Is Turkey ready for cyber war?
ERSU ABLAKOn Nov. 8, the Turkish Ministry of Finance’s website www.maliye.gov.tr was hacked by the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) . A song praising Abdullah Öcalan, the leader of the terrorist group, was playing via YouTube.
The next day the page was not accessible. I hope the attack is avoided by today. The incident in itself is a shame. However the worst thing is the fact that the webmasters were warned before and they haven’t taken any measures to avoid this. A group of Turkish nationalist hackers hacked the website a few months ago and issued a warning on the website. They wrote that it is “sad ignorance” that maliye.gov.tr has so many loopholes that could be used to hack the website. The group ended their warning with an order: Fix the bugs! However as we learned on Tuesday the webmasters for maliye.gov.tr didn’t take them seriously.
This reminded me of how NATO turned its attention from a nuclear war to a cyber one. Two years ago during the ARI movement’s International Security Conference, I had the opportunity to speak with a NATO officer and she told that one of the fundamental areas in the future of NATO will be cyber security. After seeing the attack on maliye.gov.tr, I agree with her.
The Turkish-PKK cyber war may not be on the international agenda but the one in between the West and China definitely is. Until recently it wasn’t possible to prove that China was actively hacking Western institutions. However a TV show changed all that. China Central Television 7 (CCTV-7) is China’s official channel for military and agricultural issues. As part of its wide-ranging coverage, every Saturday it runs a 20-minute program called ‘Military Science and Technology.’ The July 16 edition was entitled “The Internet Storm is Coming.” The program appeared to show dated computer screen shots of a Chinese military institute conducting a rudimentary cyber attack against a U.S.-based dissident entity. According to Diplomat News Web Site, however modest, ambiguous and - from China’s perspective - defensive, this is possibly the first direct piece of visual evidence from an official Chinese government source to undermine Beijing’s official claims that it never engages in overseas hacking of any kind for government purposes.
From Canada and Britain, France and South Korea, there have been growing reports of online attacks on computer networks around the world.
According to BBC, the finger of suspicion is often pointed at China. We will see how this will turn out as the West clearly states that Chinese attacks will be considered as act of war if they go on like this. Can a cyber war start a real one will be the debate of the coming years.
Meanwhile back in Turkey, we are so far away from this discussion. It is clear that we don’t have any cyber security strategy. This last attacked showed that the “Special Communication Tax” collected from mobile communications was not used for technological readiness but probably making the double roads just like the special taxes collected after the earthquake to get Turkey earthquake ready.
It seems that in the last couple of years we invested everything in roads. We will see how this strategy turn out in the next couple of years.