This week in cyber conflict: June 6th to June 10th

A busy weekend opened on a busy week. It looks like the rhetoric continues to heat up between China and the United States as regards cyber warfare. The thread of the latest Google hacks has appeared to center around White House staffers and experts on China being targeted. This would if true appear to be a series of espionage attempts. I would be very surprised if it was a China only act, but I’m also kind of surprised they keep getting caught. I’ve been troubled by the appearance of a double standard between the United States openly admitting to certain assertions of policy through things like the PATRIOT Act, and other laws and then when other countries do the same thing people being shocked. This isn’t to say that China hacking MY White House makes me happy. If there espionage activities aren’t countered significantly I’ll be quite disappointed in US cyber supremacy. The work by the United Kingdom in operation cupcake is a great example of low-brow efforts significantly curtailing cyber threats.

It is interesting that on Tuesday Al Jazeera started covering cyber warfare. Some of the hysteria in the news is likely the continuing pending defense department cyber warfare policy document. I’m not sure that it will be the big splash that everybody thinks it will be. There is just to little that will be in a document like that to be surprised about. A declaratory policy placing cyber warfare in a continuum that considers perfidy is just common sense. You kill our citizens, regardless of the methods, we’re going to make you hurt no matter who you are. That is what it means to be a nation state.

As the week progressed by Thursday more saber rattling was seen in evidence as the weekend news cycle started to warm up.  Cyber conflict stories started to change towards war mongering type talk with China. This has been true the last few weeks and is starting to look like a pattern of behavior. It might simply be the editors flushing low impact stories before the end of the week, but it is appearing to be a pattern. Might be something to analyze in the future empirically.

One note about these weekly blog entries. These are basically my research notes or clippings I keep from crafting google alerts. There are three other crafted alerts I don’t post, but I use them as touchstones. They also give me a place to send students or collaborators in writing for current events.

The week closed out with Leon Panetta (my future boss) invoking Pearl Harbor type armageddon discussion in regards to cyber warfare. Whereas, I’m absolutely certain a mass casualty event could be created by cyber means it won’t look like anything we’ve seen in the last few years.

The second article of note was one talking about how the Certified Ethical Hacker curriculum and certification has left people wanting more. I really, really, really wish somebody would turn me loose to create an undergraduate and graduate curriculum for nothing but cyber warfare (5 year program). I really wish upon a lucky star. And if you wish in one hand, and … in the other which gets full first? Why should anybody let me, a hapless professor, with 20 years experience to write a curriculum? Have you read my blog!?

