Information Warfare: The Lights Are Going Out All Over Europe

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August 30,2008:  European nations are alarmed at the recent increase in probes, via the Internet, of public utilities (electricity, water, sewage, transportation). Cyber War experts are divided on whether this is just the next big thing in criminal activity (finding out how to shut down utilities via the Internet, then using the threat of that to extort money), or military Cyber War operations, scouting utilities in anticipation of damaging them in wartime or a time of crises.

A lot of these probes can be traced back to the usual sources (China, Eastern Europe and the Middle East), the places where many of the Internet based criminal gangs hide out. So far this year, there has been an increase in probes, but not attacks. At least as far as anyone knows. However, the most professional Internet attacks are unnoticed (as the intruder gets away with data, or a deep understanding of how the target site operates, and thus a good knowledge of how to take it down.) Utilities, and large corporations in general, are being urged (and sometimes ordered) to check, and double check, the adequacy of their Internet defenses.

 


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