Tags: NKorea | hackers | Sony | US government

Hackers Hit US Govt Targets 61,000 Times Last Year

By    |   Friday, 19 December 2014 01:50 PM

The North Korean cyber attack against Sony Pictures is just latest and most publicized of a growing number of computer assaults on a global digital battlefield.

Security experts warn that hackers are stealing personal data and state secrets at an alarming rate, and Sony’s cancellation of a movie that mocked North Korea shows how easily anonymous computer thugs can intimidate major U.S. corporations.

"Espionage is happening at a rate we have never seen before," Denise Zheng, a deputy director at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, told CNN on Friday.

The U.S. government was hit by hackers nearly 61,000 times last year. Cyber attacks soared by 35 percent from 2010 to 2013, jumping to 46,000 from 34,000, according to the General Accounting Office.

Both the White House and the State Department were hit by attacks on unclassified computer networks last month.

In July, hackers stole personal information on more than 100,000 people in an attack on the Energy Department. The data included Social Security numbers and bank accounts.

"This is a global problem. We don't have a malware problem. We have an adversary problem. There are people being paid to try to get inside our systems 24/7," said Tony Cole, vice president of the cyber security firm FireEye, told CNN.

The cyber attack from North Korea by a shadowy group called the Guardians of Peace opened a new front on this cyberwar, as Sony and major movie distributors capitulated to threats of a terrorist assault.

Michael Chertoff, former secretary of Homeland Security, said: “The recent Sony attack is a disturbing new chapter in this escalation of cyber conflict, not least because of the reaction we have seen.”

Writing in Time Magazine this week, Chertoff accused the movie industry of presenting a “profile in timidity” by cancelling the Christmas Day release of the film “The Interview” which depicts the assassination of North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un.

“Moreover, as is the case when we pay ransom to kidnappers, a craven response to threats simply encourages more threats. Do we really want to hand the censor’s pen to North Korea or to ISIS?” he wrote.

Hollywood trembled after the hackers released a threatening email, warning that the “world will be full of fear” if the movie is released.

“How grotesque it is, then, to see businesses in the United States reacting so cravenly to what appears to be little more than a glorified letter of complaint,” said columnist Charles C.W. Cooke at National Review Online.

Some of the most potent criticism came from actors such as Rob Lowe.

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The North Korean cyber attack against Sony Pictures is just latest and most publicized of a growing number of computer assaults on a global digital battlefield.
NKorea, hackers, Sony, US government
Friday, 19 December 2014 01:50 PM
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