Definitions[edit | edit source]
Cyber espionage (also spelled cyberespionage)
|“||involves the unauthorized probing to test a target computer’s configuration or evaluate its system defenses, or the unauthorized viewing and copying of data files.||”|
|“||uses computer or related systems to collect intelligence or enable certain operations, whether in cyberspace or the real world.||”|
|“||refers to national-level entities conducting espionage activities using cyber means to obtain important intelligence information relevant to national security (such as classified documents).||”|
|“||[is] [o]ffensive activity designed to covertly collect information from a user's computer network for intelligence purposes.||”|
Overview[edit | edit source]
Should a terrorist group, nation, or other organization use computer hacking techniques for political or economic motives, their deliberate intrusions may also qualify them, additionally, as cybercriminals.
If there is disagreement about this, it is likely because technology has outpaced policy for labeling actions in cyberspace. In fact, industrial cyber espionage may now be considered a necessary part of global economic competition, and secretly monitoring the computerized functions and capabilities of potential adversary countries may also be considered essential for national defense. Cyber espionage, which enables the filtration of massive amounts of information electronically, has now transformed the nature of counterintelligence, by enabling a reduced reliance on conventional spying operations. The Internet, including satellite links and wireless local area networks, now offers new, low-cost and low-risk opportunities for espionage.
Spying is as old as human history, but cyber espionage presents a far less expensive way for both state and non-state actors, including private companies, to construct detailed informational mosaics on competitors and adversaries. Cyber spies can use stolen information for any number of purposes, including intimidation, extortion or efforts to anticipate or disrupt the maneuvering of political opponents.
U.S. counterintelligence officials reportedly have stated that about 140 different foreign intelligence organizations regularly attempt to hack into the computer systems of U.S. government agencies and U.S. companies. Cyber espionage, which enables the exfiltration of massive amounts of information electronically, has now transformed the nature of counterintelligence, by enabling a reduced reliance on conventional spying operations. The Internet, including satellite links and wireless local networks, now offers new, low cost and low risk opportunities for espionage.
References[edit | edit source]
- Botnets, Cybercrime, and Cyberterrorism: Vulnerabilities and Policy Issues for Congress, at 12-13.
- America's Cyber Future: Security and Prosperity in the Information Age, at 17.
- At the Nexus of Cybersecurity and Public Policy: Some Basic Concepts and Issues, at 14.
- ACSC 2015 Threat Report, Glossary, at 25.
- Jeanne Meserve, “Official: International Hackers Going after U.S. Networks,” CNN.com, Oct. 19, 2007.