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<A HREF="http://www.zdnet.com/zdnn/stories/news/0,4586,2195840,00.html">ZDNN:
Virtual country 'nuked' in cyberwar</A>
January 28, 1999 5:07 AM PT
Virtual country 'nuked' in cyberwar
Hackers bring down East Timor domain; Indonesian government blamed.

The Indonesian government is being blamed for a cyber-attack on
computers in Ireland that brought down the East Timor virtual country
domain, according to a report by the BBC.

East Timor, currently occupied by Indonesia, declared its virtual
independence one year ago with the creation of its own top-level domain,
.tp, which is actually served from an Irish Internet service provider.
Hackers brought the ISP to its knees earlier this week, forcing a
shutdown of the East Timor domain.

Hacking ring blamed
As of Wednesday evening, the main information site for East Timor,
www.freedom.tp, was still down. Only the home page of the Irish ISP that
hosts the domain, http://www.connect.ie/, was accessible -- and it
contained some direct accusations.

"Yesterday the hacking ring, fondly referred to as E-Nazis, finally
succeeded, forcing Connect-Ireland's staff to physically pull the plug
on their servers for twenty-four hours," said a message on that page.

It directly laid blame for the hack to the Indonesian government. "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," it said.

18 simultaneous attacks

The East Timor domain project was initiated by Connect-Ireland and 1996
Nobel Prize winners Ramos Horta and Bishop Belo. It went live one year
ago, a political statement of independence, since top-level domains are
generally given only to established nations.

Connect-Ireland's project director, Martin Maguire, told BBC News Online
that crackers had been testing the servers' defenses for the past nine
months before launching simultaneous attacks from countries as far apart
as Australia, Japan, Holland and the United States.

'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.'
-- Martin Maguire, Connect-Ireland's project director

"There were 18 simultaneous attacks on our server by robots trying to
claw down our defenses," said Martin. Once they had broken in, Maguire
said, crackers set up their own domain, need.tp, with the possible aim
of using it for propaganda on East Timor.

Connect-Ireland responded by turning off all its servers, then changing
all its hardware and software, what it called the "Nuclear Option."

"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,"
Maguire said.

Formal protest launched
Connect-Ireland says it is lodging a formal protest with the Indonesian
Embassy in London.

Indonesia invaded East Timor on Dec. 7, 1975, and unilaterally annexed
it as the nation's 27th province one year later.

Numerous U.N. resolutions, including one co-sponsored by Ireland last
April, have condemned Indonesia's occupation.

When the East Timor domain was first launched, a spokesman for the
Indonesian embassy told the Irish Times that while Indonesia fully
respected the freedom of cyberspace, it was "concerned that this freedom
has been misused by Connect-Ireland to spread a campaign against
Indonesia.... The handover of the domain to the government of East Timor
is beyond imagination since the government of East Timor will not

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