Part of the discussion of recent attacks by targeted email to
individuals crafted to deceive that particular individual based on
intelligence gathered for this use by governments.
"The alleged attacks from China are troubling on many fronts. On
Thursday, security firm McAfee released a report saying the program
used to target U.S. firms involved a so-called "zero day"
vulnerability -- one that was to this point unknown to the security
community, and thus indefensible by anti-virus software. The flaw
involved Microsoft's Internet Explorer, McAfee said. Microsoft says it
is working quickly to provide a software patch. But the malicious
software attacks other software flaws too, McAfee said, adding this
ominous note: "There very well may be other attack vectors that are
not known to us at this time."
"These highly customized attacks known as advanced persistent threats
were primarily seen by governments and the mere mention of them
strikes fear in any cyberwarrior,” wrote McAfee's George Kurtz in a
blog post today. “They are in fact the equivalent of the modern drone
on the battle field. With pinpoint accuracy they deliver their deadly
payload and once discovered - it is too late…All I can say is wow. The
world has changed. Everyone's threat model now needs to be adapted to
the new reality of these advanced persistent threats. In addition to
worrying about Eastern European cybercriminals trying to siphon off
credit card databases, you have to focus on protecting all of your
core intellectual property."
Mark Rasch, former head of the Department of Justice computer crime
unit, called the attacks “cyberwarfare,” and said it was clearly an
escalation of a digital conflict between China and the U.S.
As if the old threat models weren't bad enough...