How Should We Handle the Possibility of Cyber Attacks?

With Internet increasingly growing in technological capability and sheer number of users, the threat of Internet based cyber attacks is on the rise. With groups spanning countries, groups with different political and ideological affiliations, the idea of how to defend against a possible cyber attack is becoming more real.

This was recently made painfully obvious by a so called "cyber attack," by the concentrated efforts of a group of Koreans, angry at some comments made on the popular Japanese web site "2 Channel," regarding figure skater Kim Yu Na. Kim won the gold medal in the women's figure skating, while the Japanese figure skater, Mao Asada, came in a distant second. 2 Channel is a popular forum based web site in Japan. Due to the anonymity of the Internet, it is not uncommon to find racially motivated and nationalistic diatribes by some users.

The trouble began when some anonymous posters on the Japanese web site "2 Channel" made some statements alluding to Kim winning her gold medal through bribery rather than skill. People In South Korea didn't take too kindly to this insult to their national hero, and decided to launch a counter attack against the Japanese web site. An Internet group was formed specifically to launch this "attack."

As reported on Japantoday.com, a widely read source of news in Japan, up to 10,000 South Korean Internet users simultaneously posted messages on the web site, overloading it with traffic and shutting it down. The question is, did they break any laws? Should this be considered International terrorism? What if they had launched their cyber attack on a website with more significance than an opinion forum?

With the Internet increasing it's size and technology on a daily basis, the possibility of any cyber attack is increasing as well. In another recent case, a highly skilled Internet user hacked into the computer which controlled a large video billboard in Moscow. During rush hour traffic, the billboard suddenly began showing adult movies, causing massive traffic, and at least one heart attack.

As technology advances, so will holes in the system that can be exploited for financial gain, political motives, or just for fun. With your own computer, it's important to keep this in mind while surfing the Internet.

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