Saturday, October 20, 2007

War Games Die Hard

"War Games" was my favorite movie as a kid. The idea that anyone with a modem can change his school marks, or start a thermonuclear war, blew me away.

I just started watching "Die Hard 4", the latest Bruce Willis action flick (don't worry, no spoilers), when a credit blinked before my eyes, and I had to rewind and read it again: "Based on the article 'A Farewell to Arms' by John Carlin".

A couple of seconds later, I found the link to the article. Fascinating material, written in 1997, it predicts a total war, waged entirely through computers, bring the enemy to its knees - without firing a single shot.

Frighteningly enough, it predicted what would happen 10 years later:
In April this year, Estonia, a small country in East Europe, decided to remove a Russian monument from it's capital. For 2 weeks after that, the country was put under massive DDOS (Distributed Denial of Service) and other net attacks, shutting down main banks, infrastructure and communication. Russia was involved, but later, NATO security experts found that several crime organizations and suspected terrorists took part in this attacks. But above all, this proved that the nightmare described in Carlin's article can become true: a country can be shut down by harming its network and communications. Read more about the Estonia attacks here.

I shudder to think what a similar attack on the US would cause. Think about the "Millennium Bug", only with bad guys with something to gain...

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