Anyone see a game changer here?

Gadi Evron ge at
Fri Jan 22 03:52:11 UTC 2010

On 1/15/10 5:52 PM, Steven Bellovin wrote:
> The "difference" this week is motive.
> In the 1980s-1990s, we had joy-hacking.
> In the 2000s, we had profit-motivated hacking by criminals.
> We now have (and have had for a few years) what appears to be nation-state hacking.  The differences are in targets and resources available to the attacker.

Following up --

I just wrote a blog on the subject called "the fog of cyberwar":

In short:
While we are all talking of Google's morals and US/China diplomacy, 
there are some questions that mostly remain unasked:

1. Did Google hack a Taiwanese server to investigate the breach? If so, 
good for them. Our ethics need to catch up to our morals, as we usually 
wake up to a new world others created for us, a few years too late. But, 
for now, it's still illegal so some details would be nice.

As you know, I have been calling for more than "get slapped, write 
analysis" response to cyber crime for a long time, but we need to be 
careful not to start an offensive the Internet can't win (criminals 
willing to play scorched Earth--we're not, and our legal/ethical 

2. Is Microsoft, while usually timely and responsible, completely 
irresponsible in wanting to patch this only in February? While they 
patched it sooner (which couldn't have been easy), their over-all policy 
is very disturbing and in my opinion calls for IE to not be used anymore.

3. Why are people treating targeted attacks as a new threat model? Their 
threat models are just old. This we discussed here.

Oh yeah, and this is espionage, not cyber war. Computers are just new 
tools/weapons for an old motive.
Espionage unlike cyber crime and cyber war is well established in law 
and diplomacy both. Security experts should not spread fear, and they 
definitely shouldn't be the ones people look to for answers on this.



Gadi Evron,
ge at


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