The conflict over Kosovo has been characterized as the first war on
the Internet. Government and non-government actors alike used the
Net to disseminate information, spread propaganda, demonize opponents,
and solicit support for their positions. Hackers used it to voice
their objections to both Yugoslav and NATO aggression by disrupting
service on government computers and taking over their Web sites. Individuals
used it to tell their stories of fear and horror inside the conflict
zone, while activists exploited it to amplify their voices and reach
a wide, international audience. And people everywhere used it to discuss
the issues and share text, images, and video clips that were not available
through other media. In April, the Los Angeles Times wrote that the
Kosovo conflict was "turning cyberspace into an ethereal war zone
where the battle for the hearts and minds is being waged through the
use of electronic images, online discussion group postings, and hacking
attacks."1 Anthony Pratkanis, professor of psychology at the University
of California, Santa Cruz, and author of Age of Propaganda: The Everyday
Use and Abuse of Persuasion, observed, "What you're seeing now is
just the first round of what will become an important, highly sophisticated
tool in the age-old tradition of wartime propaganda.... The war strategists
should be worried about it, if they aren't yet."
Just how much impact did
the Internet have on foreign policy decisions relating the war?
It clearly had a part in the political discoursetaking place, and
it was exploited by activists seeking to alter foreign policy decisions.
It also impacted military decisions. While NATO targeted Serb media
outlets carrying Milosovic's propaganda, it intentionally did not
bomb Internet service providers or shut down the satellite links
bringing the Internet to Yugoslavia. Policy instead was to keep
the Internet open. James P. Rubin, spokesman for the U.S. State
Department, said "Full and open access to the Internet can only
help the Serbian people know the ugly truth about the atrocities
and crimes against humanity being perpetrated in Kosovo by the Milosevic
regime."2 Indirectly, the Internet may have also affected public
support for the war, which in turn might have affected policy decisions
made during the course of the conflict.
The purpose of this paper
is to explore how the Internet is altering the landscape of political
discourse and advocacy, with particular emphasis on how it is used
by those wishing to influence foreign policy. Emphasis is on actions
taken by nonstate actors, including both individuals and organizations,
but state actions are discussed where they reflect foreign policy
decisions triggered by the Internet. The primary sources used in
the analysis are news reports of incidents and events. These are
augmented with interviews and survey data where available. A more
scientific study would be useful.
The paper is organized around
three broad classes of activity: activism, hacktivism, and cyberterrorism.
The first category, activism, refers to normal, non-disruptive use
of the Internet in support of an agenda or cause. Operations in
this area includes browsing the Web for information, constructing
Web sites and posting materials on them, transmitting electronic
publications and letters through e-mail, and using the Net to discuss
issues, form coalitions, and plan and coordinate activities. The
second category, hacktivism, refers to the marriage of hacking and
activism. It covers operations that use hacking techniques against
a target=s Internet site with the intent of disrupting normal operations
but not causing serious damage. Examples are Web sit-ins and virtual
blockades, automated e-mail bombs, Web hacks, computer break-ins,
and computer viruses and worms. The final category, cyberterrorism,
refers to the convergence of cyberspace and terrorism. It covers
politically motivated hacking operations intended to cause grave
harm such as loss of life or severe economic damage. An example
would be penetrating an air traffic control system and causing two
planes to collide. There is a general progression toward greater
damage and disruption from the first to the third category, although
that does not imply an increase of political effectiveness. An electronic
petition with a million signatures may influence policy more than
an attack that disrupts emergency 911 services.
Although the three categories
of activity are treated separately, the boundaries between them
are somewhat fuzzy. For example, an e-mail bomb may be considered
hacktivism by some and cyberterrorism by others. Also, any given
actor may conduct operations across the spectrum. For example, a
terrorist might launch viruses as part of a larger campaign of cyberterrorism,
all the while using the Internet to collect information about targets,
coordinate action with fellow conspirators, and publish propaganda
on Web sites. Thus, while the paper distinguishes activists, hacktivists,
and terrorists, an individual can play all three roles.
The following sections discuss
and give examples of activity in each of these three areas. The
examples are drawn from the Kosovo conflict, cryptography policy,
human rights in China, support for the Mexican Zapatistas, and other
areas of conflict. The examples are by no means exhaustive of all
activity in any of these areas, but intended only to be illustrative.
Nevertheless, they represent a wide range of players, targets, and
The main conclusion of the
paper is that the Internet can be an effective tool for activism,
especially when it is combined with other communications media,
including broadcast and print media and face-to-face meetings with
policy makers. It can benefit individuals and small groups with
few resources as well as organizations and coalitions that are large
or well-funded. It facilitates activities such as educating the
public and media, raising money, forming coalitions across geographical
boundaries, distributing petitions and action alerts, and planning
and coordinating events on a regional or international level. It
allows activists in politically repressive states to evade government
censors and monitors.
With respect to hacktivism
and cyberterrorism, those who engage in such activity are less likely
to accomplish their foreign policy objectives than those who do
not employ disruptive and destructive techniques. They may feel
a sense of empowerment, because they can control government computers
and get media attention, but that does not mean they will succeed
in changing policy. The main effect is likely to be a strengthening
of cyberdefense policies, both nationally and internationally, rather
than accommodation to the demands of the actors.
The Internet offers a powerful
tool for communicating and coordinating action. It is inexpensive
to use and increasingly pervasive, with an estimated 201 million
on-line as of September 1999.3 Groups of any size, from two to millions,
can reach each other and use the Net to promote an agenda. Their
members and followers can come from any geographical region on the
Net, and they can attempt to influence foreign policy anywhere in
the world. This section describes five modes of using the Internet:
collection, publication, dialogue, coordination of action, and direct
lobbying of decision makers. While treated separately, the modes
are frequently used together and many of the examples described
here illustrate multiple modes.
One way of viewing the Internet
is as a vast digital library. The World Wide Web alone offers about
a billion pages of information, and much of the information is free.
Activists may be able to locate legislative documents, official
policy statements, analyses and discussions about issues, and other
items related to their mission. They may be able to find names and
contact information for key decision makers inside the government
or governments they ultimately hope to influence. They may be able
to identify other groups and individuals with similar interests,
and gather contact information for potential supporters and collaborators.
There are numerous tools that help with collection, including search
engines, e-mail distribution lists, and chat and discussion groups.
Many Web sites offer their own search tools for extracting information
from databases on their sites.
One advantage of the Internet
over other media is that it tends to break down barriers erected
by government censors. For example, after Jordanian officials removed
an article from 40 print copies of the Economist on sale in Jordan,
a subscriber found a copy on-line, made photocopies, and faxed it
to 1,000 Jordanians. According to Daoud Kuttab, head of the Arabic
Media Internal Network (AMIA), the government would have been better
off leaving the print version intact. "We found this very exciting,"
he said. "For the first time the traditional censorship that exists
within national borders was bypassed." Kuttab said AMIA opened Jordanian
journalists to the non-Arab world and use of the Web as a research
tool. "In the Jordanian media, we have been able to detect a much
more open outlook to the world as well as to Arab issues," he said.4
The Internet itself is not
free of government censorship. According to Reporters Sans Frontiers,
45 countries restrict their citizens' access to the Internet, typically
by forcing them to subscribe to a state-run Internet service provider,
which may filter out objectionable sites.5 Authoritarian regimes
recognize the benefits of the Internet to economic growth, but at
the same time feel threatened by the unprecedented degree of freedom
Chinese authorities block
access to Web sites that are considered subversive to government
objectives. This has been only partially effective, however, and
Chinese activists have found ways of slipping information past the
controls. For example, the editors of VIP Reference, a Washington-based
electronic magazine with articles and essays about democratic and
economic evolution inside China, e-mails their electronic newsletter
directly to addresses inside mainland China. The e-mail is sent
from a different address every day to get past e-mail blocks. It
is also delivered to random addresses, compiled from commercial
and public lists, so that recipients can deny having deliberately
subscribed. As of January, about 250,000 people received the pro-democracy
publication, including people inside the government who did not
want it. Chinese officials were not, however, complacent. When 30-year-old
Shanghai software entrepreneur Lin Hai sold 30,000 e-mail addresses
to VIP Reference, he was arrested and later sentenced to two years
in prison. In addition, authorities fined him 10,000 yuan (HK$9,300)
and confiscated his computer equipment and telephone. Lin was said
to be the first person convicted in China for subversive use of
the Internet. He claimed he was only trying to drum up business
and was not politically active.6
During the Kosovo conflict,
people in Yugoslavia had full access to the Internet, including
Western news sites. The Washington Post reported that according
to U.S. and British officials, the government controlled all four
Internet access providers in Yugoslavia and kept them open for the
purpose of spreading disinformation and propaganda. The Post also
said that Belgrade, with a population of 1.5 million, had about
100,000 Internet connections in mid-April.7 Individuals without
their own connections could get access at Internet cafes.
Even though Serbs had access
to Western news reports, both through the Internet and through satellite
and cable television, many did not believe what they saw and heard
from Western media. They considered coverage on Western television
stations such as CNN and Sky News to be as biased as that on the
Yugoslav state-run station, citing instances when Western reports
of Serbian atrocities turned out to be wrong. Alex Todorovic, a
Serbian-American who spent time in Belgrade during the conflict
observed, "By and large, Serbs mistrust the rest of the world=s
media. CNN, for example, is considered the official voice of Washington."8
Some Yugoslav surfers did not even bother looking at Western news
sites on the Internet. When asked if she visited Web sites of Western
news stations, one 22-year-old student replied, "No, I don=t believe
in their information, so why should I upset myself?"9 Thus, it is
not clear that the decision on the part of either Milosovic or NATO
to keep the Internet open in Yugoslavia undermined Milosovic=s objectives.
Further, given that people living in Yugoslavia personally witnessed
and felt the effects of the NATO bombing and either disbelieved
reports or heard little about Serb atrocities against the ethnic
Albanians in Kosovo, it is not surprising that an anti-NATO discourse
ran throughout Belgrade. As one pharmacist observed, "I have two
children. The people who are bombing my kids are my only enemy right
In addition to information
relating to a particular policy issue, the Web offers cyberactivists
various information that can help them use the Net effectively.
For example, NetAction offers a training guide for the virtual activist.
The guide provides information on the use of e-mail for outreach,
organizing, and advocacy; Web-based outreach and advocacy tools;
membership and fundraising; netiquette and policy issues; and various
The Internet offers several
channels whereby advocacy groups and individuals can publish information
(and disinformation) to further policy objectives. They can send
it through e-mail and post it to newsgroups. They can create their
own electronic publications or contribute articles and essays to
those of others. They can put up Web pages with documents, images,
audio and video clips, and other types of information. The Web sites
can serve as a gathering place and source of information for supporters,
potential supporters, and onlookers.
One reason the Internet is
popular among activists is its cost advantage over traditional mass
media. It is easier and cheaper to post a message to a public forum
or put up a Web site than it is to operate a radio or television
station or print a newspaper. Practically anyone can afford to be
a publisher. In addition, the reach of the Internet is global. A
message can potentially reach millions of people at no additional
cost to the originator. Further, activists can control their presentation
to the world. They decide what is said and how. They do not have
to rely on the mass media to take notice and tell their story "right."
During the Kosovo conflict,
organizations and individuals throughout the world used their Web
sites to publish information related to the conflict and, in some
cases, to solicit support. Non-government organizations with Kosovo-related
Web pages included the press, human rights groups, humanitarian
relief organizations, churches, and women=s groups.
