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Attacks Abroad Raise Cyber Debate At Home

Tuesday, March 8, 2011 | 11:47 AM Leave a comment Go to comments

As tensions in the Middle East and North Africa remain on high, governments in Europe and Asia have also been handed their own form of opposition over the past few days.

Rocked by a series of distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) cyber attacks this week, both France and South Korea have launched investigations into attacks made on the nations’ government websites.

According to the AFP, the French finance ministry had to shut down 10,000 of its computers Monday, following word that hackers attacked government networks, enabling access to private Group of 20 (G20) documents, relating to the international financial system.

France, which will chair the 2011 G20 Summit, said that the attacks were derived from Chinese IP addresses.  And while not confirming the attribution, Budget Minister Francois Baron said, “We have leads,” adding that the attacks may be the largest hits seen on the French government’s system.

Meanwhile, South Korea is also looking into hack attribution, following DDoS attacks on 40 of its websites, including the National Intelligence Service site.

While no major damage has been reported, the nation’s Korea Communications Commission is advising citizens to use caution when accessing the web, recommending that computer users operate their systems in Safe Mode.

Back in 2009, South Korea was hit by a similar cyber attack, with reports pinpointing North Korea as the potential culprit.

But according to Bloomberg, Hwang Mi Kyung, a spokeswoman in Seoul who was briefed on the attacks, said South Korea has not “found any evidence to show where these new attacks came from or their purpose,” noting, “There was no evidence to prove the 2009 attacks came from North Korea.”

Back in the US, the tech community and government officials are weighing in on everything from the latest attacks in France and South Korea, to the Internet shut down in Egypt, to the case of WikiLeaks – all tapping into the link between Internet freedom and cybersecurity.

According to Politico, which ran a segment yesterday on the topic, “Some tech advocates are growing wary of the congressional emphasis on Internet censorship circumvention, warning that it is drawing attention away from other important issues – such as what role Internet freedom should play in trade policy and whether Congress even has a part to play in protecting Internet freedom abroad.”

Though Cybersecurity News reported last week that Sens. Lieberman, Collins and Carper killed the concept of the “kill switch” in their updated cybersecurity legislation, the Cybersecurity and Internet Freedom Act of 2011, it seems the debate surrounding the idea of being able to shut down the Internet in times of turmoil – on land or in cyberspace – is just heating up…

In the meantime, here’s a look at the cybersecurity news headlines you may have missed:

Interim spending law contains cut in cybersecurity funds (National Journal)

A declaration of cyber war (Vanity Fair)

DHS seeks more infosec funds for 2012 (GovInfoSecurity)

Outdated FISMA threatens cybersecurity (Federal Times)

Pentagon releases bombshell report on economic terrorism (Examiner)

DoD wants cyber partnership, not to spy (Federal News Radio)

State CIOs ask governors for stronger cybersecurity (eSecurity Planet)

OPM’s new cyber worker definition to improve hiring (Federal News Radio)

US Cyber Command wrestling with unresolved technology and policy issues (National Defense)

Federal CIO provides glimpse into cybersecurity oversight program (ExecutiveGov)

Navy awards four contractors for cybersecurity work (Defense Systems)

InformationWeek announces the 2011 ‘Government CIO 50’ (Press Release)

Why cybersecurity should focus on failure (Forbes)

Lauding the President on cybersecurity (GovInfosecurity)

WordPress facing “extremely large” cyber attack (CBS News)

Editorial: The Internet kill switch rebooted (Washington Times)

Hackers needed to save the world — at least America (Network World)

INTERNATIONAL ISSUES:

UK seeks to plug cybersecurity shortfall (Wall Street Journal)

Could the UK Government shut down the web? (The Independent)

Net a recruitment tool for terrorist in India (Times of India)

Dutch government to design cyber defense doctrine (InfoSec Island)

INDUSTRY NEWS:

North American Electric Reliability Corporation creates cyber attack task force (BroadbandBreakfast)

Maryland firm formed to invest in cybersecurity (Washington Post)

DLT Solutions boosts cybersecurity portfolio with MXI Security partnership (Press Release)

Defense company GTEC to go private in $222 million deal (Reuters)

Acclaimed author, Google VP, military leadership to speak at AFA CyberFutures Conference (Press Release)

CyberCore expands operation in push for defense contracts (Business Journal)

Sourcefire named to Forbes’ list of 25 fastest-growing tech companies (CityBizList)

‘ANONYMOUS’ IN THE HEADLINES:

‘Anonymous’ hackers target alleged WikiLeaker Bradley Manning’s jailers (Forbes)

‘Anonymous’ takes down Koch Brothers-backed Americans for prosperity website (Huffington Post)

‘Anonymous’ explained: How a web movement was born (PC Magazine)

MORE ON STUXNET:

Stuxnet isn’t all it’s cracked up to be — but then neither is cyberwar, really (Foreign Policy)

Did US Intelligence mastermind the Stuxnet cyber missile? (Business Insider)

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