Cyberwar on free speech and small businesses

The last month has seen an major increase in international cyber warfare, first we had North Korea hacking Sony, apart from the embarrassment caused by leaked documents, forced them to shut down their entire network, and they claim still some of their computers don’t work, all at an expected cost of $169m, the stated reason North Korea launched this attack at the time was the upcoming release of the comedy film The Interview which ridiculed their dictator Kim Jong-un, although North Korea never admitted their involvement there is compelling evidence.

Cinemas refused to show the film fearing both for their online and physical security, I am pleased to say that Sony did the right thing and released the film online.

Will Sony be brave enough to take on a film that might upset those that might be offended in the future, that sadly I doubt, and I think we see that all media has now been silenced, we can see this in my next example, only a couple of weeks ago, jihadist attacked the offices of the Charlie Hebdo satirical magazine in Paris, murdering 12 staff, including the 5 cartoonists who’s only crime was exercising their wit with satirical cartoons, but this was not the cyber attack, what followed was 19,000 French websites hacked, the vast majority we’re not targeted and had no connection to Charlie Hebdo, they were mostly just small businesses with lax security.
But what did happen and proved how scared the media were, terrorized even, was the refusal to publish even one of the Charlie Hebdo cartoons that had caused the offence, I understand that they might not normally show this sort of material, but when it is the subject matter of a major news story their absence can only mean that the threats have worked and true freedom of speech is dead, not by some change in the law, but from cyber and physical terrorism.
Cyber Attacks are taking centre stage at the Davos 2015, the World Economic Forum, with “a report that warns failing to improve cyber security could cost the global economy $3tn” While Sony, the blue chips, infrastructure and government are sure to benefit from any investment, I don’t expect to see any help for the small businesses and blogs, and as we have seen with the 19,000 French sites, and although not free speech related, we saw a similar attack last year on a country’s random small vulnerable sites, again mostly small businesses in Israel.
I think Craig Hockenberry‘s recent DDoS attack is an interesting and worrying story and we will be hearing a lot more of these type of cyber attacks in the future, all those country’s/regime’s that that wish to direct all speech to protect its own interests and block access to internet traffic, the way they block their citizens (or if you like prisoners) from accessing certain parts of the internet (I hear Disney is blocked in Iran) is to poison the DNS, so when you type in some restricted site, you are taken to some other place, it could be any site they want taken down, as the effect is a massive DDoS, and as a friend of Craig’s said “They have weaponized their entire population”.

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