Wikileaks, Cyber war, and the dilemma!

Once Assange got arrested, cyber activists started to take actions against many organizations which known as “Anti-WikiLeaks”. Lots of bad comments started to popup online targeting PayPal, Amazon, MasterCard, VISA, and Swiss Bank. Even the Wikileaks payment processor “Datacell” sued VISA and MasterCard for suspending the accounts and preventing donations for Wikileaks!

Additionally, Diplomats and other people started to declare their support for Wikileaks’ founder.

What I’m concerning of is the Hactivist groups who started the “Operation PayBack”. Those groups are using very complicated attack called (DDoS) or Distributed Denial of Service Attack which is not easy to defend for even large organizations and governments! Such attack needs large numbers of bots or Internet Robots which created Botnets. The bots are used in malicious acts such as DDoS attack to send a flood of traffic that overwhelms a computer and renders it incapable of attending to its usual tasks. If the computer hosts a web server, the associated site goes offline. Email service running on the machine becomes unavailable for any user. E-commerce grinds to a halt. This type of attack can bring any business down for hours or even days and cause service interruption.  MasterCard website becomes unavailable for few hours! Even PayPal, VISA, Sarah Palin’s website, and other “Anti-Wikileaks” organizations become target for such attacks!

“Were being done to target companies that had stopped working with Wikileaks or which were perceived to have attacked the site. Websites that are bowing down to government pressure have become targets,” member of Anonymous group told BBC.

You can find deep analysis about “Operation PayBack” here!

Is it a Cyberwar then?

You will hear and see the word “Cyberwar” everywhere now especially when we talk about Wikileaks. But is it a real Cyberwar?

Unfortunately, we don’t understand or even we don’t have a specific meaning or description to the “Real Cyberwar”. It is a big dilemma to define any cyber attack as a Cyberwar. New definitions such as “Cyberwar, Cyber terrorism, and even Cyber Jihad” still need more efforts from both technology and law professionals to understand. Even Cybercrime still considered a dilemma for governments, policymakers, and prosecutors in many countries especially in the Middle East!

I can see lots of crises and unsuspected problems to arise when we deal with something that we don’t fully understand!

You can easily find information about Cyberwar and cyber armies and their capabilities defined by the United States’ National Security Agency. There is a lot of analysis and preparation to make the US capable of defending a Cyberwar which might happen anytime!

As a security professional, I can easily understand the situation of a real Cyberwar and why it will be a problem very soon for countries like us..! I don’t understand how will we deal with future weapons?

Simply, the Answer is Black!

Security gurus knew that DDoS attack which used to bring Estonian government infrastructure down was launched using “zombies” which are computers infected with Trojans or malware to perform an automatic tasks. The infected computers which used to launch the attack were traced back to many countries around the world. This case might be considered a real Cyberwar as Russia accused of launched that attack against Estonia!

Back to “the Black Answer”; I mentioned in one of my presentations about “Cybercrime in the Middle East” That Egypt was part of this Cyberwar!!!

Yes, Cybercriminals are infecting computers in countries with low level security awareness and poor legislations! Computers in other countries might be used to make the trace back impossible!

Look at this Wikileaks cable and you will see that Egypt in addition to other countries was involved in this attack!

In our countries, they couldn’t until the moment define the word “Cybercrime” correctly. They don’t even have complete dedicated cyber law except for the UAE’s (Law No.2 of 2006). But I don’t see any progress. I see low level attention and weak actions in most countries.

Inside this dilemma of Cybercrime in the Middle East, what will they do in the dilemma of Cyberwar?

It is worth mentioning here the great words of Sun Tzu “attaining one hundred victories in one hundred battles is not the pinnacle of excellence. Subjugating the enemy’s army without fighting is the true pinnacle of excellence. “