There have been two recent example of Cyber War, just to show us all
what weapons are actually in use and what they are capable of. In the Central
Asian nation of Kirghizstan, the areas 400,000 Internet users were knocked off
the net for several hours by a DDOS (Distributed Denial of Service) attack. The
attack came from outside the area, and was apparently arranged by the Kirghiz
secret police, in an attempt to disrupt pro-democracy groups that are trying to
get some honest elections.
Kirghizstan attack apparently was actually a minor operation compared to what
Russian Cyber Criminals have, over the past few weeks, done to cause a
noticeable increase (67 percent since August) in spam (especially emails
touting thinly held, low price, stocks, for what is called a "pump and dump"
scheme.) This flood of spam was delivered by a botnet of some 73,000 PCs,
secretly infected with software that enables the crooks to take over the
infected PC and use it for sending spam (over a billion emails a day), or
launching DDOS attacks. This particular botnet (called SpamThru by its owners)
has taken control of PCs in 166 countries, although about half of them are in
the United States. This botnet also takes pains to seek out and delete botnet
software from other criminals, in PCs it has infected. PCs with fast Internet
connections are the most prized, and apparently the criminal gangs are now
fighting each other for control of the fast PCs.
this represents the same tools and tactics a military organization would use to
create and maintain a botnet for war time use. The Russian government has
recognized the danger, to everyone, that these Cyber Criminals represent, and
has become less tolerant of them. However, it is also suspected that the
Russian government may be making cooperation deals with some of the Cyber
Criminal gangs, in order to obtain their technology for military use.