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[] Cyber-terror attack predicted for Thursday,
------------------------------------------------------------- Virus Hysteria Alert
Truth About Computer Security Hysteria
{25 August 2004, 01:20 CT}

CATEGORY: Dire predictions of a cyber-war or cyber-terrorism

Russian news site has reported "terrorists will paralyze the
Internet on August 26" (this Thursday).  The story cites virus experts
Alexander Gostev and Eugene Kaspersky, both who work for Kaspersky Labs,
a large Russian antivirus firm.  MosNews ran the story under the
headline "Russian Computer Expert Predicts Internet Terrorist Attack." story (English):

The web page address includes the phrase "internetend" -- an obvious
reference to the end of the Internet as we know it.   

Vmyths dismisses this "Internet Terrorist Attack" story as baseless
hysteria, for numerous reasons explained below.

It appears MosNews derived their story from a newswire published by, which may have derived their own story from a Novosti
newswire.  In other words, it's "hand-me-down" news, and this is a
systemic problem in computer security.  Reporters will often quote each
others' stories as their main sources of information.  Worse, these
stories originated in Russia, where many news agencies have dissolved
into sensationalist tabloids since the breakup of the Soviet Union.

Speaking directly to Novosti's reporters, Gostev supposedly claimed "the
United States and Western Europe will suffer from the attack" on
Thursday, while Kaspersky supposedly "reminded that similar attacks had
earlier paralyzed [the] Internet in South Korea.  He added that it would
be 'impossible' to stop terrorist organizations if they 'get down to

As expected, the Novosti newswire described the cyber-terrorists as
"Islamic" fundamentalists who declared Thursday a day of "electronic

Gostev and Kaspersky claimed they learned about the cyber-terror attack
>from data "published on specialized sites," and Gostev admitted "it is
difficult to say how true this information is."  Statements like this
raise a RED FLAG at Vmyths.  We believe the men studied messages left by
narcissistic braggarts, not Islamic cyber-warriors.  Vmyths has seen NO
objective corroborating evidence for an Internet armageddon in the near

Narcissistic braggarts have a notorious habit of (1) declaring an attack
date and then (2) failing to show up for duty at the appointed time. 
One of the most hilarious examples of this took place in 1997; see for details.

According to Novosti, Kaspersky concluded by saying "it is ghastly
enough that these people have mentioned 'electronic jihad' for the first
time."  Kaspersky is clearly mistaken if the newswire quoted him in
context.  Hackers and the media have used this exact term for years; a
Google search returns 500+ matches.  Israel's Jerusalem Post newspaper
used a similar term, "virtual jihad," four years ago.  mi2g (a
well-documented fearmonger) has issued predictions over the years for
electronic jihads which have NEVER come to pass.

   Remember this when virus hysteria strikes:

MosNews quoted, which quoted another virus expert, who insisted
"Kaspersky Labs has been foretelling the doomsday for a long time." 
Vmyths agrees they occasionally sensationalize threats -- but a global
cyber-terror prediction seems highly out of character for them.  And the website so far offers no special news/advice for its
clients.  The Novosti newswire oddly claims Kaspersky Labs "will be
switched over to the 'yellow' danger level" on Thursday, but this, too,
seems highly out of character for the antivirus firm.

For all of these reasons, Vmyths dismisses this "Internet Terrorist
Attack" story as baseless hysteria.

Vmyths assumes Alexander Gostev & Eugene Kaspersky were quoted out of
context -- but we don't know HOW MUCH they were quoted out of context. 
This may be an example of a "worst-case scenario briefing" gone awry. 
(See for more on this
subtopic.)  We asked Kaspersky Labs to comment on the Russian news
stories and we'll publish their response as soon as we get it.

Unfortunately, the global media has a FETISH for "end of the Internet"
stories.  Vmyths predicts the following:

   (1) On Wednesday, news outlets around the world will report the
Novosti newswire (and stories derived from it) without question.  A
sensationalist reporter might even link cyber-terrorism to the breaking
news of two Russian jetliners that just crashed.  "Did Islamic hackers
take over the cockpits?"
   (2) On Thursday, a few news outlets will acknowledge the prediction
   (3) On Friday, reporters will dump the story as a non-event.

The SANS "Internet Storm Center" ( currently reports
a "green" status for the Internet.  SANS "predicts that the Internet
will not vaporize into a cloud of nothingness this Thursday, but if it
does, it's been our pleasure to help stave off its inevitable
annihilation this long."  Vmyths applauds SANS for its sense of humor.

Don't bet on an Islamic cyber-attack this Thursday.  Stay calm.  Stay
reasoned.  And stay tuned to Vmyths.

Rob Rosenberger, editor
Rob -!
- Vmyths -
(319) 646-2800

  * Cory Altheide (SANS), for URLs to Russian news stories
  * Confidential source, for the Novosti newswire

CATEGORY: Dire predictions of a cyber-war or cyber-terrorism

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