Act, React- Wikileaks Part Two

As I always say to anyone who asks me about Crisis PR, it is rarely the initial problem that is the crisis; it’s how the protragonists react that creates the real crisis. As my earlier blog (see below) recounts, the original Wiklileaks exposure of diplomatic cables was not cage-rattling, at least in my view. And the media hype was only to be expected, at least to my cynical and jaundiced eye. Even the hysterical, over-the-top reaction of the right wing American commentators (Assange can’t be tried for treason, as he isn’t a US citizen) provoked a slightly bemused reaction from me.

But, when a concentrated cyberattack by US Government elements tried to put the Wikileaks website out of action, my attention was drawn. And the reaction of the cyber-community that backs Wikileaks has now made this into as complusive as a Stieg Laarson novel. Is this the wave of the future we are seeing here- when freedom of speech provokes denials of service that get the hacktivists to work on the “third parties” like Visa, Paypal and the like, caught in the crossfire?

Scary stuff, this- which is part of the reason why this blogger does not use internet banking, does not use wireless computing, does not use a credit card online, or put any confidential financial data in accessible formats. Maybe, I am old fashioned, but when this sort of cyber warfare starts mucking up everyday life, it is no longer the realm of thriller fiction, but something more worrying.


About catherinesweet
Academic, professional, communicator, stakeholder in a dozen different disguises

One Response to Act, React- Wikileaks Part Two

  1. The latest attacks were essentially carried out by people that, at best, have a cursory knowledge of the internet and security systems. Denial of Service attacks are, after all, the simplest method of attacking a website that relies far more on numbers than on skill or knowledge of systems.

    Just wait until the government really tries to start messing with the internet and free flow of information. You’ll find the focus shift from some kids with too much time on their hands to the people with real knowledge and understanding of how internet security works starting to ‘fight back’.

    Right now, these people are often holding down very high paying jobs in the security and IT industry and these changes aren’t enough to make them drop everything. If that changes and even a few decide to ‘swap sides’, the world finacial systems could find themselves facing a lot more problems than PayPal being down for a few hours.

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