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Risk

12/1/2008
06:44 PM
George V. Hulme
George V. Hulme
Commentary
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Significant Attack Hits DoD Computers

Most attacks against Department of Defense systems that we hear about amount to minor attacks on unclassified systems. And while the DoD's network is hammered on 24/7, most of those probes don't get anywhere. Apparently, this attack did.

Most attacks against Department of Defense systems that we hear about amount to minor attacks on unclassified systems. And while the DoD's network is hammered on 24/7, most of those probes don't get anywhere. Apparently, this attack did.The Los Angeles Times is reporting that President Bush was briefed on what was described as a "severe and widespread" attacks that may have hailed from Russia.

From the L.A. Times' story:

Defense officials would not describe the extent of damage inflicted on military networks. But they said that the attack struck hard at networks within U.S. Central Command, the headquarters that oversees U.S. involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan, and affected computers in combat zones. The attack also penetrated at least one highly protected classified network.

Now, a careful reading of the story, along with more than a decade of experience under my belt covering such incidents, tells me that we're not sure of anything. Could the attacks have emanated from Russia? Sure. Could the attacks have originated somewhere else and been designed to look as though they came from Russia? That's plausible, too. Could the attacks have come from a rogue Russian hacker, or are they part of a state-sponsored effort? Either scenario, based on what we know now, is still plausible.

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