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Cyber "Cold War" Expected

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Tagged As: China, Cyber, Foreign Affairs, Military, and Politics

While computers play a large role in modern warfare, their use as continuous offensive weapons has been surprisingly limited. To date, most information warfare in a "state vs. state" environment has been of the very clandestine or focused attack variety. Nationwide Denials of Service or massive penetrations have been limited to the Russian attack on Estonia or the Chinese's Titan Rain affair against the Pentagon.

The surging power of the BotNet has increasingly raised alarms within the security community, especially after its effectiveness was shown by Russia. A report released by McAfee outlines that danger: "Attacks have progressed from initial curiosity probes to well-funded and well-organized operations for political, military, economic and technical espionage." McAfee's annual report was compiled from an exhaustive data-mining exercise against databases provided by NATO, the FBI, CERIAS, SOCA and the International Institute for Counter-Terrorism, amongst others.

The spillover of common under-the-table hacking to this sort of overt cyber attack between nations is inevitable, according to the SANS Institute: "All nations are doing it to each other. I don't know of any country not doing it. ... If it's not for normal espionage, it's for economic espionage. It's a very broad set of countries [involved]."

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