Jinfo BlogGhostNet - Cyber Security Issues

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By Udo Hohlfeld

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Economic espionage and cyber espionage are on the rise; particularly in times of economic turmoil economic espionage increases. On the one hand companies make use of espionage to learn about competitors' resources which provides them a competitive edge. On the other hand, states make use of their intelligence services to strenghten their own economy and to weaken others - just in the sense of 'war by other means'. The latest report from the Information Warfare Monitor, issued by the Munk Centre for International Studies (University of Toronto, Canada), reveals a suspected cyber espionage network of roughly 1,300 infected computers in over 100 countries. About a third are high-value targets such as embassies, state departments, NGOs and others. This cyber espionage network is named 'GhostNet'. The point this report makes is that there are growing opportunities in the age of the Internet to generate strategic intelligence because of the lack of seriousness with which information security is taken. Information is our business, we live in the 'information age' and brand our society the 'information society'. To be 24 hours online and connected to the Internet is normal but do we care enough about the risks? The capabilities for exploiting computer networks increase continuously - no matter whether in the form of hidden or open activities. How much information do people release in social networks without being aware of associated risks, such as identity theft? How lazy are people in dealing with security of online services, computer safety, password protection and so on? As the report states: 'At the very least, a large percentage of high-value targets compromised by this network demonstrate the relative ease with which a technically unsophisticated approach can quickly be harnessed to create a very effective spynet ...'. At least now, one should seriously think of cyber and information security. What do you think? The Information Warfare Monitor is a public-private venture of two Canadian entitities: the SecDev Group (Ottawa, Canada) and the Citizen Lab at the Munk Centre for International Studies, University of Toronto (Toronto, Canada). Sources: Report from the Information Warfare Monitor: http://www.tracking-ghost.net The SecDev Group: http://www.secdev.ca Munk Centre for International Studies: http://webapp.mcis.utoronto.ca/ GhostNet Press Conference: http://digbig.com/4ynmm

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