Friday, May 25, 2007

Attack of the Cyber Terrorists

This story was posted on the Drudge Report and thought the effect this "hypothetical" situation would have on financial systems interesting. Specifically, the effect it would have on the online payments space. Imagine my surprise when I found out it happened last week in Estonia!

Naturally, I started to think how Pay By Touch's TrueMe combined with ATM Direct's patented Internet PIN Debit system could help avert a financial transaction disaster like this from occurring.

Attack of the cyber terrorists
the Daily Mail

Here's an excerpt:

"The disruption continues: thousands of popular websites, from eBay to YouTube, start malfunctioning or are replaced by malicious parodies.

Tens of millions of pounds are wiped off the share price of companies like Amazon as fears grow that the whole Internet credit card payment network is now vulnerable and insecure.

Eventually, reports start to flood in that hundreds of thousands of personal bank accounts have been raided overnight.

Panicked bank chiefs and PR men go on TV to try to reassure, promising that this is no more than an electronic glitch, but thousands of anxious citizens take to the streets, many in tears, and pour angrily into the banks to demand their savings in cash.

When the ATM system goes down, the government steps in. A task force is appointed. There is a rush on hard cash that leads to a shortage of notes and coins.

Soon, it is clear that the United Kingdom (and much of Europe) has been subjected to a sustained and effective cyber-terrorist attack.

Slowly, the computer network is disinfected; the viruses, botnets and worms that are the electronic versions of bombs and bullets are defused and rendered harmless. No one has died, but the attack has cost Britain $10 billion, and share prices take months to recover.

Such a scenario, say some experts, is not only possible but likely in the near future.

Look, for example, at what happened to Estonia last week. Ever since the government of the Baltic state decided (rather tactlessly it must be said) to remove a war memorial to the Red Army from a square in the capital, Tallinn, Russian outrage has ensued. This took the form of demonstrations and even riots.

But then something extraordinary happened: quickly, and wholly without warning, the whole country was subjected to a barrage of cyber-warfare, disabling the websites of government ministries, political parties, banks and newspapers.

Techniques normally employed by cybercriminals, such as huge remotely-controlled networks of hijacked computers, were used to cripple vital public services.

Nato has sent its top cyber-terrorism experts to Tallinn, with western democracies caught on the hop over the implications of such an attack."...

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