Canadian Underwriter

Cyber attacks rising as war looms

March 18, 2003   by Canadian Underwriter

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The month of March has seen an increasing number of cyber attacks in North America as war with Iraq looms, says mi2g, a international digital risk company.
Almost 64% of digital attacks this month have been against U.S. and Canadian businesses, with only 21% against European targets. A year previous, Europe and America were being targeted equally.
The report notes that the attacks are political in nature, critical of the U.S. plan to attack Iraq and its abandonment of a U.N. agreement and are not, as was the case a year ago, emanating from Islamic countries. They are coming from Brazil, France, Indonesia, Mexico, Morocco, Romania, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and the U.K
“In comparison to the NATO-Serbia war in 1999, this time around the protest targets have shifted away from government and military organisations towards businesses and economic entities,” says DK Matai, chairman of mi2g. “There is a realization that the soft underbelly of Western economies is represented by the relatively unprotected small to medium size business entities.”
Damage estimates for cyber attacks in March is between US$1.75-$2.14 billion. And so far in 2003, damage from attacks and “malware” such as the “Slammer” worm is pegged at US$16.1-$19.8 billion.
Among the sites hacked this month was The American Academy of Diplomacy, with the phrase “No War” repeated 30 times on the site, amongst other anti-U.S. messages.
The number of attacks on U.S. and U.K. sites remains at an all-time high, and in a trailing 12-month count, the U.S. has seen more than 48,000 attacks, and over 7,600 in the U.K., compared with France at just over 3,0000.
“On the eve of an imminent war with Iraq led by the US and UK, we are advising all American and British businesses to be extra vigilant in terms of blended asymmetric attacks on their offices or outlets anywhere in the world. Such blended attacks could include synchronized physical and/or digital attacks,” says Matai.

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