LONDON: A major new hacking attack underscores that governments and companies are losing the war against cyber thieves, but it’s unclear if the disclosure will prompt quicker global action against online break-ins.
A US report that intruders breached the computer networks of 72 organisations around the world over a five-year period in the biggest hacking campaign found to date will be seized on by Western states to call for tougher digital defences.
‘’This is the biggest transfer of wealth in terms of intellectual property in human history,’’ said Mr Dmitri Alperovitch, vice president of Threat Research at US security company McAfee, which produced the report.
McAfee said it believed there was one ‘’state actor’’ behind the attacks but declined to name it, though one security expert who has been briefed on the hacking said the evidence points to China. There was no comment from China on the report.
Evidence of official Western concern about the raids surfaced on Thursday when Britain’s electronic spy agency issued a rare public comment, saying the report illustrated the importance of better cyber security for trade and social development.
There was a need for the widest possible international ‘’shared understanding’’ of acceptable online behaviour, the Government Communications Headquarters told Reuters. At the White House, spokesman Mr Jay Carney said US President, Mr Barack Obama was working to tighten the defences of both the government and private sector.
Echoing that view, the British-based International Cyber Security Protection Alliance, which helps law enforcement agencies tackle online intruders, said the report showed cyber warfare had escalated to a degree that was irrefutable.
‘’Businesses that have mainstream exposure to the Internet and that are dependent upon technology for their survival must now surely take the threat seriously,’’ alliance chief executive, Mr John Lyons told Reuters.
He said companies should now be ‘’much less arrogant in their approach to ensure that their intellectual property and customer data is securely protected’’.
Whether they will be any more vigilant is another question.REUTERS