Did WikiLeaks Start a Cyber War?

Sue Marquette Poremba

I thought about doing some Christmas shopping but someone warned me that one of the places I considered visiting was hit by hackers as a result of the arrest of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. I decided to shop another day.

 

Stories like this have been in the news all week, leading CNN to ponder whether or not we are now in the middle of a cyber war. The article stated:

Internet security experts said the WikiLeaks-related attacks are anything but cyber war-not that these same experts are exactly sure what a cyber war would look like, or if one has ever occurred.

Perhaps "war" is too strong of a word, but it's evident that these hackers have some power if they are taking down financial-related sites. What if they manage to "take down" an entire government, which The Telegraph reported as a possibility:

The group of hackers, called Anonymous, said it would target British government websites if Mr Assange was extradited to Sweden, where he is wanted over allegations of sexual assault. Gregg Housh, an American internet activist who previously worked with the hackers, said: 'They will go after the weakest links, because they want to see results. They will probably test a few sites and then decide.'

Was this the type of concern the federal government had in mind when it began to step up its efforts in passing cybersecurity legislation?

 

All the chaos surrounding these hacks-whether or not they are related to WikiLeaks-shows just how vulnerable government and enterprise are now that we've become a Web-based society.



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