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Reducing Systemic Cyber Security Risk

Reducing Systemic Cyber Security Risk


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Published by: Silendo on Jan 18, 2011
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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Recreational hacking is the type of activity that appeared in the 1983 movie War Games. The
aim is usually to impress other hackers with a skilful exploit rather than to make money (Cornwall,
1985). The problem is that such recreational activity can have unintended consequences and
become a global risk. Examples include:

The Morris worm of 1988, written by a student as an experiment, but which went on to
infect many major Unix computers on the nascent Internet.

In 1994 United Kingdom-based hackers Datastream Cowboy and Kuji attacked
computers owned by the United States Air Force, NATO, NASA, Lockheed Martin and
others (GAO, 1996; Sommer, 1998).

The Melissa virus of 1999 created by David Smith is estimated to have spread to over 1
million PCs world-wide causing damage up to USD 400 million. It could be embedded
in documents created in the popular Word 97 and Word 2000 formats but could also
mass e-mail itself using Microsoft Outlook (F-Secure, 2006).

Mafiaboy, a 15-year-old Canadian, is alleged to have successfully attacked some of the
largest commercial websites in the world, including Amazon, Ebay and Yahoo, in early
2000 (Evans, 2001).

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