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‘Cyber Cold War’ Develops as Web Spying Threatening Web Security

A cold war on cyber space is taking form as international cyber attacks and web espionage threaten Internet security, a new report says.

This is the warning highlighted in the Virtual Criminology Report by McAfee that the computer security company published on November 29, 2007. The report claimed that there were web spies in almost 120 countries, some of which even receive government's support.

The annual report, which has published facts and opinions from several interviews with top officers at organizations namely the FBI, NATO and the Serious Organized Crime Agency, notes that the UK has stepped into a 'cyber cold war' where the country's security is at risk as a result of web-based espionage.

The report visualizes a future situation where criminal gangs and rogue governments would attack computer networks, air traffic, electricity and governments' computer systems.

McAfee in its report says that governments and groups allied to governments are increasingly engaging in cyber spying through most sophisticated mechanisms and many of these attacks originate from the Chinese mainland.

The attacks generally target financial markets, traffic control, utility providers, and computer networks of various governments. In September this year (2007), The Guardian reported in its news that hackers in China, including some belonging to its military, had launched attacks on the computer systems of the government departments of Great Britain, including the country's Foreign Office.

Dr. Ian Brown, a member of Oxford University and one of the authors of the Virtual Criminology Report, said that while it is known that China has probed computer networks of the UK, this 'cyber warfare' has been here since many years. TimesOnline published this on November 29, 2007.

Dr. Brown further said that some computer programs, whose origin were traced to China, were found to try to break passwords of Whitehall systems and also find vulnerable spots in IT infrastructure of the nation.

Meanwhile, certain reports during the past twelve months suggest that China had launched cyber attacks against government networks of Germany, Australia, New Zealand, India and the US. However, the country has rejected them and denied its of any kind involvement.

Related article: “Loopholes did not cause online banking thefts”: ICBC

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