Monday June 6th

China gets angry about cyberwar allegations
msnbc.com
This storyline took a sudden, dramatic turn just days ago after the Wall Street Journal reported on the Pentagon’s first formal cyber warfare strategy plan. Though not yet officially released to the public, the document allegedly argues for 
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Cyberwar with China? More Likely, the Enemy Will Be Anonymous
Forbes (blog)
But that very openness lowers the barriers to threats such as cyber warfare. The best we can hope for is that the flexibility inherent in free markets will also make them more nimble in responding to the challenge.
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Forbes (blog)
The Cable: Cable guy presses Gates on Chinese cyber warfare
Foreign Policy
Your humble Cable guy had the opportunity to ask Defense Secretary Robert Gates a question at the opening plenary session of the 10 th annual IISS Shangri-La Security Dialogue here in Singapore. We pressed Gates to explain how the Pentagon’s new cyber 
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How Serious is North Korea’s Hacking Activities?
International Business Times
“North Korea last year raised the status of its cyber warfare unit under the Reconnaissance General Bureau and increased the number of troops in the unit from 500 to about 3000,” defector Kim Heung-kwang said at a cyber terrorism seminar in Seoul. 
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China Blames US For Cyber War
ITProPortal
China’s People’s Liberation Army has pointed its fingers at the US as the main culprit of waging a world-wide cyber-war against the Arab countries and other so called “hostile” governments. These allegations came from PLA scholars on Friday, 
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US builds a bulwark against cyberwarfare
Statesman Journal
The military and intelligence communities have known for at least two decades that “cyberwar” is war. Everyday experience has confirmed that the digital fight is very real, as cyber-attackers probe and occasionally crack the digital communications and 
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Cyber Attacks May Be ‘Acts Of War’
NPR
Ira Flatow and guests discuss cyber attacks and the challenges in defining and fighting cyber warfare. You’re listening to SCIENCE FRIDAY. I’m Ira Flatow. Up next, cyber-warfare. Computer sabotage can now be considered an act of war, the Pentagon says, 
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An Increase in Cyber Warfare Leads to Operation Cupcake, of the Mojito Variety
ABC News
In a cyber-warfare operation, British intelligence officials hacked into Inspire, al Qaeda’s magazine, where wannabe terrorists swap strategies and plans. When readers tried to download the 67-page magazine, instead of getting “Make a Bomb in the 
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ABC News
Government files hacked in cyber attack from China
The Province
Classified information was stolen from two federal government departments during an elaboratecyber attack earlier this year, CBC reported Friday. The attacks, which originated from computer servers in China, hit the Treasury Board and Department of 
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Opinion: Establishing the rules for future cyberwars
NorthJersey.com
Still, because the document has yet to be released, it’s not clear yet whether it will have the president’s stamp and the force that entails, or whether it will have only the limited force that other defense documents laying out cyberwar policy have 
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Sony suffers another cyber attack by hackers
abc7.com
In this Nov. 9, 2006 file photo, visitors at the Sony Building in downtown Tokyo play Sony’s next-generation video game PlayStation 3 as its two-week-long free trial service goes on. (AP Photo) LONDON (KABC) — Computer hackers are claiming they have 
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abc7.com
Inquirer Editorial: Declaring war on hackers | Philadelphia Inquirer | 2011-06-05
Philadelphia Inquirer
The Pentagon still doesn’t know who was responsible for a 2008 cyber attack on one of its computer systems. Some pointed fingers at Russia, but Russia denied involvement. Similarly, the hackers who used a Stuxnet computer virus to cripple Iran’s 
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Will Cyber World War I be outsourced?
BetaNews
The most famous cases of alleged “cyberwar” have some common characteristics that are at the heart of the problem. It’s never clearly the governments conducting the attacks and it’s plausible that outside actors are responsible. 
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Gmail rivals Yahoo, Hotmail also targeted in cyber-attack
Montreal Gazette
Gmail, Hotmail and Yahoo Mail were targeted by cyber-attacks believed to have originated in China, Internet security firm Trend Micro warned on Friday. SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. — Internet security firm Trend Micro warned on Friday that cyber-attackers 
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Operation Cupcake: British Spies Hack Al-Qaeda’s Magazine to Replace Bombs 
TIME
In a cyber-warfare operation, British spies successfully hacked al-Qaeda’s English language magazine, Inspire, and replaced bombmaking instructions with a list of cupcakes. Victory has never tasted so sweet. The magazine is published quarterly and 
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The Star’s editorial | Georgia-Russia conflict underscores the threat of cyber war
Kansas City Star
The Defense Department has now concluded that a highly disruptive cyber attack by a foreign power could be justifiably viewed as an act of war — something requiring retaliation by conventional military means. This conclusion is long overdue. 
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Kansas City Star
Sony shares tumble over latest cyber attack
AFP
No confidential data was stolen or published on the Internet in the cyber attack on Sony Europe Ltd., said company spokeswoman Mami Imada in Tokyo. “It is true that the website was illegally accessed,” said Imada. “But all the data that the hacker 
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AFP
U.S. Assures Asian Allies Over Cyber-Attack Worries
Financial Feed
There has been a series of attacks lately on large corporations that have the US prepared to take action. Defense Secretary Robert Gates said the US is prepared to use force in a growing concern over cyber-attacks. He said the US vows to protect sea
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Financial Feed
Big questions about cyberwar
Network World
By John Dix, Network World The Pentagon is expected to announce a cyberstrategy this month that concludes a cyberattack on the US can be an act of war, and while the damage from such an assault may warrant that position, hopefully this just amounts to 
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EDITORIAL: Winning cyber war
TMC Net
Jun 05, 2011 (Boston Herald – McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) — The Pentagon, according to reports from Washington, has concluded that attacks on US computer networks from other countries could be acts of war. 
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British Armed Forces Minister Comments on Response to Cyber War
defpro
The National Security Strategy identifies cyber attack in the top tier of risks to the UK over the next five years. An extra £650m has been allocated to create a National Cyber Security Programme to fund work across government in partnership with 
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Boeing Target of ‘Continuous’ Cyber Attack
IndustryWeek
Agence France-Presse Boeing is under “continuous” cyber attack but there has been no breach of its databases, a senior executive said Friday. The admission by Dennis Muilenburg, the chief executive of Boeing Defense, Space and Security, 
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Sony Under Cyber Attack yet Again!
GadgetEra
After the huge cyber attack on the accounts of Sony Play station hub, Sony has suffered yet another web attack much to the dismay of the users. The users are furious with the company after an attack within almost a month raising questions in the tech 
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GadgetEra
A military option for US in case of cyber-attack
Manila Bulletin
The Pentagon announced last week that all options — including military action — would be on the table if the United States were to be at the receiving end of a cyber-attack. This means the world’s lone superpower sees an Internet attack against its 
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Organized Cyber War is the trend in security landscape
Siliconindia.com
At a national level, countries are having organized cyber war. With every nation relying heavily on IT systems, cyber war is a reality that can instantly cripple any country’s economy. The recent advent of Stuxnet is an example of this. 
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Tuesday June 7th

