That foreign adversaries are using computer network vulnerabilities to steal military data from the U.S. government and its contractors is well known and hardly surprising.
Nations for centuries have long sought to steal such secrets from one another and spy-craft has simply moved into cyberspace.
However, the unveiling of a massive cyber-espionage network in August goes well beyond the unwritten rules that informally govern nations when it comes to the theft of technical data or insights into the minds of leaders and their intentions, said Dmitri Alperovitch, vice president of threat research at network security firm, McAfee.
Alperovitch analyzed one command-and-control server that had been used to spread malware for five years before McAfee exposed it.
“Even we were surprised by the enormous diversity of the victim organizations and were taken aback by the audacity of the perpetrators,” he wrote in a blog.
Examining the logs to determine who the victims were, and how long the intrusion lasted before it was detected, Alperovitch found 30 different industries on the list.