Net war expected over East Timor

Political unrest spills over into virtual reality.

The Irish ISP that safeguards East Timor's existence in cyberspace says it is preparing for an impending computer war with supporters of the Indonesian government.

The leader of the East Timor resistance movement, Jose Ramos Horta, on Wednesday publicly warned that an army of hackers will target Indonesia's infrastructure should the Indonesian government next week rejects East Timor's vote for independence.

In February, Connect Ireland was crippled by an attack from suspected supporters of the Indonesian government. Technical manager John Plunkett says he is preparing for the worst. "Of course we are concerned," he says. "Last time was no laughing matter. These guys were real professionals. They really knew what they were doing and they caused some major league damage."

Plunkett also claims that, contrary to what you'd expect, most businesses seem fairly happy to see their Internet server brought to a standstill... as long as it's for a noble cause. "In February, we had the full support of everyone on our server. Only one business got angry, but as soon as they found out what it was about, they supported us as well."

Horta made his warning from exile in Thailand through a national newspaper. He accuses the Indonesian government of seeking to sabotage next week's UN-organised ballot claiming it could turn into "the biggest electoral fraud of modern times".