August 03, 2011, 1:38 PM — It's a darn good thing the U.S. Department of Defense is launching a whole new cyberdefense strategy, as unveiled by Deputy Secretary of Defense William Lynn three weeks ago.
Otherwise we might have to worry about the report McAfee released today at the Black Hat security conference showing we are in at least the fifth year of a major global cyberwar made up of long-term attacks on more than 70 targets in 14 countries, most of which come from military outposts in China.
McAfee officials will talk about details of the report later today, but gave part of its results early to Vanity Fair.
Though the activity and coverage of hactivist groups like Anonymous and LulzSec have been heavy, especially during the past few months, coverage of those attacks is "really hard to watch because most of what they do, defacing Web sites and running denial-of-service attacks, is not serious. It's just nuisance," VF quoted McAfee VP Dmitri Alperovitch as saying.
The new report covers a campaign Alperovitch calls Operation Shady RAT – an only partially coordinated, long-term series of attacks on servers from many countries designed to steal government secrets about weapons and foreign policy plans, weapon schematics and commercial intelligence including legal contracts and negotiation plans.
The targets were more than 70 public- and private-sector organizations in 14 countries, ranging from major governments (like the U.S.) to tiny non-profit organizations.
Countries or organizations hit regularly include:
- South Korea
- Olympic committees in three countries
- International Olympic Committee
- United Kingdom
- Hong Kong
Source: McAfee map of Operation Shady Rat attacks