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News item: Virtual country 'nuked' onNet

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Date:          Tue, 26 Jan 1999 18:56:39 GMT0BST
From:          "Yaman Akdeniz" <>
Subject:       News item: Virtual country 'nuked' onNet 

Tuesday, January 26, 1999 Published at 15:01 GMT 
BBC Sci/Tech
Virtual country 'nuked' onNet 

Connect-Ireland's Website now carries only a simple condemnation 

By Internet Correspondent Chris Nuttall 

The Indonesian Government is being blamed for a highly-organised
attack on computers in Ireland which brought down the East Timor
virtual country domain. 

Connect-Ireland says it is lodging a formal protest with the
Indonesian Embassy in London after it was forced to shut down its
systems, disrupting its Internet service provision to 3,000 customers.

The cracker attacks, perhaps the first of their kind orchestrated by a
government, began last Tuesday and, after a week, the domain guardian
and Internet Service Provider was still struggling to restore its

"E-Nazis" create chaos

Only its home page was accessible, containing a statement headlined:
E-Nazis Creating Chaos on the Net. 

"The apparent aim of the attack was to disrupt the East Timorese
Internet domain [.tp], established only twelve months ago by the East
Timorese Project, " said the statement. 

The project was initiated by Connect-Ireland and the 1996 Nobel Prize
winners Ramos Horta and Bishop Belo. The main site,
returned a 404 Not Found error message on Tuesday. 

"The perpetrators of this attack have not yet been identified, but the
Indonesian government is known to be extremely antagonistic towards
this display of virtual sovereignty," said the statement. 

Robots mounted 18 attacks

Connect-Ireland's project director, Martin Maguire, told BBC News
Online that e-mail for customers was now being delivered and new
passwords were being issued. 

He said crackers had been testing the servers' defences for the past
nine months before launching lightning simultaneous attacks from
countries as far apart as Australia, Japan, Holland and the United

"There were 18 simultaneous attacks on our server by robots trying to
claw down our defences," said Martin. 

"This was a very high-level attack that had to be planned and

Once they had broken in, the crackers set up their own domain host,, with the possible aim of using it for propaganda on East

A new style of war

Connect-Ireland responded with its "nuclear option" of a complete
shutdown. "We have re-invented ourselves in the space of a week,
moving platforms, using other versions of software on new hardware,"
said Martin. 

He said other services in Japan and the United States had been hit by
similar attacks but were not reporting them for fear of bad publicity.

"This is the ostrich nature of the industry. But it's going to be the
new style of war. You can see these tactics becoming part of official
government policy and a potential weapon." 

"And it can take place against real countries. Probably no government
has contingency plans for this, no government has mandatory reporting
of such incidents and there is no plan for managing the problem." 

There was no-one available for comment at the Indonesian Embassy in
London on Tuesday. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Yaman Akdeniz <> Cyber-Rights & Cyber-Liberties (UK)

Read the new CR&CL (UK) Report, Who Watches the Watchmen, Part:II
Accountability & Effective Self-Regulation in the Information Age,
August 1998 at