The Pentagon, the IMF, Google, and others have been hacked. It’s war out there, and a cyber-weapons industry is exploding to arm the combatants.
Cyber attacks used to be kept quiet. They often went undiscovered until long after the fact, and countries or companies that were hit usually declined to talk about attacks. That’s changed as a steady flow of brazen incursions has been exposed. Last year, for example, Google (GOOG) accused China of spying on the company’s workers and customers. It said at the time that at least 20 other companies were victims of the same attack, nicknamed Operation Aurora by the security firm McAfee. (INTC) The hacked included Adobe Systems (ADBE), Juniper Networks (JNPR), and Morgan Stanley. (MS) Joel F. Brenner, the head of U.S. counterintelligence until 2009, says the same operation that pulled off Aurora has claimed many more victims over several years. “It’d be fair to say that at least 2,000 companies have been hit,” Brenner says. “And that number is on the conservative side.”