Information Warfare: The Campaign Widens

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October 28, 2012: Over the last few years Cyber War attacks on American targets have increased at least 20 percent annually. These are the attacks that are discovered. The most successful ones are not discovered, meaning there is less urgency to improve defenses. But when American war colleges, military headquarters, the White House, and Congress got hit, along with banks and major corporations, money is suddenly there to find and repair the damage and try to beef up defenses for when the attackers return. Because these attacks were discovered the damage was investigated and evidence was found of earlier, undetected attacks.

While a lot of the attacks are tracked back to China, many more come from Russia and Eastern Europe. All of these places are sanctuaries for many criminal gangs that are known to be doing quite well committing crimes via the Internet. One of these criminal activities is acquiring specific information from well-protected networks. At the moment it’s a golden age for these Internet gangsters because there are plenty of vulnerabilities in many networks containing valuable information. Even American think tanks are now targets because they often do studies for government and corporate customers and have confidential files full of valuable data (names of sources and raw notes of what these people said to interviewers).

China complains that it is also the victim of many attacks but this is largely because Chinese companies and government agencies are less well defended and they all contain information that can be sold to someone from whoever can get the goodies. Meanwhile, the evidence piles up that the Chinese have been using government, volunteer, and contractor hackers to go after foreign secrets for over a decade. It’s an ever escalating war because as defenses are improved, the hackers develop more powerful weapons to break in with.

 


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