Monday, July 18, 2011

Irish Judge Targeted by Hackers for Adverse Judgment against Pirate Bay

Newspaper reports indicate that Justice Charleton faced cyber bullying and intimidation for blocking access to Pirate Bay: "[The gardai] told me that my judgment had not gone down well in places like Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan, among others. These are places where there is no control at all on the internet, or so I was told," Mr Charleton told the conference.
“I was regarded as a traitor... to freedom of expression on the internet. Threats were made that my life would be ‘wrecked by computer’. The people in question, the cyber-terrorists, were proposing to hack into my computer to get my credit card and other details, order any number of pizzas for my greedy gut and get call girls to turn up to my door and plant child pornography on my work computers.”

The reports do not indicate what action, if any, the Gardai took in response to these attacks. Cyber attacks against state agencies are increasing in number and sophistication, posing growing threats. A recent instance in the US saw 24,000 military files being stolen from a defense contractor in a single attack. The Pentagon recently unveiled a new strategy on cyber attacks. Many have called for a military response when the attacks originate in another state, especially one with hostile intentions. This would pose difficulties for international law puritans but one would expect the law in this area to develop as cyber attacks hit vital targets and require retaliatory action.

I wonder if it is time for Ireland to have some sort of strategy against cyber attacks in the light of this attack on Justice Charleton. Since it is highly unlikely that attacks against Irish state computer systems would involve any defense sensitive information, a law and order based response strategy is probably sufficient.