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All’s Fair in Love & (Cyber) War September 17, 2012

Posted by Heather Mark in cyberespionage.
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A report released today suggests that the United States government is far more involved in the use of trojans and mal-ware than previously thought.  The US had previously been linked to the Stuxnetvirus that wreaked havoc on the Iranian nuclear program. Speculation at that point was that the US and Israel had collaborated on the program in an effort to derail Iranian nuclear ambitions.  I don’t think many were surprised to hear that supposition.  Today, though, Kapersky Lab and Symantec announced that they have found evidence linking the US to three other, previously unknown viruses.

The use of covert operations on “enemy” governments dates back to the beginning of the civilization, really.  Sun Tzu writes extensively about the subject and the use of “covert operatives” peppers Greek and Roman history, as well.  These historical endeavors share a common purpose with the cyber-espionage that we see today – to gather data, or to provide data, that can be used to bring about the downfall of one’s enemy, or at least provide a significant advantage to the other side. It shouldn’t come as any surprise, then, that any country would make use of the available technology to conduct remote espionage operations.

We know that other countries, China in particular, has a specific focus on launching attacks on Intellectual Property of Western companies.  A recent report in the Baltimore Sun highlights the countries singular focus on hiring cyber-soldiers (for lack of a better word): “Experts estimate that North Korea has as many as 1,000 cyber warfare agents working out of China and is recruiting more every day.”  When we know that our enemies are fully engaged in cyber-warfare tactics, it would be short-sighted and naive to believe that our government is not fighting back.

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