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Encryption Blog

You Too Can Go To War Without Leaving Home

Created: 15 Aug 2008 • Updated: 05 Nov 2012
Doug McLean's picture
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OK, it may not be as big a news story as Lindsay Lohan's announcing she's converting to Judaism, but I thought the story coming out of embattled Georgia that they have been seeing massive Distributed Denial of Service attacks originating in Russia is interesting. No, not the fact that the Russians clearly view cyberwar as integral part of modern warfare. They proved that LAST year when the Russians brought the 'net infrastructure of Estonia to it's knees in a dispute over a Russian war memorial.

No, what I found interesting is that it's not at all clear who in Russia is orchestrating the attacks. Early reports focused on the Russian military and some shadowy botnet service providers. Now there's speculation that it may simply be a group of patriotic Russian hackers doing their best to defend the motherland. Gary Warner at University of Alabama Birmingham has done some really good research on the topic and has concluded it's mostly a civilian effort.

But, here's the thing in my view, it doesn't really matter if it's the Russian military or a group of patriotic civilians (or both). It's clear that these techniques are going to be an integral part of warfare moving forward and enterprises public and private need to plan for them. Russia has shown the pattern of how to engage their civilian population to pursue military objectives and I think it's safe to assume we're going to see a LOT more of this style of engagement in coming conflicts.