McAfee CSO Predicts New Cold War in Cyber Domain, 'Hackers for Hire'

Brett Wahlin, McAfee

Although the Cold War between the United States and Russia ended two decades ago, a former counterintelligence specialist says a new conflict between the United States and China together with North Korea has emerged in cyberspace.

McAfee Chief Security Officer Brett Wahlin, an ex-NATO counterintelligence agent, told Computerworld Australia the RSA token hack earlier this spring employed the same espionage techniques he encountered while serving as an agent from 1987 to 1991 with the U.S. army for NATO.

Although he did not reveal who was behind the hack, Wahlin pointed to China and North Korea as nations with the resources to break into Lockheed Martin.

Unlike the old methods of passing paper copies of classified information, “we’re dealing with digital information such as source codes that can be analyzed to fit in an overall scheme,” he said.

Wahlin warned that these recent hacks could be a prelude to something bigger and more sinister.

“There could be a new warfare doctrine been created,” he said. ” I was in that world [NATO] for so long that when it looks and feels like a Cold War, there may be something else going down.”

Wahlin also said he predicted a future in which hacktivist groups like Anonymous could turn into cyber mercenaries and launch cyber attacks on behalf of the highest bidder.

“I think we will see groups like Anonymous become hackers for hire that could be contracted to go and do damage to others,” he said.

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