Saturday, December 10, 2005

Should We Consider Nazis Potential Terrorists?

The Sober Worm, which was attached to phony e-mails from the FBI and CIA is making a comeback. According to the Washington Post-"The junk traffic generated by Sober has bogged down e-mail systems at some of the nation's largest Internet service providers. For several days last week, subscribers of Microsoft Corp.'s Hotmail and MSN e-mail services experienced long delays in receiving new messages as the company struggled to filter out Sober-generated traffic."

The article also reports that the Sober Worm is the most extensive attack to date and has generated twice the number of quarantined e-mails as the Mydoom Worm (it's closest competitor) did. For the full story by the Washington Post, please read, Sober.X worm makes return.

Meanwhile, "iDefense, cyber security intelligence provider and VeriSign company (Nasdaq: VRSN), reports that the next planned attack of 2005's most prolific e-mail worm family, Sober, is scheduled to start on Jan. 5, 2006 based on commands hard-coded within the worm. The attack date coincides with the 87th anniversary of the founding of the Nazi party. Additionally, the attack could have a significantly detrimental effect on Internet traffic, as e-mail servers are flooded with politically motivated spam e-mails from potentially tens of millions of e-mail addresses.

In addition to the Nazi party anniversary, the Jan. 5 trigger on the Sober variant appears to also be timed to coincide with a major German political convention meeting the next day, Jan. 6. In the past, VeriSign iDefense Security Intelligence Services has seen mass distribution of propaganda timed with political events to increase the worm's notoriety, and help to further circulate it.

In another interesting story this week, the FBI (Louis Reigel, Assistant Director, Cybercrime) is reassuring the public that they believe the originator(s) of the Sober Worm will be caught and that he isn't aware of any major risk by cyberattack from terrorists. Here is the press release on the FBI website, FBI Exec on Cyber Crime.

Meanwhile, Valerie McNiven (who advises the U.S. Treasury in cybercrime) made the statement that the profits from cybercrime have exceeded those of the drug trade. Here is CNet's version of the story, Cybercrime yields more cash than drugs. I hear that other experts are disputing this, but then again, hows does one come to an exact figure? Pretty sure, the people involved in these criminal enterprises don't publish their financial portfolios and make every attempt to conceal where the money is coming from.

Terrorists, organized criminals and now possibly Neo-Nazis seem to be in the mix and according to the FBI, all is well. To my knowledge, the CIA hasn't commented, but they normally don't, at least to the general public. My question is should we Neo-Nazis consider Terrorists?

If Neo Nazis might be terrorists, Sober is the most prolific attack to date and the person(s) behind it are openly mocking both the CIA and FBI (among others) by impersonating them, I fear everything isn't is as well as is being stated.

Terrorism, according to Wikipedia, is the unconventional use of violence for political gain. It is a strategy of using coordinated attacks that fall outside the laws of war commonly understood to represent the bounds of conventional warfare (see also unconventional warfare).

"Terrorist attacks" are usually characterized as "indiscriminate," "targeting of civilians," or executed "with disregard" for human life. The term "terrorism" is often used to assert that the political violence of an enemy is immoral, wanton, and unjustified.

According to definition of terrorism typically used by states, academics, counter-terrorism experts, and non-governmental organizations, "terrorists" are actors who don't belong to any recognized armed forces, or who don't adhere to their rules, and who are therefore regarded as "rogue actors".

Could Neo Nazis be the culprits behind the Sober Worm? To meet the definition of terrorisim (above) there needs to be violence. Sending out malware doesn't meet this standard. On the other hand, Neo Nazis have been associated with violence and often preach it against anyone, who doesn't subscribe to their warped ideals. All one would have to remember is the horror their forefathers (Nazis) unleashed upon the world during the Holocaust.

All things considered, Neo Nazis could be terrorists and probably are capable of committing terrorist acts. According to CourtTV, Timothy McVeigh: The Oklahoma Bomber was a fan of: "The Turner Diaries written by former American Nazi Party honcho William L. Pierce, under the pen name Andrew Macdonald. Its hero responds to gun control by making a truck bomb and blowing up the Washington FBI Building."

According to an article in Wikipedia: "Some investigators contend that Timothy McVeigh and his accomplice Terry Nichols had ties to Islamic terrorism through Ramzi Yousef, a militant who planned the 1993 WTC Bombing, and through a series of meetings with Islamic terror group Abu Sayyaf members in the Philippines. Others suggest he had ties to a radical Christian Identity group call Elohim City near Muldrow, Oklahoma."

I'm certain not everyone will agree with me, but cyber attacks seem to be steadily increasing in scope and technological sophistication. There is mounting evidence that organized criminals, terrorists and now Neo Nazis are using computer technology to further their political and financial agendas. In my humble opinion, we can no longer afford to ignore a problem that threatens the entire world.

Whether we call them fanatics, terrorists, or common criminals, these people threaten the well being of society at large and in the end, our freedom. The time to decide we won't tolerate this is now!

1 comment:

prying1 said...

Great post as usual Ted - I would add a few words but you've said it all!