[ISN] FBI Says Iraq Situation May Spur 'Patriotic Hackers'

From: InfoSec News (isnat_private)
Date: Thu Feb 13 2003 - 01:32:59 PST

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    By David Pace
    Associated Press Writer
    February 12, 2003
    WASHINGTON -- Real patriots don't hack. Uncle Sam says only he can do
    The FBI's National Infrastructure Protection Center warned Wednesday
    that growing tensions between the United States and Iraq could lead to
    an increase in global computer hacking activities on both sides.
    "Regardless of the motivation, the NIPC reiterates such activity is
    illegal and punishable as a felony," the agency warns on its Web site.  
    "The U.S. government does not condone so-called 'patriot hacking' on
    its behalf.
    "Further, even 'patriotic hackers' can be fooled into launching
    attacks against their own interests by exploiting malicious code that
    purports to attack the other side when in fact it is designed to
    attack the interests of the side sending it," the agency said. "In
    this and other ways, 'patriotic hackers' risk becoming tools of their
    The warning comes less than a week after administration officials
    confirmed that President Bush had signed a secret order allowing the
    government to develop guidelines under which the United States could
    launch cyber attacks against foreign computer systems.
    The United States has never conducted a large-scale cyber attack, but
    officials said last month that the administration's unfolding cyber
    stategy will specify that the Defense Department can wage cyber
    warfare if the nation is attacked.
    The NIPC warning doesn't address the government's role in such
    attacks, but it makes it clear that individual attacks on computer
    networks are illegal, regardless of the motivation. The agency
    specifically cited patriot hackers who target Iraq or its
    sympathizers, hackers opposed to war who target U.S. systems, and
    those who would use the crisis as a guise to further personal goals.
    "As tensions arise, it is prudent to be aware of and prepare for this
    type of activity," the agency said.
    NIPC said computer network administrators and computer users should
    take precautions to guard against cyber attacks while tensions between
    the United States and Iraq are high.
    On the Net:
    NIPC: http://www.nipc.gov/warnings/advisories/2003/03-002.htm
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