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French Version

Yet another wave of Cyber attacks

Every month or so, the international media starts talking again about 'cyber-terrorism'.

These reports are fueled by announcements from security officials about the possible dangers faced by national networks.
Statistics show that there is a marked increase in cyber attacks. A research firm in London, called mi2g, says that October has already qualified as the worst month for digital attacks since its records began in 1995.

There have been an estimated 16,559 attacks carried out on systems and sites in October alone.

According to another firm, based in Brazil, called Zone-H, politically motivated Web site defacements make up around 11 percent of the total attacks reported so far this year.

A security consultant stated plainly that these cyber-terror groups were 'anti-US, UK, Australia, anti-India and anti-Israeli.' How he came to this conclusion on grouping all these countries together is anyone's guess. Strangely enough, all the talk about Cyber wars is one sided, discussing the potential threat to the aforementioned countries, mainly the United States and Israel.

As you would expect, nobody is discussing the destructive activities of Israeli hacking groups who have been regularly assaulting Arab, Iranian and Pakistani websites with denial-of-service attacks.

It's another example of the bias in the Western media against all things Islamic. If a couple of 'cyber' groups threaten Israeli web sites, and they happen to be of Arab origin, they turn it into the usual 'terrorism circus' story. Here's a typical quote, 'Pro-Islamic hackers are escalating attacks against countries backing the US war on terror and its campaign against Iraq.' Obviously, nobody told this writer that there is no such thing as a pro-Islamist. You are either a Muslim or you're not. Here's another quote, 'real-life events like the 11 September anniversary, simmering violence in Israel, bombs in the Philippines or the 12 October blasts that killed 180 people on Indonesia's island of Bali all could be expected to serve as inspirations on the Web.' So, its obvious that reporting on cyber attacks is being directly linked to these incidents. It is true that there are such Islamic hacking groups. But, they are not the only ones.

Particularly active groups have been identified by US authorities and they come from Islamic countries. Some attacks have been traced to IP addresses in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Pakistan, Morocco, Indonesia and the Islamic Soviet Republics.

One of the prominent hackers calls himself the 'Egyptian Fighter,' another is a hacking group called the 'Federal Bureau of Hackers,' from Pakistan and so on. Some of these groups attempt to convey messages on their point of view, sending messages about what is happening to Iraqi children as a result of the blockade on the country, then they attach photos on these topics.

Accordingly, authorities are taking these groups seriously, and feel that there is more to come. In September, the White House released a 64-page report on securing networks and 'cyber-terrorism.' At the time, an adviser to President Bush said 'We rely on cyberspace, and it is not yet secure. We know the vulnerabilities, and we know the solutions.' The issue of cyber wars is growing, concerns are increasing and it is true that there are many anti-Western groups who are carrying out these attacks. Hacking and electronic warfare will continue, and every country in the world has the right to defend itself against them by securing its systems. But this issue has to be handled with broader understanding that includes hackers from all origins to tackle this problem conclusively.

Zeid Nasser
The Star

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