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Report Reveals Lax Attitudes toward Cyber Warfare

Report Reveals Lax Attitudes toward Cyber Warfare - top government contractors - best government contracting event
Photo: revista-amauta.org

A new report by Sophos indicates a relaxed attitude to state-sponsored cyber crime with a majority of respondents saying it is OK for their country to spy on other nations by hacking or installing malware.

The Sophos Security Threat Report Mid-Year 2010 reveals how 63 percent of those polled believe it is acceptable for their nation to engage in cyber espionage–23 percent said yes at any time, 40 percent said only during wartime, and 37 percent said no.

One in 14 respondents believe denial of service attacks against another country’s communication or financial websites are acceptable during peacetime. Roughly half said it was OK only in wartime, while 44 percent said never.

Almost a third of respondents said countries should be allowed to plant malware and hack into private foreign companies to spy for economic advantage, while 68 percent said this kind of activity was unacceptable.

“It’s perhaps surprising that so many people seem to think that using the Internet as a tool for spying, or even as a weapon, is acceptable practice,” said Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant at Sophos. “After all, by giving the green light to these kind of activities, you’d also have to expect to be on the receiving end too. Maybe yours will be the next company probed by an overseas power?”

The report also noted how cyber crime has matured “from a geeky hobby and then a money-making enterprise to become a global political, industrial and perhaps even military tool.” Education remains an important tool; however, technology must continue to evolve and improve to help prevent users from making decisions and mistakes that could expose data, money, systems and networks to exploitation by cyber criminals.

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Written by Jim Garrettson

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