Forwarded from: Richard Forno <rfornoat_private> September 11th Does Not Mean Cyberwar is Coming. Richard Forno rfornoat_private 09-13-01 (c) 2001 by author. Permission to reproduce in whole, or part, with appropriate credit. September 11, 2001 is a date -- now seared into the memory of our nation -- that was a brutal awakening for 21st century America. It was also a stark reminder that the method of attack for terrorists will be a high-visibility, high-body-count target; not hacking, cracking, or conducting a so-called "cyber war." UBL, Saddam, Quasimodo, or any other terrorist is not going to snicker in their cave or palace and proclaim that "God is great, those Americans are running scared because my forces have crashed the NASDAQ systems!" Nobody ever died from a directed TCP/IP packet, nor are such IT-related incidents akin to the fearful dinner-time discussions regarding the "Red Threat" during the Cold War. Seeing a smoking crater that was a world landmark makes an emotional impact on everyone - adults and children - around the world. Thus, the graphic impact of such physical strikes is much more appealing to the terrorist since they elicit a far greater visceral emotional response from the victim society left to cope with the aftermath. In the aftermath of our national tragedy, there is an understandable increase in emotional rhetoric in chat rooms and coffee bars across America that the recent attacks will precipitate a so-called "cyber war." This "cyber war" will likely be no more than the run-of-the-mill nuisances and mundane mischief that network and security administrators see on a daily basis: web defacements, ping floods, virus attacks, and so on. Sadly, there are a growing number of security and "intelligence" vendors making claims that the attacks of September 11 will culminate in or help launch a "cyber war"; thus creating an unnecessary amount of Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt (FUD) on a topic that is in no way as pressing a concern as the very real emergencies that we are currently facing. Of course, it goes without saying that during this time of concern, IT administrators and security staff should be on heightened alert to monitor for suspicious activities on their networks, and report any such activity to the appropriate entities. This should be expected in any national crisis situation. However, any computer system considered "essential" and a "critical element of the national infrastructure" should NOT have been connected to a public network in the first place. Proper security planning on such systems before their deployment should always outweigh operator convenience in such critical circumstances. Granted, one cannot rule out an increase in computer security incidents during this time. Certainly, the IT industry should exercise due diligence in safeguarding their systems. But everyone involved should make a concerted effort to refrain from -- and resist -- any and all attempts to capitalize on this real-world tragedy through fear-mongering statements and marketing tactics implying that phantom packets are waiting to strike our networks during this tragic period. September 11th's attack on Freedom should not be perverted into an opportunity for free commercials for anyone. Period. My thoughts and prayers to those responding to this incident, and to the families and friends of those lost during this week's events. Richard Forno infowarrior.org - ISN is currently hosted by Attrition.org To unsubscribe email majordomoat_private with 'unsubscribe isn' in the BODY of the mail.
This archive was generated by hypermail 2b30 : Mon Sep 17 2001 - 08:25:02 PDT