It seems that a new Cold War is brewing, but instead of nuclear stockpiles or a Cuban missile crisis we have zero-day exploits and the RSA Security data breach. Whatever you want to call it, the United States seems to be facing a bit of a cyber seige right now.
Attackers–apparently using counterfeit SecurID tokens thanks to information compromised in an earlier breach of RSA Security–have attacked the networks of defense contractors, including Lockheed-Martin and L-3 Communications. Now, there are also reports that hackers have gained access to hundreds of Gmail accounts, including personal email accounts of senior US officials.
International espionage is nothing new. Nations–even allies–are constantly trying to access classified information and learn the secrets of rival nations. All that has changed is that the Internet has made it much easier and faster in many cases to get that information–anonymously, and remotely from around the world with much less risk of personal harm on the part of the “spy”.
We don’t know for sure who our Cold War enemy is, or if its a single nation or multiple nations. But, Google reports that the Gmail account hacks originated from China. I wonder how all of this fits in with the Pentagon doctrine that a cyber attack can be considered an act of war worthy of an armed response?