The Cyberwar Unfolds
The Intel-owned company McAfee released a report (cached) on Operation Shady RAT. The report covers an ongoing investigation of targeted attacks against over 70 global companies and governments over the last five years which is a cyberwar unfolding.
|The Cyberwar Unfolds|
As the Economist explains, cyberspace is the fifth domain of warfare. The other four domains are land, sea, air, and space. To oversee this fifth domain the Pentagon initiated U.S. Cyber Command (CYBERCOM) last May. Aside from human capital, the United States’ cyberspace is arguably the greatest national asset and any assault against it is concern of national security.
According to the McAffee report by Dmitri Alperovitch, McAfee’s vice president, the security breaches in recent years under Operation Shady RAT “is the biggest transfer of wealth in terms of intellectual property in history.” The security expert, Jim Lewis, at CSIS was quoted by Reuters stating that “[e]verything points to China,” which has been confirmed elsewhere. From the breach at the International Olympic Committee before the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing to the recent attack on RSA, China has been linked to many of the security breaches.
The McAfee report is rather eye opening. Alperovitch says,
Having investigated intrusions such as Operation Aurora and Night Dragon (systemic long-term compromise of Western oil and gas industry), as well as numerous others that have not been disclosed publicly, I am convinced that every company in every conceivable industry with significant size and valuable intellectual property and trade secrets has been compromised (or will be shortly), with the great majority of the victims rarely discovering the intrusion or its impact. In fact, I divide the entire set of Fortune Global 2000 firms into two categories: those that know they’ve been compromised and those that don’t yet know.
The report shows that the majority of the targets for these high profile attacks have been in the US, though have also included Canada, South Korea, Taiwan, Japan, UK, and a number of others. The report was released in tandem to the Black Hat conference in Las Vegas where a number of security flaws were reported from Google Chrome to power plants.
Cyberwarfare is no longer a thing of the future, nor is it frivolous. It has even become grounds for religious feud as well. The breaches that have made headlines are but the facade of a more serious underlying threat. While hackers from Anonymous and LulzSec, such as the 18 year old from UK who goes by the name of Topiary, perform public disturbances the underlying cyberwar will continue to unfold.