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Act of War? McAfee discovered 72 cyber attacks on U.S., U.N. and many others.

Cyber Attack is essential to modern warfare

Experts within Security company McAfee have discovered a plot with an series of 72 cyber attacks on the networks of the United Nations, governments and corporations, all over the world.

McAfee said it believed that, due to the well organized series of attacks,  there was one “state actor” behind the attacks but declined to name it. Yesterday on CNN “The Situation Room” other security experts said the evidence points to two countries Russia and China, but mainly China.

These attacks occured during the last five years, and according to the new policies of the U.S. Defense Department, if these attacks were intentionally launched by a country, it could be defined as an “act of war”.

Among the attacked, the list  includes the governments of the United States, Taiwan,  Vietnam , India , South Korea and Canada; the International Olympic Committee (IOC); the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN); the World Anti-Doping Agency; and an array of companies, from high-tech enterprises to defense contractors.

In the case of the United Nations, McAfee told media that the hackers broke into the computer system of UN Secretariat in Geneva in 2008, hid there until 2010, and quietly hacked secret data. In the hands of a totalitarian state, this secret information about human rights violations,  could be very dangerous for the task teams and informers working in the field.

“Even we were surprised by the enormous diversity of the victim organizations and were taken aback by the audacity of the perpetrators,” said McAfee’s vice president of threat research, Dmitri Alperovitch in a 14-page report released on Wednesday.

McAfee discovered the cyber-spying campaign in March this year,  during  an investigation into security breaches at defense companies.

Usin a remote access tool (RAT) some of the attacks lasted just a month, but the longest went on and off for 28 months, according to McAfee.

China or Russia?

Jim Lewis, a cyber expert with the Center for Strategic and International Studies, said to CNN that it was very likely China is responsible for the cyber-attacks “because some of the targets had information that would be of particular interest to Beijing,…everything points to China. It could be the Russians, but there is more that points to China than Russia” .

The systems of the International Olympic Committee and other IOC constituents were breached before the 2008 Beijing Games.

Continental China views Taiwan not as the “nationalist China” but just as a renegade province, and there is always tension between the two states.

Since there is no formal accusation against China,  Beijing has no comment on the report.

However, in January the Stock exchanges in Britain and the United States find out they were the victims of cyber attacks, according to a report of The Times newspaper on January 31st.

At that moment, the London Stock Exchange (LSE) was investigating a terrorist cyber-attack on its headquarters in 2010 ” while US officials have traced an attack on one of its exchanges to Russia,” according to the British newspaper.

Cyber attacks on governments and companies increased more than 500 percent over the last two years.

The U.N. started an investigation, while the U.S. Defense Dept do not know who is the responsible.

All of these attacks, indicate that soon governments will try to regulate the Internet to avoid crime and spionage.