[AfrICANN-discuss] Kroes: WikiLeaks will increase government transparency

Anne-Rachel Inné annerachel at gmail.com
Fri Dec 17 19:07:58 SAST 2010

 http://euobserver.com/22/31530Kroes: WikiLeaks will increase government

VALENTINA POP <VP at euobs.com>

16.12.2010 @ 20:58 CET

EUOBSERVER / BRUSSELS - The WikiLeaks disclosure of US diplomatic cables
highlights the need to secure networks and individuals from hackers, EU
digital agenda commissioner Neelie Kroes has said.

At the same time, the phenomenon stresses the need for governments to be "as
transparent and open as possible," which entails the "practical advantage"
of reducing the amount of information that needs to be secured, she

The Dutch commissioner says transparency would reduce costs of securing data
(Photo: European Parliament)

   - Print <http://euobserver.com/22/31530?print=1>
   - Comment article <debate at euobs.com>


Speaking out almost three weeks after the whistleblower started publishing
the leaked US cables, Ms Kroes on Thursday (16 December) during a joint
US-EU cybersecurity event in Washington drew the first lessons for the EU
from the Wikileaks phenomenon.

The 69-year old Dutch politician distinguished between three security
incidents regarding WikiLeaks: first, the leak itself, believed to be
acquired by a 22-year old US army soldier who copied all the documents onto
a CD which he allegedly brought into his office to listen to pop singer Lady

"From a cyber-security angle, this highlights the need for all organisations
and individuals to protect themselves against threats to steal confidential
information," Ms Kroes said.

But she also stressed the need for governments to be "as transparent and
open as possible."

"I think that is an important value, but it also has a major practical
advantage: it reduces the amount of information that requires special
protection," the Dutch Liberal said.

On WikiLeaks being subsequently ousted from the US-basned servers and its
domain name being taken down by the US company DNS, Ms Kroes asked the
question if these providers "violated the terms of service" and if their
location (on US soil) contributed to the decision.

"When problems arise with globally distributed services all private
operators and public authorities should be able to act with some legal
certainty," Ms Kroes cautiously told the US audience.

The third incident were the "hacktivist attacks" on WikiLeaks and then on
sites like Amazon, Paypal and Visa in retaliation for these companies having
denied service to the whistleblower. The term 'hacktivist' refers to online
volunteers who allowed their computers to be used as bots - zombie computers
used in mass-scale attacks which jam traffic to the website.

"A hacker called Jester mounted a denial of service (DoS) attack against the
Wikileaks website. Later, in support of WikiLeaks, the group Anonymous
distributed a software (LOIC) to mount voluntary distributed denial of
service (DDoS) attacks against Visa, Paypal and governmental sites," Ms
Kroes recalled.

As the number of computers used in the attacks was apparently only a few
hundreds, the commissioner noted that "such attacks can be organised by just
a few" and also that most of these owners voluntarily gave access to their

"However, the "victim" services have also proved quite robust and agile,
which demonstrates the resilience of the cloud architectures we have in
place," she said.

As a consequence, the EU was now looking at criminalising the setting up of
botnets and attacking information systems, she said. Also, the commission
was aiming at rendering more effective justice and police cooperation in the

Meanwhile, in London, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has finally left
police custody, after his bail was approved following the rejection of a
Swedish appeal. While Swedish prosecutors are pursuing an alleged sexual
abuse case, US authorities are also mounting a spying case against him, his
lawyers said.
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