Government Web sites on Kosovo
tended to feature propaganda and materials that supported their
official policies. An exception was the U.S. Information Agency
Web site, which presented a survey of news stories from around the
world, some of which were critical of NATO actions.12 Jonathan Spalter,
USIA Chief Information Officer, commented that "The measure of our
success is the extent to which we are perceived not as propaganda
The British government's
Foreign Office used their Web site, in part, to counter Serb propaganda.
Concerned that the Yugoslav public was getting a highly distorted
view of the war, Foreign Secretary Robin Cook posted a message on
their Web site intended for the Serbs. The message said that Britain
has nothing against the Serbs, but was forced to act by the scale
of Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic's brutality.14 British
Defense Secretary George Robertson said the Ministry of Defence
(MoD) had translated its Web site into Serbian to counter censorship
by Belgrade of the news.15
The Yugoslav media was controlled
by the Serbian government and served to promote Milosevic's policies.
Yugoslavia had an independent, pro-democracy radio station, B92,
but it was raided by the police in the early days of the Kosovo
conflict and turned over to a government-appointed station manager.16
B92 had had a run-in with the government earlier in late 1996 when
government jammers tried to keep it from airing news broadcasts.
At that time, however, B92 prevailed, in part by encoding their
news bulletins in RealAudio format and posting them on a Web site
in Amsterdam. Radio Free Europe acquired tapes of the news programs
and rebroadcasted them back to the Serbs, circumventing the jammers,
who then gave up.17 But when the government took over B92's facility
in 1999, B92's then-managers ceded to the government and also discontinued
posting materials on their Web site, which had offered viewers a
reliable source of information about the conflict. This was considered
a great loss to Yugoslavia's pro-democracy movement and general
public, which had rallied behind Belgrade's top-rated news station.
A few individuals inside
Yugoslavia posted to the Internet first-hand accounts of events
as they were being witnessed or shortly thereafter. Their stories
told of fear and devastation, the latter caused not only by the
Serb military, but also by NATO bombs. By all accounts, the situation
inside Yugoslavia was horrible for citizens everywhere, whether
Serbian or ethnic Albanian. The stories may have inspired activists
and influenced public opinion, but it is not clear what if any impact
they had on government decision making.
New-media artists used to
the Web to voice their opinions on the Balkans conflict. In late
March, artist and high-school teacher Reiner Strasser put up a site
called Weak Blood, which featured works of visual poetry, kinetic
imagery, and interactive art, all making an anti-violence statement.
Strasser vowed to add one or two pieces a day "as long as bombs
are falling and humans are massacred" in the region.18
Some Serbs with Internet
access sent e-mails to American news organizations calling for an
end to the NATO bombing. Many of the messages contained heated rhetoric
that was anti-NATO and anti-U.S. One letter directed to the Associated
Press ended, "To be a Serb now is to be helpless ... to listen to
the euphemistic and hypocritic phrases as 'peace-making mission,'
moral imperative." Other messages contained human stories about
how their lives were affected. Tom Reid, London correspondent to
the Washington Post, said he received 30-50 messages a day from
professors at universities and activists all over Yugoslavia. The
general tenor of the messages was all the same, "'Please remember
there are human beings under your bombs,'" he said.19 The Serbs
used e-mail distribution lists to reach tens of thousands of users,
mostly in the United States, with messages attacking the NATO bombing
campaign. One message read AIn the last nine days, NATO barbarians
have bombed our schools, hospitals, bridges, killed our people but
that was not enough for them now they have started to destroy our
culture monuments which represents the core of existence of our
nation.@ Most recipients were annoyed by this unwanted "spam," which
the Wall Street Journal dubbed AYugospam.@20
Dennis Longley, a professor
in the Information Security Research Centre at Australia's Queensland
University of Technology, said they received a suspicious e-mail
from Serbia. The message had two paragraphs. The first was the usual
friendly greetings, while the second was a rant about NATO that
read like pure propaganda, characterizing NATO as a "terrorist organization"
that "brought nothing but a gigantic humanitarian disaster to Kosovo,"
while attributing the cause of the problem to "albanian terrorist
and separatist actions, not the repression by the government security
forces." The second paragraph exhibited a style unlike the first
and a standard of English well below that of the sender, leading
them to speculate that Serb authorities had modified the e-mail.21
If that is so, one is left wondering how much other anti-NATO talk
hitting the Net was the work of the government.
Of course, not all of the
messages coming out of the Balkans were anti-NATO. Shortly after
the Kosovo conflict began, I found myself on a list called "kcc-news,"
operated by the Kosova [sic] Crisis Center from the Internet domain
"alb-net.com." The messages included Human Rights Flashes from Human
Rights Watch, Action Alerts from the Kosova Task Force,22 and other
appeals for support in the war against the Serbs. One message contained
a flier calling for "sustained air strikes until total Serb withdrawal"
and "ground troops to STOP GENOCIDE now." The flier included links
to Web pages that documented Serb atrocities and aggression.
Even though the Yugoslav
government did not prohibit Internet activity, fear of government
reprisals led some to post their messages through anonymous remailers
so they could not be identified. This allowed for a freer discourse
on Internet discussion groups and contributed to the spread of information
about the situation inside Belgrade and Kosovo. Microsoft Corp.
initiated a section called "Secret Dispatches from Belgrade" on
the Web site of their online magazine Slate. An anonymous correspondent
gives daily reports of both alleged Serb atrocities and civilian
suffering inflicted by NATO bombs.23
After human rights organizations
expressed concern that the Yugoslav government might be monitoring
Internet activity and cracking down on anyone expressing dissenting
views, Anonymizer Inc., a provider of anonymous Web browsing and
e-mail services, launched the Kosovo Privacy Project Web site. The
site, which went on-line in April, offered surfers anonymous e-mail
and instant, anonymous access to Voice of America, Radio Free Europe,
and about 20 other Web sites. According to Federal Computer Week,
Anonymizer planned to add NATO and other Western government information
sites to the Kosovo list, and to launch similar projects for human
rights situations in other parts of the world, for example, China.24
However, the effectiveness of the Kosovo project was never established.
In August, USA Today reported that activists said the project was
little noticed inside Kosovo, where traditional media seemed unaware
while the fighting knocked out Internet trunk lines in short order.25
The Internet has raised numerous
policy issues in such areas as privacy, encryption, censorship,
electronic commerce, international trade, intellectual property
protection, taxation, Internet governance, cybercrime, and information
warfare, all of which have a foreign policy dimension. As the issues
surfaced and took on some urgency, existing industry and public-interest
groups began to address them. In addition, both national and international
advocacy groups sprung up specifically devoted to Internet issues.
They all operate Web sites, where they publish policy papers and
information about issues, events, and membership. Many also send
out e-mail newsletters and alerts.
In the area of encryption
policy, for example, the major players include Americans for Computer
Privacy (ACP), the Center for Democracy and Technology (CDT), Cyber-Rights
& Cyber Liberties, the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), the
Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC), the Global Internet
Liberty Campaign (GILC), and the Internet Privacy Coalition. The
ACP has perhaps the largest group of constituents, being composed
of 40 trade associations, over 100 companies, and more than 3,000
individual members.26 GILC is one of the most global, with member
organizations from Europe, North America, Australia, and Asia.
In July 1999, nine leading
U.S.-based Internet companies joined forces to become the voice
of the Internet on issues such as privacy, consumer protection,
and international trade. The industry group, called NetCoalition.com,
includes America Online, Amazon.com, eBay, Lycos, Yahoo!, DoubleClick,
Excite@Home, Inktomi, and Theglobe.com. The companies represent
7 of the top 10 Internet sites and more than 90% of the world=s
Internet users visit one of the sites at least once a month. The
group plans to focus on 150 Internet-related bills that were introduced
The Internet is used extensively
as a publication medium by hackers (including hacktivists) and terrorists.
Hackers publish electronic magazines and put up Web sites with software
tools and information about hacking, including details about vulnerabilities
in popular systems (e.g., Microsoft Windows) and how they can be
exploited, programs for cracking passwords, software packages for
writing computer viruses, and scripts for disabling or breaking
into computer networks and Web sites. In March 1997, an article
in the New York Times reported that there were an estimated 1,900
Web sites purveying hacking tips and tools, and 30 hacker publications.28
Terrorist groups use the
Internet to spread propaganda. Back in February 1998, Hizbullah
was operating three Web sites: one for the central press office
(www.hizbollah.org), another to describe its attacks on Israeli
targets (www.moqawama.org), and the third for news and information
(www.almanar.com.lb).29 That month, Clark Staten, executive director
of the Emergency Response & Research Institute (ERRI) in Chicago,
testified before a U.S. Senate subcommittee that "even small terrorist
groups are now using the Internet to broadcast their message and
misdirect/misinform the general population in multiple nations simultaneously."
He gave the subcommittee copies of both domestic and international
messages containing anti-American and anti-Israeli propaganda and
threats, including a widely distributed extremist call for Ajihad@
(holy war) against America and Great Britain.30 In June 1998, U.S.
News & World Report noted that 12 of the 30 groups on the U.S. State
Department=s list of terrorist organizations are on the Web. As
of August 1999, it appears that virtually every terrorist group
is on the Web, along with a mishmash of freedom fighters, crusaders,
propagandists, and mercenaries.31 Forcing them off the Web is impossible,
because they can set up their sites in countries with free-speech
laws. The government of Sri Lanka, for example, banned the separatist
Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, but they have not even attempted
to take down their London-based Web site.32
The Internet offers several
venues for dialogue and debate on policy issues. These include e-mail,
newsgroups, Web forums, and chat. Discussions can be confined to
closed groups, for example through e-mail, as well as open to the
public. Some media sites offer Web surfers the opportunity to comment
on the latest stories and current issues and events. Government
officials and domain experts may be brought in to serve as catalysts
for discussion, debate issues, or answer questions. Discussion can
even take place on Web sites that themselves lack such facilities.
Using Gooey software from the Israeli company Hypernix, for example,
visitors to a Web site can chat with other Gooey users currently
at the site.33
Internet discussion forums
are frequently used to debate, blast, and maybe even attempt to
influence government policies. Encryption policy, for example, is
discussed on the e-mail lists "cypherpunks" and "ukcrypto"
and on several newsgroups, including alt.privacy and sci.crypt.
The ukcrypto list created
was created in early 1996 by two academics, Ross Anderson (Cambridge)
and Paul Leyland (Oxford), and one person then in government, Brian
Gladman (NATO SHAPE), who was acting outside his official capacity.
Motivated by a concern that a lack of public discussion and debate
in the United Kingdom on cryptography issues was allowing the government
to set policies that they believed were not in interests of the
United Kingdom and its citizens, they formed the list with the objective
of impacting cryptography policy. They were concerned both with
domestic policy, particularly proposals to restrict the use of cryptography
by U.K. citizens, and on foreign policy, particularly export controls.
As of May 1999, the list has 300 subscribers, including government
officials responsible for U.K.policy and persons in other countries,
including the United States. Many of the key contributors held influential
positions in other policy making fora. Focus is on U.K. policy issues,
but items of international interest are also discussed, including
export controls adopted under the Wassenaar Arrangement (31 countries
participate); policy changes adopted by France, the United States,
and other countries; policy statements from the European Union and
other organizations; and some technical issues.34
Gladman believes the list
has made four contributions: 1) educating many about the policy
issues and encouraging journalists and writers to write about them;
2) bringing individual and industry views closer together and allowing
U.K. industry to see more clearly that agreeing with their government
may not be a good thing if private citizens do not support government
policy; 3) encouraging the more progressive voices in government
to speak out and argue from within government that their views represent
those of the public; and 4) bringing groups together that were previously
campaigning separately. "The most significant contribution of ukcrypto
is not direct," Gladman said. "It is the contribution that it has
made in promoting an educated community of commentators and a forum
for the review of what government is doing that is fully open."
