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18 June 2009

Cybersecurity Official Warns of Botnets for Sale as Hactivists' DOS Attacks Hit Iranian Government

from Security Management by Matthew Harwood

This comment by Philip Reitinger, director of the National Cybersecurity Center at the Department of Homeland Security, is interesting considering what's going on in Iran as the opposition uses digital warfare tactics to bring down government and pro-government Web sites after what many see as a fraudulent election on Friday.

Quoted by Agence France Presse yesterday on the threat malware poses to both government and personal sensitive material, Reitinger spoke about an emergent market for on-demand, pay-as-you-go denial of service attacks (DOS).

"There is certainly a market economy for botnets, where people will buy and sell botted computers, so you could go online and say 'I'd like to launch a denial of service attack against XYZ,' and you could pay money and have that denial of service attack launched."

There's no doubt this capability exists because "hacktivists" the world over are using it to clog Iranian servers and stymie the ability of the Iranian government to get it's message out. Matthew Burton, a contributing editor at the Web site Personal Democracy Forum and a former U.S. intelligence analyst according to Wired.com, reported yesterday that he was able to launch DOS attacks against the "Web sites of Iran's information and justice ministries, and state-sponsored media outlets" by using a push-button tool created by a "developer in San Francisco."

[Finally, something good coming out of San Francisco. - Sarge]

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