Psychological Cyber Warfare

Not every hack is about stealing information. Sometimes there are political goals in mind when acts of cybercrime are committed. There are several hot button issues dominating the news cycles lately. Two of the more prevalent ones-cyber security and the emergence of a new wave of Islamic extremism-met at an unlikely crossroads recently-the Cape Cod Canal. Massachusetts Maritime Academy, nestled on the mainland side of the canal where it opens up to Buzzards Bay, was recently the victim of an attack. But this attack does not follow the trends of Target or Home Depot. In fact, nothing was stolen at all. The home page of this Regimented and Uniformed State School’s website was re-directed to a page supporting Islamic extremists, and showing graves of deceased U.S. Service members. Even though the breach did not result in identity theft, or financial loss, it is still concerning. The implication is that these things could have happened. The attackers are believed to be a group of Moroccan extremists who found the institution and (wrongly) assumed, based on the uniforms that the students wear, that it was a Military institution.   Admiral Richard Gurnon, the Academy’s President assured that the breach would be thoroughly investigated and remediated, so that this event could not be capitalized on by those wishing to steal information. He also promised that students could once again complete their homework assignments, instead of being forced to view images of hate directed at Americans.