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Ethical Hacking - By Chintan Gurjar

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Main » 2010 » December » 9 » WikiLeaks Reveled The Biggest Cybercrime of All Time
2:11 PM
WikiLeaks Reveled The Biggest Cybercrime of All Time
WikiLeaks Reveled The Biggest Cybercrime of All Time

SOURCE: Cat Techie




Time perhaps has come to walk stark naked inside the terminal building of an airport on your way to board an airplane, if you want to avoid the new hassles at the security line where otherwise you have to be virtually naked anyway.At the security checkpoints in American airports nowadays you are subjected by Transport Security Authority (TSA) to a full-body scanning that creates your naked image on their monitors or to a full-body "enhanced pat-down" that invites TSA people to touch your breasts and genitals. And, if you happen to be a Muslim woman wearing a hijab, you had it coming to you; you brace yourself for a tougher probing that may make your toes curl.

Now perhaps is the time you have to advise your children: "Remember, no stranger can touch or see your private areas, unless it's an employee of TSA". In the course of time, who knows, it may not be outlandish if you have to ask your clients and guests either to show their private areas beforehand or get thoroughly patted-down by your hands on the threshold before leaving or entering your shop, office or home. Privacy has of late become something of a misnomer when private areas of human body are used as safe space to stow away tools of terrorism. So has become secrecy. The present-day journalism seems to have been turning into wholesome vandalism with WikiLeaks churning out thousands of secret and sensitive documents and records of US military and diplomatic incidents and newspapers all around the world publishing those secrecies in glee, not thinking how the knowledge of those secrecies is going to help the citizenry and how leakages of those secrecies are putting lives of people in grave peril.

WikiLeaks, a website run by Julian Assange, an Australian with a background in computer network hacking, has already released 77,000 secret records on Afghan conflict in July and 400,000 similar documents on Iraq in October. On last Sunday, the whistle-blowing website has released some 250,000 cables---this time communications and messages between the US State Department and its embassies and consulates around the world sent between 1966 and 2010. The entire bundle of cables has been made available to five publications, including the New York Times and the United Kingdom's Guardian to publish stories as and when they fancy.

Among the messages revealed is a report that King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia, among other Arab leaders, urged the US to destroy Iran's nuclear facilities. Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad however dismissed the leak as sheer US propaganda. Other concerns aired in the cables include the possibility of Pakistani nuclear material falling into the wrong hands, allowing militants to make an atomic weapon. The widespread use of computer hacking by China's government is also reported in one message.

In one of the messages, US officials are said to have described Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi as feckless, vain and ineffective and sharing a close relationship with the "alpha dog", Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin.President Nicolas Sarkozy of France in another message is said to be thin-skinned and authoritarian, while German Chancellor Angela Merkel is described as risk-averse and Libya's Colonel Muammar Gaddafi always travelling with a Ukrainian nurse, a "voluptuous blonde".

Other issues reportedly covered in the cables are Iranian attempts to adapt North Korean rockets for use as long-range missiles, corruption in Afghanistan, bargaining to empty the Guantanamo Bay prison camp, including Slovenian diplomats being told to take in a freed prisoner to secure a meeting with President Barack Obama, US officials being instructed to spy on the UN leadership by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, alleged links between the Russian government and organized crime, with intelligence agencies using underworld bosses to carry out operations, etc.

In a statement, the White House said: "Such disclosures put at risk our diplomats, intelligence professionals, and people around the world who come to the United States for assistance in promoting democracy and open government" while US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has denounced the release of classified diplomatic cables as an "attack on the international community".

No-one has been charged with passing the diplomatic files to WikiLeaks, but suspicion has fallen on US Army private Bradley Manning, an intelligence analyst arrested in Iraq in June and charged over an earlier leak of classified US documents to Assange's website.

Journalism, at the basic level, should give citizens information that helps them in their everyday lives. So it makes sense to report on, say, development projects, changes in laws, the weather, crime rates, politics, etc. But, what is the point in showing diplomatic cables to general public?
People of course have right to have access into information if such information are of use. But there are pieces of information that need to be kept confidential.

Information on technologies such as the know-how of making an atomic bomb or the formula of anthrax are valuable; but such information should not be divulged outside of the well-guarded science laboratories and must not be publicized in newspapers. Secrecy in this case is essential to safeguard national security and deny the criminals access to such sensitive information. We should realize that "Knowledge is a powerful thing, not just for us, but also for our enemies".
Diplomats normally engage in frank discussions with their colleagues and friends, and they must be assured that the discussions will remain private. Honest and frank dialogue is part of the basic training a diplomat gets on international relations. Diplomats meet with local human rights workers, journalists, religious leaders, and others outside the government who offer their own candid insights. These conversations depend on mutual trust and confidence. If an anti-corruption activist shares any information with a diplomat, revealing that person's identity could have serious repercussions: imprisonment, torture, or even death.

The damage the leaks will cause to American interests at home and abroad will be profound. The release of these classified cables will only serve to hurt international relations of all the countries of the world. Releasing documents carelessly and without regard for the consequences is not the way a journalist should pursue his professionalism.

WikiLeaks' release of classified records may redefine the very concept of secrecy, thanks to hacking by internet nerds like Mr. Assange. Now heads of state and civil and military diplomats alike will be sealing their lips, lest their words are downloaded by internet hackers. A foreign government may not wish to discuss any sensitive subject with the United States or for that matter with any other state, now that confidentiality can't be guaranteed.

WikiLeaks has ceded the moral high ground as it has turned into a web-based tabloid. Obama Administration---both on its own and in cooperation with other responsible governments around the world---should use all legal means necessary to shut down WikiLeaks before it can do more damage by releasing additional cables. WikiLeaks has not only shattered American diplomacy but also showed a door for journalists to pry into privacy of individuals and secrecy of states in quest of their voyeuristic pleasures.

In this age of information technology and an era when there is always a sneaking suspicion that a neighbor can suddenly turn into an enemy, a passenger may turn into a terrorist and a diplomat may be engaged in espionage, the old values are fast dying giving rise to a delusion of grandeur among people---security authority in an airport or journalists in a web-based media---who are fast forgetting their onus to honor the sanctity of privacy and the necessity of secrecy.
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