RSA Renews Alert After Cyber Attack on Lockheed Martin
Credit Union Times
By Marc Rapport RSA said information taken from it in a security breach in March has been used to attack defense contractor Lockheed Martin. That attack was thwarted, RSA said, but the company has now offered to replace millions of its SecurID tokens 
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Latest Hacks Could Set The Stage For Cyberwar
NPR
Even more worrisome, such actions could have set the stage for cyberwar. The perpetrators may have gained the capability to identify targets, assess vulnerabilities and position themselves for future attacks. “I think what we’re seeing today are the 
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Cyberwar, Stuxnet and people in glass houses
Aljazeera.net
People tracking stories on hacking or cyberwar have had a busy few months. Headlines this week were provided courtesy of the Pentagon’s first formal cyber strategy document which concluded “that computer sabotage coming from another country can 
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US Readies Cyberwar Strategy
PCWorld
The pending publication of a cyber war strategy from the Pentagon next month was reported by the Wall Street Journal, and drew interest because it promises to justify bombs and troops as appropriate responses to data theft and worms. 
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Cyberwar May be Coming to a Computer Near You
defpro
15:23 GMT, June 6, 2011 The Pentagon is about to publish its long awaited strategy for cyber warfare, the unclassified portions of which are likely to be made public sometime next month. In so doing, the Department of Defense (DoD) is acknowledging 
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Estonian Defence Minister: A cyber-attack is no…
defpro
At the meeting, Minister of Defence Mr Mart Laar emphasised the need to understand that potential damage caused by a cyber-attack is comparable with damage caused by ordinary attacks. “Estonia is also a proponent of the principle that there should be 
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Why there may be no escaping the cyber war
CITY A.M.
The cyber war has begun. Sony has been repeatedly punched in the face by hackers and now President Barack Obama says any more attempts to pry into the emails of his staff will be treated as an act of military aggression. (At this stage it’s probably 
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Hackers winning cyber war after finding list of believable names
NewsBiscuit (satire)
The US Military has warned that cyber phishing scams are becoming ever-more sophisticated with some attackers even sending emails from people with believable, western names. ‘Our software can normally filter out fake names,’ said Lt. Major Brad 
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Global Insights: The Pentagon’s Strategy for Cyberwar
World Politics Review
By Richard Weitz | 07 Jun 2011 According to a coordinated series of leaks to the media last week, the Pentagon is in the process of finalizing its first formal cybersecurity strategy. Several unnamed Defense Department officials have confirmed that the 
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Hokey Advertising Undermines China Hacking Threat
Wall Street Journal (blog)
Few Chinese believe Google Inc. was the victim of a cyber attack originating from a technical college in the country’s northeast that is suspected by at least some US investigators as having a role in rattling the Internet behemoth’s security systems. 
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Wednesday June 8th

