Information Warfare: The White House Is Penetrated


November 10,2008: U.S. government officials have revealed that the White House computer networks are under constant attack, and that hackers have gotten in a few times. No more details were given of these attacks, although the most likely source is believed to be China.

It was also revealed that the networks of both U.S. presidential candidates were hacked, and large quantities of files taken. U.S. government Internet security officials warned the campaign managers, and offered to help clean out the hacker software. Both campaigns brought in their own experts and found that the campaign networks were penetrated mainly because the campaign staffs  had rapidly expanded and many users were not using sufficient defensive software. This made it easier for hackers to get in.

While China and Russia are often mentioned as the source of these attacks, government Internet security organizations will not give details. That's normal, as you don't want the enemy to know you are tracking his hacking efforts, much less let on how closely you are monitoring these attacks. The U.S. may well have some very precise information on where these attacks are coming from, who is doing it, and how. The attackers get some sense of how good their opponent is by the changes in the defenses. But the U.S. doesn't want the hackers to know if hacker central has been identified. That information can be a valuable weapon when it comes time to counterattack. That has not happened because several requests to Congress, for permission to strike back, have gone unanswered, at least publically.


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