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Mutually assured destruction in cyberspace

Mutually assured destruction in cyberspace
Mutually assured destruction in cyberspace 

By Victor Mallet
August 21 2008

The crisis in Georgia has not only stoked fears of a belligerent Russia. 
It has also served as a reminder that a new style of warfare - 
potentially as devastating as those that terrified previous generations
- is almost upon us: cyberwar.

Before Russia invaded Georgia, co-ordinated attacks were launched 
against Georgian government websites, leaving internet servers 
overloaded and disabled.

This was not the first or the most damaging attack in cyberspace on a 
sovereign nation by agents suspected of working for another, although it 
is believed to be the first to coincide with an actual war. Russia was 
also blamed for a 2007 cyber-assault on Estonia, which asked Nato for 

However, neither Russian computer interference with its neighbours nor 
Georgian retaliation should overshadow the greater danger to peace posed 
by a possible cyberwar pitting China against the west.

As early as 2003, China tested the vulnerability of US military computer 
networks in a sophisticated operation called "Titan Rain" by the US. In 
2007, China hacked into a Pentagon network serving the office of Robert 
Gates, defence secretary.


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