On the downside, some postings
on ukcrypto may alienate the very government officials the authors
hope to influence. According to Gladman, Adiscussions on the list
can become slinging matches that quickly put those in government
on the defensive and hence inclined to discount what is being said.
It would be more effective if we had a way of focusing on the issues
and not the personalities.@35 But Andrew Brown gave ukcrypto high
marks, crediting it with most of the thought and co-ordination behind
the successful campaign to keep strong cryptography legal and widely
available. "There, for the past two years, the civil servants responsible
for policy have actually been available, more or less, to the people
who disagree with them," he wrote in New Statesman. "They have had
to justify their actions, not to the public, but to a small group
of geographically dispersed experts ... It's a kind of updated version
of Lions v Christians."36
Nigel Hickson, one of the
principal players in the policy debates from the U.K. Department
of Trade and Industry, agrees the Internet and ukcrypto in particular
have played a role in shaping U.K. cryptography policy.37 But he
was also critical of the list: "Whilst ukcyrpto has undoubtedly
had an influence on the development of UK encryption policy, it
has tended to polarise the debate into extremes. This may be because
there tends to be a large silent majority on the list who do not
directly contribute because o f commercial or policy reasons."38
Besides participating in ukcrypto, the DTI has published draft consultation
documents on the Web for comment. Many of the comments they receive
arrive through electronic mail. DTI has also met with industry groups
and participated in non-Internet forums such as conferences and
seminars. These have also helped shape policy decisions.
There are Usenet newsgroups
and other interactive forums that focus on practically every conceivable
topic relating to foreign (and domestic) policy. Whether these are
effective or not in terms of influencing policy is another matter.
After studying the impact of the Net on the American political system,
Richard Davis, a political science professor at Brigham Young University
and author of The Web of Politics, observed that "In Usenet political
discussions, people talk past one another, when they are not verbally
attacking each other. The emphasis is not problem solving, but discussion
dominance."39 Davis also found interactivity on the Internet to
be primarily an illusion: "Interest groups, party organizations,
and legislators seek to use the Web for information dissemination,
but they are rarely interested in allowing their sites to become
forums for the opinions of others."40
Coordination of Action
Advocacy groups can use the
Internet to coordinate action among members and with other organizations
and individuals. Action plans can be distributed by e-mail or posted
on Web sites. Services are cheaper than phone and fax (although
these services can also be delivered through the Internet), and
faster than physical delivery (assuming Internet services are operating
properly, which is not always the case). The Internet lets people
all over the world coordinate action without regard to constraints
of geography or time. They can form partnerships and coalitions
or operate independently.
One Web site was created
to help activists worldwide coordinate and locate information about
protests and meetings. According to statements on Protest.Net, the
Web site serves "to help progressive activists by providing a central
place where the times and locations of protests and meetings can
be posted." The site=s creator said he hoped it would "help resolve
logistical problems that activists face in organizing events with
limited resources and access to mass media."41 The site features
news as well as action alerts and information about events.
The power of the Internet
to mobilize activists is illustrated by the arrest of Kurdish rebel
leader Abdullah Ocalan. According to Michael Dartnell, a political
science professor at Concordia University, when Turkish forces arrested
Ocalan, Kurds around the world responded with demonstrations within
a matter of hours. He attributed the swift action in part to the
Internet and Web. "They responded more quickly than governments
did to his arrest," he said. Dartnell contends the Internet and
advanced communication tools were changing the way people around
the world play politics. Anti-government groups are establishing
alliances and coalitions that might not have existed before the
technology was introduced.42
The force of the Internet
is further illustrated by the day of protest against business that
took place on June 18, 1999. The protests, which were set up to
coincide with a meeting of the G8 in Cologne, Germany, was coordinated
by a group called J18 from a Web site inviting people to plan individual
actions focusing on disrupting "financial centres, banking districts
and multinational corporate power bases." Suggested activity included
marches, rallies, and hacking. In London, up to 2,000 anti-capitalists
coursed through the city shouting slogans and spray-painting buildings.43
According to the Sunday Times, teams of hackers from Indonesia,
Israel, Germany, and Canada attacked the computers of at least 20
companies, including the Stock Exchange and Barclays. More than
10,000 attacks were launched over a 5-hour period.44
During the Kosovo conflict,
the Kosova Task Force used the Internet to distribute action plans
to Muslims and supporters of Kosovo. A March 31 Action Alert, for
example, asked people to organize rallies in solidarity with Kosovo
at local federal buildings and city halls on April 3 at 11:00 AM;
organize public funeral prayers; make and encourage others to make
daily calls or send e-mail to the White House asking for Kosovo
independence, sustained air strikes until total Serb withdrawal
from Kosovo, and arming of ethnic Albanians in Kosovo; and make
and encourage others to make calls to their Representatives and
Senators. An April 18 alert asked every community in the U.S. to
establish a Kosova Room for action and information. Each room was
to be equipped with a bank of phones for making 1,000 calls to the
White House and Congress in support of resolution #HCR 9, calling
for independence of Kosovo.
The International Campaign
to Ban Landmines (ICBL), a loose coalition of over 1,300 groups
from more than 75 countries, has made extensive use of the Internet
in their efforts to stop the use, production, stockpiling, and transfer
of antipersonnel landmines, and to increase international resources
for humanitarian mine clearance and victim assistance. According
to ICBL=s Liz Bernstein, the Net has been the dominant form of communication
since 1996.45 It has been used to coordinate events and committee
functions, distribute petitions and action alerts, raise money,
and educate the public and media. Although most direct lobbying
is done through face-to-face meetings and letters, e-mail has facilitated
communications with government policy makers. Bernstein said the
Net Ahas helped the nature of the campaign as a loose coalition,
each campaign setting their own agenda yet with common information
and communication.@46 Ken Rutherford, co-founder of Land Mine Survivors
Network, noted that the Internet also helped establish bridges from
North America and Europe to Asia and Africa, and helped enable quick
adoption of the 1997 landmine treaty.47 It became international
law on March 1, 1999 and, as of September 16,1999, has been signed
by 135 countries and ratified by 86. In 1997, the Nobel Peach Prize
was awarded to the ICBL and its then coordinator, Jody Williams.48
Human rights workers increasingly
use the Internet to coordinate their actions against repressive
governments. One tool that has become important in their battles
is encryption, as it allows activists to protect communications
and stored information from government interception. Human rights
activists in Guatemala, for example, credited their use of Pretty
Good Privacy (PGP) with saving the lives of witnesses to military
abuses.49 Encryption is not the ultimate solution, however, as governments
can outlaw its use and arrest those who do not comply.
PGP was originally developed
by a Colorado engineer and activist, Phil Zimmermann, who wanted
to make strong encryption available to the public for privacy protection
against government eavesdroppers. Although the software was export-controlled,
someone (not Zimmermann) quickly posted it on a foreign Internet
site where it could be downloaded by anyone, anywhere, despite export
regulations. Since then, other encryption tools have been posted
on Internet sites all over the world, and the argument is frequently
made that the availability of such tools demonstrates the futility
of export controls. This is one factor driving export policy towards
increased liberalization, but other factors have also contributed,
including the role of encryption in electronic commerce and a concern
that export controls harm the competitiveness of industry. That
drive is countered, however, by a concern that the widespread availability
of encryption will make it harder for law enforcement and intelligence
agencies to gather intelligence from communications intercepts.
Indeed, terrorists also use
the Internet to communicate and coordinate their activities. Back
in 1996, the headquarters of terrorist financier bin Laden in Afghanistan
was equipped with computers and communications equipment. Egyptian
"Afghan" computer experts were said to have helped devise a communication
network that used the Web, e-mail, and electronic bulletin boards.50
Hamas activists have been said to use chat rooms and e-mail to plan
operations and coordinate activities, making it difficult for Israeli
security officials to trace their messages and decode their contents.51
The U.S. government's program
to establish an Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) illustrates how
government can use the Internet to invite and coordinate participation
in a decision-making process of international significance. The
Department of Commerce National Institute of Standards and Technology
(NIST) set up a Web site with information about the AES program
and AES conferences, a schedule of events, candidate encryption
algorithms (more than half from outside the United States), documentation
and test values, and links to public analysis efforts all over the
world. The site contains an electronic discussion forum and Federal
Register call for comments. Public comments are posted on the site
and NIST representatives contribute to the on-line discussions and
answer questions.52 Because the AES will offer a foundation for
secure electronic commerce and privacy internationally, involving
the international community from the beginning will help ensure
its success and widespread adoption. Cryptographers from all over
in the world have been participating.
NIST's use of the Internet
to aid a decision process seems to be unusual. While most government
sites provide an e-mail address for making contact, they do not
support discussion forums or even actively solicit comments on specific
pending policy decisions. However, to the extent that government
agencies invite or welcome e-mail messages and input through electronic
discussion groups, the Internet can serve the democratic process.
Because it is easier to post or send a message on the Internet than
to send a written letter, professionals and others with busy schedules
may be more inclined to participate in a public consultation process
or attempt to influence policy when policy makers are readily accessible
through the Internet.
Lobbying Decision Makers
Whether or not government
agencies solicit their input, activists can use the Internet to
lobby decision makers. One of the methods suggested by the Kosova
Task Force for contacting the White House, for example, was e-mail.
Similarly, a Canadian Web site with the headline "Stop the NATO
Bombing of Yugoslavia Now!" urged Canadians and others interested
in stopping the war to send e-mails and/or faxes to the Canadian
Prime Minister, Jean Chretien, and all members of the Canadian Parliament.
A sample letter was included. The letter concluded with an appeal
to Astop aggression against Yugoslavia and seek a peaceful means
to resolve the Kosovo problem.@53
E-mail has been credited
with halting a U.S. banking plan aimed to combat money laundering.
Under the "Know Your Customer" policy, banks would have been required
to monitor customer's banking patterns and report inconsistencies
to federal regulators. Recognizing the value of the Internet to
its deliberations, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC)
put up a Web site, published an e-mail address for comments, and
printed out and tabulated each message. By the time the proposal
was withdrawn, they had received 257,000 comments, 205,000 (80%)
of which arrived through e-mail. All but 50 of the letters opposed
the plan. FDIC=s chair, Donna Tanoue, said it was the huge volume
of e-mail that drove the decision to withdraw the proposal. "It
was the nature and the volume [of the comments]," she said. "When
consumers can get excited about an esoteric bank regulation, we
have to pay attention."54
Most of the e-mail was driven
by an on-line advocacy campaign sponsored by the Libertarian Party.
About 171,000 (83%) of the e-mail messages were sent through the
party's Web site. The party advertised its advocacy campaign in
talk radio interviews and by sending a notice to its e-mail membership
list.55 One could argue that the results were due more to the efforts
of a large non-government organization than to a grassroots response
from the citizens.
