US cyber defense situation looks grim

The dreaded "Cyber Pearl Harbor" might already have occurred, and nations such as Russia and China are experiencing great success fleecing the United States for its for its most vital proprietary technology secrets through hacking, according to the participants in the Air Force Association's cyber conference March 23, reports Philip Ewing at DOD Buzz.

One hundred percent of the high-profile intrusions that info-security firm Mandiant tracks were all done using valid credentials; that is, the perpetrators were able to steal a real user's login and password, thereby avoiding the need for a more complex attack, said Richard Bejtlich, Mandiant's chief security officer. The average time to discover a private-sector intrusion is 416 days, he said, an improvement over the previous average of two to three years.

As for China, the United States can no longer afford to be coy with the Asian nation, said Jason Healey, an analyst with the Atlantic Council, who says the United States must build a coalition of cyber victims and formally call out Beijing on the world stage, giving specific examples of Chinese hacking.

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