Sophisticated viruses will be the workhorses of 21st-century spying. But there should be rules
IF ASKED why they spied on the computers of their rivals (and allies), the authors of Regin, a sophisticated computer virus that seems to have been designed by a Western government, would presumably echo the proverbial bank robber, and reply “because that’s where the secrets are”.
As the world has gone digital, spying has, too. Regin is just the latest in a trend that first came to public notice in 2010, when a piece of American and Israeli software called Stuxnet was revealed to have been responsible for sabotaging part of Iran’s nuclear programme. Since then have come Flame, Red October, DarkHotel and others (see article); more surely lurk undiscovered in the world’s networks. But unlike the indiscriminate surveillance revealed by Edward Snowden, these chunks of malware seem, like traditional spying, to be targeted at specific governments or even individuals.
For spies, such digital espionage has advantages over the shoe-leather sort. Computers are stuffed with data that can be copied and beamed around the world in seconds—so much easier than fiddling with microdots or smuggling sensitive documents past guards. The more complicated computer operating systems get, the more riddled they are with unnoticed security holes. Staying safe means plugging them all; an attacker need only keep trying until a single one gives way.
Computer espionage is usefully deniable, too: if programmers are careful it is hard to know who is behind an attack. (There are hints that Regin might be British—not least that one of its modules seems to be called “LEGSPIN”, a cricketing term. British spooks refuse to comment.) And it can be conducted from comfortable armchairs thousands of miles from the target, with no need to put human agents in harm’s way.
But cyber-spying raises two tricky issues.
The Latest on: Computer spying
via Google News
The Latest on: Computer spying
- Spy-Satellite Images Reveal How Climate Change Is Rapidly Melting the Himalayan Glaciers on June 20, 2019 at 2:58 pm
The study’s lead author, Joshua Maurer, a doctoral student in earth sciences at Columbia University, used recently declassified spy-satellite images from the ... Maurer developed computer software ... […]
- Spy Used AI-Generated Face to Connect With Targets: Experts on June 20, 2019 at 12:46 am
William Evanina, director of the U.S. National Counterintelligence and Security Center, said foreign spies routinely use fake social media profiles to home in on American targets — and accused China ... […]
- Old spy images show glaciers melting fast in the Himalayas on June 19, 2019 at 10:10 pm
That’s twice as fast as previously, and scientists are learning it from Cold War-era spy satellite images ... Maurer double-checked that conclusion by feeding the data into a computer model. It ... […]
- University of Washington develops cardiac arrest monitoring tool for smart speakers on June 19, 2019 at 11:49 am
Allen School of Computer Science & Engineering Department ... “We envision a contactless system that works by continuously and passively monitoring the bedroom for an agonal breathing event, and ... […]
- The Vanishing Black Woman Spy Reappears on June 19, 2019 at 11:17 am
In all her surviving writings about the spy ring, Bet mentions Mary only once ... Curious but cautious, I sat at my computer scrutinizing images of the 1870 letter taken with Payne’s cell ... […]
- Cold War–era spy satellite images show Himalayan glaciers are melting fast on June 19, 2019 at 11:16 am
Declassified Cold War–era spy satellite film shows that the melting of hundreds ... Maurer and his colleagues devised a computer program to automate this time-consuming process and create ... […]
- Old spy images reveal Himalayan glaciers are melting fast on June 19, 2019 at 11:05 am
WASHINGTON (AP) — Cold War era spy satellite images are showing scientists that glaciers ... Maurer double-checked that conclusion by feeding the data into a computer model. It "predicted" the same ... […]
- Computer-generated fake faces on social media appear to be work of spy agencies on June 18, 2019 at 12:44 pm
Suspected Russian spies are generating photographs of fake faces with computer programmes to gather information on social media, experts believe. An AP investigation has discovered a “vast army” of ... […]
- NIST Seeks Feedback on Continuous Monitoring Tech, User Auditing on June 18, 2019 at 10:09 am
Currently, many organizations use a manual inspection or computer-aided audits that result ... guidance to improve their continuous monitoring programs,” NCCoE officials wrote. ... […]
- Eyesight Technologies’ DriverSense™ driver monitoring system now available on Ambarella CVflow® AI SoCs on June 11, 2019 at 3:32 am
“Eyesight’s advanced computer vision software improves road safety and enhances the driver experience,” said Fermi Wang, CEO of Ambarella. “The pairing of Eyesight Technologies’ driver monitoring ... […]
via Bing News