Information Warfare: Managing Mercenaries

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October 21,2008:  The U.S. FBI (Federal Bureau of Investigation) believes that 24 nations have created Information War organizations, equipped with hacker tools and techniques, and able to use these resources to attack other nations. In practice, most of these nations have developed this offensive capability as part of their efforts to better defend their own Internet infrastructure. But the FBI also warns that the growing emergence of well organized criminal gangs, specializing in Internet crime, also provides nations with better offensive tools. The FBI allocates an increasing amount of their Cyber War resources to tracking these gangs. While some countries are believed to be hiring the Internet gangsters for some jobs (like espionage, or shutting down web sites of opposition groups, especially ones based overseas), most nations see the gangs for what they are; dangerous criminals. That has not stopped some legit companies from using the gangs.

There are cases of industrial espionage via the Internet, where it appeared that it was criminal gangs doing mercenary work. It is believed that some of the efforts to penetrate U.S. government and military networks, to steal data, are carried out by criminals working freelance. This is often done to protect the gangs from prosecution in the country where they are based. This accounts for the reluctance for some countries to go after Internet gangs known to operate on their territory. But the trend is to go after the gangs, not coddle them. That's because all nations are vulnerable to these gangs, and there are always some of these criminals who will go after anyone.

 


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