US China cyberwar is a self-fulfilling prophecy

Defacement site Attrition slates media for motivating s'kiddies

The Web site of the White House Historical Association has been plastered with Chinese flags by an anonymous hacker during a pair of apparently political motivated attacks of prestige US Web sites.

Along with today's defacement of the White House Historical Association site, which placed a Chinese flag above the White House entrance, the US Chamber of Commerce site was also targeted in a separate attack.

The Chamber of Commerce site was defaced with hammer and sickle images by Brazilian hacker ttyO, who had a rant against the US in general and President George W Bush in particular. Its been recorded on defacement archive Alldas.de here.

Now we could speculate that the attacks are part of an unwinding series of May Day protests (especially since ttyO sends greets to fellow Communist hackers in Russia and China in his defacement) and mention that both sites use (surprise, surprise) Microsoft IIS Web server on NT4.

But then an article on Attrition questioning the media frenzy surrounding Web attacks made us stop and think.

In a well-reasoned argument, Attrition said that predictions of a cyberwar between China and the US could become a self-fulfilling prophecy by actually encouraging attacks.

"We are inundated with Chicken Little style warnings of an impending 'cyberattack' by Chinese crackers. These cautionary tales may or may not be real, but they are real in their consequence."

The article mocks these dire warnings and said that many articles have grossly exaggerated the numbers of defacements by Chinese hackers that have already taken place, so giving a false sense of impending apocalypse.

The article on Attrition said: "Holy fortune cookie, Batman! Could this be the end of the Internet in America??

"No, not really. Just the collective dick waving of a bunch of script-kidiots fuelled by so-called journalists generating media hype - the former trying to feed their egos and the latter to feed their hit counts."

Attrition said that Chinese Web sites were being defaced before the spy plane incident and that many articles on hacking attacks imply motives for attack without supplying any evidence. Worse, it said media attention to defacement might stimulate s'kiddies to launch more attacks but admits many defacements will take place anyway, and should be taken as a warning to administrators.

In a statement that's hard to disagree with (and hits the real point), Attrition said: "Web sites should always be prepared for attacks. There are much more serious threats to IT infrastructures than simple Web defacements." ®

External Links

FBI warning about attacks by Chinese crackers on the US

Article on Attrition Cyberwar with China: Self-fulfilling Prophecy

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