Hack Flak: Cyberhacks Up 37 Percent First Quarter

In part because of sentiments pro and con regarding the U.S.-Iraq war, cyberhacks were up 37 percent in the first quarter of 2003, but government-related Websites actually got one percent of the reported hits. That's what Internet Security Systems reported this week, with the 37 percent jump the largest the cybersecurity company has ever recorded, according to E-Commerce Times.

And the exchange of war-related hacking seems to be almost exactly tit-for-tat, the online news journal said. For every anti-war hacker hitting, say, the Arab satellite television network Al-Jazeera's Website, there's a pro-war hacker like the ones who hit the Green Party's Website, after that party posted a page suggesting President Bush should be indicted for war crimes.

The government and various private Internet security concerns have warned in the recent past against hacking on behalf of the war one or the other way, but fat lot of good those warnings did. "We've certainly noticed an increase in hacking the last few weeks ... that was attributable to Iraq war sentiments," Homeland Security Information Analysis and Infrastructure Protection spokesman David Wray told E-Commerce Times.

But interestingly enough, Wray continued, Websites belonging to federal or state government agencies in the U.S. were hit with extremely few hacks. "We actually expected," he said, "we would've been a more frequent target.

ISS said only one percent of the first-quarter hack attacks hit federal or state government sites, while 35 percent hit e-tail sites or servers and 12 percent hit financial services sites. The company also said, however, that Internet users in general were a lot more vigilant in reporting any vulnerabilities or attacks, partly because of cyberterrorism warnings. "Whenever a heightened alert report goes out," said ISS spokesman Pete Allor to E-Commerce Times, "we get more reports."