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Disagreements on cyber risk East-West "Cold War"

(Reuters) - With worries growing over computer hacking, data theft and the risk of digital attacks destroying essential systems, western states and their allies are co-operating closer than ever on cyber security.

But as they do so, the gulf between them and China and Russia -- blamed for many recent hacks and with a very different and much more authoritarian view over the future of the Internet -- grows ever wider.

Last week, Chinese officials turned down invitations to a privately-run conference of military and civilian experts on cyber security in London, telling organizers Defense IQ they would not attend due to a "low tide" in relations with the U.S., particularly its military. A senior Russian official also pulled out at the last moment, citing a failure to obtain a UK Visa in time -- although other attendees suspected that might simply have been an excuse.

Western officials talk down such snubs. But they admit progress towards international agreement on "norms of behavior" in cyberspace remains a distant dream.

"It is worrying," says John Bassett, a former senior official at British signals intelligence agency GCHQ and now senior fellow at London's Royal United Services Institute. "If anything, in the last year the differences have become more apparent and there seems to have been little success in tackling them. There is a risk it could end up damaging the wider relationship." More...

02-05-2012 10:58

Cyberattacks Temporarily Cripple 2 Israeli Web Sites

JERUSALEM — Israel faced an escalating cyberwar on Monday as unknown attackers disrupted access to the symbolically strategic Web sites of the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange and El Al, the national airline.

A hacker identifying himself as oxOmar, already notorious for posting the details of more than 20,000 Israeli credit cards, sent an overnight warning to Israel’s Ynet news outlet that a group of pro-Palestinian cyberattackers called Nightmare planned to bring down the sites in the morning. More...

01-16-2012 20:16

Corporate America Must Fight, and Live With, China Hackers: View

Chinese hackers have redefined the concept of room service: In one recent attack, they infiltrated an Internet service provider to some of the world’s leading hotels, potentially gaining access to millions of confidential messages of traveling executives, as well as to the victims’ corporate networks.

The electronic theft of proprietary information from U.S. companies has reached the level of grand larceny on a national scale. One declassified government estimate put the value of information stolen in the last year -- everything from blueprints to merger plans -- at almost $500 billion. In October, breaking with diplomatic niceties, the Office of the National Counterintelligence Executive characterized “Chinese actors” as “the world’s most active and persistent perpetrators of economic espionage.” More...

12-16-2011 16:19