Criminal gangs are increasingly active in producing things like Storm, and, in the case of China, so are government Cyber War operations. Russia is also believed to rely on criminal hackers for help in carrying out Cyber War tasks, usually espionage. Meanwhile, it's clear what Storm is up to. It has been launching attacks at web sites involved in stopping or investigating Storm. This involves transmitting huge quantities of bogus messages ,that shut down targeted web sites (this is a DDOS, or distributed denial or service attack). The Storm botherders are also advertising their botnet as available for the usual illegal activities (various types of spam).
Early on, it was believed that Storm was owned by a Russian criminal syndicate, but once more detailed proof was available, the Russian government refused to cooperate, treating Storm like some kind of secret military resources. And to the Russians, that's apparently what Storm is. Meanwhile, the investigation indicates that the Storm crew have some American members, and now the search is on for them, or any other non-Russians who worked on Storm, and are not inside Russia.
Late last week, a group of Chinese hackers called off a planned denial of service attack on CNN.com. It was reported that the attack would occur last weekend, in protest of "anti-Chinese" media reports across the Western world.
It's not just the better security Linux provides, but the fact that there are many versions of Linux to choose from, and the operating system is easier to modify (being an "open source" system, unlike the proprietary Windows.) Currently, the U.S. Department of Defense has over 200 Linux based software projects in development.
China has also gone down this route, and is trying to get all Chinese computer users to switch to Linux. This has proved difficult, because so many Chinese use stolen Windows software to run their businesses. Often, there is no Linux alternative for key Windows applications. The military, however, uses custom made software for its most critical applications, and it's easier to create this stuff using Linux.
In today's world of ever-changing challenges, it is more important than ever for the CIA to stay ahead of fast-paced global technology developments. The classified work we are presently undertaking allows us to meet the Agency's foreign intelligence mission through leadership in a wide range of scientific and technical disciplines. This is truly a unique opportunity for scientific and engineering experts to look beyond a commercial, product-driven mindset to goal-oriented, highly focused work of significant national importance.
Apart from creating cyber-security organisations down to the division-level to guard against cyber warfare and data thefts, the Army top brass has also underlined the urgent need for "periodic cyber-security audits" by the Army Cyber Security Establishment (ACSE).
"The most advanced armies in the world like the US one also face 3,000 to 4,000 attempts a year to hack their networks. As our Army boosts its infotech levels, we also become more vulnerable to such threats. Future conflicts will be fought by 'networks'," said a senior officer.
Both China and Pakistan, for instance, are bolstering their cyber-warfare or information warfare capabilities at a rapid clip. China, in particular, has made cyber-warfare one of its topmost military priorities, with Chinese hackers breaking into sensitive computer networks of the US, UK, Germany and even India on a regular basis.
"By crippling or destroying an adversary's economic, communication and strategic networks and infrastructure, cyber-warfare can even prove more deadly than ballistic missile strikes. It can, for instance, be in the form of denial-of-service cyber-attacks and paralysing computer viruses," said another officer.
The Indian armed forces, of course, are also trying to hone their information warfare weapons as well as enhance their C4ISR (command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance) capabilities.
The tri-service integrated defence staff, on its part, has also come out with an information warfare doctrine. But the progress is slow compared to the infotech boom in the civilian arena.
The problem, however, is that these so-called former generals lack one thing . . . they are not journalists. This is a phenomenon, it is worth pointing out, that is rearing its ugly head at a time when the public distrusts journalists.
This is an important distinction, because it strikes at how someone is trained. Journalists, even those who don't go to journalism school, are trained to be skeptical of information. Generals have been trained throughout their career for something else, which is to win wars. Some may be equipped with a personal sense of skepticism, but this is about an individual's strengths and not a profession.
Despite denials, military still studying clandestine use of blogs
Last July, Noah Shachtman -- the author of the current Wired article describing the 2006 study -- noted that the Army was working on a new "information operations" field manual that would recognize "information as an element of power [which] ... has the potential to do to highly developed modern democracies what conventional and nuclear weapons could not: compel them to quit."