China’s Cyber Attack on Google Presages Era of Digital Warfare (video)
Singularity Hub
The $30 million facility is a testing and training ground for cyber-warfarecountermeasures, or “cyber sidearms” as they call them. Extended cyberspace fights are simulated with realistic replications of the US military’s global satellite, wireless, 
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Singularity Hub
Mafia criminals, spies and hackers hit Britain with cyber attack every eight hours
Daily Mail
By Tim Shipman The Ministry of Defence is coming under cyber attack every eight hours from foreign spies, mafia criminals and hackers, it has been revealed. Defence Secretary Liam Fox said Britain is waging ‘a continuous battle’ with 1000 malicious 
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Daily Mail
RSA to Replace SecurID Tokens After Lockheed Cyber Attack
PC Magazine
By Chloe Albanesius RSA, the security division of EMC, on Monday confirmed that data obtained via a March hack was used to attack the systems of defense contractor Lockheed Martin. To assuage fears about the breach, RSA said it will offer customers the 
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European nations fail to develop anti-cyber attack strategies
Computing
by Gareth Morgan European countries risk becoming the victims of crippling cyber attacks because of the glacial pace at which internet security strategies are being developed, according to a new report from EU security mandarins. 
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Computing
Deterrence won’t stop cyber attacks
The Guardian
And Stuxnet is hardly the first disruptive cyber attack. When the highly cyber-wired nation of Estonia had its networks disrupted by “distributed denial of service attacks” in 2007, Nato had to make a decision – did this attack constitute an “attack”, 
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Nations recognize dangers posed by cyber-attacks
Deutsche Welle
The Baltic state sustained a cyber-attack in May 2007, which Estonian government officials pin on having come with at least implicit support from the Russian government – a charge Russian officials deny. Kenneth Geers, an American computer security 
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US judge backs bank against customer who sued over hack.
Finextra
A US judge magistrate has ruled that a bank is not responsible for the loss of around $345000 from a business customer account following a cyber-attack. Magistrate judge John Rich has recommended that a US District Court in Maine grant Ocean Bank’s 
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‘WikiWars: The Mission of Julian Assange’ – CNN’s Kaj Larsen Reports
CNN (blog)
He has launched a cyber war over the control of sensitive information, inciting a debate over the power of secrecy and who has the ‘right’ to release confidential information. Exposing everything from secret war logs, to diplomatic cables, to explosive 
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Under SiegeTM for Playstation®3 available for download in over 50 countries
Media Newswire (press release)
Under Siege is finally available for download after its launch was postponed due to a cyber attack on the Playstation Network. PSN Store users in over 50 countries will now have the opportunity to fully enjoy the first portuguese first made especially 
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Cyber defender Richard Clarke advises weapons protection tech firm
Nextgov
Visible Assets, Inc., manufacturer of RuBee wireless-tracking networks, announced on Tuesday that the author of “Cyber War: The Next Threat To National Security And What To Do About It” has joined its board of directors. The firm currently helps 
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Thursday June 9th

Turkey prepares for pre-election Anonymous cyber attack
Reuters
It attacked them with denial-of-service attacks that overwhelmed their servers for blocking payments to WikiLeaks. Last month it denied responsibility for a cyber-attack on Sony Corp’s networks that exposed the personal data of more than 100 million 
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Netanyahu: Israel needs to be at forefront of cyber warfare
Jerusalem Post
Israel should be a global cyber-power, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said on Thursday during a conference on cyber warfare at Tel Aviv University. The premier said Israel must be a significant player in the new cyber warfare arena, adding that “we 
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Divisions Seen In Administration Over Cyberthreats
NPR
At issue is whether the nation faces the prospect of cyberwar and needs to prepare for it. The Pentagon says yes. Howard Schmidt, the White House coordinator for cybersecurity, sees such talk as “hype” and rejects the “cyberwar” term. 
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China and the US: Sizing up for cyber war?
Aljazeera.net
“The Chinese have the early advantage in executing cyber warfare. If you have a large information gathering operation, knowing even the personal data of officials can be valuable,” he told Al Jazeera. If data is stolen from personal accounts it is 
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Aljazeera.net
LulzSec recieve donations to carry on war with Sony: Will continued hacks 
International Business Times
By Alastair Stevenson | June 9, 2011 12:51 PM GMT With LulzSec having just issued a statement promising to continue its ongoing cyber-war against tech giant Sony, many analysts have begun to speculate just how damaging the groups continued assault 
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International Business Times
UK Ministry of Defence suffers one cyber attack every eight hours
International Business Times
By Alastair Stevenson | June 8, 2011 4:36 PM GMT Defence Secretary Liam Fox has revealed that the UK’s Ministry of Defence is targeted by cyber attacks at least once every eight hours, suffering more than 1000 attempted hacks each year. 
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International Business Times
Mahnken: Cyber warfare favors the strong
FierceGovernmentIT
Cyber warfare cannot compensate for weaknesses in other instruments of power, says a new paper from a Naval War College professor. Cyber attacks have a reputation of aiding weak states in possible conflicts against strong ones, but strong countries 
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Cyber Warfare & Security: IDGA Prepares for the New Domain of Warfare
Business Wire (press release)
“It’s time to prepare for tomorrow’s fight, today,” says Nicole Bacani, Program Director for IDGA’sCyber Warfare & Security Summit, in Washington, DC, June 27-29, 2011. “Defending against and defeating cyber attacks requires combined efforts by both 
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Details of 200000 Citigroup card holders stolen by hackers after major cyber
Daily Mail
By Wil Longbottom Citigroup bank has said computer hackers managed to breach its network and access the data of around 200000 card holders in the US in the latest in a string of cyber attacks on high-profile companies. The firm said the names of 
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Daily Mail
Why Does Sony Keep Getting Hacked?
Huffington Post
Sony has apologized repeatedly and said that the original attack was a highly professional, criminalcyber attack aimed at stealing credit card numbers. Other experts have said that Sony simply didn’t have its security act together and that the attack 
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Friday June 10th