Indeed, many e-mail campaigns
have been driven by non-government organizations. The organizations
send e-mail alerts on issues to electronic mailing lists, offer
sample letters to send members of Congress and other decision making
bodies, and, in some cases, set up e-mailboxes or Web sites to gather
signatures for petitions. The petition process can be automated,
making it possible to gather huge volumes of signatures across a
wide geographic area with little effort and cost. One Web site,
e-The People, offers hundreds of petitions to choose from and 170,000
e-mail addresses of government officials.56
Computer Professionals for
Social Responsibility (CPSR) organized an Internet petition campaign
in early 1994 to protest the U.S. government's proposal to adopt
the Clipper encryption chip as a standard.57 The chip offered strong
encryption, but would have given law enforcement agencies the capability
to decrypt a subject's messages when conducting a court-ordered
wiretap against the subject. Despite numerous safeguards to ensure
government agencies could not violate the privacy of users of the
chip,58 Clipper was strongly opposed for privacy (and other) reasons,
and the general sentiment expressed on Internet newsgroups and e-mail
discussion lists was strongly anti-Clipper. CPSR announced their
petition through e-mail and set up an e-mail address whereby people
could sign on. They collected tens of thousands of signatures, but
it is not clear the petition had much impact. The government moved
forward with the standard anyway.59
Although Clipper was to be
a U.S. standard, it was tied in with the government=s foreign encryption
policy. Because of its back door, it was to be generally exportable,
unlike other encryption products with comparable cryptographic strength.
Also, the Administration urged other governments to adopt a similar
approach. However, after extensive lobbying efforts by industry
and civil liberties groups, Clipper met its death. The government
moved instead toward a more flexible and liberal approach to encryption
Because of the low cost of
operation, individuals can run their own advocacy campaigns. For
example, during the heart of the impeachment process against President
Clinton, Joan Blades and Wes Boyd, a husband and wife team in Berkeley,
founded MoveOn.org and put up a Web site inviting citizens to sign
a one-sentence petition: "The Congress must immediately censure
President Clinton and move on to pressing issues facing the country."
In just four months, the petition gathered a half-million signatures.
Another petition that read "In the Year 2000 election, I will work
to elect candidates who courageously address key national issues
and who reject the politics of division and personal destruction"
was sent to every member of the House and Senate. MoveOn.org received
pledges of $13 million and more than 650,000 volunteer hours for
congressional candidates in the 2000 election who supported their
position.60 It is difficult to assess the impact of the site on
the impeachment process, but it may have amplified public opinion
polls, which showed the American public supported Clinton and wanted
Congress to turn to other issues.
While activists can attempt
to influence policy makers through e-mail, it is not clear most
policy makers listen (the FDIC, which asked for comments, was an
exception). Richard Davis found that "the Internet has not lived
up to its promise as a forum for public expression to elected officials.
In fact, while publicly encouraging e-mail, members are becoming
increasingly disenchanted with it. If the most idealistic members
originally envisioned e-mail as the impetus for intelligent communication
with constituents, they have seen e-mail deteriorate into a mass
mailing tool for political activists." Davis concluded that "members
may even discount e-mail communication."61 According to the Wall
Street Journal, Senator Charles Schumer's office gives first priority
to old-fashioned letters. Persons sending an e-mail to his account
get back an automatic response telling them to submit a letter if
they want a personal reply.62
The most successful advocacy
groups are likely to be those that use the Internet to augment traditional
lobbying methods, including personal visits to decision makers and
use of broadcast media to reach the public. These operations can
be time consuming and expensive, favoring groups that are well-funded.
They also require a network of long-term and trusted relationships
with policy makers, sponsors, and voters. This supports Davis's
conclusion that the promise of the Internet as a forum for participatory
democracy is unlikely to be realized. Davis found that existing
dominant players in American politics -- the media, interest groups,
candidates, and policy makers -- are adapting to the Internet to
retain preeminence; and that the Internet is not an adequate tool
for public political movement.63
Hacktivism is the convergence
of hacking with activism, where "hacking" is used here to refer
to operations that exploit computers in ways that are unusual and
often illegal, typically with the help of special software ("hacking
tools"). Hacktivism includes electronic civil disobedience, which
brings methods of civil disobedience to cyberspace. This section
explores four types of operations: virtual sit-ins and blockades;
automated e-mail bombs; Web hacks and computer break-ins; and computer
viruses and worms. Because hacking incidents are often reported
in the media, operations in this category can generate considerable
publicity for both the activists and their causes.
Virtual Sit-Ins and Blockades
A virtual sit-in or blockade
is the cyberspace rendition of a physical sit-in or blockade. The
goal in both cases is to call attention to the protestors and their
cause by disrupting normal operations and blocking access to facilities.
With a sit-in, activists
visit a Web site and attempt to generate so much traffic against
the site that other users cannot reach it. A group calling itself
Strano Network conducted one of the first such demonstrations as
a protest against French government policies on nuclear and social
issues. On December 21, 1995, they launched a one-hour Net-Strike
attack against the Web sites operated by various government agencies.
At the appointed hour, participants from all over the world were
instructed to point their browsers to the government Web sites.
According to reports, at least some of the sites were effectively
knocked out for the period.64
In 1998, the Electronic Disturbance
Theater (EDT) took the concept of electronic civil disobedience
a step further. They organized a series of Web sit-ins, first against
Mexican President Zedillo=s Web site and later against President
Clinton=s White House Web site, the Pentagon, the School of the
Americas, the Frankfurt Stock Exchange, and the Mexican Stock Exchange.
The purpose was to demonstrate solidarity with the Mexican Zapatistas.65
According to EDT=s Brett Stalbaum, the Pentagon was chosen because
Awe believe that the U.S. military trained the soldiers carrying
out the human rights abuses.@ For a similar reason, the School of
the America=s was selected.66 The Frankfurt Stock Exchange was targeted,
Stalbaum said, "because it represented capitalism's role in globalization
utilizing the techniques of genocide and ethinic cleansing, which
is at the root of the Chiapas' problems. The people of Chiapas should
play a key role in determining their own fate, instead of having
it pushed on them through their forced relocation (at gunpoint),
which is currently financed by western capital."67
To facilitate the strikes,
the organizers set up special Web sites with automated software.
All participants had to do was visit one of the FloodNet sites.
When they did, their browser would download the software (a Java
Applet), which would access the target site every few seconds. In
addition, the software let protesters leave a personal statement
on the targeted server=s error log. For example, if they pointed
their browsers to a non-existent file such as "human_rights"
on the target server, the server would return and log the message
"human_rights not found on this server." Stalbaum, who wrote
the software, characterized FloodNet as "conceptual net art that
empowers people through active/artistic expression."68
EDT estimated that 10,000
people from all over the world participated in the sit-in on September
9 against the sites of President Zedillo, the Pentagon, and the
Frankfurt Stock Exchange, delivering 600,000 hits per minute to
each. The Pentagon, however, did not sit by idly. It struck back.
When their server sensed an attack from the FloodNet servers, they
launched a counter-offensive against the users= browsers, redirecting
them to a page with an Applet program called "HostileApplet."
Once there, the Applet was downloaded to their browsers, where it
endlessly tied up their machines trying to reload a document until
the machines were rebooted. President Zedillo=s site did not strike
back on this occasion, but at a June sit-in, they used software
that caused the protestors= browsers to open window after window
until their computers crashed. The Frankfurt Stock Exchange reported
that they were aware of the protest, but believed it had not affected
their services. They said that they normally got about 6 million
hits a day. Overall, EDT considered the attack a success. "Our interest
is to help the people of Chiapas to keep receiving the international
recognition that they need to keep them alive," said Stalbaum.69
When asked about the impact
of their Web strikes, EDT's Ricardo Dominguez responded, "Digital
Zapatismo is and has been one of the most politically effective
uses of the Internet that we know of since January 1, 1994. It has
created a distribution network of information with about 100 or
more autonomous nodes of support. This has enabled the EZLN (Zapatista
National Liberation Army) to speak to the world without having to
pass through any dominant media filter. The Zapatistas were chosen
by Wired as one of the twenty-five most important people on-line
in 1998. ... The Zapatista network has, also, held back a massive
force of men and the latest Drug War technologies from annihilating
the EZLN in a few days." Regarding FloodNet specifically, he said
the main purpose of the Electronic Disturbance Theatre's Zapatista
FloodNet performance "is to bring the situation in Chiapas to foreground
as often as possible. The gesture has created enough ripples with
the Pentagon and the Mexican government that they have had to respond
using both on-line and off-line tactics. Thus, these virtual sit-ins
have captured a large amount of traditional media attention. You
would not be interviewing us if this gesture had not been effective
in getting attention to the issues on a global scale."70
EDT has used their FloodNet
software against the White House Web site to express opposition
to U.S. military strikes and economic sanctions against Iraq. In
their "Call for FloodNet Action for Peace in the Middle East," EDT
articulated their philosophy. "We do not believe that only nation-states
have the legitimate authority to engage in war and aggression. And
we see cyberspace as a means for non-state political actors to enter
present and future arenas of conflict, and to do so across international
borders."71 Animal right=s activists have also used the FoodNet
software to protest the treatment of animals. Over 800 protestors
from more than 12 countries joined a January 1999 sit-in against
Web sites in Sweden.72 And on June 18, FloodNet was one of the tools
used in the anti-capitalist attack coordinated by J18.73
Whether Web sit-ins are legal
is not clear. Mark Rasch, former head of the Department of Justice=s
computer crime unit, said that such attacks run the risk of violating
federal laws, which make it a crime to distribute a program, software
code, or command with the intent to cause damage to another's site.
AIt may be an electronic sit-in, but people get arrested at sit-ins,@
he said.74 A related question is the legality of using a denial-of-service
counter-offensive. In the case of the Pentagon, their response most
likely would be considered lawful, as it is permissible for a nation
to take "proportional" actions to defend against an attack that
threatens its security.
There are a variety of methods
whereby an individual, acting alone, can disrupt or disable Internet
servers. These frequently involve using attack software that floods
the server with network packets. During the Kosovo conflict, Belgrade
hackers were credited with conducting such attacks against NATO
servers. They bombarded NATO=s Web server with Aping@ commands,
which test whether a server is running and connected to the Internet.
The effect of the attacks was to cause line saturation of the targeted
When large numbers of individuals
simultaneously attack a designated site, such as with the ECD Web
sit-ins, the operation is sometimes referred to as "swarming." Swarming
can amplify other types of attack, for example, a ping attack or
an e-mail bombing (discussed next).
It is one thing to send one
or two messages to government policy makers, even on a daily basis.
But it is quite another to bombard them with thousands of messages
at once, distributed with the aid of automated tools. The effect
can be to completely jam a recipient=s incoming e-mail box, making
it impossible for legitimate e-mail to get through. Thus, an e-mail
bomb is also a form of virtual blockade. Although e-mail bombs are
often used as a means of revenge or harassment, they have also been
used to protest government policies.
In what some U.S. intelligence
authorities characterized as the first known attack by terrorists
against a country's computer systems, ethnic Tamil guerrillas were
said to have swamped Sri Lankan embassies with thousands of electronic
mail messages. The messages read "We are the Internet Black Tigers
and we=re doing this to disrupt your communications."76 An offshoot
of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, which had been fighting
for an independent homeland for minority Tamils, was credited with
the 1998 incident.77
The e-mail bombing consisted
of about 800 e-mails a day for about two weeks. William Church,
editor for the Centre for Infrastructural Warfare Studies (CIWARS),
observed that "the Liberation Tigers of Tamil are desperate for
publicity and they got exactly what they wanted ... considering
the routinely deadly attacks committed by the Tigers, if this type
of activity distracts them from bombing and killing then CIWARS
would like to encourage them, in the name of peace, to do more of
this type of "terrorist activity."78 The attack, however, was said
to have had the desired effect of generating fear in the embassies.
