With relentless operators like Russian President Vladimir Putin, if you don’t stop them elsewhere you’ll soon find them inside your own walls. His unpunished 2008 invasion of Georgia launched a multi-year momentum that culminated in a leak-attack on the levers of American democracy yesterday.

You know about the open warfare stepping stones in Crimea, Donbass and Syria. You likely don’t know about the many more cyberwar incidents in between. Many experts already blame Russia for the flood of Wikileaks documents aimed at dividing the DNC opposition to Trump. In fact, Moscow has honed its skills up to this point by imposing on the elections of numerous countries, most of them American allies, through sophisticated digital and media interventions at critical moments. Should you harbor doubts about Russia’s hand in the recent document dump, consider other comparable examples.

I covered the Georgian national election in 2012 for Newsweek and saw the KGB’s handiwork close-up in Tbilisi where, some ten days before the vote, television channels broadcast mysteriously leaked videos of prison abuse. Pre-incited crowds hit the streets blaming the pro-Western government, creating chaos and instability. Meanwhile, on Russian-language channels, Russian military officials talked darkly of preparing to intercede in Georgia to restore order. Ultimately, conclusive information emerged linking the leaked video to pro-Kremlin Georgian mafia abroad–but too late to save the election for President Saakashvili’s anti-Kremlin party.

Source: Russia’s Continuing Cyber Warfare – Forbes

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Swift, operator of the world’s largest money-transfer system, said it has hired a pair of information-security firms to help it scrutinize customers’ use of its systems and detect attempted hacks, following a series of breaches at user sites in recent months.

The Brussels company, whose full name is the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication, has been battered by a series of cyberthefts that have hit banks in Ecuador, Vietnam, Bangladesh and Ukraine in the past 18 months.

Swift has repeatedly said the core of its network remains uncompromised and it is the responsibility of its users to maintain the integrity of their systems. But it has also faced concerns about its inability to ensure the security of its user interface and the authenticity of its message traffic.

Hackers stole $9 million from a bank in Ecuador last year and walked away with $81 million in a brazen attack on Bangladesh’s central bank in February.

The perpetrators, who haven’t been identified, stole the banks’ Swift credentials and fraudulently sent payment instructions over the Swift network.

Source: Swift Hires Cybersecurity Firms Following Customer Breaches – WSJ

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Two-Year Legal Saga Of Chinese Cyber Hack Of U.S. Military Aircraft May Be Ending.

On 28 June 2014, a Chinese businessman based in Canada was arrested on the charge of stealing information about a raft of U.S. military aircraft and weapon systems. This particular case of industrial espionage was described by the U.S. Justice Department as being “unusual for the tremendous amounts of data that is involved.” According to e-mails that were obtained by the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), “tremendous amounts” came to more than 65 gigabytes over one specifically identified two-year period and involved “dozens of U.S. military projects.”

The businessman in question, Su Bin, finally agreed a plea deal with the U.S. government in March of this year in which he admitted using his company, Lode Technology, to steal data in U.S. military aircraft and weapons programs for years. Court documents also detail how he then collaborated with contacts inside of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) to sell this information to various Chinese military aircraft R&D and production centers.

The data is reported to have been stolen from different computer systems included detailed information on the Boeing C-17 Globemaster cargo lifter and two jet fighter programs for which Lockheed Martin is the prime contractor—the F-22A Raptor and F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF).

Source: Cyber Warfare Episode Plays Out in Court Case | Defense News: Aviation International News

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This week, the 28 member states of the North Atlantic Treaty Oganization will meet in Warsaw, Poland, to discuss the future of the world’s largest military alliance. At the Warsaw Summit, NATO is expected to classify cyperspace as “Operational Territory,” making the online and digital property of member states equivalent to their geographic territory. In other words, if a foreign state messes with a NATO country’s computers, it might as well have just rolled a tank over their border. While NATO’s proclamation shows that the battlefield of the future is changing rapidly, it also proves that no one is completely sure how to conduct cyberwarfare yet.

“When I read this [proclamation], I read it like the Nigerian constitution being hard on corruption — it’s aspirational. It’s not in and of itself something that will lead to a huge outcome of change,” Josef Ansorge, author of Identify & Sort, a book which examines the role of information technology in international relations, tells Inverse.

NATO’s operates as a “collective defense” organization. Under Article Five of the official treaty, an attack on any member nation constitutes an attack on the whole alliance, who will respond in kind. The new rule technically means a cyber attack on any NATO member state would also trigger Article 5, but Ansorge says digital attacks often aren’t as clear cut as physical violence, nor is retaliating to them. Ansorge says the digital battlefield raises three crucial conundrums to world leaders: how to legally classify digital attacks, establish the perpetrators of the attack, and how to respond proportionally. In short, cyberwarfare gets very complicated, very quickly.

Source: 3 Cyberwarfare Issues NATO Should Address at the Warsaw Summit | Inverse

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This Alex Gibney documentary describes the origin of Stuxnet, malware devised by Israel and the United States with grave implications for the future.

With every seemingly miraculous advance comes the potential for its catastrophic misuse. If you’re inclined toward paranoia, Alex Gibney’s sobering documentary “Zero Days,” about the spread of malware, exposes a whole arena of potential terror and calamitous destruction surrounded in secrecy.

We all know that our digital connectedness has a dark side. But online bullying and pornography, for example, are the least of it. The nightmare of push-button nuclear annihilation that has haunted us since the invention of the atomic bomb now has a parallel in the looming specter of large-scale cyberwarfare.

Source: Review: ‘Zero Days’ Examines Cyberwarfare’s Potential Online Apocalypse

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