For this fourth installment of advice columns aimed at people who are interested in learning more about security as a craft or profession, I reached out to Richard Bejtlich, a prominent security blogger who last year moved from a job… Read More »
With all of the media and public fascination with threats like Stuxnet and weighty terms like “cyberwar,” it’s easy to overlook the more humdrum and persistent security threats, such as Web site (in)security. But none of that should excuse U.S. military leaders from making sure their Web sites aren’t trivially hackable by script kiddies.
In early 2000 — ages ago in Internet time — some of the biggest names in e-commerce were brought to their knees by a brief but massive assault from a set of powerful computers hijacked by a glory-seeking young hacker. The assailant in that case, known online as Mafiaboy, was a high school student from a middle-class suburban area of Canada who was quickly arrested after bragging about his role in the attacks.
It wasn’t long before the antics from novice hackers like Mafiaboy were overshadowed by more discrete attacks from organized cyber criminal gangs, which began using these distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) assaults to extort money from targeted businesses. Fast-forward to today, and although vanity DDoS attacks persist, somehow elements in the news media have begun conflating them with the term “cyberwar,” a vogue but still-squishy phrase that conjures notions of far more consequential, nation-state level conflicts.