UK & Australia Fresh Targets in Hack Attacks
release & faq in pdf
London, UK - 8 October 2002, 17:00 GMT - Digital attacks on the UK
and Australia in particular and the US at large continue to mount as tension
over the Iraq issue and further violence between Israel and Palestine remains
The preliminary estimate of Economic Damage for the first week in October
based on initial calculations puts the total damage caused worldwide by all
hacker groups at between US $51m (£33m) and $63m (£40m). [Source:
EVEDA (Economic Value Engine for Damage Analysis) component of SIPS] EVEDA
defines economic damage as loss of productivity, management time, Intellectual
Property Rights (IPR) violations, customer and supplier liabilities and share
price decline where applicable.
The overt digital attacks have included several high profile breaches such
as the online systems of the US State Department, the California Energy Commission
and the World Health Organisation's South East Asia Regional Office (WHO SEARO).
The Unix Security Guards (USG), a Pro-Islamic hacking group, was responsible
for 1,417 of the attacks in October so far: 1,142 on USA, 124 on UK and 99
on Australia. USG was first formed in May 2002 and so far it has carried out
1,772 anti-Israel and anti-US/UK attacks. Every time there has been an incursion
of Israeli forces into Palestinian controlled territories, including 7th October's
raid on Khan Younis in which 14 Palestinians were killed, USG has launched
a relentless series of attacks against the US, UK and Israel. Australia and
Ireland are also victims.
USG have been responsible for 21% of the 595 attacks on the UK so far in
October, always leaving highly politicised messages which are anti-Israel,
US and UK.
Although it is too early to say, the initial estimate of economic damage worldwide
from overt digital attacks in September has been calculated at between 270
and 325 Million US Dollars [£170m and £210m].
"It is clear that these digital attacks
are having an impact on business productivity, confidence levels, brand names
as well as compromising trust and integrity," said DK
Matai, Chairman and CEO of mi2g. "Board
level executives are only now beginning to recognize that protecting critical
infrastructure is a priority and it requires a long term strategic approach."
Notes to Editors
What is an "overt digital attack"?
Hacker attacks on digital systems, such as computers and digitally controlled
machines, can be either covert or overt. Covert attacks are not reported,
validated or witnessed by a reliable third party source, whereas overt attacks
are either public knowledge or known to an entity other than the attacker(s)
and the victim(s). There are two types of overt digital attacks: Data attacks
and Command and Control attacks. mi2g defines an overt digital attack
as being an incident when a hacker group has gained unauthorized access to
an online system and has made modifications to any of its publicly visible
components (such as a broadcast, service routine, payment / data collection
or print out) whilst executing:
1. Data Attacks: The confidentiality, integrity, authentication or non-repudiation
of transactions based on the underlying databases is violated. Such attacked
databases may include confidential credit card numbers, identity information,
customer and supplier profiles and transaction histories;
2. Command and Control Attacks: SNMP (Simple Network Management Protocol)
controlled computers, routers and switches, networks of ATMs (Automated Teller
Machines), DCS (Distributed Control Systems), SCADA (Supervisory Control And
Data Acquisition) systems or PLCs (Programmable Logic Controllers) have been
What are the motives for "overt digital attacks"?
The principal motives for digital attacks have been political tension, protest
and digital warfare; espionage, surveillance and reconnaissance; destruction
of competitive advantage or share price; disgruntled or misdirected workforce
issues; anti-globalisation and anti-capitalism protest; environmental and
animal rights activism; intellectual challenge and recreational hacking; financial
What is the economic impact of "overt digital attacks"?
The economic impact is different for the two types of overt digital attacks:
Data attacks and Command and Control attacks. For the victims of data attacks
the fallout is likely to be in the area of business interruption, denial of
service, identity or corporate information theft, copying or deletion of vital
business information, loss of sensitive intelligence or intellectual property,
loss of reputation and / or share price decline. Command and control attacks
are more sophisticated and have invariably required insider help to perform
and sustain. The possible consequences are either the slow down or disruption
of critical infrastructure, such as, transport, telecommunications, financial
payment systems and utilities.
mi2g has been collecting data on overt digital attacks going back
to 1995 via the SIPS (Security Intelligence Products and Systems) database.
The SIPS database has information on over 90,000 overt digital attacks and
6,090 hacker groups. The SIPS intelligence citations include the 2002 Computer
Security Institute (CSI) / Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Computer
Security Issues and Trends Survey [Vol. VIII, No. 1 - Spring 2002]. Detailed
copies of the SIPS reports for each month, including back issues can be ordered
from the firstname.lastname@example.org.
A vetting process may be carried out prior to the release of the SIPS reports
to individuals and for overseas orders. mi2g solutions engineering
pays particular regard to security. mi2g advises on the management
of Digital Risk and incorporates Bespoke Security Architecture in its SMART
sourcing solutions. mi2g has pioneered the Contingency Capability Radar
to assist in rigorous business continuity planning based on ISO 17799.
First contact: Tel: +44 (0) 20 7924 3010 Fax: +44
(0) 20 7924 3310 eMail: Intelligence