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Government Cyberattacks Militarize the Web

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Distributed denial of service (DDOS) attacks are now being used by governments as another way to counter opposition, warns Arbor Networks senior security researcher Jose Nazario, who expects the Internet to become increasingly militarized.

Nazario says that online attacks are still relatively new, but they already have evolved from their earlier forms, and may evolve again into more dangerous weapons. Unsuccessful DDOS attacks were launched against the U.S. Pentagon's network after the 2001 collision between a U.S. Navy spy plane and a Chinese fighter jet, forcing the Navy plane to land in China. CNN's Web site suffered similar attacks after one of the network's reports made disparaging comments about China hosting the Olympic Games. China is believed to be responsible for both attacks. In 2007, DDOS attacks were successfully used to crash the Estonian government's networks. The attacks reportedly came from Russia after Estonia moved a statue of a Russian soldier. Russia also was blamed for an August 2008 attack against Georgia, which marked the first time cyberattacks coincided with actual military attacks.

Governments favor DDOS attacks because it is difficult to determine where they originate from and who financed them. Nazario says such cyberwarfare will turn the Internet into a battleground as governments and citizens continue to launch such attacks. "Militarization of the Internet is happening," he says.

From IDG News Service
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