'Cyber War' Fears Grow After Georgia Websites Attacked
Attacks that hit Georgian government and news websites after Russian tanks rolled across the border into South Ossettia last month have US officials concerned that bands of independent "cyber militias" will increasingly wield power over international relations.
The attacks in Georgia were distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks that coordinate many computers to request information from a website simultaneously, causing it to crash or work only sporadically.
The Georgian government accused the Kremlin, saying the attacks were part of its war plan. US analysts agree they originated in Russia but say they were more likely the work of politically motivated hackers, dubbed "hacktivists".
US government officials are worried that groups with little or no connection to any state can now assert such influence. "In future warfare, governments aren't going to be the only ones waging war," said a senior US military official, who wished to remain anonymous.