Thursday, July 16, 2009

US and UK prepare fightback against eastern hackers

Hackers are being targeted for attack by US and UK security authorities eager to launch a cyber counteroffensive to kick them off the net

(Guardian) Hackers who attack defence or commercial computers in the US and UK in future may be in for a surprise: a counterattack, authorised and carried out by the police and defence agencies that aims to disrupt and even knock them off the net.

The secret plans, prompted by the explosion in the number of computer-crime incidents from east Asia targeting commercially or politically sensitive information, are known as "strikeback", and are intended to target hackers' computers and disrupt them, in some cases involving denial of service attacks.

According to well-placed sources, work on "strikeback" has already begun in the UK, with the Serious Organised Crime Agency (Soca) and the Metropolitan police's e-crime unit working to deploy teams. The measures are being adopted because of the unprecedented level of attacks being suffered from hacking groups in China, Russia and North Korea, which are suspected of being state sponsored. Among intelligence circles in Washington, DC, the idea of hitting back at foreign hacking groups is being described as the hottest topic in cyberspace.

"This is considered to be a key activity," said a former CIA officer actively involved in the debate. "We are being penetrated and it is not in our tradition to sit back and do nothing. (continue...)

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