Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Cyber Attack: The New Act of War?

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There have been a lot of cyber attacks incidents globally targeting both private enterprises and government agencies. Some limited to "seemingly harmless practical jokes” –such as defacing websites; while others involve serious DDOS attacks causing site downtime or information leak, translating to monetary losses in sales and advertising or worse classified data.

The most recent of these attacks is against Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Japan's biggest defense contractor. MHI is the country's topmost weapon manufacturer from missiles to warships and submarines.

BBC reported that last August, MHI's 5 network servers and 38 PCs were infected with malware from an outside source, allegedly through spear phishing. The attacks infected 10 facilities across Japan, notably its Kobe and Nagoya sites which makes engine parts for missiles. While there is no lead yet as to the motive and the person behind the attack. The MHI assured the public that no sensitive information has been leaked.

Over the years of technological development, cyber crime has likewise evolved. What was once considered as a form of annoyance -such as the introduction of virus, have turned into destructive mechanisms destroying business networks and causing financial losses globally. However, what is alarming about this written attack is that the thrust of cyber crime is not about destruction anymore. It has shifted to information war, to be specific -stealing highly classified data, which could be valuable not only financially but more importantly politically.

As Matthew Lesko puts it, "Information is the currency of today's world. Those who control information are the most powerful people on the planet." Thus, we can only expect two things: more attacks in the future and the government as well as private entities taking active participation in online security development in terms of technology as well in law or policy.

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Entry No. 14

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