During the Kosovo conflict,
protestors on both sides e-mail bombed government sites. According
to PA News, Nato spokesman Jamie Shea said their server had been
saturated at the end of March by one individual who was sending
them 2,000 messages a day.79 Fox News reported that when California
resident Richard Clark heard of attacks against NATO=s Web site
by Belgrade hackers, he retaliated by sending an e-mail bomb to
the Yugoslav government=s site. Clark said that a few days and 500,000
e-mails into the siege, the site went down. He did not claim full
responsibility, but said he "played a part." That part did not go
unrecognized. His Internet service provider, Pacific Bell, cut off
his service, saying his actions violated their spamming policy.80
An e-mail bombing was conducted
against the San Francisco-based Internet service provider Institute
for Global Communications (IGC) in 1997 for hosting the Web pages
of the Euskal Herria Journal, a controversial publication edited
by a New York group supporting independence of the mountainous Basque
provinces of northern Spain and southwestern France. Protestors
claimed IGC "supports terrorism" because a section on the Web pages
contained materials on the terrorist group Fatherland and Liberty,
or ETA, which was responsible for killing over 800 during its nearly
30-year struggle for an independent Basque state. The attack against
IGC began after members of the ETA assassinated a popular town councilor
in northern Spain.81
The protestor's objective
was censorship. They wanted the site pulled. To get their way, they
bombarded IGC with thousands of bogus messages routed through hundreds
of different mail relays. As a result, mail was tied up and undeliverable
to IGC's e-mail users, and support lines were tied up with people
who couldn't get their mail. The attackers also spammed IGC staff
and member accounts, clogged their Web page with bogus credit card
orders, and threatened to employ the same tactics against organizations
using IGC services. The only way IGC could stop the attack was by
blocking access from all of the relay servers.82
IGC pulled the site on July
18, but not before archiving a copy so that others could put up
mirrors. Within days of the shutdown, mirror sites appeared on half
a dozen servers on three continents. Chris Ellison, a spokesman
for the Internet Freedom Campaign, an English group that was hosting
one of the mirrors, said they believe "the Net should prove an opportunity
to read about and discuss controversial ideas." The New York-based
journal maintained their objective was to publish "Ainformation
often ignored by the international media, and to build communication
bridges for a better understanding of the conflict."83 An article
by Yves Eudes in the French newspaper Le Monde said the e-mail bomb
attack against the IGC site represented an "unprecedented conflict@
that Ahas opened up a new era of censorship, imposed by direct action
from anonymous hackers."84
About a month after IGC threw
the controversial Basque journal Euskal Herria Journal off its servers,
Scotland Yard=s Anti-Terrorist Squad shut down Internet Freedom's
U.K. Web site for hosting the journal. According to a press release
from Internet Freedom, the squad claimed to be acting against terrorism.
Internet Freedom said it would move its news operations to its U.S.
The case involving Euskal
Herria Journal illustrates the power of hacktivists on the Internet.
Despite IGC's desire to host the controversial site, they simply
could not sustain the attack and remain in business. They could
have ignored a few e-mail messages demanding that the site be pulled,
but they could not ignore an e-mail bombing. The case also illustrates
the power of the Internet as a tool for free speech. Because Internet
venues for publication are rich and dispersed throughout the world,
it is extremely difficult for governments and hacktivists alike
to keep content completely off the Internet. It would require extensive
international cooperation and, even then, a site could operate out
of a safe haven that did not sign on to international agreements.
Web Hacks and Computer
The media is filled with
stories of hackers gaining access to Web sites and replacing some
of the content with their own. Frequently, the messages are political,
as when a group of Portuguese hackers modified the sites of 40 Indonesian
servers in September 1998 to display the slogan "Free East Timor"
in large black letters. According to the New York Times, the hackers
also added links to Web sites describing Indonesian human rights
abuses in the former Portuguese Colony.86 Then in August 1999, Jose
Ramos Horta, the Sydney-based Nobel laureate who represents the
East Timor independence movement outside Indonesia, warned that
a global network of hackers planned to bring Indonesia to a standstill
if Jakarta sabotaged the ballot on the future of East Timor. He
told the Sydney Morning Herald that more than 100 hackers, mostly
teenagers in Europe and the United States, had been preparing the
In June 1998, a group of
international hackers calling themselves Milw0rm hacked the Web
site of India's Bhabha Atomic Research Center (BARC) and put up
a spoofed Web page showing a mushroom cloud and the text "If a nuclear
war does start, you will be the first to scream ...". The hackers
were protesting India=s recent nuclear weapons tests, although they
admitted they did it mostly for thrills. They said that they also
downloaded several thousand pages of e-mail and research documents,
including messages between India's nuclear scientists and Israeli
government officials, and had erased data on two of BARC's servers.
The six hackers, whose ages range from 15 to 18, hailed from the
United States, England, the Netherlands, and New Zealand.88
Another way in which hacktivists
alter what viewers see when they go to a Web site is by tampering
with the Domain Name Service so that the site=s domain name resolves
to the IP address of some other site. When users point their browsers
to the target site, they are redirected to the alternative site.
In what might have been one
of the largest mass home page takeovers, the antinuclear Milw0rm
hackers were joined by Ashtray Lumberjacks hackers in an attack
that affected more than 300 Web sites in July 1998. According to
reports, the hackers broke into the British Internet service provider
EasySpace, which hosted the sites. They altered the ISP=s database
so that users attempting to access the sites were redirected to
a Milw0rm site, where they were greeted with a message protesting
the nuclear arms race. The message concluded with "... use your
power to keep the world in a state of PEACE and put a stop to this
nuclear bullshit." John Vranesevich, who runs the hacker news site
AntiOnline, said, "They're the equivalent to the World Trade Center
bombings; [they] want to get their story told and bring attention
Several Web sites were hacked
during the Kosovo conflict. According to Fox News, the Boston Globe
reported that an American hacking group called Team Spl0it broke
into government Web sites and posted statements such as "Tell your
governments to stop the war." Fox also said that the Kosovo Hackers
Group, a coalition of European and Albanian hackers, had replaced
at least five sites with black and red "Free Kosovo" banners.90
The Bosnian Serb news agency SRNA reported that the Serb Black Hand
hackers group had deleted all data on a U.S. Navy computer, according
to the Belgrade newspaper Blic. Members of the Black Hand group
and Serbian Angel planned daily actions that would block and disrupt
military computer operated by NATO countries, Blic wrote.91 Black
Hand had earlier claimed responsibility for crashing a Kosovo Albanian
Web site. "We shall continue to remove (ethnic) Albanian lies from
the Internet," a member of the group told Blic.92
In the wake of NATO's accidental
bombing of China=s Belgrade embassy in May, angry Chinese allegedly
hacked several U.S. government sites. Newsbytes reported that the
slogan Adown with barbarians@ was placed in Chinese on the home
page of the U.S. Embassy in Beijing, while the Department of Interior
Web site showed images of the three journalists killed during the
bombing, crowds protesting the attack in Beijing, and a fluttering
Chinese flag.93 According to the Washington Post, Interior spokesman
Tim Ahearn said their computer experts had traced their hacker back
to China. The newspaper also reported that the Department of Energy's
home page read:
"Protest U.S.A.=s Nazi action!
Protest NATO=s brutal action! We are Chinese hackers who take no
cares about politics. But we can not stand by seeing our Chinese
reporters been killed which you might have know. Whatever the purpose
is, NATO led by U.S.A. must take absolute responsibility. You have
owed Chinese people a bloody debt which you must pay for. We won=t
stop attacking until the war stops!"94
NATO did not, of course,
declare an end to the war because of the hacking. The impact on
foreign policy decisions, if any at all, likely paled in comparison
to the bombing itself. Following the accident, China suspended high-level
military contacts with the United States.95
Acting in the name of democracy
and human rights, hackers have targeted Chinese government computers.
One group, called the Hong Kong Blondes, allegedly infiltrated police
and security networks in an effort to monitor China=s intelligence
activities and warn political targets of imminent arrests.96 According
to OXblood Ruffin, "foreign minister" of the Cult of the Dead Cow,
the Blondes are an underground group of Chinese dissidents who aim
to destabilize the Chinese government. They have threatened to attack
both Chinese state-owned organizations and Western companies investing
in the country.97
The Los Angeles Times reported
that a California computer science student who calls himself Bronc
Buster and his partner Zyklon cracked the Chinese network, defacing
a government-run Web site on human rights and interfering with censorship.
The hacker said they came across about 20 firewall servers blocking
everything from Playboy.com to Parents.com, and that they disabled
the blocking on five of the servers. He said they did not destroy
any data, but only moved files.98
Bronc Buster belonged to
a group of 24 hackers known as the Legion of the Underground (LoU).
In a press conference on Internet Relay Chat (IRC) in late December
1998, an LoU member declared cyberwar on the information infrastructures
of China and Iraq. He cited civil rights abuses and said LoU called
for the complete destruction of all computer systems in China and
The declaration of cyberwar
prompted a coalition of other hacking groups to lash out against
the campaign. A letter co-signed by 2600, the Chaos Computer Club,
the Cult of the Dead Cow (CDC), !Hispahak, L0pht Heavy Industries,
Phrack, Pulhas, and several members of the Dutch hacking community
denounced the cyberwar, saying "Declaring war against a country
is the most irresponsible thing a hacker group could do. This has
nothing to do with hacktivism or hacker ethics and is nothing a
hacker could be proud of." Reid Fleming of the CDC said "One cannot
legitimately hope to improve a nation=s free access to information
by working to disable its data networks."100
By the time the letter went
out, LoU had already issued a statement saying that the declaration
of war on IRC did not represent the position of the group. "The
LoU does not support the damaging of other nations computers, networks
or systems in any way, nor will the LoU use their skills, abilities
or connections to take any actions against the systems, networks
or computers in China or Iraq which may damage or hinder in any
way their operations."101 Bronc Buster said the IRC declaration
was issued by a member before he left and never came back.102
In August 1999, a cyberwar
erupted between hackers in China and Taiwan. Chinese hackers defaced
several Taiwanese and government Web sites with pro-China messages
saying Taiwan was and would always be an inseparable part of China.
"Only one China exists and only one China is needed," read a message
posted on the Web site of Taiwan=s highest watchdog agency.103 Taiwanese
hackers retaliated and planted a red and blue Taiwanese national
flag and an anti-Communist slogan: "Reconquer, Reconquer, Reconquer
the Mainland," on a Chinese high-tech Internet site. The cyberwar
followed an angry exchange by Chinese and Taiwanese in response
to Taiwan's President Lee Teng-hui's statement that China must deal
with Taiwan on a "state-to-state" basis.104
One of the consequences of
hacking is that victims might falsely attribute an assault to a
foreign government rather than the small group of activists that
actually conducted it. This could strain foreign relations or lead
to a more serious conflict.
The Chinese government has
been accused of attacking a U.S. Web site devoted to the Falun Gong
meditation sect, which Chinese authorities outlawed in July 1999.
