How the First Cyber War (2007) Set the Stage for Today’s Cyber Financial Attacks
When Russia wanted to train its new army of cyberwarriors with their best cyber weapons, they targeted Estonia (back in 2007). Estonia knew a kinetic military response was not an option to counter the on-going brutal cyber assault on their entire infrastructure. After weathering the withering storm, they instituted a cyber curriculum in their school system (starting with their youngest students). In high school, the students practice fighting the same battles their parents did on cyber-ranges. This has made their citizens the strongest layer of a multi-generational national defense. This also gave the world a clear view of what was coming, including Cyber Financial Attacks.
In the early days of the internet, security was not really a concern. Afterall, it was primarily a closed loop network connecting government research and academic institutions and was designed for the free flow of information and interoperability. 30+ years later, the pipes that move the data around can be compared to the terracotta water and sewage pipes that exist under many of our modern cities. Leaky and full of holes.
The roots of cybercrime can be traced back to the motivation behind the threat actors.
In the financial bucket you will find the loose criminal confederation that falls under the Russian umbrella, as well as North Korea (and others to a lesser extent). In the theft of knowledge/IP/technology, China leads the way. The Director of the FBI, Christopher Wray, recently said that if he took every agent and analyst in the bureau, and assigned everyone to just China, we would still be outnumbered 50 to 1. There are others with a variety of motivations, but as we look at the evolution of cybercrime, the tap roots can be traced back to these players.
Where is this heading?
Synthetic personas with synthetic histories. These digital ‘people’ might mimic someone you know or be crafted in such a way to appeal to you in a visceral manner. Keep in mind that at the roots of cybercrime, the primary goal will be financial gain. This is where Cyber Financial Attacks come from. How can you shield against these GAN AI enhanced deepfakes? This question is still being answered.
You can learn more about the history of cybercrime, who the threat actors are, how they attack, how to protect yourself, what to do if you are a victim, what a cyber financial attack is where the puck is going (and more), from the Cyber Savvy podcast from DTC. If you are concerned about the integrity of your IT/Computer networks, send us an email at [email protected] or call us at (410) 877-3625.
Contributed by Andrew Rose