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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Everything seems to be all about weapons of mass destruction in the terrorism issue, a physical attack.

I don't hear much about what would happen if all of the computers in North America (etc) were taken down simultaneously.

It is possible, right?
The issue resurfaced for me a few days ago - a TV segment was rerun about that 15 year old lad in Montreal who was able to take down CNN, Dell, Amazon, etc. before the FBI & RCMP caught up to him (and they only caught him because he left clues whilst bragging in a forum). And also explored how the bank machines were affected in Western Canada by another ugly person. There was more, but I only caught a few minutes of this show.

Just think about things in your day-to-day life, and how a computer is connected to it. Gas, banking, power, ticket counters, traffic lights, communications, transit, medical records ...

To me this a very terrifying terrorist target, and surely there must be evil dedicating themselves to screw with the worlld in this way.

What do you know?
What are your thoughts?

Emma
 

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Sure it can happen...look at the east coast power outage last year. I worked for a day trading firm at one time and the sattelite that the quote feed came through went down...talk about an uproar. No one ever said the communication infrastructure was secure and a well engineered virus could probably take the whole thing down or cause or at the very least cripple it.

This isn't scary in the least, the thing that is scary is the PBS documentary I saw on Dirty Bombs last week. Nuclear material all over the former Soviet Union for the taking by some nut that wants to build one. Now be afraid, be very afraid.
 

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It is common scene in today's fragile online world of computing: Users bombarded with malware of all sorts. Malware, a term an Israeli virus researcher coined in 1990, refers to all the viruses, Trojans, and malicious code software designed to wreak havoc on unsuspecting users. Malware writers want to cause damage to as many different users as possible.
Add in the massive and increasing problem of unsolicited junk e-mail, sneaky Web cookies, pop-ups, and spyware applications, along with the confusing security patch situation with Windows programs, and it is no wonder most users are overwhelmed by this current state of affairs.

So what does the school and home user do to cope with the complex malware world of 2004? Take control of your computer with programs designed to defeat the threat of attacks and you will feel confident about surviving the onslaught of malicious malware.

I am not sure if there is much we really can do other than try to defend ourselves from this as best as we can.

As far as hackers bringing down the whole thing? This is a distintive reality.

December 23, 2003
2003 'Worst Year Ever' for Viruses, Worms
By Sharon Gaudin
In no other year have computer viruses and worms wreaked so much havoc and caused so much damage as in this past year, according to security analysts.

And the stakes are only getting higher as we go forward.

''This has been the worst ever,'' says Ken Dunham, director of malicious code at Reston, Va.-based iDefense Inc. ''Without a doubt, malicious code came to a massive head in 2003... we saw a huge impact of malicious code on infrastructure. We had seen worms cause some disruption before, but mostly they'd been an annoyance. Now infrastructure is being impacted.''

In 2003, viruses and worms not only caused billions of dollars in damages and clean-up costs. They went so far as to shake the Internet's backbone. They slowed down travel, halted 911 calls, and knocked out ATM machines. From the Slammer attack in January to the MSBlaster and Sobig family that attacked in August, it was one rough year.

''This year was definitely the busiest one on record for us,'' says Chris Belthoff, a senior analyst at Sophos, Inc., an anti-virus and anti-spam company based in Lynnfield, Mass. ''We started with Slammer in January and then we had BugBear in June. At the time, people thought that was pretty bad. But then the major event of the year was the one-two punch of Blaster and Sobig in August. They were very different -- one spread machine to machine and the other was a mass-mailing worm -- but both very damaging.

''When the infrastructure was impacted, it was significant because it causes problems for how our country operates,'' says Dunham. ''And it shows how vulnerable we are. Imagine an attack that affects ATMs right before Christmas. There could be huge cause for concern.''

Dunham says the year started off with a bang -- a malicious bang -- when Slammer was released in the wild, delaying airline flights, bringing down a 911 system and stressing the Internet's backbone. Everyone thought worms had hit a new high in destructive capability. But that was early in the year. Much worse was still to come.

August was the worst month on record for virus and worm attacks, according to several anti-virus companies.

MS Blaster hit the wild with a vengeance, exploiting a flaw with Microsoft Windows' Remote Procedure Call (RPC) process, which controls activities such as file sharing. The flaw enabled the attacker to gain full access to the system. The vulnerability itself, which affects Windows NT, Windows 2000 and Windows XP machines, affects both servers and desktops, expanding the reach of any exploit that takes advantage of it.

What made it a major problem was the fact that the vulnerability affected servers and desktops in such popular operating systems, there were potentially millions of vulnerable computers out there.

But then along came the Sobig family of viruses.

The Sobig family hit the Internet hard, flooding email servers and inboxes. Corporate networks staggered under the barrage with network access slowing to a crawl, and some email systems being taken temporarily offline to stop the siege.

Sobig-F has been named the fastest spreading virus in the industry's history. The latest report estimates that Sobig has caused 36.1 billion in damages.

Sobig-F unquestionably wins the dubious title of 'Worm of the year','' says Belthoff. ''It spread more ferociously than any virus ever seen before, swamping email inboxes. Some companies reported seeing hundreds of thousands of infected emails every day.''

Change in Motive Ups the Ante

Analysts say what has struck them the most is the change in motive for the virus authors. Virus writers basically created the malicious code to make a name for themselves in the underground hacker world. The bigger the chaos they created, the bigger their infamy.

