Information Warfare: The Cost Cyber of War Keeps Going Up

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March 11, 2007: The U.S. Department of Defense is spending $2.5 billion to protect its data networks this year. That's not a lot of money when you consider that the Department of Defense has 11 million Internet users, five million PCs and 12,000 networks. It is the largest Internet user on the planet. Department of Defense networks get probed six million times a day. Since last year there has been a 46 percent increase in attacks on Department of Defense web sites. There has been 28 percent more email based attacks. These are increasingly targeted at specific types of military users, or even individuals. There were more than twice as many attempts to insert viruses, worms and Trojan horse software on military systems. The attackers are looking for information, or secret control, or at least access, to military systems. Some of the attacks have been massive and well organized. There have been at least four of these major attacks in the last year, hitting targets like the National Defense University, the Naval War College and Fort Hood. Each of these cost $20-30 million to clean up after.

Expect to hear more about this battle in the coming year. Whoever is behind the attacks, has been careful to conceal their identity. Cyber War experts believe much of the action is coming from China. But there has not been any official recognition of this, although there may be discreet diplomatic discussions going on about it. Some of the activity appears to be coming from criminal gangs, who are known to do corporate espionage, for a price. Foreign nations have hired these gangs in the past, to break into American government networks and steal things. A lot of attackers are still "recreational hackers" (usually teenage males with too much time on their hands.)

 


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