Sean King

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Knoxville, Tennessee, United States

Saturday, December 11, 2010

The Age of Cyber War Is Here

Stories of all out cyber-warfare were all over the place this week. First, FoxNews reports that the previously identified Stuxnet computer worm is still spreading within Iran's nuclear program, with virtually no possibility of it ever being eliminated. The worm just so happens to be perfect at sabotaging centrifuges. We can only hope that's true, and that is represents the end of Iran's near to mid-term nuclear ambitions.

Then there's the growing cyberwar between opponents of Wikileaks and its defenders. The latest round seems to have gone to Wikileaks' opponents.

Interestingly, attempts by opponents of Wikileaks' to cut off its financing sources is potentially facilitating the emergence of a new "virtual currency" (called "bitcoin") which, due to its decentralized nature, cannot be traced and is beyond government control. Though such a currency stands little chance of going mainstream if used only by crypto-anarchist hackers, there are reasons to think its popularity may well expand well beyond the hacker community. For instance, because both the creation and transfer of such a currency is beyond the control of governments and central bankers, its value cannot be inflated away like that of fiat money can, it cannot be readily confiscated, and access to it cannot be easily denied its owners, making it attractive to those concerned about hyper-inflation and/or the government's eventual confiscation of other currency alternatives like gold. Suspiciously, though not surprisingly, the official bitcoin website (from which one can download the bitcoin software) was down when I tried to access it this morning, making it yet another likely casualty of the cyberwar.

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