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HR: Cyber Wars
By Harun Rashid
9/7/2001 7:27 am Mon
[Kenyataan Rais menunjukkan kerajaan memang tidak mampu menangkis
serangan dan hujah penulis siber sehingga ia mahu merobohkan rumah
yang mengisi tulisan-tulisan itu pula. Pakar IT pro reformasi mampu
menyerang dan menggugat SEMUA laman web kerajaan tetapi mereka tidak
melakukannya kerana itu bukan langkah yang sepatutnya. Mengapa Rais
begitu terdesak sampai kesitu pula?
Reformasi adalah peperangan minda dengan bersenjatakan kata-kata -
bukannya peperangan untuk memusnahkan rumah yang mengisi kata-kata.
Kata-kata sahaja sudah cukup berbisa sebab itulah al Quran pun berisi
kata-kata juga. Itu jangan Rais lupa selama-lamanya kerana hati dan aqal
itulah sasaran yang sebenarnya.
by Harun Rashid
Jul 7, 2001
What was widely suspected has been confirmed. The hacking of
websites dedicated to exposing the misdeeds of Malaysia's polluted
politicians was suspected to be funded by the Malaysian ministers
themselves, but until now that was unconfirmed. Thanks to the
announcement of the minister for cyberspace warfare, the battle is now
The are more sharply defined, and it may be seen that there is some
imbalance in the disposition of resources. One is reminded of other SE
Asian conflicts, in which the might and modern armaments of the ground
holder are pitted against the guerilla tactics of the lightly armed, yet
more nimble forces of the challenger.
The scene of combat has been elevated to the boundless, and more
indefensible, terrain of cyberspace. It is all imaginary, supported much
as a computer game is, by the entertaining new technology. The
difficulty with the party-in-power is that they tend to take it all
What has been a friendly skirmish, mainly held in bounds by a
commitment to avoid outright censorship, has now turned nasty, with a
stated intent to do harm. The legal apparatus of the country is to be
brought into the fray, along with the ultimate weapon, the Special
Branch, which physically grabs the enemy and his computer/weapon
and subjects both to intensive interrogation.
Few survive unscathed. Some disappear forever. Many return from the
experience devoid of memory, a phenomenon difficult to explain by any
humanitarian standard. In many cases these braindead drones are
brought into a courtroom to observe their prosecution.
Rarely does the judge notice that it is a mentaly incompetent zombie,
incapable of understanding the proceedings, that is in the dock. The
Special Branch specialises in "turning" its victims, and this often means
turning them into vegetables.
No attempt to protect and defend these poor creatures is attempted,
either by the appointed attorney or the sitting judge. It is a travesty of
justice, Malaysian style. The world is certain to see more of this in
months and years to come.
The duties of the 'law' minister are being more clearly defined. He has in
his portfolio the impending new attack on the internet, specifically
offensive websites. He intends to eradicate from cyberspace selected
sites of his choosing, which may be regarded as more than a slight by
the owner/webmaster. It suggests a technological bookburning. There
was a similar position in the Third Reich, another authoritarian regime.
The good minister is poorly qualified to initiate a cyberwar. His
understanding of the new technology is limited to hiring hackers skilled
at defacing and employing goverment employees to send viruses to
opposition figures by email. The MITI, devoted to international business
relations, was recently guilty of purposefully directing viruses to
selected addresses, though this was subsequently denied, on the
grounds it was inadvertent. The evidence shows otherwise.
The good minister begins to appear as the local minister of
disinformation, engaged more in the mis-interpretation of the law than in
its implementation. Careful scrutiny of his language allows computer
comparison with his printed thesis, and it is easy to surmise that there
are other hands which held the pen. His subsequent disavowal of
parentage of the work is thus facilitated, there being no apparent family
The mis-use of the printed and electronic media is the dictatorial choice
of the past. The use of similar methods to control communication and
news will fail in the new age, a point the Malaysian ministers seem
incapable of grasping. The number of websites far exceeds any
capability for destroying them, and they can be cloned, mirrored and
re-established much faster than they can be identified and attacked.
The minister might consider the case of the software developed to make
transfer of CD's possible. When the court ordered this website to
remove the offering, the software was quickly dissiminated to over
1,500 new sites in a matter of hours. Such is the power of the internet
to thwart efforts to control content.
In spite of public statements that the new declaration of war is not
censorship of the internet, it is difficult to avoid this conclusion. How
else is it to be regarded? If this is to be a declaration of war, the
foreseeable consequences are dire. The ability of independent computer
owners to retaliate is enormous, ranging from boycotting firms who use
electronic components manufactured in Malaysia, to actual removal of
all Malaysian government websites.
The entire Malaysian IT structure is vulnerable, and an immediate truce
is in the best interests of the party-in-power. Should the attack on
students continue, and the ISA prisoners not be released, the Kuala
Lumpur Stock Exchange could be attacked by young engineers alienated
by the oppressive tactics being used. Other IT facilities are equally
exposed. The Malaysian party-in-power is not prepared for any active
confrontation on the cyberfront.
Let the good minister take note.
Link Reference : Cyber Wars