The purpose of an attack
The 3rd Letter in the series Cyberactions

The FBI warned that computer systems could be attacked during New Years Holiday 2001, especially by Denial of Service attacks. In these attacks hackers flood a computer network with hundreds of thousands of requests for data. Such a deluge can shut down a computer system. As most warnings of the FBI this one did also not materialise. 

The threat was traced to hostile governments as well as drug lords, criminal cartels and computer savvy guerrilla groups.
Cyberblitzes that last February briefly knocked out major websites including Yahoo's Internet gateway, eBay's auction service and Amazon.com retail site - could easily be copied on a larger scale. The FBI even said that computer systems are an Achilles heel of cyberspace.

In this way vital services of the rulers can indeed be disturbed. Indeed eBay was knocked out but that happened a year later again (and longer) because of a technical failure in some computers. Indeed the Yahoo site went down. But such interruptions damage a company only slightly. Ordinary users of eBay and Yahoo as you and me are hurt more by such actions.

These actions can be compared to a boycott of an other country that is installed by the rulers. The masses are always hurt most. That is proven by the boycotts of South-Africa and Iraq and will again be proven by the proposed boycott of the Taliban. The elitist leaders of these despicable regimes live on as before, the poor masses lose even the few benefits they had before.

To increase the effect of an action the target has to become more precise. I prefer net actions that disturb the private life of only a few rulers above actions that hurt in the first place the private life of many arbitrary common people.

By the way, the FBI proved to be wrong and probably only said something about possible cyberactions to enhance her own importance. When the FBI is afraid of some activity, try to attack where her vigilance is less. Act independent of the ideas of the rulers.

Joost van Steenis (January 31 2001)


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4. Electronic stalking
To the index of Cyberactions