[ISN] Moles in Cyberspace

From: grepcat (grepcatat_private)
Date: Mon May 14 2001 - 06:44:17 PDT

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    Charleston (SC) Post and Courier
    May 10, 2001
    Moles In Cyberspace
    Most of us know the Internet as an instant library and a virtual shopping
    mall. Now meet the Internet as a tool for spies.
    For the past three years, the Pentagon has experienced a series of
    repeated attempts by unknown hackers to take control of some unclassified
    but sensitive Pentagon computer networks. The hackers use a technique
    known as "tunneling" to plant command codes that allow them to have access
    to the networks and to divert information to unauthorized computers.
    According to an article in the current Foreign Affairs magazine, the
    U.S. government has made formal protest to the Russian government because
    the attacks appear to have originated at seven Russian Internet
    addresses. The author, security consultant James Adams, reports that the
    Russian government denied knowing anything about the attacks, which the
    Pentagon has code-named "Moonlight Maze."
    His report gives a new twist to an old story. During the Cold War both
    sides frequently dug tunnels to listen in on the other's secrets,
    imparting additional meaning to the term "mole" as applied to a secret
    agent. So the presence of moles in cyberspace should come as no surprise.
    What is surprising - and alarming - is the difficulty of determining the
    identity of the moles' employer and the damage they have done. Despite
    "the largest cyber-intelligence investigation ever" by U.S. authorities,
    Mr. Adams writes that our government still doesn't know "who is behind the
    attacks, what additional information has been taken and why, to what
    extent the public and private sectors have been penetrated, and what else
    has been left behind by the hackers that could still damage the vulnerable
    This report comes on the heels of evidence suggesting that Chinese hackers
    have recently attacked American government and commercial Web sites in
    apparent retaliation for the loss of a Chinese fighter in a collision with
    a U.S. EP-3E aircraft off Hainan Island.
    The new information technology of the Internet and high-speed
    communications is hailed by Federal Reserve Board Chairman Alan Greenspan
    as the underlying cause of the nation's recent strong economic growth. But
    it is becoming clear that in the field of national security the new
    technology is a double-edged sword. 
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