INGATE

From The Sip Trunking Experts

TMCNet:  Russia-Georgian conflict heralds arrival of iWar

[August 19, 2008]

Russia-Georgian conflict heralds arrival of iWar

(Canadian Press (delayed) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) OTTAWA _ As Russian troops stormed into Georgia this month, they had some novel help from cyber-savvy countrymen who unleashed an assault of their own _ hacking into government and commercial websites.


NATO calls it iWar, and it has the potential to disrupt lives and wreck economies, particularly in Internet-dependent countries like Canada.

The Russian hackers were spectacularly successful to the point that some experts are now predicting that Internet-based attacks could be just as innovative to warfare as the advent of gunpowder.

``It's very easy to cause a lot of trouble using three guys and a laptop,'' said James Appathurai, a spokesman for NATO Secretary-General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer.

NATO foreign ministers, including Canada's David Emerson, meet in Brussels on Tuesday to discuss the fighting in Georgia and possible punishment for Moscow, which claims to have begun a withdrawal.

Russia denies its military was behind last week's three-stage cyber attacks, claiming that ``patriotic'' civilian hackers were simply joining the fray unprompted in taking down Georgian websites.

The denial of service attacks on Georgian government Web sites started just before Russian troops started to move Aug. 8 and were quickly followed much bigger assaults on commercial institutions, including media outlets, using zombie servers. The final stage involved hacking into government Web sites, tampering with them and redirecting traffic to other some times nefarious sites.

An expert in information warfare says it's the first time cyber attacks have been sewn so tightly into a military campaign and used with such overwhelming effect.

``The question that remains is: was it planned or was it something that happened by coincidence _ or was it a bit of both?'' asked Rafal Rohozinski, of the Information Warfare Monitor, a Canadian group that studies iWars.

The patriotic hacker explanation is the most troubling because it represents a ``riot in cyberspace'' _ a kind of chaos governments and militaries would have a tough time anticipating, said Rohozinski.

But the timing of the cyber assaults makes him suspicious.

That the Russians would not admit it was part of their Georgian battle plan isn't surprising because attacks across cyberspace travel through servers in a number of countries, exposing Moscow to possible retaliation, principally from NATO, Rohozinski said.

Chris Corrigan, a retired colonel Canadian tank commander, said Western militaries have faced this kind of threat since the days of radar jamming.

``What makes this different is that the targets are no longer strictly military communications infrastructure and we're now talking about destroying civilian (Internet) sites,'' said Corrigan, who watched the attack on Georgia while training officers in the nearby Ukraine.

Rohozinski describes it as a rapidly evolving field, where even definitions are being refined.

Cyber war refers specifically to assaults on virtual military targets and communications, while iWar is the 21st Century equivalent to the concept of total war, where nothing is off-limits.

The flattening of heavy industries was a key pillar of the Allied strategy to defeat Germany and Japan during the Second World War.

The same kind of economic devastation may no longer require waves of heavy bombers. It might be wrought through targeted virtual attacks on a country's financial system, media and government institutions.

Such attacks are cheap and relatively easy to mount.

Developed nations, especially Canada, face the greatest risk because so much business is conducted and information exchanged online, said Appathurai.

Corrigan, who was the Canadian Forces point man on the Y2K glitch, said militaries and businesses have a lot of ``built-in redundancy'' to withstand attacks, but added the threat is real and geography cannot isolate a nation the way it did in past wars.

Western commanders, who once trained almost exclusively to turn back tanks, troops and bombers, have added repelling Internet assaults to their training regimes.

NATO recently created its own real-world crisis response team to handle calamities in the virtual world.

And not a moment too soon.

Estonia and Lithuania _ two former Soviet republics _ suffered through repeated hacker attacks, which may or may not have been state-sponsored. The latest blitz took place just a few weeks ago and shut down the Lithuanian tax registry office.

The centrepiece of the North Atlantic Alliance is the common defence clause of the NATO charter _ known as Article 5.

It stipulates that an attack on one member is an attack on all members and alliance countries are obligated to respond.

Does that extend to cyber attacks?

Appathurai conceded that Article 5 is ``vaguely worded'' and future interpretations could encompass Internet warfare.

