U.S. Getting Hacked? Part II

American financial institutions are increasingly finding themselves the target of cyber attacks; this week American Express customers who were trying to log in to their accounts found blank screens or suspicious text, indicating that indeed American Express had also been hacked. These attacks have been going on since last September, temporarily disabling dozens of sites and creating millions of dollars worth in damages.

Surprisingly, these attacks may no longer be independent hackers doing their own thing, but hackers backed by their own countries are fixated on destruction instead of petty espionage or defacing websites such was the case for Saudi Aramco, the world’s largest oil producer, whose website images were replaced by those of a burning American flag. In addition, Allen Paller, director of research at the SANS (SysAdmin, Audit, Network, Security) Institute remarks that “The attacks have changed from espionage to destruction,” and “Nations are actively testing how far they can go before we will respond.” While the Obama administration urges companies to come forward about being victims of  cyber attacks, some are unwilling to do so, afraid that their image would be jeopardized. Interestingly, the appearance of digital weapons is similar to how countries such as North Korea and Iran were developing nuclear weapons; it is a way for less powerful nations to sort of even out the playing field.


Written by Kevin Zhang


Perlroth, Nicole, and David Sanger. “Cyberattacks Seem Meant to Destroy, Not Just Disrupt.” The New York Times. The New York Times, 28 Mar. 2013. Web. 29 Mar. 2013. <http://www.nytimes.com/2013/03/29/technology/corporate-cyberattackers-possibly-state-backed-now-seek-to-destroy-data.html?pagewanted=1&_r=0&ref=business&gt;.



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