10 20:28:21

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Date: Mon, 11 Jun 2001 08:28:21 +0500
Subject: RE: [iwar] Arab/Israeli "CyberWar" of our own making
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Good point of view. And it points to perception management to a great


-----Original Message-----
From: B.K. DeLong [] 
Sent: Monday, June 11, 2001 7:29 AM
Subject: [iwar] Arab/Israeli "CyberWar" of our own making

At 06:54 PM 06/10/2001 -0700, you wrote:
>I guess the cyber war is on again? Anyone want to pick things up and 
>provide a feed for reopenning the cyberwar site on this conflict?

In all honesty, I don't think there ever WAS a cyberwar. If you count
defacement against an Israeli or Arab run Web site that has a 
politically-oriented note about this conflict as a wartime action then
"cyberwar" never really ended. I did a commentary today about the 
defacement of a US Federal Law Enforcement Web site with anti-Arab 
sentiments and included a roundup of other sites in predominately Arab 
countries that suffered the same attack. Fred already posted part of it
I've included the full text below.

Has anyone ever sat down to define the term "cyberwar" ? To me, a
is when countries with an unfriendly or hostile relationship begin 
attacking one another's technological infrastructure - breaking into 
classified networks and stealing secrets, finding open, unsecure dialups
various computer-run systems from power to airport security and taking
over/shutting them down, causing a massive crash or "denial of service"
the country's primary networks or various other activities that have 
wartime equivalents in the real world.

Web site defacements? I see them as nothing but kids spray painting a 
building. Some of them may be more serious - like spray painting a
on a temple or nailing up propaganda-filled leaflets all over a mosque.
this type of activity does not constitute a cyberwar - even the
activity of April and early May was a bunch of foreign kids trying to 
one-up each other, feeding off the media's manipulation of the incident.

No, I don't think we've witnessed any incidents that constitute a true 
cyberwar - at least not in the US. They may be happening in other
but even if they are, they haven't been widely publicized. Take for 
instance an incident almost 4 years ago where some kid gained control
a Western US hydroelectric generator via an open modem to turn off an 
"enemy's" power. Didn't hear about that did you? Turns out the kid
know what he had done, much to everyone's luck, but it still could have 
caused major issues - and something I would expect to see during a true 
wartime effort.

Let's not jump to conclusions and say all because a couple of
and the threat of a real-world war from a Saudi prince in a German 
publication constitutes the "reopening" of a "cyberwar". As members of
computer security community we have a responsibility to be careful with
words lest the media blows them out of proportion thus creating a 
self-fulfilling prophecy. (See:

I can guarantee you if we start saying that a cyberwar is picking back
the media will start reporting it this way and the kids (no matter what 
their nationality or political leanings) will begin hitting little but
and Israeli sites for the next month. My commentary covered a series of 
incidents caused by one group with a central political message and if
groups start doing it (like the Chinese vs. US defacement incident) then
becomes a trend. If we label it as a cyberwar then it will become one.
is the power of the computer security community's observations. We have
responsibility to be careful with what we say and how we label things.


>Date: Sun, 10 Jun 2001 12:01:38 -0400
>From: McIntyre <>
>Subject: [defaced-commentary] Joint FBI/NW3C Internet Fraud Complaint
>Center defaced
>Reply-To: McIntyre <>
>About 6:15am ET on Sunday, June 10th, the Web site for the Internet 
>Complaint Center was defaced.
>  According to the site, the mission of the IFCC (a partnership between
> the FBI and the National White Collar Crime Center), is to "address
> committed over the Internet" and to "provide a convenient and
> reporting mechanism that alerts authorities of a suspected criminal or

> civil violation".
>Who are the defacers? Whomever defaced the IFCC Web site is not 
>to be with a group or even leaving a nickname. All that's stated is
>the person is a 14-year old from Israel who is angry over the recent 
>suicide bombing outside a Tel Aviv nightclub that killed 17 Israelis - 
>most of them young teenagers.
>The same defacer appears to have defaced government and commercial Web
>sites in several predominately Arab countries in the past week
>servers in Iran, Egypt, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, the Arab Emirates,
>and Oman. Each defacement links to one or more pro-Israeli, anti-Arab
>sites and many post pictures of several of the tens killed in the
>        Acer Middle East
>        Azzahra University (Iran)
>        Ferdowsi University Central Library
>        MDS Lebanon
>        Murree Christian School in Karachi, Pakistan
>        OrbitNet
>        Data Express Egypt "Own Site" Service
>        National Bank of Oman
>        Saudia Arabia Ministry of Higher Education
>        Amirkabir University Of Technology in Iran
>        Ministry of Water Resources and Irrigation
>The information and commentary is Copyright 2001, by the individual 
>author. Permission is granted to quote, reprint or redistribute 
>provided the text is not altered, and the author and is 
>credited. The opinions expressed in this mail are not necessarily the 
>opinion of all Attrition staff members.
>Commentary Archive:
>The Attrition Mirror:
>Country/TLD Statistics: 
>Attrition Defacement Statistics: 
>Operating System Graphs: 
>Other Web Defacement Mailing Lists:
>Contacting Attrition Staff:
>To subscribe to Defaced Commentary, send mail to 
> with "subscribe defaced-commentary" in the BODY

>of the mail (without quotes). To unsubscribe, include "unsubscribe 
>defaced-commentary" in the BODY of the mail.

B.K. DeLong
617.877.3271               Play.        Potter.                       Security.     Herb.


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