Government warns 'patriot hackers'

Friday, 14 February 2003, 12:30 AM EST

The FBI's National Infrastructure Protection Center warned Wednesday that growing tensions between the United States and Iraq could lead to an increase in global computer hacking activities on both sides.

"Regardless of the motivation, the NIPC reiterates such activity is illegal and punishable as a felony," the agency warns on its Web site. "The U.S. government does not condone so-called 'patriot hacking' on its behalf.

"Further, even 'patriotic hackers' can be fooled into launching attacks against their own interests by exploiting malicious code that purports to attack the other side when in fact it is designed to attack the interests of the side sending it," the agency said. "In this and other ways, 'patriotic hackers' risk becoming tools of their enemy."

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