Dark Reading is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Perimeter

1/29/2009
06:32 PM
Rob Enderle
Rob Enderle
Commentary
50%
50%

Are We In A Tech 'War' With Russia?

I was reading the withering comments Vladimir Putin made to Michael Dell in response to Dell's offer to help Russia. Though Putin is Russia's prime minister, he clearly is also the guy who is running the country. Reading between the lines, I think it is likely he is driving a technology w

I was reading the withering comments Vladimir Putin made to Michael Dell in response to Dell's offer to help Russia. Though Putin is Russia's prime minister, he clearly is also the guy who is running the country. Reading between the lines, I think it is likely he is driving a technology war with the U.S. -- and that has some rather scary implications.I've already seen what appears to be a massive ramp-up of Eastern European botnets and attacks designed to do massive amounts of identity theft. The running assumption is that these are criminals who are simply too difficult for Russia to catch. But given that Russia treats the tools these folks use as legitimate products that are developed, protected, and carry enforceable warranties, I'm wondering whether the folks doing the attacking aren't also government-backed.

Russian hackers are considered a global menace as it is, and if they are overtly or covertly government-backed, this could be construed as equivalent to a tech war. The FBI has just started warning that Cybergeddon is coming, it is unprepared for the result, and it likely will come out of Eastern Europe.

The Dell Trigger Here's a look at what happened: At the recent World Economic Conference, Putin made a presentation that clearly had an anti-West (actually, more anti-U.S.) tone. Dell, who after praising Russia for its technical and scientific prowess, asked him the first question: "How can we help you?" Putin interpreted Dell's remarks to mean that Dell was calling Russia weak. He went on a rant suggesting that Dell was removing Western technology from Russian infrastructure, and then concluded with what sounded like a personal attack on Dell. This attack consisted of belittling Dell's business, and stating that Russian software was superior and hardware didn't matter. The way Putin said it implied that Dell was running the equivalent of a lemonade stand. Clearly, Dell was being used as a proxy for the West, and specifically the U.S. Russia's rhetoric was short of a declaration of electronic war. What makes this especially odd is it came after a change in the U.S. administration from one that was very critical of Russia and militaristic to one that is much more conciliatory and diplomatic.

Meanwhile, Russian hackers took Kyrgyzstan offline after a 10-day massive cyberassault, effectively eliminating 80 percent of the country's online capacity. This has the feel of a weapons test. And it comes one year after a similar test on another country Russia was upset with -- Georgia. Could the U.S. be next?

I think we need to consider the very real possibility that we may already be engaged in a silent cyberwar and are simply awaiting for the electronic equivalent of Pearl Harbor. If so, this may be a test for the Obama administration.

-- Rob Enderle is president and founder of Enderle Group. Special to Dark Reading.

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Oldest First  |  Newest First  |  Threaded View
COVID-19: Latest Security News & Commentary
Dark Reading Staff 9/21/2020
Hacking Yourself: Marie Moe and Pacemaker Security
Gary McGraw Ph.D., Co-founder Berryville Institute of Machine Learning,  9/21/2020
Startup Aims to Map and Track All the IT and Security Things
Kelly Jackson Higgins, Executive Editor at Dark Reading,  9/22/2020
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon
Current Issue
Special Report: Computing's New Normal
This special report examines how IT security organizations have adapted to the "new normal" of computing and what the long-term effects will be. Read it and get a unique set of perspectives on issues ranging from new threats & vulnerabilities as a result of remote working to how enterprise security strategy will be affected long term.
Flash Poll
How IT Security Organizations are Attacking the Cybersecurity Problem
How IT Security Organizations are Attacking the Cybersecurity Problem
The COVID-19 pandemic turned the world -- and enterprise computing -- on end. Here's a look at how cybersecurity teams are retrenching their defense strategies, rebuilding their teams, and selecting new technologies to stop the oncoming rise of online attacks.
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2020-25826
PUBLISHED: 2020-09-23
PingID Integration for Windows Login before 2.4.2 allows local users to gain privileges by modifying CefSharp.BrowserSubprocess.exe.
CVE-2020-25821
PUBLISHED: 2020-09-23
** UNSUPPORTED WHEN ASSIGNED ** peg-markdown 0.4.14 has a NULL pointer dereference in process_raw_blocks in markdown_lib.c. NOTE: This vulnerability only affects products that are no longer supported by the maintainer.
CVE-2020-3130
PUBLISHED: 2020-09-23
A vulnerability in the web management interface of Cisco Unity Connection could allow an authenticated remote attacker to overwrite files on the underlying filesystem. The vulnerability is due to insufficient input validation. An attacker could exploit this vulnerability by sending a crafted HTTP re...
CVE-2020-3133
PUBLISHED: 2020-09-23
A vulnerability in the email message scanning of Cisco AsyncOS Software for Cisco Email Security Appliance (ESA) could allow an unauthenticated, remote attacker to bypass configured filters on the device. The vulnerability is due to improper validation of incoming emails. An attacker could exploit t...
CVE-2020-3135
PUBLISHED: 2020-09-23
A vulnerability in the web-based management interface of Cisco Unified Communications Manager (UCM) could allow an unauthenticated, remote attacker to conduct a cross-site request forgery (CSRF) attack on an affected device. The vulnerability is due to insufficient CSRF protections for the web-based...