Panetta Voices Concern About Cyber Warfare Threat: Video
Washington Post
June 10 (Bloomberg) — Leon Panetta, US defense secretary nominee, testified at his confirmation hearing yesterday that the next ‘Pearl Harbor’ could be a cyber attack. Megan Hughes, on Bloomberg Television’s “In The Loop,” reports the US financial 
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Codemasters Under Cyber Attack, Customer Data Compromised
ITProPortal
UK games developer Codemasters has had its servers hacked, with hackers stealing personal information on thousands of people. According to the company, the attack which took place on June 3, targeted personal user information like names, addresses, 
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Anonymous Hackers Arrested In The Heat of Cyber War
IBTimes Hong Kong
Friday, Spain police reportedly arrested three alleged members of the “hacktivist” group Anonymous, a high-profile hacker group, for allegedly taking part in online attacks against Sony’s PlayStation Network, as well as other infiltrations of banks, 
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RADIO BUZZ: CITIGROUP – LATEST CYBER ATTACK VICTIM; ALABAMA’S TOUGH IMIGRATION LAW
FOX News Radio
“A: Change your card out. B: Monitor your emails and when you start seeing suspicious emails coming from your banks asking for more information – just delete them… the banks will notify you via snail mail – so just delete those things… but also, 
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FOX News Radio
A Call for Cyber War Restraint
IT Business Edge (blog)
A lot of business and IT folks go home at night wondering why the US government isn’t more aggressive about cyber criminals specifically and cyber warfare in general. After all, it is US businesses that are the digital frontlines of these attacks and 
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Cyber Attack Steals $139000 from Pittsford, NY
eSecurity Planet
By eSecurityPlanet Staff Thieves recently stole at least $139000 from the online bank account of the Town of Pittsford. “The theft is the latest reminder of the widening gap between the sophistication of organized cyber thieves and the increasingly 
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The Business Of Simulated Cyber Attacks
Wall Street Journal (blog)
Its software can automate a cyber attack — a powerful proposition for companies that want to learn their own vulnerabilities, but potentially very dangerous in the wrong hands. Customers, which range from companies like Citigroup Inc. and Microsoft 
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CEH Certification is Leaving Hackers with a Thirst for the Next Level of Training
Online PR News (press release)
Popular courses for such training include the ECSA/LPT, Cyber War, and Mobile Hacking courses. Online PR News – 10-June-2011 –The leading training company for Certified Ethical Hacker, or CEH certification, Advanced Security by the Academy of Computer 
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Citigroup soaring on high-profile Data breach victim
Industry Leaders Magazine
The fact that this cyber attack took place, despite the multiple security measures already put in place by Citigroup’s database departments, caused Sheila C. Bair, head of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, to urge banks to strengthen their 
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Industry Leaders Magazine 

 

 

 

 

 

2 comments for “This week in cyber conflict: June 6th to June 10th

  1. Ryan
    June 13, 2011 at 8:23 am

    Hello Sam.

    I just started following your site and I have a request. Could you change the settings so that whole articles come over via RSS? The reason I am asking for this is because if I visit the site too much from this location it will get blocked from here. However RSS seems to skirt that.

    Thank you for your consideration and please keep up the quality posting!

  2. sam
    June 13, 2011 at 8:49 am

    Done. The original reason I pulled the RSS feed back to limited content is aggregator/spammer engines were pulling my content in (in total) and posting it as their own. Really sucks when I get an email from somebody claiming I’m stealing content from another site when they are stealing from me.

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