Cyberwar isn't a grand struggle - it's a scary prospect of pure chaos
Posted in: Legal, Privacy & Security at 22/08/2008 05:39
When Russian tanks rolled into Georgia, it brought back memories of Soviet-era military conquest - a reminder of the cold war. But whether by accident or design, the fight for South Ossettia appears to have given us a taste of the future as well, with internet attacks on Georgian computer systems resulting in theories about 21st-century warfare spilling out everywhere. The BBC said the situation represented a "virtual echo of battles being fought on the ground", while Slate.com's Evgeny Morozov even enlisted as a Russian cybersoldier to see what was really happening. But while the past fortnight has seen plenty of conjecture, there's been very little hard evidence about the conflict that's taking place in cyberspace.
We do know a few things, though. After the military situation escalated, some prominent Georgian websites came under attack - though right now we cannot quite be sure where the strikes came from. We also know that the Georgian government enlisted the help of the regional experts in Estonia (themselves hardly bosom pals with Russia) as well as using the might of Google as a deterrent by shifting some important government websites on to Blogger.com.
Cyber war or cyber riot? [ABC Radio audio]
The Georgians maintain they've been the victims of cyber-warfare, but there is division within internet security circles about whether what is happening is in fact 'cyber-warfare', whether the Russian government is actually involved and also how significant the event really is. Jart Armin, a London-based internet security analyst, and Gadi Evron, an Israel-based internet security analyst, are interviewed.