Cyber Cops Stymied by Anonymity in Tracking Google, Sony Hacks

June 7, 2011
Cyber Security, FedCyber Wire
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via Bloomberg

June 7 (Bloomberg) — Hardly a month has gone by this year without a multinational company such as Google Inc., EMC Corp. or Sony Corp. disclosing it’s been hacked by cyber intruders who infiltrated networks or stole customer information. Yet no hacker has been publicly identified, charged or arrested.

If past enforcement efforts are an indication, most of the perpetrators will never be prosecuted or punished.

“I don’t have a high level of confidence that they will be brought to justice,” said Peter George, chief executive of Fidelis Security Systems Inc., a Bethesda, Maryland-based data protection consulting firm whose clients include International Business Machines Corp., the U.S. Army and the Department of Commerce. “The government is doing what they can, but they need to do a lot more.”

In the U.S., the FBI, the Secret Service and other law enforcement agencies are confronting what amounts to a massive crime wave that’s highly organized and hard to combat with traditional methods. The hacker organizations are well-funded and global, eluding arrest except in the rarest of cases.

Attacks are coming from organized crime groups based in Eastern Europe and Russia, from industrial spies in China and from groups such as LulzSec, whose members appear to reside mostly in the U.S. and Europe and seem more interested in publicity than in making a profit from their crimes.

LulzSec took credit for hacking into Nintendo Co.’s computers, an intrusion the Kyoto, Japan-based company disclosed June 5, describing it as unsuccessful. Last week it was Google, which revealed an attempted hack, originating in China, into the Gmail accounts of U.S. government officials, military personnel and journalists. Days before that, it was military contractor Lockheed Martin Corp., which said its network had been penetrated by an unknown intruder.

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