Are you currently experiencing an attack?

Are you currently experiencing an attack?

Weaponized Hacking (and how it will affect you)

2016 has been notable for many things. One of the more interesting is the rise of hacking as a political weapon.

In other words, cybercrime is not merely a commercial activity anymore.

Because some of the Internet’s underlying technology was initially developed for military use, it’s not surprising that many governments are eager to use it against each other. But in recent years, this (mis)use has been escalating.

Among the more prominent incidents is Russia’s 2014 compromise of U.S. government email systems. Then, in 2014 and again in 2015, the Chinese government successfully penetrated U.S. government networks.

This year, Russia has (according to U.S. officials) used hacking to interfere with the recent American elections. A joint statement from multiple U.S. government agencies, including the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, said:

“The U.S. Intelligence Community (USIC) is confident that the Russian Government directed the recent compromises of e-mails from US persons and institutions, including from US political organizations… These thefts and disclosures are intended to interfere with the US election process… We believe, based on the scope and sensitivity of these efforts, that only Russia’s senior-most officials could have authorized these activities.”

The White House Press Secretary commented that in his view, that last sentence was “not intended to be subtle… [it is] pretty obvious that they were referring to the senior-most government official in Russia.”

In other words, the U.S. is accusing Russian President Vladimir Putin of being personally involved.

As a result, the United States is promising a retaliatory attack on Russia. President Obama said, “We need to take action. And we will — at a time and place of our choosing.”

Obviously, when a major nation openly threatens another, political tensions are high. Cyberspace is increasingly becoming a battleground between East and West.

And this growing conflict will not be limited to nations. It will affect private organizations too.

The agencies that are on the front lines of this conflict (for example, the U.S. National Security Agency) have near-unlimited funding, and access to extremely high levels of talent. They have resources that non-government hackers do not.

And so, they are continually developing new hacking tools, often with capabilities far beyond the malware that’s created by private criminals.

Of course, these tools are meant exclusively for government use. And they are meant to be kept secret and private.

Despite this, even the most secretive malware usually gets exposed eventually.

A great example of this occurred in August: ‘Powerful NSA hacking tools have been revealed online’. As the article explained, “some of the most powerful espionage tools created by the National Security Agency’s elite group of hackers” were stolen by illicit hackers and placed up for auction, for any cybercriminal in the world to buy.

Here’s the point in all this. Nations are increasingly motivated to develop cyberwarfare capabilities. They have entire agencies dedicated to developing malware that’s more and more sophisticated. And eventually, many or even all of these tools will be available to private hackers too.

So, the advanced hacking capabilities that were initially aimed at hostile nations, can be used against your organization instead.

Are your web defenses ready for this?

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