Hacking, and the threat posed by hackers, has been a problem for years now, since it was realized that electronic spying could garner much more information than traditional spying techniques and with a great deal less risk involved. But hacking attempts of official government or authority networks seems to have recently risen, and China is being blamed.
This week has seen reports of successful hacking raids on the White House, as well as Barack Obama and John McCain’s Presidential campaigns. In all three cases, the finger of blame has been pointed squarely at Chinese hackers.
The hacking attempts on Obama and McCain’s campaign computer networks took place last summer, with The Times reporting that “a serious amount of files” were compromised in the attack on Obama’s campaign. McCain was also targeted, which lead the FBI to conclude these attacks originated from either China or Russia, rather than being from political opponents.
These attacks are thought to have been made in order to gain information relating to future government policies, which could then be used by foreign powers as a way of gaining leverage in relations with America.
The FT has also revealed that Chinese hackers have also made several attempts to penetrate the White House computer network. All of the attempts proved successful, with the hackers securing access to the system for brief periods experts patched the system to cut them off.
The attacks have been traced to China, and the U.S. government believes the Chinese government was involved because of the highly targeted nature of the attacks. The hackers were believed to be after information about future weapons systems. However, the hackers only ever managed to access the unclassified section of the network rather than the classified one where information of a sensitive nature is likely to be held.
China seems to have taken over from Russia as the big bad wolf in secret service terms, but with the complexity involved in cyber-attacks, I very much doubt whether the U.S. government can be sure that is the country of origin for these hacking attempts.
Wherever they originate from, these attacks show that electronic spying is on the up, with America itself thought to be partaking in such measures. It seems that as well as all the other issues President Obama faces, an Internet security war could also be on the cards.