Iraqi police force might need cybercrime training, too

August 29, 2008
Because our current administration seems committed to conditioning Iraqi security forces (with the hope that they'll be able to restore order when U.S. troops eventually withdraw), there may be one other training exercise to include:

Cyberprotection.

It seems, according to this USA Today story this week, Iraqi computer networks are sitting ducks for al-Qaeda cyberattacks. This state of affairs should surprise nobody, especially considering Iraq largely outlawed the internet under Saddam Hussein's power, according to the story.

That means the rest of the civilized world has more than a five-year head start on Iraq.

And cyberdefenses are suffering as a result.

The nation is responding, having recently formed a new division specifically aimed at stopping computer crimes. Still, the agency ranks low on the totem pole of priority in this war-ravaged nation. Here's how Ali Hussein, one of a dozen recently employed computer science grads to join the cybercrime team, summarizes the situation:
We could have the most powerful anti-hacking force in the world, but we'd still have no computers, so we couldn't do anything. The government thinks about guns, tanks, and raiding houses. Hackers just aren't a priority.

While it appears Iraq has been safe thus far from serious, malicious attacks, the clock is ticking. With the U.S. still very much trying to help the Iraqi national police take back its nation, it might want to consider lending some cybercrime help.

Then again, if America is often slow to respond to cyberthreats within its own borders, how can we expect Iraq to improve?
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