Digital Conflict

By Kevin Coleman

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Kevin Coleman

Cyber espionage game has high stakes

It has happened again. Another major cyberattack has rocked the cyber community. Security industry icon McAfee made a public announcement about the discovery of a cyber espionage program that has been under way for five years. If you haven’t read the report, you should.

During its investigation, McAfee was able to gain access to one specific command and control server used by those behind the attack. It was not disclosed how many control servers there were or might have been. Investigators looked into the attack and estimated the resulting damage after examining the hard drive of just the one command-and-control server — imagine the implication of a second command-and-control server. What if there were five or even 10?

The economic and national security implications of the recently disclosed “Shady Rat” cyber espionage incident that operated for at least five years are unknown. Researchers investigating this incident are quick to warn that only one of the multiple control servers was analyzed; therefore, the number of entities compromised is likely to grow, as is the amount of data and intellectual property that was compromised in the attack. Given that foreign intelligence services share information with us, there is a possibility that this attack or the next one could cause them to re-evaluate this cooperative effort for fear their intelligence assets could be compromised by access to the U.S. systems.

Posted by Kevin Coleman on Aug 11, 2011 at 12:54 PM


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