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Cyber Security Bill CISPA Irks Hacker Group

Cyber Security Bill CISPA Irks Hacker Group
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Hacker-activist group Anonymous seems to be on a rampage; last week in China and now strolling in the US, with distinct messages for each country. After hacking and defacing hundreds of websites in China, the group reportedly has targeted two technology trade association websites in the US Monday. The hacker collective is against the cyber security bill Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act of 2011, abbreviated CISPA, which critics see as having the risk of infringing on digital rights and civil liberties.

USTelecom and TechAmerica - the targeted technology trade websites - are supporters of the controversial legislation. These trade websites suffered denial-of-service attacks on Monday. Anonymous has reportedly claimed responsibility for this. USTelecom represents telecom companies, including AT&T, Verizon and CenturyLink, and TechAmerica includes tech companies such as IBM, Microsoft and Apple.

Both these associations back the CISPA - a bipartisan bill sponsored by leaders in the House Intelligence Committee and referred to as the Rogers-Ruppersberger Cyber Security Bill. The bill passed the Intelligence Committee in December, and it awaits the next step, which is the House Floor. According to Rep. Mike Rogers, a sponsor, the bill aims to "help the private sector defend itself from advanced cyber threats."

Terming the legislation a decisive first step to tackle cyber threats, Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger says, "Without important, immediate changes to American cyber security policy, I believe our country will continue to be at risk for a catastrophic attack to our nation's vital networks - networks that power our homes, provide our clean water or maintain the other critical services we use every day."

The bill encourages more information sharing between private companies and governments to counter cyber attacks. Many online advocacy groups, including The Electronic Frontier Foundation, have condemned CISPA, worrying the bill could weaken privacy laws and bring about strong Internet censorship.

Huge online protests in January this year saw the shelving of similar bills: SOPA, the Stop Online Piracy Act, and PIPA, the Protect IP Act. It is highly likely that the recent cyber attacks may lead to a larger web-based protest over the several cyber security proposals that the House is expected to consider later this month.

The so called 'Operation Anti-Security', abbreviated 'AntiSec', was initiated mid last year by network hacker group LulzSec declaring immediate and unremitting war against governments worldwide as a defense of privacy. It also invited other hackers to "steal and leak" information classified by governments. Hacker collective Anonymous immediately supported LulzSec.

The first reported attack since this declaration was on the website of the United Kingdom's Serious Organized Crime Agency, or SOCA, which also investigates computer crime. The group has targeted numerous government websites in recent months, including U.S. federal agencies, NATO, and the Israeli government, also attacked Ugandan government websites over the weekend, and is reportedly out to attack UK government servers. UK too is said to be contemplating on a similar bill such as CISPA.

For China, the group's message appears to be pushing for human rights. The hacker group's text that appeared on a March 30 defacement of several Chinese websites asks Chinese people to fight for freedom and human rights, and it also threatens: "Dear Chinese government, you are not infallible, today websites are hacked, tomorrow it will be your vile regime that will fall. So expect us because we do not forgive, never. What you are doing today to your Great People, tomorrow will be inflicted to you."

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by RTT Staff Writer

For comments and feedback: editorial@rttnews.com

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