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McAfee report says the Internet is set for the next Cold War

Cybercrime is a growing concern for everyone. Simply shopping at a store where your credit card information is databased can lead to an account information being stolen by hackers, as when TJ Maxx had its credit card database penetrated in March of 2007.

However, there are much bigger concerns when it comes to cybercrime, those of national security. In June of 2007, the Pentagon computer networks were hacked from attackers based in China. While the Chinese government denied any involvement the U.S. government called it “one of the most successful cyber attacks” perpetrated on the Department of Defense.

McAfee, a company best known for PC anti-virus software, put out its 22-page Virtual Criminology Report (PDF) which highlights three major findings. The report states a growing threat to national security will occur due to more sophisticated Web-based espionage.

The second point is that the growing attacks are threatening online services and eroding public trust in Internet services. The third, most relishing, point is the rise of a sophisticated market for software flaws used to carry out attacks and espionage on networked systems -- a Black Cybermarket.

The report points out that, today, a malicious user doesn’t even need the technical ability to write code or compromise systems. These new criminals can actually lease a botnet that is already in place to carry out various nefarious acts and attacks in cyberspace.

Peter Sommer from the London School of Economics, an expert in information systems and innovation, states in the report, “There are signs that intelligence agencies around the world are constantly probing other governments’ networks looking for strengths and weaknesses and developing new ways to gather intelligence.” McAfee thinks that cyberspace is the battleground for this century's Cold War and many agree.





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