Bob McWee, a sect practitioner in Middleton, Maryland, said his
site had been under a persistent electronic assault. In addition
to a continuous denial-of-service attack, someone had tried breaking
into his server. He said he was able to trace the penetration attempt
to the Internet Monitoring Bureau of China's Public Security Ministry.105
If the attack did indeed originate with the Chinese police, this
would have major foreign policy implications. It would suggest that
the Chinese government views Web sites operating on foreign soil
as legitimate targets of aggression when those sites support activities
prohibited on home soil.
Web hacks and computer break-ins
are extremely common, and targets include commercial and educational
computers as well as government ones. The results of the 1999 Information
Security Industry Survey showed that the number of companies experiencing
penetrations jumped from 12% in 1997 to 23% in 1998 (almost double).106
About 26% of respondents to the ERRI/EmergencyNet News Local/County/State
Computer "Hacking" Survey said they thought they had been the victims
of an unauthorized intrusion or attack on their computer systems.107
And 30% of respondents to the 1999 CSI/FBI Computer Crime and Security
Survey reported intrusions from outsiders.108 Most of the attacks,
however, were probably not motivated by politics (hacktivism), but
rather thrills, curiosity, ego, revenge, or financial gain. In the
area of Web hacks alone, Attrition.Org recorded more than 1,400
cases of vandalism by July 1999 for the year.109
Computer Viruses and Worms
Hacktivists have used computer
viruses and worms to spread protest message and damage target computer
systems. Both are forms of malicious code that infect computers
and propagate over computer networks. The difference is that a worm
is an autonomous piece of software that spreads on its own, whereas
a virus attaches itself to other files and code segments and spreads
through those elements, usually in response to actions taken by
users (e.g., opening an e-mail attachment). The boundary between
viruses and worms, however, is blurry and not important to the discussion
The first protest to use
a worm occurred about a decade ago, when anti-nuclear hackers released
a worm into the U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration
SPAN network. On October 16, 1989, scientists logging into computers
at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, were
greeted with a banner from the WANK worm:
W O R M S A G A I N S T N U C L E A R K I L L E R S
\__ ____________ _____ ________ ____ ____ __ _____/
\ \ \ /\ / / / /\ \ | \ \ | | | | / / /
\ \ \ / \ / / / /__\ \ | |\ \ | | | |/ / /
\ \ \/ /\ \/ / / ______ \ | | \ \| | | |\ \ /
\_\ /__\ /____/ /______\ \____| |__\ | |____| |_\ \_/
\ Your System Has Been Officically WANKed /
You talk of times of peace for all, and then prepare for war.
At the time of the attack,
antinuclear protestors were trying to stop the launch of the shuttle
that carried the Galileo probe on its initial leg to Jupiter. Galileo's
32,500-pound booster system was fueled with radioactive plutonium.
John McMahon, protocol manager with NASA's SPAN office, estimated
that the worm cost them up to half a million dollars of wasted time
and resources. It did not have its intended effect of stopping the
launch. The source of the attack was never identified, but some
evidence suggested that it might have come from hackers in Australia.110
Computer viruses have been
used to propagate political messages and, in some cases, cause serious
damage. In February 1999, the London Sunday Telegraph reported that
an Israeli teen had become a national hero after he claimed to have
wiped out an Iraqi government Web site. "It contained lies about
the United States, Britain and Israel, and many horrible statements
against Jews," 14-year-old Nir Zigdon said.111 "I figured that if
Israel is afraid of assassinating Saddam Hussein, at least I can
try to destroy his site. With the help of some special software
I tracked down the site=s server to one of the Gulf states."112
The Tel Aviv hacktivist then sent a computer virus in an e-mail
attachment to the site. "In the e-mail message, I claimed I was
a Palestinian admirer of Saddam who had produced a virus capable
of wiping out Israeli websites," Zigdon said. "That persuaded them
to open the message and click on the designated file. Within hours
the site had been destroyed. Shortly afterwards I received an e-mail
from the site manager, Fayiz, that told me to 'go to hell'."113
During the Kosovo conflict,
businesses, public organizations, and academic institutes received
virus-laden e-mails from a range of Eastern European countries,
according to mi2g, a London-based Internet software company. "The
contents of the messages are normally highly politicised attacks
on NATO's unfair aggression and defending Serbian rights using poor
English language and propaganda cartoons," the press release said.
It went on to say "The damage to the addressee is usually incorporated
in several viruses contained within an attachment, which may be
plain language or anti-NATO cartoon."114 In an earlier press release,
mi2g warned that "The real threat of cyber warfare from Serbian
hackers is to the economic infrastructure of NATO countries and
not to their better prepared military command and control network."115
It is extremely difficult,
perhaps impossible, for an organization to prevent all viruses,
as users unwittingly open e-mail attachments with viruses and spread
documents with viruses to colleagues. Although anti-viral tools
can detect and eradicate viruses, the tools must be kept up-to-date
across the enterprise, which may have tens of thousands of machines,
and they must be installed and used properly. While viruses bearing
political messages may not seem to pose a serious problem, an organization
hit by one may have to shut down services in order to eradicate
it from its network.
The seriousness of viruses
is underscored by two recent surveys. The 1999 Information Security
Industry survey found that 77% of respondents had experienced a
computer virus. This was up from 73% in 1998. More distressing,
the ERRI/EmergencyNet News Local/County/State Computer "Hacking"
Survey found that almost 83% of respondents had been the victim
of a virus. Even a benign virus could significantly impact the ability
of governments to provide essential services.
Viruses, especially those
carrying destructive payloads, are a potentially potent tool in
the hands of cyberterrorists. Other tools of hacktivism, including
computer network attacks, could likewise be put to highly destructive
ends. This is the topic discussed next. Cyberterrorism
In the 1980s, Barry Collin,
a senior research fellow at the Institute for Security and Intelligence
in California, coined the term "cyberterrorism" to refer to the
convergence of cyberspace and terrorism.116 Mark Pollitt, special
agent for the FBI, offers a working definition: "Cyberterrorism
is the premeditated, politically motivated attack against information,
computer systems, computer programs, and data which result in violence
against noncombatant targets by subnational groups or clandestine
agents."117 Politically motivated attacks that cause serious harm,
such as severe economic hardship or sustained loss of power or water,
might also be characterized as cyberterrorism.
This section discusses the
extent to which cyberterrorism is a problem today and is likely
to be a problem in the near future. It also covers domestic and
international initiatives aimed as countering a wide variety of
cyberthreats, including cyberterrorism, certain forms of hacktivism,
and other non-politically motivated computer network attacks.
As discussed in the preceding
sections, terrorist groups are using the Internet extensively to
spread their message and to communicate and coordinate action. However,
there have been few if any computer network attacks that meet the
criteria for cyberterrorism. The 1998 e-mail bombing by the Internet
Black Tigers against the SRI Lanken embassies was perhaps the closest
thing to cyberterrorism that has occurred so far, but the damage
cause by the flood of e-mail, for example, pales in comparison to
the deaths of 240 people from the physical bombings of the U.S.
embassies in Nairobi and Dar es Salaam in August of that year.
Is cyberterrorism the way
of the future? For a terrorist, it would have some advantages over
physical methods. It could be conducted remotely and anonymously,
it would be cheap, and it would not require the handling of explosives
or a suicide mission. It would likely garner extensive media coverage,
as journalists and the public alike are fascinated by practically
any kind of computer attack. One highly acclaimed study of the risks
of computer systems began with a paragraph that concludes "Tomorrow's
terrorist may be able to do more with a keyboard than with a bomb."118
In a 1997 paper, Collin describes
several possible scenarios. In one, a cyberterrorist hacks into
the processing control system of a cereal manufacturer and changes
the levels of iron supplement. A nation of children get sick and
die. In another, a cyberterrorist attacks the next generation of
air traffic control systems. Two large civilian aircraft collide.
In a third, a cyberterrorist disrupts banks, international financial
transactions, and stock exchanges. Economic systems grind to a halt,
the public loses confidence, and destabilization is achieved.119
Analyzing the plausibility
of Collin's hypothetical attacks, Pollitt concludes that there is
sufficient human involvement in the control processes used today
that cyberterrorism does not B at present B pose a significant risk
in the classical sense. In the cereal contamination scenario, for
example, he argues that the quantity of iron (or any other nutritious
substance) that would be required to become toxic is so large that
assembly line workers would notice. They would run out of iron on
the assembly line and the product would taste different and not
good. In the air traffic control scenario, humans in the loop would
notice the problems and take corrective action. Pilots, he says,
are trained to be aware of the situation, to catch errors made by
air traffic controllers, and to operate in the absence of any air
traffic control at all.120 Pollitt does not imply by his analysis
that computers are safe and free from vulnerability. To the contrary,
his argument is that despite these vulnerabilities, because humans
are in the loop, a cyberattack is unlikely to have such devastating
consequences. He concludes that "As we build more and more technology
into our civilization, we must ensure that there is sufficient human
oversight and intervention to safeguard those whom technology serves."
In a 1997 article titled
"How Many Terrorists Fit on a Computer Keyboard?" William Church
presents a strong case that the United States does not yet face
a compelling threat from terrorists using information warfare techniques
to disrupt critical infrastructure. They lack either the motivation,
capabilities, or skills to pull off a cyberattack at this time.
Church does not rule out a physical attack against the infrastructure,
but such a threat is neither new nor matured by U.S. reliance on
There are drawbacks to terrorists
using cyber weapons over physical ones. Because systems are complex,
it may be harder to control an attack and achieve a desired level
of damage. Unless people are injured, there is also less drama and
emotional appeal. Further, terrorists may be disinclined to try
new methods unless they see their old ones as inadequate.122
There is little concrete
evidence of terrorists preparing to use the Internet as a venue
for inflicting grave harm. However, in February 1998, Clark Staten,
executive director of the Emergency Response & Research Institute
in Chicago, testified that it was believed that "members of some
Islamic extremist organizations have been attempting to develop
a >hacker network= to support their computer activities and even
engage in offensive information warfare attacks in the future."123
And in November, the Detroit News reported that Khalid Ibrahim,
who claimed to be a member of the militant Indian separatist group
Harkat-ul-Ansar, had tried to buy military software from hackers
who had stolen it from U.S. Department of Defense computers they
had penetrated. Harkat-ul-Ansar, one of the 30 terrorist organizations
on the State Department list, declared war on the United States
following the August cruise-missile attack on a suspected terrorist
training camp in Afghanistan run by Osama bin Laden, which allegedly
killed nine of their members. The attempted purchase was discovered
when an 18-year-old hacker calling himself Chameleon attempted to
cash a $1,000 check from Ibrahim. Chameleon said he did not have
the software and did not give it to Ibrahim, but Ibrahim may have
obtained it or other sensitive information from one of the many
other hackers he approached.124
Given that there are no instances
of cyberterrorism, it is not possible to assess the impact of acts
that have taken place. It is equally difficult to assess potential
impact, in part because it is hard to predict how a major computer
network attack, inflicted for the purpose of affecting national
or international policy, would unfold. So far, damages from attacks
committed for reasons other than terrorism, for example, to seek
revenge against a former employer, have generally been confined
to immediate targets. No lives have been lost.
