Wednesday, August 13, 2008


As it turns out, the July [Internet access] attack [against Web sites in the Republic of Georgia] may have been a dress rehearsal for an all-out cyberwar once the shooting started between Georgia and Russia. According to Internet technical experts, it was the first time a known cyberattack had coincided with a shooting war.

But it will likely not be the last, said Bill Woodcock, the research director of the Packet Clearing House, a nonprofit organization that tracks Internet traffic. He said cyberattacks are so inexpensive and easy to mount, with few fingerprints, they will almost certainly remain a feature of modern warfare.

“It costs about 4 cents per machine,” Mr. Woodcock said. “You could fund an entire cyberwarfare campaign for the cost of replacing a tank tread, so you would be foolish not to.”

Somehow the line got out quickly in the U.S. that Russia was just sitting there minding its own and watching the Olympics when those hot-headed Georgians, drunk on U.S. neocon rhetoric, mugged them. The closer you look at the long-simmering feud over these "breakaway regions," the more you see the hands twisting the oven dials under the pot. You need a lot more information than most opinionators have offered to judge who wanted this boil-over right now.