Cyberwar, Or Just a Taste?

Some interesting detail on the Estonian Cyberwar. This ain’t just any old attack. According to Jose Nazario, who works at ARBOR SERT, the attacks peaked a week ago, but aren’t over:

As for how long the attacks have lasted, quite a number of them last under an hour. However, when you think about how many attacks have occurred for some of the targets, this translates into a very long-lived attack. The longest attacks themselves were over 10 and a half hours long sustained, dealing a truly crushing blow to the endpoints.

There’s some older stuff here, from F-Secure, which shows that it’s not (just) a government initiative. And Dr Mils Hills, who works at the Civil Contingencies Secretariat of the UK’s Cabinet Office (a department of government responsible for supporting the prime minister and cabinet), feels that cyberwar may be too strong a term for something that he prefers to label ‘cyber anti-social behaviour’.

Indeed, what surprises him is that such a technologically advanced state — which uses electronic voting, ID cards and laptop-centric cabinet meetings — could so easily be hobbled by such a primitive form of attack, and what implications that holds:

What IS amazing is that a country so advanced in e-government and on-line commercial services has been so easily disrupted. What more sophisticated and painful things might also have already been done? What else does this indicate about e-security across (i) the accession countries to the EU; (ii) NATO and, of course, the EU itself?

Definitely true that this is probably just a little blip on the screen of what is possible, and what governments are capable of doing.

(Definition of Cyberwar from Wikipedia here.)


Want An Email Address With That Birth Certificate?

Not quite clear how this would work, and it sounds a bit gimmicky, but definitely worth a ponder: New Straits Times reports that all babies in the Malaysian state of Perak will be issued with email addresses when they are born:

Newborns in the State will soon be provided not only with birth certificates but also email addresses. The holders will later be able to utilise the facility for various purposes, like applying for jobs.

The move, in what is probably believed to be the first in the country, will be implemented through the “Email4All” project, which is among 25 drawn up under the Perak information communications and technology strategic action plan 2010.

State Education, Multimedia and Human Resources committee chairman Datuk Dr Zambry Kadir said the email addresses would be issued separately from the birth certificate.

(Perak Darul Ridzuan is the second largest state in Peninsular Malaysia.)

This follows an announcement by the Perak government that it will be going paperless in July:

From July, meeting notifications and correspondence between State agencies and departments will be done through email and the short messaging service.

Actually, if the report is to be believed, Perak has gone some way to implementing e-government already:

The Menteri Besar said some departments and agencies were fully computerised, such as the State Town and Country Planning Department, while land applications and quit rent payments could also be done online.

Tajol Rosli said computer usage and penetration in rural areas in the State had increased, especially after the setting up of 54 Internet cafes .

“Even village chiefs are emailing me now,” he said, adding that the ICT push would transform the State’s economy from commodities to knowledge-based industries.

Interesting. Lots of people try this kind of thing, few succeed. Although I have to say getting married in Singapore is pretty much all done online.