Feeds

US accused of hypocrisy over cyber warfare

A state that sins more than its sinned against

Securing Web Applications Made Simple and Scalable

Recent warnings of a "cyber–Pearl Harbor" by US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and others are hypocritical, according to a leading security expert, given that the US is responsible for most of the online attacks so far uncovered.

"If we look for offensive cyber attacks that have been linked back to a known government, we mostly find attacks that have been launched by United States, not against them," said F-Secure's chief research officer Mikko Hyppönen in a blistering blog post.

"As United States is doing offensive cyber attacks against other countries, certainly other countries feel that they are free to do the same," he writes. "Unfortunately the United States has the most to lose from attacks like these."

So far security researchers have identified five malware attacks that stem from Operation Olympic Games, a collaborative effort between the US and Israel to use malware offensively. The US government hasn't denied the attacks are its work, Hyppönen notes, just launched an investigation to find out who leaked news of the program.

There's very little incentive for a crushing attack against the internet, Hyppönen points out. Online criminals aren't going to bork the net, since it's their livelihood, while activists such as Anonymous have no motive either, since their power derives from being online. Other nation states would be better off using the internet for espionage rather than crashing the entire system, he notes.

Security experts are sharply split on the use of online weaponry to attack physical infrastructure. Some feel it's a better option than putting humans in the line of fire, but many feel it sets a dangerous precedent. Hyppönen clearly counts himself in the latter camp. ®

The smart choice: opportunity from uncertainty

More from The Register

next story
Mozilla fixes CRITICAL security holes in Firefox, urges v31 upgrade
Misc memory hazards 'could be exploited' - and guess what, one's a Javascript vuln
Manic malware Mayhem spreads through Linux, FreeBSD web servers
And how Google could cripple infection rate in a second
How long is too long to wait for a security fix?
Synology finally patches OpenSSL bugs in Trevor's NAS
Don't look, Snowden: Security biz chases Tails with zero-day flaws alert
Exodus vows not to sell secrets of whistleblower's favorite OS
Roll out the welcome mat to hackers and crackers
Security chap pens guide to bug bounty programs that won't fail like Yahoo!'s
HIDDEN packet sniffer spy tech in MILLIONS of iPhones, iPads – expert
Don't panic though – Apple's backdoor is not wide open to all, guru tells us
Researcher sat on critical IE bugs for THREE YEARS
VUPEN waited for Pwn2Own cash while IE's sandbox leaked
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Prevent sensitive data leakage over insecure channels or stolen mobile devices.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.