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Editor's Blog and Industry Comments

Cyber Warfare Escalation Risk With Tit-For-Tat Claims

15 August, 2011
China is denying involvement in sustained cyber attacks with counter-claim that it is a victim of attacks

It started with a blog entry by McAfee's Dmitri Alperovitch detailing operation shady RAT in which there has been an "unprecedented transfer of wealth.... into the electronic archives of dogged adversaries". McAfee was very careful not to make accusations or claim to know precisely who these dogged adversaries were, in fact Dmitri made the point in the article that it isn't just China that should be singled out, the sources are from other countries too.


Needless to say, this very comprehensive and professionally written blog from one of the top cyber security companies in the world gained a lot of media attention, large parts of which focused on what was between the lines and not explicitly written: that China was behind the attacks.


China has now responded by claiming that it is in fact a victim rather than an aggressor and has been the target of over half a million such attacks. Without facts to back up claims, this pointing of fingers will turn to poking and eventually to blows.


Cyber security is a global issue and the risks are also felt globally by governments, enterprises and individuals. China is a major source of viruses, spam, phishing attacks and hacks but so is America and Western Europe. In the past few years, Russia has gained a significant stronghold as a source of malware and cyber attacks.


Until McAfee makes the details of its research clearer, the source of the sustained attacks will remain speculative.

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