By Kevin Coleman – DefenseTech Cyber Warfare Correspondent
The WikiLeaks saga continues. The launch of ‘Operation Payback’ has not just opened the eyes of many bystanders but also the minds of cyber intelligence analysts, military cyber planners, data security practitioners and hacktivists and shown the complexities of this new domain of conflict. Many political and intelligence analysts have called WikiLeaks the 9/11 attack on U.S. international relations and the true impact will take years to really assess. However, it is clear that this massive breach of State Department electronic documents has had a chilling effect on sharing sensitive international communications.
The WikiLeaks supporters not only launched retaliatory cyber strikes against those taking action against WikiLeaks, but this past weekend announced they’re launching another web site, OpenLeaks, to help ensure they can continue to disclose sensitive and classified materials that have been the focus of attention for about 7 months. It is important to realize that the Wikileaks page on Facebook quickly had more than 1.2 million “likes”. This shows that many see WikiLeaks staff and their supports as modern day heroes. One person I talked to called Julian Assange a ‘Digital Robin Hood.’ While others state that OpenLeaks will undermine journalism. Still others are calling for espionage or spying charges to be brought against those that disclose classified materials that could harm U.S. national security and possibly put people’s lives at risk. All this shows one thing. We are way behind in rethinking digital asset protection for military data systems and the sensitive communications that are so critical to international diplomacy.