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Politics & Current Affairs

The Cyber-War Has Begun

Cyber espionage and nation-state-backed hacking incidents appear to be increasing in frequency and severity. What once seemed the province of Hollywood has become real. 

What’s the Latest Development?

The Atlanta-based hacking company Endgame Systems develops cyber weapons for the Pentagon but the government worries about the company’s loyalty. When the hacker group Anonymous released some of Endgame’s internal emails, among them was a price list for the various offensive computer weapons it offered. “Richard A. Clarke, former Assistant Secretary of State and special adviser to President George W. Bush on network security, calls the price list ‘disturbing’ and says Endgame would be ‘insane’ to sell to enemies of the U.S.”

What’s the Big Idea?

The latest string of cyber attacks to hit companies like Lockheed Martin and organizations like the C.I.A. demonstrate that the race for new cyber weapons is alive and well beneath its cloak of secrecy. But why such secrecy? Because cyber war defies the conventions of physical war. “Deterrence and arms treaties are but philosophical concepts when invisible weapons are involved. Assigning certain blame for an attack may be impossible when it’s conducted through computers in dozens of countries. The fear of retaliation—which kept the Cold War from becoming hot—may not apply.”


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