Attackers Target Norwegian Military Systems

Recently, Norwegian Defense and military personnel were targets of a cyber-attack, designed to extract classified military documents.
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Albuquerque, NM ( May 20, 2011 - Cyber threats are growing in frequency and sophistication. While cybercrime poses threat to information and financial security of individuals and businesses, the possible use of cyberspace by nation states against rival countries presents more risks. Recently, Norwegian Defense and military personnel were targets of a cyber-attack, designed to extract classified military documents. Hundreds of military personnel holding important positions allegedly received a cleverly crafted e-mail with the subject line 'good Norwegian', which appeared to be sent by another Norwegian government agency. The e-mail contained a virus embedded attachment. Attackers were successful in compromising one computer of unwary personnel, who opened the malicious attachment. Fortunately, the compromised computer did not contain any classified information. Information security professionals issued timely alerts to prevent compromise of computers containing classified information.

The military disclosed that attack took place at the end of March, when Norway decided to participate in joint military action against Libya. Information security professionals of the Norwegian Police Security Service (PST) are reportedly investigating the cyber-attack. While Norwegian investigative agencies are yet to determine the possible source of attack, cyber-attacks by rival intelligence agencies has become a common occurrence. While the country's defense systems constantly face cyber threats, authorities have described the latest attack as more comprehensive intrusion attempt. Last year, Norwegian industrial installations were target of a Trojan attack, which spread through infected USB memory sticks. Cyber-attacks pose threat to military and critical infrastructure installations. Last year, United States (U.S) Defense department claimed that over 100 rival intelligence agencies were trying to break into U.S military networks. Leakage of classified military and government documents pose threat to critical military and infrastructural installations. The leakage of sensitive government documents may also reveal closely guarded strategies and pose threat to national security.

Countries are increasingly leveraging the developments in information technology to complement their military strengths. China and U.S are evolving strategies to create strong force of cyber warriors. Both countries reportedly have an information warfare strategy in place. U.S has already established a cyber command. Many other countries have announced plans to create similar command. U.S has also stepped up efforts to meet the future requirements of programmers, system administrators, network administrators, penetration testers, incident managers, computer forensics investigators, and professional qualified in computer science and IT degree programs. Learning from the cyber-attack of 2007, Estonia has established 'Cyber Defense League', a voluntary force of cyber security specialists, who may be placed under a unified military command during wartime.

Governments must have proper cyber security policy in place to deal with sophisticated threats to crucial installations from rival intelligence agencies, activists loyal to rival countries, cybercriminals and terrorist organizations. They must conduct security audits and penetration tests to test the strength of IT infrastructure and remediate vulnerabilities. Military departments must encourage IT professionals to continuously upgrade their technical expertise by undertaking mandatory IT security certification programs and online IT courses.

They must offer incentives to encourage government bodies, critical industrial installations and military agencies to initiate cyber security awareness programs for employees. Employees must be educated on latest security challenges, implications of cyber-attack and information security guidelines to be adhered to safeguard computer systems from malicious attacks. Mandatory e-learning, class-room training and online IT degree programs may help employees in understanding and implementing information security practices.

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EC-Council University is based in Albuquerque, New Mexico and offers Master of Security Science (MSS) degree to students from various backgrounds such as graduates, IT Professionals, and military students amongst several others. The MSS is offered as a 100% online degree program and allows EC-Council University to reach students from not only the United States, but from all around the world.

EC-Council is a member-based organization that certifies individuals in cybersecurity and e-commerce skills. It is the owner and developer of 16 security certifications, including Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH), Computer Hacking Forensics Investigator (CHFI) and EC-Council Certified Security Analyst (ECSA)/License Penetration Tester (LPT). Its certificate programs are offered in over 60 countries around the world.

EC-Council has trained over 80,000 individuals and certified more than 30,000 members, through more than 450 training partners globally. These certifications are recognized worldwide and have received endorsements from various government agencies including the U.S. federal government via the Montgomery GI Bill, Department of Defense via DoD 8570.01-M, National Security Agency (NSA) and the Committee on National Security Systems (CNSS). EC-Council also operates the global series of Hacker Halted security conferences.


Tag Words: virus embedded attachment, information security, classified documents, classified information, it infrastructure, industrial installations, defense
Categories: Security

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