The main impact of cyberthreats
on foreign and domestic policy relates to defending against such
acts, particularly attacks against critical infrastructures. At
the international level, several countries, including the U.S.,
have been addressing such issues as mutual legal assistance treaties,
extradition, the sharing of intelligence, and the need for uniform
computer crime laws so that cybercriminals can be successfully investigated
and prosecuted even when their crimes cross international borders,
as they so often do. This effort is not focused on either cyberterrorism
or hacktivism, but rather addresses an array of actions that includes
all forms of hacking and computer network attacks, computer and
telecommunications fraud, child pornography on the Net, and electronic
piracy (software, music, etc.). It also covers state-sponsored cyberwarfare
operations that use hacking and computer network attacks as a military
At the initiative of the
Russian Federation, the U.N. General Assembly adopted a resolution
related to cybercrime, cyberterrorism, and cyberwarfare in December
1998. Resolution 53/70, Developments in the Field of Information
and Telecommunications in the Context of International Security,
invites member states to inform the Secretary-General of their views
and assessments on (a) the issues of information security, (b) definition
of basic notions related to information security, and 8 advisability
of developing international principles that would enhance the global
information and telecommunications systems and help combat information
terrorism and criminality.125
The U.S. has taken several
steps to better protect its critical infrastructures. In July 1996,
President Clinton announced the formation of the President=s Commission
on Critical Infrastructure Protection (PCCIP) to study the critical
infrastructures that constitute the life support systems of the
nation, determine their vulnerabilities to a wide range of threats,
and propose a strategy for protecting them in the future. Eight
infrastructures were identified: telecommunications, banking and
finance, electrical power, oil and gas distribution and storage,
water supply, transportation, emergency services, and government
services. In their final report, issued in October 1997, the commission
reported that the threats to critical infrastructures were real
and that, through mutual dependence and interconnectedness, they
could be vulnerable in new ways. "Intentional exploitation of these
new vulnerabilities could have severe consequences for our economy,
security, and way of life."126
The PCCIP noted that cyberthreats
have changed the landscape. "In the past we have been protected
from hostile attacks on the infrastructures by broad oceans and
friendly neighbors. Today, the evolution of cyberthreats has changed
the situation dramatically. In cyberspace, national borders are
no longer relevant. Electrons don't stop to show passports. Potentially
serious cyberattacks can be conceived and planned without detectable
logistic preparation. They can be invisibly reconnoitered, clandestinely
rehearsed, and then mounted in a matter of minutes or even seconds
without revealing the identity and location of the attacker."127
In assessing the threat from
both physical and cyberattacks, the PCCIP concluded that "Physical
means to exploit physical vulnerabilities probably remain the most
worrisome threat to our infrastructures today. But almost every
group we met voiced concerns about the new cyber vulnerabilities
and threats. They emphasized the importance of developing approaches
to protecting our infrastructures against cyberthreats before they
materialize and produce major system damage."128 The recommendations
of the PCCIP led to Presidential Decision Directive (PDD) 63, which
established the National Infrastructure Protection Center (NIPC),
the Critical Infrastructure Assurance Office (CIA), the National
Infrastructure Assurance Council (NIAC), and private sector Information
Sharing and Assessment Centers (ISACs).129 The Department of Defense
also established a Joint Task Force - Computer Network Defense (JTF-CND).
That critical systems are
potentially vulnerable to cyberattacks was underscored by a June
1997 exercise, code named Eligible Receiver, conducted by the National
Security Agency (NSA). The objective was to determine the vulnerability
of U.S. military computers and some civilian infrastructures to
a cyberattack. According to reports, two-man teams targeted specific
pieces of the military infrastructure, including the U.S. Pacific
Command in Hawaii, which oversees 100,000 troops in Asia. One person
played the role of the attacker, while another observed the activity
to ensure that it was conducted as scripted. Using only readily
available hacking tools that could easily be obtained from the Internet,
the NSA hackers successfully gained privileged access on numerous
systems. They concluded that the military infrastructure could be
disrupted and possible troop deployments hindered. The exercise
also included written scenarios against the power grid and emergency
911 system, with resulting service disruptions. For the latter,
they postulated that by sending sufficient e-mails to Internet users
telling them the 911 system had a problem, enough curious people
would phone 911 at once to overload the system. No actual attacks
were made against any civilian infrastructures.130
The vulnerability of commercial
systems to cyberattacks is repeatedly demonstrated by survey results
such as those mentioned earlier. There is no evidence that non-government
systems are any more or less vulnerable than government ones, or
that the security posture of either group, as a whole, is generally
improving -- despite the availability and use of a growing supply
of information security tools.
The Internet is clearly changing
the landscape of political discourse and advocacy. It offers new
and inexpensive methods for collecting and publishing information,
for communicating and coordinating action on a global scale, and
for reaching out to policy makers. It supports both open and private
communication. Advocacy groups and individuals worldwide are taking
advantage of these features in their attempts to influence foreign
Several case studies show
that when the Internet is used in normal, non-disruptive ways, it
can be an effective tool for activism, especially when it is combined
with other media, including broadcast and print media and face-to-face
meetings with policy makers. As a technology for empowerment, the
Net benefits individuals and small groups with few resources as
well as organizations that are large or well-funded. It facilitates
activities such as educating the public and media, raising money,
forming coalitions across geographical boundaries, distributing
petitions and action alerts, and planning and coordinating events
on a regional or international level. It allows activists in politically
repressive states to evade government censors and monitors.
In the area of hacktivism,
which involves the use of hacking tools and techniques of a disruptive
nature, the Internet will serve mainly to draw attention to a cause,
as such incidents are regularly reported by news media. Whether
that attention has the desired effect of changing policy decisions
related to the issue at hand is much less certain. Hacktivists may
feel a sense of empowerment, because they can control government
computers and get media attention, but that does not mean they will
succeed in changing policy. So far, anecdotal evidence suggests
that for the majority of cases, they will not.
With regards to cyberterrorism,
that is, the use of hacking tools and techniques to inflict grave
harm such as loss of life, few conclusions can be drawn about its
potential impact on foreign policy, as there have been no reported
incidents that meet the criteria. What can be said is that the threat
of cyberterrorism, combined with hacking threats in general, is
influencing policy decisions related to cyberdefense at both a national
and international level. If one looks at terrorism in general for
insights into the potential impact of cyberterrorism, one finds
that the impact of terrorism on the foreign policy issues at hand
is similarly difficult to assess, but here again, the threat of
terrorism, particularly chem, bio, and nuclear terrorism, is having
a significant impact on national defense policy.
I am grateful to Liz Bernstein,
Ricardo Dominguez, Ekaterina Drozdova, Peter Ford, Brian Gladman,
Sy Goodman, Nigel Hickson, Jason Hunter, Dennis Longley, Diana Owen,
David Ronfeldt, Ken Rutherford, Julie Ryan, Brett Stalbaum, and
Chuck Weiss for helpful discussions, suggestions, and comments.
1. Ashley Dunn, "Crisis in
Yugoslavia -- Battle Spilling Over Onto the Internet," Los Angeles
Times, April 3, 1999.
2. David Briscoe, "Kosovo-Propaganda
War," Associated Press, May 17, 1999.
3. NUA Internet Surveys,
www.nua.ie. The site is updated regularly with the latest estimate.
4. Alan Docherty, ANet Journalists
Outwit Censors," Wired News, March 13, 1999.
5. AThe Twenty Enemies of
the Internet,@ Press release, Reporters Sans Frontiers, August 9,
6. Maggie Farley, ADissidents
Hack Holes in China=s New Wall,@ Los Angeles Times, January 4, 1999.
Adrian Oosthuizen, ADissidents to Continue E-Mail Activity Despite
Court Verdict,@ South China Morning Post, February 2, 1999.
7. Michael Dobbs, AThe War
on the Airwaves,@ Washington Post, April 19, 1999.
8. Alex Todorovic, AI=m Watching
Two Different Wars,@ Washington Post, April 18, 1999.
9. Ibid, Michael Dobbs.
10. Ibid, Alex Todorovic.
11. ANetAction=s Virtual
Activist Training Guide,@ http://www.netaction.org/training.
13. David Briscoe, AKosovo-Propaganda
War,@ Associated Press, May 17, 1999.
14. AConflict in the Balkans
-- Cook Enlists Internet to Send Serbs Message,@ Daily Telegraph,
London, April 2, 1999, p. 9.
15. Rebecca Allison, ABelgrade
Hackers Bombard MoD Website in >First= Internet War,@ PA News, March
16. Leander Kahney, AYugoslavia=s
B92 Goes Dark,@ Wired News, April 2, 1999.
17. Bob Schmitt, AAn Internet
Answer to Repression,@ Washington Post, March 31, 1997, p. A21.
18. Matthew Mirapaul, AKosovo
Conflict Inspires Digital Art Projects,@ New York Times (Cybertimes),
April 15, 1999.
19. Larry McShane, AYugoslavs
Condemn Bombs Over E-mail to U.S. media,@ Nando Times, April 17,
20. Ellen Joan Pollock and
Andrea Petersen, AUnsolicited E-Mail Hits Targets in America in
First Cyberwar,@ Wall Street Journal, April 8, 1999.
21. Dennis Longley, personal
communication, July 15, 1999.
22. The task force uses the
spelling AKosova@ in its name and in all references to Kosovo.
23. Rick Montgomery, AEnemy
in Site -- It=s Time to Join the Cyberwar,@ Daily Telegraph, Australia,
April 19, 1999.
24. Daniel Verton, ANet Service
Shields Web Users in Kosovo,@ Federal Computer Week, April 19, 1999.
25. Will Rodger, AOnline
Human-Rights Crusaders,@ USA Today, August 25, 1999.
27. AInternet Heavies Back
New Net-Policy Group,@ IDG, July 14, 1999.
28. Steve Lohr, AGo Ahead,
Be Paranoid: Hackers Are out to Get You,@ New York Times, March
29. John Arquilla, David
Ronfeldt, and Michele Zanini, ANetworks, Netwar, and Information-Age
Terrorism,@ in Countering the New Terrorism, RAND, 1999, p. 66.
The authors cite AHizbullah TV Summary 18 February 1998,@ Al-Manar
Television World Wide Webcast, FBIS-NES-98-050, February 19, 1998
and ADevelopments in Mideast Media: January-May 1998,@ Foreign Broadcast
Information Service (FBIS), May 11, 1998.
30. Clark L. Staten, Testimony
before the Subcommittee on Technology, Terrorism and Government
Information, U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee, February 24, 1998.
31. Bob Cromwell=s site at
Purdue has an excellent collection of links. http://RVL4.ecn.purdue.edu/~cromwell/lt/terror.html.
32. Kevin Whitelaw, ATerrorists
on the Web: Electronic >Safe Haven=,@ U.S. News & World Report,
June 22, 1998, p. 46. The State Department=s list of terrorist organizations
is at http://www.state.gov/www/global/terrorism/index.html.
33. Chris Oaks, AEvery Web
Site a Chat Room,@ Wired News, June 14, 1999.
34. Personal correspondence
with Brian Gladman, May 4, 1999, augmented by my own observations
from subscribing to the list since the beginning.
36. Andrew Brown, AEditors
Wanted,@ New Statesman, April 26, 1999.
37. Private conversation
with Nigel Hickson on April 29, 1999.
38. Nigel Hickson, private
communication, July 28, 1999.
39. Richard Davis, The Web
of Politics, Oxford University Press, 1999, p. 177.
40. Davis, p. 178.
42. Martin Stone, AProf to
Build Archive of Insurgency Groups,@ Newsbytes, March 3, 1999.
43. Edward Harris, AWeb Becomes
a Cybertool for Political Activists,@ Wall Street Journal, August
5, 1999, B11; Barbara Adam, AJ18 Hackers Could Target Australian
Companies on Friday,@ Australian Associated Press, June 16, 1999.
