[ISN] Economic warfare enters the cyber-age

From: InfoSec News (isnat_private)
Date: Fri Nov 01 2002 - 01:10:50 PST

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    By Cath Everett 
    Tech-savvy terrorists start using the web for sabotage
    The internet could become the latest weapon in the arsenal of
    increasingly technically sophisticated terrorist groups, ushering in a
    new age of economic warfare.
    Addressing delegates at the Compsec security show in London this week,
    Brian Jenkins, special advisor to the US International Chamber of
    Commerce, warned that terrorists already use the internet to
    communicate with each other and to obtain and provide information and
    They deface or take down sites that hold opposing views and may even
    be reconnoitring network and system vulnerabilities via the internet,
    he said.
    While Jenkins sees cyber-terrorism as a mainly theoretical risk,
    reports indicate that terrorists are increasingly starting to use the
    web for sabotage purposes.
    And the threat of this will increase as society becomes more reliant
    on internet-based systems.
    "Over time, terrorists may become more like hackers and hackers may
    become more like terrorists," he said during his keynote speech.
    "Most terrorists still seem to prefer bombs and bloodshed, but
    increasingly they're recognising that a combination of attacks is more
    efficient in economic warfare."
    The most likely threats are shutting down key systems such as air
    traffic control, and unleashing extended denial of service attacks to
    parts of a critical infrastructure such as the national grid.
    Another means could be corrupting data in, for example, banking
    systems causing people to lose confidence, while a so-called 'forced
    multiplier' attack would see terrorists undertaking physical and cyber
    attacks concurrently to magnify any potential damage.
    Alan Brill, senior managing director at consultant Kroll Associates,
    picked up the theme during his speech. He insisted that organisations
    must secure all assets, whether physical or technological, if their
    security policies are to be effective.
    "At least 75 per cent of the companies we looked at had no formal
    relationship between physical and IT security, but that's become
    unacceptable and dangerous to the corporation and it cannot be allowed
    to continue," he said.
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