Hack attacks on rise in
© 2002 BBC
Thursday, 7th November 2002 [Excerpt] - Hackers based in Indonesia
and Malaysia have been launching digital attacks on neighbouring countries,
say computer security experts. October, the month in which a bomb exploded
on the Indonesian island of Bali, has seen heightened cyber attacks in South
East Asia and Oceania, according to a report from security firm mi2g.
South Korea, Australia, China, Taiwan and Japan have been the victims of
hundreds of hack attacks causing millions of pounds worth of damage.
"The number of attacks
were rising before the Bali bombing but carried on escalating afterwards and
didn't let-up," said mi2g chairman DK Matai.
At the same time, Indonesian and Malaysian hackers have been advising some
of their native country's online players on how to shore up their defences.
"Pro-Islamic groups are conducting friendly
hacking and if they identify vulnerabilities on pro-Islamic businesses or
organisations systems they leave messages suggesting ways to improve security,"
said Mr Matai.
So far pro-Islamic hackers have been operating on a one-way street with no
anti-Islamic backlash but Mr Matai predicts that could change.
"So far there is no evidence of a backlash
but historically hack attacks have been about attack and counter-attack,"
"I don't think this one-sided (cyberwar)
will last long. Because of the economic damage there will be a backlash against
Indonesia and Malaysia," he said.
The motivation of a group called the Malaysian Hackers Association appears
to be political, leaving messages calling on the UK and the US to stop attacks
The so-called Medan Hackers from Indonesia have been targeting systems in
Taiwan, South Korea, Japan, China and Thailand as well as some internal ones.
Other than businesses, it is mainly academic and government agencies that
have been targeted and the damage has been huge.
China has suffered estimated economic damage of up to $865m since the beginning
of the year. Australia has lost as much as $309m and South Korea $449m.
In October alone, the digital attacks are estimated to have caused $20m worth
of damage in Japan, $67m in Australia and $23m in Taiwan.
"The high economic value targets in the
West are not so easy to hit but in South East Asia regimes about vulnerability
patching are not as solid," said Mr Matai.
Overall in October, viruses such as Bugbear did more economic damage - around
$2bn - than digital attacks which came in at between $886m and $1.07bn.
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