Copyright ? 2008 The Canadian Press

[ Back To SIP Trunking Home's Homepage ]

Loading
Subscribe here for your FREE
SIP TRUNKING enewslettter.

Featured Partner


Featured Whitepapers

SIP Security for the Enterprise
Voice over IP (VoIP) is incorporated into a variety of computer networks, both public and private, and used for everyday transactions and communications among carriers, businesses, government agencies...

Making A Broadband Purchase Decision
Businesses today have many options for broadband connectivity. Clarifying your particular business needs prior to selecting a broadband provider will ensure an optimal match of broadband service to your requirements.

Voice-Optimized Network Delivers Premier Call Experience
Customers equate call quality with business quality. Real-time communication, interpersonal interaction, and the cordial tone of a call center representative can create a positive impression of your business that no email can match.

Featured Case Studies

Business Telecom Expenses Reduced 50%
A small to medium sized company in the midwest was interested in migrating to IP Communications, but in today's economy, they were hesitant to upgrade their communication system due to their perception that the cost would outweigh the benefits.

Multi-State Company Cuts Telecom Costs 50%
A multi-site, multi-state company with extensive monthly long distance fees and toll-free charges did not have adequate broadband for Broadvox SIP Trunking requirements, nor did they have a SIP enabled telephone system.

Discover Leisure Connects Remote Users to its IP-PBX
Discover Leisure is one of the largest resellers of caravans and motor homes in the UK. With 15 branch of?ces all over the country, the company spent a great deal of money every month just on internal phone calls.

Featured eBOOKS

Internet+: The Way Toward Global Unified Communication
Connecting the telephony of the enterprise PBX or Unified Communications (UC) system using SIP trunks instead of conventional telephone lines has been very successful in recent years.

What is SIP Trunking? Edition 2
SIP trunking is becoming more of a focus for service providers. One key issue many service providers face when deploying SIP trunks is NAT, or Network Address Translation, traversal.

What is SIP Trunking? Edition 1
A vast resource for information about all things SIP - including SIP, security, VoIP, SIP trunking and Unified Communications.

Featured Videos

Broadvox VAR Testimonial VAR 1:
Part 1 of the VAR (Value Added Reseller) Partner Program Testimonials for Broadvox...

E-SBCs AS The Demarcation Point:
Ingate's Steve Johnson talks to Erik Linask about the role session border controller plays as the demarcation point at...

Demystifying DPI
How can deep packet inspection protect your SIP traffic as well as your entire network?

Featured Resources

Partner Program Overview:
Over 4,000 VARs, Master Agents, Solution Providers, and Independent IT Professionals trust Broadvox. We offer customized services and solutions to fit seamlessly into any company's business model. And when you partner with Broadvox, every member of our team stands behind you and your customers 100%...

SIP Trunk UC Summit

What's New

Presenting the New Ingate/Intertex Website:
Internet+ is an extended Internet access allowing high quality SIP (Session Initiation Protocol) based real-time person-to-person communication, everywhere and for any application. It applies to both fixed and mobile networks ...

Featured Blogs

Featured Webinars

Secure SIP Trunking:
What You Need to Know

Successfully Deploying Enterprise SIP Trunking:
Tools and Techniques for Overcoming Common Roadblocks

Featured Podcasts

Getting the Most Out of Your SIP Trunks:
Ingate's Steve Johnson and TMC's Erik Linask discuss how best practices forgetting the most out of SIP Trunking services and common pitfalls to avoid.

Featured Datasheets

Ingate SIParator E-SBCs
Adopting SIP is a simple process with the Ingate SIParator, the secure enterprise session border controller (E-SBC). The SIParator makes secure SIP communications - including VoIP,SIP trunking and more - possible while working seamlessly with your existing network firewall.

Ingate Firewalls
Everyone is talking about enterprise usage of VoIP, instant messaging and other types of realtime communications including presence and conferencing.

SIP Trunk Solutions for Service Providers
The award-winning Ingate Firewall and Ingate SIParator deliver a high quality, reliable SIP trunk connection between the customer's IP-PBX and the service provider network, and solve interoperability issues to simplify deployments and support for remote diagnosis of reported issues.