Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Industrial cyber espionage, a new workhorse for diplomacy

"You’ve spied on us!", one side says. "We don’t know what you're talking about! You have spied on us indeed!", the other responds. And they had kept accusing each other for a long time until the first side decided to go one step further.

Yesterday, the U.S. Department of Justice indicted five Chinese military accusing them of industrial cyber espionage. Taking into consideration everything what Edward Snowden revealed about the surveillance practices carried out by the National Security Agency (NSA), this could be seen as a very cynical gesture. In fact, it doesn’t seems a very good measure as it may have a boomerang effect, as Wired notes. Once the door is open, China and other countries affected by NSA’s espionage might begin announcing indictments of U.S. officials. For now, the Asian giant denies such allegations and predicts a deterioration of diplomatic relations between the two powers.

In the end, companies will be the ones hardest hit by this conflict. As described in the special report “Who's Spying on You?” by Kaspersky Lab, in a scenario of cyber attacks between countries, businesses suffer collateral effects that severely affect both their security and their business and customers data. Nonetheless the outbreak of a cyber war seems to be far away. Or at least that's what Simon Roses thinks. He is the Vulnex founder, the first Spanish company that won a contest sponsored by DARPA. Roses wonder, "why to cause a cyberwar where nobody would win and lose business relations, when you can steal information being unnoticed and still have relations?"

Therefore, while diplomats fight, it is more profitable that we focus as much as possible to protect our businesses in order to prevent becoming victims of cyber espionage. For example, encrypting our connections. In fact, in the last year, Internet encrypted traffic has doubled in the United States and quadrupled in Europe and Latin America, according to the "Global Internet Phenomena" report by Sandvine. It has as also increased the use of anonymous browsers, such as PirateBrowser, which has already reached 5 million downloads since it was launched nine months ago.

Meanwhile in Spain, we care more about other cyber threats such as child pornography and child sexual harassment. Thus, out of the 178 people arrested and 212 charged by the Spanish Guardia Civil in relation with cybercrime in 2013, 96 suspects arrested and 48 charged were involved in crimes against minors.


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