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Hackers spar over cyber war on Iraq, China

cyber warfare

January 13, 1999
Web posted at: 12:24 p.m. EDT (1224 GMT)

by Mary Lisbeth D'Amico

MUNICH (IDG) -- A coalition of international hackers last week condemned a fellow hacker group, the Legion of the Underground (LoU), for declaring "cyber war" against the governments of Iraq and China.

In a joint statement posted on numerous Web sites last Thursday, the hacker coalition said it strongly opposes any attempt to use the power of hacking to threaten or destroy the information infrastructure of a country, for any reason.

The joint statement was issued by the groups Cult of the Dead Cow, LOpht Heavy Industries, Phrack, Pulhas, Chaos Computer Club and !Hispahack.

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In late December, the U.S. hackers group LoU declared what it called "cyber war" on Iraq and China, calling for "the complete destruction of all computer systems." The group cited as its reason the severe rights abuses by the governments in these countries, pointing in particular to the death sentences of two bank robbers in China, and the production of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. The LoU also in October hacked into China's human rights Web site.

But the actions of LoU punish the wrong people, according to the opposing hackers.

"Though we may agree with LoU that the atrocities in China and Iraq have got to stop, we do not agree with the methods they are advocating. They are short-sighted and potentially counterproductive. One cannot legitimately hope to improve a nation's free access to information by working to disable its data networks," said the statement.

Declaring "war" against anyone, any group of people, or any nation is a most deplorable act, which reduces the hacker to the level of the group or country that they are attacking, the hacker coalition said.

The LoU has only inadvertently legitimized the actions of governments that are trying to establish cyberspace as a battleground for their conflicts, according to the hackers. "If hackers are establishing themselves as a weapon, hacking in general will be seen as an act of war," they said.

Mary Lisbeth D'Amico writes for the IDG News Service.

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