The Cold War never really ended, so much as it changed venues to the digital world.
And case in point, or at least, the most recent case to have occurred, is the White House acknowledging that there was an attack on their network. Before we all get up in arms about it being China again, no one’s yet to say it’s them. They also say it isn’t not them, and meanwhile our Defense Secretary has gone to China to tell them to knock it off with hacking attempts on American systems.
More after the jump.
Now, before we get way too worried about this, it should be noted that the attack was on an unclassified network, and the affected area was isolated from the rest of their systems to prevent the unauthorized access from spreading, No classified material was leaked, and an unnamed White House official told the Associated Press that there is no indication any data whatsoever was extracted.
Again, let’s pause before we all stand up and go “it’s China! It’s China!” because the White House isn’t saying who it is. It could be anyone. Let’s not be so quick to say it’s China until we know it’s them.
…but yeah, it’s probably China.
Last year, Google caught China red-handed (heh) attempting phishing attacks against the Gmail accounts of several senior US government officials and military staff. Last November, our own intelligence community straight-up accused China of stealing American high-tech data for their own economic ends.
The Obama administration is preparing an executive order with new rules to protect American systems from external threats. There was legislation on the floor of Congress, but they failed to pass a comprehensive cybersecurity bill (can we stop using “cyber,” please? It’s embarrassingly outdated).
Of course, problems with the bill included that they kept ignoring it and spent more time trying to pass SOPA, which was wildly unpopular, or any other bill that had the provisions of SOPA without actually being called SOPA.
So the administration decided they’re going to use their executive branch authority to establish new rules themselves, at least until Congress returns to session and passes a bill that can be made into law.