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Expert comment on Cyber Activism (Wikileaks attacks)

The news that Wikileaks supporters had brought down the Mastercard, Paypal, the Swedish Prosecutors office and Swiss PostFinance Bank has highlighted the issue of “cyber demonstrations” by activists. Potentially these will cost businesses millions, and bring down government services.

Where traditionally protestors have stormed buildings and mailed threats, they now use the internet to sabotage websites; the customer channel for most major corporations today. The term coined is – “cyber-retaliation”.

Activists download ‘attack codes’ which create a ‘botnet’. A botnet is malicious software spammed by criminals to exploit vulnerabilities in the security of the recipient’s web site.

The objective of the coordinated attacks is to flood the website with so much traffic it website crashes. The result for the activist is recognition and / or financial gain.

Standard network security tools cannot differentiate between these attackers and real users. The more tech savvy the activist groups get, the greater the incidence of cyber-demonstrations will be.

The Wikileaks attack has done nothing to slow the growth of cyber-activism. It has highlighted botnets as being an extremely effective way of bringing down multiple organisations in return for mass publicity.

Ron Meyran, Director Security Products, Radware is available for information or interview. He can cover any subject relating to network and internet security and the impact this can have on business, governments and society.

About Ron Meyran

Mr. Meyran is an industry security specialist. His views have been published in the press globally. He is also a frequent speaker on the conference circuit and has been invited to lecture as an expert commentator. Mr. Meyran holds a B.Sc. degree in electrical engineering from Ben-Gurion University and MBA from Tel Aviv University.

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