CNN reported that Chinese hackers have been attacking US corporate and military web sites as a sign of patriotism. It was also reported by the Washington Post that US Naval web sites were also targeted although there were no sensitive or confidential materials compromised by the hacking. Sites that were reportedly hacked were the Intelligent Direct website (www.zipcodemaps.com), www.Iplexmarin.com, and two sites hosted by the US Navy.
The hackers, calling themselves The Hackers Union of China (www.cnhonkers.com) listed ten web sites hacked in memory of the missing pilot who reportedly crashed during the South China Sea incident involving a US Spy plane.
It occurred to me that this is a new form of warfare. Sure, hacking has been here since the Commodore 64/Compuserve days and even before that. But this is the first time I heard of hackers doing it for their country. Would American hackers take this sitting down? I think not. They are probably planning an attack of their own. An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth, they would say. Where would we stand on this? Support the counter offensive or just dismiss it as geek talk, a sort of heightened Counterstrike game where no one really gets hurt.
But what if push does come to shove. This reminds me of the plot of Wargames where a hacker gets into the NORAD computer and unknowingly geared the country for war. Would it happen now? Despite the safeguards that we have now, there are still a few who managed to slip through and wreck havoc.
Will computer sabotage replace the Scud missiles prevalent during the early nineties? Instead of the Gulf War, it would be the Net War. Modems, Monitors, and keyboards would be the weapons of choice. Dominance over the web would be the prize.
China is a very reclusive country. The Internet is still in its infancy there and is heavily censored. If this is the new battlefield, they would have more of an advantage due to the fact that we have more to lose here than they. I would not be surprised if they just go back to their pen, paper and abacus laughing while they attack and invade the Internet.