Sydney, Oct. 29 (Reuters): Pro-Islamic hackers are on the frontline of a potential new cyber war after the end of a ceasefire by “hacktivists” and virus designers that followed the September 11 attacks on the United States, Internet experts say.
Pro-Islamic hackers are escalating attacks against countries backing the US war on terror and its campaign against Iraq, while the “Bugbear” worm and last week’s strike on the Internet backbone signal that cyber villains are again on the prowl.
London-based computer security firm mi2g said today that October had already qualified as the worst month for overt digital attacks since its records began in 1995, with an estimated 16,559 attacks carried out on systems and websites.
The firm which advises banks, insurance and reinsurance firms on security said politically motivated attacks had risen “sharply”.
”We have noticed that more and more Islamic interest hacking groups are beginning to rally under a common anti-U.S., UK, Australia, anti-India and anti-Israeli agenda,” it said.
According to the zone-H database, an independent site which monitors hacker activity, politically motivated website defacements make up around 11 percent of the total.
Most hacking is attributable to “script kiddies” from Brazil to Germany “bragging and strutting”, said Dean White, the SANS Institute Internet Storm Center coordinator for the Asia Pacific.
But real-life events like the September 11 anniversary, simmering violence in Israel, bombs in the Philippines or the October 12 blasts that killed 180 people on Indonesia’s island of Bali all could be expected to serve as inspirations on the Web.
“We were saying we have to be ready and we have to be prepared, it’s been quiet for too long, there’s going to be something around the corner,” White said.
Of the hacking groups active in October, three were pro-Islamic, according to mi2g.
One of them is the “UNIX Security Guards” (USG), a “macro” hacking group formed in May this year and believed to be composed of other smaller entities. USG increased the number of attacks it carried out in September tenfold to 207 from 21 in August. By October 27, USG boasted 1,511 attacks for that month alone, mi2g said.
The zone-H database notes that most of USG’s attacks involve mass defacements.