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Monday, November 5, 2001

Beware of cyber terrorists
Surya Narayan Panda

TRANSFORMATION in technology has resulted in corresponding change in white-collared crimes in the world during the past two decades. The growing ubiquity of computers and their associated network has revolutionised terrorism too.

Cyber terrorism is the latest kind of campaign launched by those who swear to create havoc and make things difficult in the cyber world. Altogether, different from the conventional terrorism, bio-terrorism and techno-terrorism, cyber terrorism uses new weapons like malicious software, electromagnetic and microwave that destroys the data in cyberspace. Violence done on data may affect the security and economic condition of a country.

Cyber terrorism disrupts the normal functioning of computers and other information systems. The weapons of cyber terrorists exist exclusively in cyberspace. One of the most known weapons of a cyber terrorist is computer virus.

There are three categories of cyber terrorists - hackers, cyberpunks and cypherpunks. Hacker means the person that breaks into computers to prove that it can be done. Some hackers are destructive while others are plain joy riders. Cyberpunk is a hard-edged hacker who uses his technical expertise to make money. Cypherpunk is a person who is interested in the use of encryption to protect the privacy and uses decryption method to access other protected files. They exist exclusively to destroy or modify computer information.

To cope up with cyber terrorism, one must first understand the critical elements of criminal activities that occur in cyberspace. To do this, the information must be protected at all levels. The accuracy of information should also be verified, nevertheless. During distribution of information, the means of transfer must be secure to ensure that the information arrives at its destination in an unaltered format. The most effective defence is to isolate the computer on network completely from the rest of the cyberspace. Computer and network should be protected by password and should be changed frequently.



Phoney Website dares WTO

ANTI-globalisation activists have enraged the World Trade Organisation (WTO) with a phoney Website that looks just like the real thing but uses spoof Officialese and mentions profit at every opportunity.

"A fake WTO website -- www.gatt.org -- has been created to deceive Internet users by copying the entire official WTO Website. While the design is identical, the texts have been distorted," the organisation said on its real site, www.wto.org.

To confuse users further, the fake site copies the warning, but accuses the WTO of being the impostor.

The name of the fake Website is the acronym for the General Agreement on Trade and Tariffs (GATT), a body that was replaced by the WTO in 1995.

The WTO is preparing for a key ministerial meeting next month in the Gulf state of Qatar to try and launch a new round of trade talks after failure at the last meeting in 1999 in Seattle that was besieged by anti-globalisation protesters.

The WTO faced a similar Net attack before Seattle.

Supporters of the 142-nation trade body have urged it to be more active in responding to "dirty tricks" by anti-globalisation activists.

The Google Internet search engine lists the gatt.org site as belonging to RTMark, an Internet community (www.rtmark.com) that says it "supports the sabotage (informative alteration) of corporate products" in order to "improve culture".




Networked services market may grow

THE networked market that comprises 'network consulting and integration' as well as 'network and desktop outsourcing' services is expected to see a growth of 25.8 per cent in the current financial year as compared to the last one. Considering the general slowdown, this growth can be termed healthy.

The findings are based on a survey conducted by International Data Corporation (IDC), India, wherein 1553 PC owning SME (small and medium enterprises) and 129 PC owning large organisations, across top 8 cities of India, and over a dozen leading IT service providers were surveyed. The results of the survey, contained in a report titled 'Networked Infrastructure Services Market in India, 2001', indicate that spending on networked infrastructure services was Rs. 753 crore in 2000-01 and is likely to increase to Rs.947 crore in the current fiscal, indicating an increase in its share from 15.3 per cent to 16.4 per cent of total IT services spending.

The prime reason behind this growth is that more and more organisations are deploying inter-organisation and intra-organisation networks that coupled with a fast technology refresh rate lead to a situation where heterogeneous hardware and technical environments are often found on the same network. Also, the increasing complexity of networks demand services of professional 'network integrators and consultants' to build and 'network and desktop outsourcing service providers' to maintain and run the same. The captive IT service departments are no longer able to sustain these challenges, thereby forcing the organisations to outsource these activities.

Banking and finance is one of the biggest adopters of such services. Both private as well as public sector organisations, are setting up more and more ATMs, thus providing customers with any-time-any-branch banking services. This means that they not only have to hire a professional network consultant and integrator but also to maintain the infrastructure, they have to depend on a service provider. IDC (India) Limited was formed in 1987 as an affiliate of IDC which is based in Framingham, Mass., USA. TNS