Digital Conflict

By Kevin Coleman

Blog archive

Cyber underground poses real threat to globe

Few people would dispute the significance the underground movement had in World War II. Now it appears we are witnessing the buildup of a cyber underground. Unlike the underground movements of the past, the cyber underground incorporates organized crime, paramilitary organizations, for-profit businesses, and also entities loosely coupled militaries. The primary function of this underground movement appears to be focused on the cyber arms trade. You can buy cyber weapons, contract for a cyber attack, and in some cases contract for cyber espionage and the theft of sensitive intellectual property.

I asked Joel Harding, director of information operations at the Information Operations Institute about the current state of the cyber arms trade. He said that, “The dark cyber underworld is hidden from view, unless you know where to look and the cyber arms trade is alive and well. Tools and tool suites are readily available, especially if you know that network management tools often have a dual purpose. Zero Day Exploits can be acquired for money, they're a relative bargain.”

It is impossible to know the true size of the current cyber weapons market. For years now Russia has been pushing a global cyber arms control agreement, but has not had much backing. The growing cyber arms race is increasing calls for a cyber arms control agreement. One thing is certain, any attempt to control cyber weapons at this point will just drive the development and sales of cyber weapons to the underground market.

Posted by Kevin Coleman on Dec 22, 2010 at 12:12 PM


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