US ponders cyber war plans

© 2003 BBC

Friday, 7th February 2003 [Excerpt] - The US is reportedly drawing up guidelines for cyber attacks against countries such as Iraq. According to the Washington Post, President Bush has already laid the foundations for the US Government to develop a strategy on how and when it can penetrate and disrupt enemy computer systems.

There has also been speculation in Washington that the Pentagon is considering some form of cyber war in conjunction with any military action against Iraq the paper said.

Information warfare

Any cyber war against Iraq would have to take into account how crucial computers are to the running of the country.

"Iraq has a relatively advanced telecommunications infrastructure and any cyber attack could cripple emergency services and prevent both the military and civilians from talking to each other," said DK Matai, Chief Executive of security firm mi2g.

"It would play an important part in shaking citizen's confidence in the government," he added.

Credible threat?

"The Slammer worm paralysed Korea, disrupted 13,000 ATMs in the US and disabled the emergency services in Seattle," said Mr Matai.

He imagines a scenario where a piece of malicious software is released onto computer networks, causing serious disruption in the cyber equivalent of a dirty bomb.

And any such attack would require state sponsorship.

"To bring a nation to its knees any cyber warfare attack would require nation state backing," he said.

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