When Does A CyberAttack Turn Into A Shooting War?

February 5, 2013, by Ken Jorgustin

when-does-a-cyberattack-turn-into-a-shooting-war

They’ve infiltrated our banks. They’ve ransacked our technology industry. They’ve hacked into networks of news media. They’ve breached the networks of the Chamber of Commerce. Every day the Pentagon is attacked 3 million times. They’ve read our email by taking down one of America’s technology giants, Google. Is it already World War III?

 

 
Computer networks at the Energy Department were attacked by sophisticated hackers in a major cyber incident two weeks ago and personal information on several hundred employees was compromised by the intruders.

Energy Department officials, along with FBI agents, are investigating the attack on servers at the Washington headquarters. They believe the sophisticated penetration attack was not limited to stealing personal information. There are indications the attackers had other motives, possibly including plans to gain future access to classified and other sensitive information.

The source or identity of the cyber attacker is not known, according to U.S. officials and outside security analysts. However, Chinese hackers are likely suspects because the department is known to be a major target of China for both secrets and technology. Also, the relative sophistication of the cyber attack is an indication of nation-state involvement.

Source: The Washington Free Beacon

 

 
Chinese cybercriminals illegally obtained confidential information on the plane’s design (America’s next fighter jet, F-35).

The espionage stemmed from a previously disclosed 2009 hack into Lockheed Martin’s servers, during which hackers from a “foreign intelligence agency” made off with 24,000 confidential files. The F-35 was among the stolen files with instructions enabling the attackers to extract sensitive data and become “invisible witnesses to online meetings and technical discussions.”

Source: NBC News

 

 
For the last four months, Chinese hackers have persistently attacked The New York Times, infiltrating its computer systems and getting passwords for its reporters and other employees.

The hackers tried to cloak the source of the attacks on The Times by first penetrating computers at United States universities and routing the attacks through them, said computer security experts at Mandiant, the company hired by The Times. This matches the subterfuge used in many other attacks that Mandiant has tracked to China.

The attacks appear to be part of a broader computer espionage campaign against American news media companies

The mounting number of attacks that have been traced back to China suggest that hackers there are behind a far-reaching spying campaign aimed at an expanding set of targets including corporations, government agencies, activist groups and media organizations inside the United States.

Source: New York Times

 

 
The Wall Street Journal says its computer systems have been infiltrated by Chinese hackers who were trying to monitor the newspaper’s coverage of China.

The Journal didn’t address how the hacking of its systems occurred, but it said it has faced such threats from China in recent years.

China has been accused by the U.S., other foreign governments and computer security experts of mounting a widespread, aggressive cyber-spying campaign for several years, trying to steal classified information and corporate secrets and to intimidate critics. Foreign reporters and news media, including The Associated Press, have been among the targets of attacks intended to uncover the identities of sources for news stories and to stifle critical reports about the Chinese government.

Source: CBS News

 

 
Morgan Stanley experienced a “very sensitive” break-in to its network by the same China-based hackers who attacked Google Inc.’s computers more than a year ago, according to e-mails stolen from a cyber-security company working for the bank.

They have not indicated what information may have been stolen from Morgan Stanley’s databanks or which of the world’s largest merger adviser’s multinational operations were targeted.

Google said in January 2010 after an attack lasting for months that it was one of 20 major U.S. companies breached by hackers using China-based servers, an event that McAfee Chief Technology Officer George Kurtz described as the “largest and most sophisticated cyberattack we have seen in years targeted at specific corporations.”

Source: Bloomberg

 

 
Cyberattacks are exploding. In Jan. 2010, Google, Intel, Adobe and and more than 30 other companies were attacked in a coordinated terrorist campaign. Google said the attacks originated in China, which lead the company to abandon the Chinese market. If Google leaves the world’s largest market, what does that say about the enemy?

 

 
WASHINGTON—The Pentagon has concluded that computer sabotage coming from another country can constitute an act of war, a finding that for the first time opens the door for the U.S. to respond using traditional military force.

“If you shut down our power grid, maybe we will put a missile down one of your smokestacks,” said a military official.

One idea gaining momentum at the Pentagon is the notion of “equivalence.” If a cyber attack produces the death, damage, destruction or high-level disruption that a traditional military attack would cause, then it would be a candidate for a “use of force” consideration, which could merit retaliation.

It (The Pentagon) concludes that the Laws of Armed Conflict—derived from various treaties and customs that, over the years, have come to guide the conduct of war and proportionality of response—apply in cyberspace as in traditional warfare.

Source: The Wall Street Journal

 

 
A source within the administration speaking on the condition of anonymity said that the new cyber-policies have set the way for the military and U.S. intelligence agencies to deploy cyberweapons against other nations.

The decision for the president to authorize such a pre-emptive attack is “among several” other decisions reached in recent weeks and months, as the administration remains poised to “approve the nation’s first rules for how the military can defend, or retaliate, against a major cyberattack.”

Source: ZDNet

 

 
Why am I reporting this on this site?
To present some of the risks to survival within our modern world.

As cyberattacks become more prominent, they will be used as leverage for government encroachment on the freedoms of the open and free internet. While there are legitimate threats, a better form of deterrence will be better cyber security at the end user locations or networks. Or perhaps launching a missile down one of their smokestacks would be a pretty good deterrence. If a bully keeps slapping you, how long does it take until you finally slug him? A problem though is that we are at the mercy of the Chinese in many ways as we rely on them to assist with buying our debt and we depend on them for cheap products. While I entirely disagree with these two unfortunate circumstances, the fact is what it is…

 
Now I hope I don’t get hacked… just reporting what others have already said…