But this year, analysts saw a disturbing change.

''Viruses and worms are being written now for financial gain,'' says Steve Sundermeier, vice president of products and services at Central Command Inc., an anti-virus company based in Medina, Ohio. ''They're prodding users, or phishing, for credit card information, bank account information, Social Security numbers. The worms are better disguised because they've upped the ante since they're writing for criminal purposes now... It makes it a lot harder to fight.''

Dunham notes that this is a significant progression in the malicious code world.

''It's not just people who play around anymore,'' he adds. ''This is creating a market for organized crime. Credit cards. Passwords. They're looking for anything they can use to dupe the victim.''

And all the analysts agree that there's more of this to come.

''There's a lot of new tactics, new procedures,'' says Sundermeier. ''We're not talking about the worst case scenario being that you have to reformat your hard drive. You could lose your livelihood. You could lose your bank information, credit card information, Social Security numbers. It's a lot more severe now.''
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Oh Oldie
big hugs & even a sly little kiss on the cheek

How sweet of you to take me from my woes to what is really important :)

I will get back on it right now!!

Emma

(loads of time. My housework is done, yup, by ME!)
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
How easy would it be for our "enemies" (yuck hate even using that word, but reality sucks) Anyway how easy would it be for our enemies, let alone our morons (read that people who live here and just like to prank) to take take down our electronic life and disrupt the countries?

Is there writings on this? I understand the malware stuff, and as a home user attempt to be protected, but what about the big kahuna of things? Our infrastructure gone all at once, the plugged pulled so to speak?

I think that people who live in cities would be most affected. The relatives I have here on the East coast live without much of what I take for granted and are sure to survive longer than the rest of us (think maritimers who have shelves and shelves of preserves, firewood, a manner of personal communication, think nothing of walking a mile, used to making do, etc).

We are so dependent on everything electronic, especially computers, the havoc, in my mind, would be greater than a bomb, computers gone, the havok created would 'do ourselves in'.
 

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I remember reading there was a concern that the terrorist group ELF (Earth Liberation Front) may attempt to use cyber terrorism (among other things) to disrupt the nation's power grid.
Only reason I mention this is though deemed international I believe ELF is more of a domestic terrorist group. So sometimes the term terrorism is misconstrued as always being foreign.

Just felt like adding that. Nothing more. ;)
 

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At least quote your sources is all I am saying. Domestic terrorism is easier to control for some reason. Could it be that our borders are wide open and we don't know who the hell is living here? I say close them up and lead an isolationist existence.
 

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Originally posted by Rockn:
At least quote your sources is all I am saying. Domestic terrorism is easier to control for some reason. Could it be that our borders are wide open and we don't know who the hell is living here? I say close them up and lead an isolationist existence.
Take a mental note rockn, oh wait, I see you are all out of paper :D
 

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Originally posted by Rockn:
At least quote your sources is all I am saying. Domestic terrorism is easier to control for some reason. Could it be that our borders are wide open and we don't know who the hell is living here? I say close them up and lead an isolationist existence.
Not going to bother looking for the quote or the source. Don't feel like it. :)

Don't know about the statement of domestic being easier to control. Speculation is the Anthrax scare was domestic. How about Oklahoma city?

Do agree in concept the boarders need to be tighter. First step Mexico and Canada. ;)
 

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Originally posted by houseworksux:
Oh Oldie
big hugs & even a sly little kiss on the cheek

Emma
Never mind the kiss on the cheek, cheeky - theyr'e childish things - now Oldie is an adult he does adult things :D

Bill :D
 

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Originally posted by houseworksux:
We are so dependent on everything electronic, especially computers, the havoc, in my mind, would be greater than a bomb, computers gone, the havok created would 'do ourselves in'.
I will be the first to admit that I despise not having electric for an hour let alone days. I couldn't imagine.

I am very spoiled by modern conveniences. :)

Not just that but some of our everyday necessities are dependant on "modern conveniences".

If our electric goes out Water pump no longer works. No water for us, esp. baby's bottles. I unfortunately am not geared with a manual pump for getting water.

And I don't have an ice box. It's a refrigerator made to run on electric only.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
LOL Bill

Domestic terrorism is easier to control for some reason. Could it be that our borders are wide open and we don't know who the hell is living here?
Where are the Internet Borders? How are we protected from other countries attacking us electronically? How do we know if it is an "inside moron", a "local terrorist" or the super intellegent enemy looking to crash our systems. Seems to me that it doesn't matter where you live if you are terrorizing computers, eh? Surely we aren't the only ones who have the intellect.

I mean, I am here and you are there, but we are together & it doesn't matter here or there, right? No borders for us. If you get all Ray Bradbury, then you can just imagine the intellects toying with us with these viruses, just to see how chaotically we react to malware, etc, a pre-proof on our reaction to something major.
 

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I am very spoiled by modern conveniences.
Well said! As most of us are. But!...

I think it is stretching it to talk of "cyber terrorism". I think the "t" word is getting overused to the point of cliché. I would be annoyed and even inconvenienced if hackers shut down my internet connection, or I couldn't get money out of the ATM but I certainly wouldn't be "terrorized". Really!

Hackers, for the most part, may be gutless little sociopaths but they are hardly terrorists.
 
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