44. Jon Ungoed-Thomas and
Maeve Sheehan, ARiot Organisers Prepare to Launch Cyber War on City,
Sunday Times, August 15, 1999.
45. Private communication
from Liz Bernstein, October 4, 1999,
47. Private communication
with Ken Rutherford, October 6, 1999.
48. See also the ICBL Web
site at www.icbl.org and the Web site of the Land Mine Survivors
Network at www.landminesurvivors.org.
49. Alan Boyle, ACrypto Can
Save Lives,@ ZDNet, January 26, 1999. PGP provides both file and
50. John Arquilla, David
Ronfeldt, and Michele Zanini, ANetworks, Netwar, and Information-Age
Terrorism,@ in Countering the New Terrorism, RAND, 1999, p. 65.
The authors cite AAfghanistan, Saudi Arabia: Editor=s Journey to
Meet Bin-Laden Described,@ London al-Quds al-=Arabi, FBIS-TOT-97-003-L,
November 27, 1996, p. 4, and AArab Afghans Said to Launch Worldwide
Terrorist War,@ 1995.
51. Ibid. The authors cite
AIsrael: U.S. Hamas Activists Use Internet to Send Attack Threats,@
Tel Aviv IDF Radio, FBIS-TOT-97-001-L, October 13, 1996, and AIsrael:
Hamas Using Internet to Relay Operational Messages,@ Tel Aviv Ha=aretz,
FBIS-TOT-98-034, February 3, 1998, p. 1.
52. The NIST AES Web site
is at csrc.nist.gov/encryption/aes/aes_home.htm.
54. Rebecca Fairley Raney,
AFlood of E-Mail Credited with Halting U.S. Bank Plan,@ The New
York Times (Cybertimes), March 24, 1999.
56. Edward Harris, AWeb Becomes
a Cybertool for Political Activists,@ Wall Street Journal, August
5, 1999, B11. The Web site is at www.e-thepeople.com.
57. The persons organizing
the campaign went on to form the Electronic Privacy Information
Center (EPIC) shortly thereafter.
58. For example, each chip
was uniquely keyed and decryption was not possible without getting
the keys to the subject=s chip from two separate government agencies.
59. For an interesting discussion
of the Internet campaign against Clipper, see Laura J. Gurak, Persuasion
and Privacy in Cyberspace, Yale University Press, 1997.
60. Chris Carr, AInternet
Anti-Impeachment Drive Yields Big Pledges of Money, Time,@ Washington
Post, February 7, 1999. Site is at www.moveon.org.
61. Davis, p. 135.
62. Edward Harris, AWeb Becomes
a Cybertool for Political Activists,@ Wall Street Journal, August
5, 1999, B11.
63. Davis, p. 168.
64. Information provided
to the author from Bruce Sterling; Winn Schwartau, Information Warfare,
2nd ed., Thunder=s Mouth Press, 1996, p. 407.
65. For an in-depth analysis
of the Zapatista=s Anetwar,@ see David Ronfeldt, John Arquilla,
Graham E. Fuller, and Melissa Fuller, The Zapatista ASocial Netwar@
in Mexico, RAND Report MR-994-A, 1998.
66. Niall McKay, APentagon
Deflects Web Assault,@ Wired News, September 10, 1998.
67. Brett Stalbaum, private
correspondence, July 23, 1999.
68. Brett Stalbaum, AThe
Zapatista Tactical FloodNet,@ www.thing.net/~rdom/ecd/ZapTact.html.
69. Niall McKay, APentagon
Deflects Web Assault,@ Wired News, September 10, 1998; Brett Stalbaum,
personal communication, January 30, 1999.
70. Ricardo Dominguez, personal
communication, February 2, 1999.
72. ADay of Net Attacking
Against Vivisection,@ Communique from the Animal Liberation Front,
December 31; 1998. AThe First Ever Animal Liberation Electronic
Civil Disobedience Virtual Sit-In on the SMI Lab Web Site in Sweden,@
notice from Tactical Internet Response Network, http://freehosting.at.webjump.com/fl/floodnet-webjump/smi.html.
AECD Report -- SMI Shuts Down Their Computer Network!!!,@ http://www.aec.at/infowar/NETSYMPOSIUM/ARCH-EN/msg00678.html,
January 15, 1999.
73. Jon Ungoed-Thomas and
Maeve Sheehan, ARiot Organisers Prepare to Launch Cyber War on City,
Sunday Times, August 15, 1999.
74. Carl Kaplan, AFor Their
Civil Disobedience, the >Sit-In= is Virtual,@ the Cyberlaw Journal,
New York Times on the Web, May 1, 1998. The law is Title 18 U.S.C.
section 1030 (a)(5)(A).
75. Rebecca Allison, ABelgrade
Hackers Bombard MoD Website in >First= Internet War,@ PA News, March
76. AE-Mail Attack on Sri
Lanka Computers,@ Computer Security Alert, No. 183, Computer Security
Institute, June 1998, p. 8.
77. Jim Wolf, AFirst >Terrorist=
Cyber-Attack Reported by U.S.,@ Reuters, May 5, 1998.
78. CIWARS Intelligence Report,
May 10, 1998.
79. Rebecca Allison, ABelgrade
Hackers Bombard MoD Website in >First= Internet War,@ PA News, March
80. Patrick Riley, AE-Strikes
and Cyber-Sabotage: Civilian Hackers Go Online to Fight,@ Fox News,
April 15, 1999.
81. Rebecca Vesely, AControversial
Basque Web Site Resurfaces,@ Wired News, August 28, 1997; ATwo More
Basque Politicians Get ETA Death Threats,@ Reuters, San Sebastian,
Spain, December 16, 1997.
82. AIGC Censored by Mailbombers,@
letter from Maureen Mason and Scott Weikart, IGC, posted on http://www.infowar.com.
83. Rebecca Vesely, AControversial
Basque Web Site Resurfaces,@ Wired News, August 28, 1997.
84. Yves Eudes, AThe Zorros
of the Net,@ Le Monde, November 16, 1997
85. AAnti-Terrorist Squad
Orders Political Censorship of the Internet,@ press release from
Internet Freedom, September 1997.
86. Amy Harmon, A>Hacktivists=
of All Persuasions Take Their Struggle to the Web,@ New York Times,
October 31. 1999.
87. Lindsay Murdoch, AComputer
Chaos Threat to Jakarta,@ Sydney Morning Herald, August 18, 1999,
88. James Glave, ACrackers:
We Stole Nuke Data,@ Wired News, June 3, 1998; Janelle Carter, AHackers
Hit U.S. Military Computers,@ Associated Press, Washington, June
6, 1998; AHackers Now Setting Their Sights on Pakistan,@ Newsbytes,
June 5, 1998.
89. Jim Hu, APolitical Hackers
Hit 300 Sites,@ CNET, July 6, 1998. The Milw0rm page is shown at
90. Patrick Riley, AE-Strikes
and Cyber-Sabotage: Civilian Hackers Go Online to Fight,@ Fox News,
April 15, 1999.
91. ASerb Hackers Reportedly
Disrupt U.S. Military Computers,@ Bosnian Serb news agency SRNA,
March 28, 1999.
92. ASerb Hackers Declare
Computer War,@ Associated Press, October 22, 1998.
93. Martyn Williams, AFederal
Web Sites Under Attack After Embassy Bombing,@ Newsbytes, May 10,
94. Stephen Barr, AAnti-NATO
Hackers Sabotage 3 Web Sites,@ Washington Post, May 12, 1999.
95. AChina Suspends Contacts
With U.S.,@ Associated Press, Beijing, May 9, 1999.
96. Niall McKay, AChina:
The Great Firewall,@ Wired News, December 1, 1998. See also Sarah
Elton, AHacking in the Name of Democracy in China,@ The Toronto
Star, July 4, 1999.
97. Neil Taylor, ACDC Says
Hackers Are Threat,@ IT Daily, August 26, 1999.
98. Maggie Farley, ADissidents
Hack Holes in China=s New Wall,@ Los Angeles Times, January 4, 1999.
100. Letter of January 7,
101. Statement of January
102. James Glave, AConfusion
Over >Cyberwar,= Wired News, January 12, 1999.
103. APro-China Hacker Attacks
Taiwan Government Web Sites,@ Reuters, August 9, 1999.
104. Annie Huang, AHackers=
War Erupts Between Taiwan, China,@ Associated Press, Taipei, Taiwan,
August 9, 1999.
105. ABeijing Tries to Hack
U.S. Web Sites,@ Associated Press, July 30, 1999. McWee=s Web site
is at www.falunusa.net.
107. Private e-mail from
Clark Staten, July 19, 1999.
108. Richard Power, A1999
CSI/FBI Computer Crime and Security Survey,@ Computer Security Issues
& Trends, Vol. V, No. 1, Winter 1999.
109. Ted Bridis, AHackers
Become An Increasing Threat,@ Associated Press, July 7, 1999.
111. Tom Gross, AIsraeli
Claims to Have Hacked Saddam Off the Net,@ London Sunday Telegraph,
February 7, 1999.
114. mi2g Cyber Warfare Advisory
Number 2, April 17, 1999, M2 Communications, April 19, 1999.
115. M2 Communications, April
116. Barry Colin, AThe Future
of Cyberterrorism,@ Crime and Justice International, March 1997,
117. Mark M. Pollitt, ACyberterrorism
B Fact or Fancy?@ Proceedings of the 20th National Information Systems
Security Conference, October 1997, pp. 285-289.
118. Computers at Risk, National
Academy Press, 1991.
119. Barry Colin, AThe Future
of Cyberterrorism,@ Crime and Justice International, March 1997,
120. Mark M. Pollitt, ACyberterrorism
B Fact or Fancy?@ Proceedings of the 20th National Information Systems
Security Conference, October 1997, pp. 285-289.
121. William Church, AInformation
Warfare Threat Analysis for the United States of America, Part Two:
How Many Terrorists Fit on a Computer Keyboard?@ Journal of Infrastructural
Warfare, Summer 1997.
122. Kevin Soo Hoo, Seymour
Goodman,and Lawrence Greenberg, AInformation Technology and the
Terrorist Threat,@ Survival, Vol 39, No. 3, Autumn 1997, pp. 135-155.
123. Clark L. Staten, testimony
before the Subcommittee on Technology, Terrorism and Government
Information, U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee, February 24, 1998.
124. A>Dangerous= Militant
Stalks Internet,@ Detroit News, November 9, 1998.
125. G.A. Res. 53/70, U.N.
GAOR, 53rd Sess., U.N. Doc. A/RES/53/70.
126. Critical Foundations:
Protecting America=s Infrastructures, The Report of the President=s
Commission on Critical Infrastructure Protection, October 1997,
Report Summary, http://www.pccip.gov.
129. AProtecting America=s
Critical Infrastructures: PDD 63,@ The White House, May 22, 1998.
See also White Paper AThe Clinton Administration=s Policy on Critical
Infrastructure Protection: Presidential Decision Directive 63,@
May 22, 1998, and ANational Infrastructure Assurance Council,@ Executive
Order, The White House, July 14, 1999.
130. CIWARS Intelligence
Report, Centre for Infrastructural Warfare Studies, June 21, 1998;
APentagon Computer Systems Hacked,@ Info Security News, June 1998;
Douglas Pasternak and Bruce B. Auster, ATerrorism at the Touch of
a Keyboard,@ U.S. News & World Report, July 13, 1998, p. 37.