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[] BBC 07.11.02: Hack attacks on rise in Asia,

 From BBC News,

Thursday, 7 November, 2002, 13:53 GMT

Hack attacks on rise in Asia

Indonesian hackers on rise since Bali bombing

Hackers based in Indonesia and Malaysia have been launching digital
attacks on neighbouring countries, say computer security experts.

October, the month in which a bomb exploded on the Indonesian island
of Bail, has seen heightened cyber attacks in South East Asia and
Oceania, according to a report from security firm mi2g.

South Korea, Australia, China, Taiwan and Japan have been the victims
of hundreds of hack attacks causing millions of pounds worth of

"The number of attacks were rising before the Bali bombing but carried
on escalating afterwards and didn't let-up," said mi2g chairman DK

At the same time, Indonesian and Malaysian hackers have been advising
some of their native country's online players on how to shore up their

"Pro-Islamic groups are conducting friendly hacking and if they
identify vulnerabilities on pro-Islamic businesses or organisations
systems they leave messages suggesting ways to improve security," said
Mr Matai.


So far pro-Islamic hackers have been operating on a one-way street
with no anti-Islamic backlash but Mr Matai predicts that could change.

"So far there is no evidence of a backlash but historically hack
attacks have been about attack and counter-attack," he said.

"I don't think this one-sided (cyberwar) will last long. Because of
the economic damage there will be a backlash against Indonesia and
Malaysia," he said.

The motivation of a group called the Malaysian Hackers Association
appears to be political, leaving messages calling on the UK and the US
to stop attacks on Muslims and including a prayer blessing Saddam
Hussein, Yasser Arafat and Osama bin Laden.

Economic damage

The so-called Medan Hackers from Indonesia have been targeting systems
in Taiwan, South Korea, Japan, China and Thailand as well as some
internal ones.

Other than businesses, it is mainly academic and government agencies
that have been targeted and the damage has been huge.

China has suffered estimated economic damage of up to $865m since the
beginning of the year. Australia has lost as much as $309m and South
Korea $449m.

In October alone, the digital attacks are estimated to have caused
$20m worth of damage in Japan, $67m in Australia and $23m in Taiwan.

"The high economic value targets in the West are not so easy to hit
but in South East Asia regimes about vulnerability patching are not as
solid," said Mr Matai.

Overall in October, viruses such as Bugbear did more economic damage -
around $2bn - than digital attacks which came in at between $886m and

Damage caused in October
China $79m
Australia $67m
Taiwan $23m
Japan $20m
South Korea $6m

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