The British Ministry of Defence has admitted that its computer
networks have been penetrated nine times since 2002, and five times in the last
year. These numbers can be deceiving. While there have been more attacks at
military web sites in the past year, the people running those sites have become
more adept at detecting intrusions. Most attackers want to go undetected, for
obvious reasons. Ideally, the attacker can get in, steal information, and/or
leave monitoring and control software behind, and never have the owner of the
network be aware that the hackers had visited. The United States has also
suffered, or at least admitted to, five major attacks in the past year. The
release of information about successful attacks is more likely a tactic used in
fighting the attackers, or simply the best way to deal with an attack that
affected many users. Most of the attacks admitted to by the U.S. Department of
Defense involved systems that had to be taken down, or degraded, for days, or
weeks, for repairs. A lot of the defending, and attacking, goes on in secret.
Whoever has the most information about what the other side is up to, has an
edge. It's not for nothing that all of this is called Information War.
is the chief suspect in many of these attacks, but the Russians are also major
players, as are most major industrialized powers. There are also criminal
gangs, mostly in Eastern Europe, but also in Asia and the United States, that
will attempt to penetrate the most secure networks, and steal information. For
a price. None of these guys has ever been caught recently. Or at least no one
is admitting it.