Information Warfare: What Am I Bid For This Fine Infoweapon?



January 14, 2007: There is now a bidding war for Cyber War weapons, or at least the ammo. The "ammunition" in any Internet based warfare is information about current vulnerabilities in Internet software. These bugs are quickly patched, so the time between their discovery, and disappearance, is short (days, weeks, sometimes months.) The criminals who have access to this vulnerability information, have their hackers use it to get illegal software on PCs (to then control the computer, for use in spamming, storing stolen files, or making attacks on websites or, in wartime, enemy resources). 

Police and Internet security companies have discovered secret web sites where Internet based criminal gangs sell, or even auction off, vulnerabilities. The security firms have responded by offering to pay up to $8,000 per vulnerability. But the criminals pay up to $50,000. The security companies can compete with lower payments because they are using a larger audience of net-savvy people who do not have access to the criminal underground on the Internet, and probably don't want to take bounties from crooks. Based on vulnerabilities used recently, it appears that Chinese Cyber War operatives have been buying ammo from the criminal organizations.


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