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China, U.S., Russia in cyber arms race: net security chief

China, U.S., Russia in cyber arms race: net security chief

China, the United States and Russia are among 20 countries locked in a cyberspace arms race and gearing up for possible Internet hostilities, according to the head of web security firm McAfee.
Dave DeWalt, chief executive and president of the U.S. firm said the traditional defensive stance of government computer infrastructures has shifted in recent years.
"This movement from a defensive posture to a more offensive posture is just very obvious," he said on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.
McAfee said it has identified at least five countries with cyberweapons, including the United States, China, Russia, Israel and France.
"We're now seeing 20 plus countries, governments arm themselves for cyber-warfare, cyber-espionage, cyber-offensive capabilities," said DeWalt.
"There's an arms race going on in cyberspace," he told reporters.
DeWalt is not the first to sound alarm bells about cyberwarfare. The UN telecommunications agency chief Hamadoun Toure warned in October that the next world war could take place in cyberspace.
Pointing to the recent attack on Google, DeWalt noted that it illustrated a shift from espionage and attacks on government infrastructure to an offensive on structure that is "commercial in nature."
Google had threatened to pull out of China due to cyberattacks which it claimed originated in the Asian giant. The complaint has escalated into a major diplomatic row.
DeWalt said the attack on Google was "really one of the first government on commercial, and potentially highly sophisticated cyberespionage really focusing in on highly intellectual property companies like Google, Adobe."
The attack, dubbed Operation Aurora, has hit over 30 companies and the number of victim firms could still grow, said DeWalt.
But it was just one of "a series of highly escalated attacks in the last 12 months."
McAfee has seen a "more than 500 percent increase in net new malware" - harmful software such as spyware, viruses or trojans - in the past 12 months.
"That's more malware than we have seen in the past five years combined," said DeWalt.
McAfee's latest report compiling a survey of some 600 IT security executives found that 60 percent of those who responded believe representatives of foreign governments were involved in infiltrations of their infrastructure.
Some 36 percent said the United States posed the biggest threat to their infrastructure while 33 percent named China.
The survey also found that attacks are costing US$6.3 million a day, or US$1.75 billion a year, around the world.


Updated : 2021-03-05 18:53 GMT+08:00