The War Seizes the Internet

No matter whether we wish or not, but the world changed on March 20, and the change is irretrievable. It was clear long before the very first attack at Iraq that this war would go far beyond the limits of a local war in any case. And the beginning of the US aggression in Iraq separated once and for all leftists and rightists, globalists and anti-globalists, doves and hawks; they are now on different sides of the barricade.

America, like no other country that ever waged a war, demonstrated to the whole of the world that wars begin not in Iraqi sands or in the Persian Gulf, not in Munich pubs or in Afghani mountains. Wars originate in the human minds and end there. And in the course of a war, the key battles go on paper, and now they are carried out certainly in the cyber space. And in this situation, neither a silly, cruel and painfully stubborn president, nor officials with their unnatural patriotism, nobody will be able to pass this Pyrrhic victory for triumph of democracy. And no American censorship, although it is considered to be the most refined in the world, no information and other kinds of prohibitions can be effective on the net.

Even long before this war, the Internet knew how it might start and end. So, in accordance with the recent forecast of, this year terrorism will seize the cyber space. And this is said to be closely connected with the war in Iraq. On the Internet, Arab hackers will commit a terrorist act that may paralyze majority of the Internet for several days. Chief of IDC analytical service John Gantz thinks this is going to be a denial-of-service attack. We cannot say so far to what extent Mr. Gantz is right, but we have some facts at hand.

As preparations for the war in Iraq developed and especially on the first days of the war, opponents of the US-led war suddenly stirred up their activity all over the world, and on the Internet especially. Many websites of the US military structures suffered from hacker attacks.

Hackers cracked several servers of the US army subdivisions on March 11. As Computerworld reports, hackers used the vulnerability of the Windows 2000 operating system for which management the WebDAV protocol was used. After that, Microsoft issued special patches rather quickly on March 16. Experts of the company recommended the patches not only to managers of large networks but also to average Windows 2000 users. As Symantec estimated, about 4 million computer networks probably fell victims to hacker attacks because of this vulnerability.

And the very beginning of the US-led aggressive war against Iraq was covered in the cyber space extensively. It’s highly likely that the Internet became the most efficient and reliable source of information about the Iraqi conflict.

The Russian Internet mass media reported early on March 20 that in the first hours after George W. Bush’s speech on launching of a new US-Iraq war, the traffic of the world largest search engine, Yahoo, trebled. Yahoo representatives say that Internet users searched for information connected with the following key words: Iraq, George W. Bush, map of the world, Ari Fleisher, Saddam Hussein and war. Editor-in-chief of the MSNBC Internet subdivision Dean Wright said that the company’s traffic increased 2-2.5 times as the war broke out. By the way, shortly before the war in Iraq, TV host Phil Donahue was dismissed from MSNBC for his “anti-American position concerning the Iraqi conflict.”

As Comscore Media Matrix reports, within March 19-20, the traffic of 15 leading online news projects increased by 41% as compared with the previous four weeks. Many of Internet users preferred to read information about the war on those online news resources that provided online video broadcasting from Iraq. Reuters and broadcast online commentaries from Iraq on the very first day of the war. As a special online poll reveals, in this respect the Internet broadcasting was more effective than TV broadcasting.

It was on the Internet that the USA launched its struggle against people indignant about the war. A large-scale anti-French campaign was launched on the US Internet right on the first day of hostilities in Iraq. The website of, one of the leading American news sources was the first to launch the cyber war against France actively protesting against American aggression. is in the front line of the anti-French campaign actively standing up for the traditional American values. It may happen so that extensive, large-scale boycott campaigns can be launched also against Germany, Russia, China, Brazil and other countries that don’t recognize “these traditional American values.”

When the war broke out in Iraq, traffic on the Russian Internet increased by more than 30%. Online mass media registered the biggest increase in the number of visitors. It’s evident that traffic of those Russian online news services that cover Mideast events completely and effectively will be increasing further.

Andrey Sokolov Planet Internet magazine, Editor-in-chief

Translated by Maria Gousseva

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