Cyber war or Cyber hype?
On July 4th several US government web sites were hit with a distributed denial of service (DDOS) attack. In human speak that means you couldn’t get to those web sites because too many other computers were making them unavailable. Many of the attack failed, but some sites, like www.ftc.gov effectively disappeared. Shortly after this attack another wave of attacks started and also included sites in South Korea.
Some reports blamed North Korea for the attack. It does appear than many of the attacking computers were from South Korea, but it is difficult to know who really is behind the attack. The computers actually dong the attacking are infected with programs called “bots”. These computers belong to ordinary people, but are zombies under the control of someone else. Maybe it was North Korea behind the attack, but that doesn’t make a lot of sense to me or most security experts.
The fact that it is unlikely to be North Korea is not enough to prevent rampant hype. One or two people speculate that it is North Korea and not only does North Korea get blamed, but a sensationalistic representative in the US congress calls for a cyber attack against North Korea, regardless of whether or not they are to blame. Here’s the story. Http://www.wired.com/threatlevel/2009/07/show-of-force/
To see Rep. Peter Hoekstra’s enlightened speech, click here.
The attacks are only a cyber war in the minds of the deranged, the manipulative, and the ignorant. Frankly, those blaming North Korea for this round of attacks are far more likely suspects than North Korea. Rep Heokstra has far more to gain from attacking these sites and blaming North Korea than North Korea had to gain from instigating the attacks.
This looks like a classic Wag the Dog.
Director of Technical Education
Author ESET Research, ESET