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Wednesday, 11 September, 2002, 11:00 GMT 12:00 UK
Conflict against Iraq begins online
Computer code
As US gears up for war, digital attacks also increase
The US may not yet have gone to war with Iraq but in cyberspace the conflict has already begun.

According to security firm mi2g three major attacks were launched against computer systems hosted by the AOL TimeWarner network on 8 September.

A pro-Islamic hacking group dubbed USG (Unix Security Guards) was responsible.

Included in the message defacing the sites was criticism of the planned Iraqi invasion.

More expected

According to mi2g the group has carried out four other attacks in September and 155 since it was formed in May 2002.

Among the victims was a US banking group.

Another pro-Islamic hacking group, the AIC (Anti-India Crew) has carried out 454 attacks since July and a third group, the WFD (World's Fantabulous Defacers) is responsible for another 400-odd attacks since November last year.

"As the imminent US/UK action on Iraq gains momentum we are expecting more attacks of a similar nature," commented Chief Executive of mi2g DK Matai.

Infrastructure attacks

Cyber terrorism has increasingly been mirroring political events in the real world since the Balkan war and China-Taiwan stand-off in 1999.

As conflict has intensified in the Middle East so have the number of attacks on Israeli sites.

As well as attacks on websites, online computer and payment systems, mi2g is also expecting some hackers to target national or corporate infrastructure.

This could cause disruption to transport, telecommunications and financial systems.

Such attacks have become more sophisticated and often require insider help.

See also:

03 Sep 02 | Technology
27 Jun 02 | Science/Nature
16 Apr 02 | Science/Nature
17 Sep 01 | Science/Nature
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