Cybercrime has no end. There are so many events in the internet world which are actions that are unpleasant and detrimental to many people. Crimes on the internet that are rife and have shocked the world are cyber espionage. What is cyber espionage?
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Unknowingly, this cyber espionage threat will always lurk around those of us who surf the internet. Whenever and wherever you are, cyber espionage can be carried out if there is an opportunity, it doesn’t matter who you are, but as long as your personal data or privacy is leaked, it will be very detrimental to you.
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Cyber Espionage Explanation
Briefly, cyber espionage or cyber espionage, or cyber spying, is a type of cyber attack in which an unauthorized user attempts to access sensitive or confidential data or intellectual property for economic gain, competitive advantage, or political reasons.
This action is a cyber crime that is almost not perceived by the target. Because basically, this activity is indeed a very clean act. So, during an act of espionage, the target doesn’t know anything and suddenly the data is stolen.
Stages of the Cyber Espionage Process
Cyber espionage is used as a means to collect sensitive or confidential data, trade secrets, or other forms of intellectual property that can be used by aggressors to create a competitive advantage or sold for financial gain. In some cases, the breach is only intended to cause reputational damage to the victim by exposing personal information or questionable business practices.
What are the stages or processes of cyber espionage?
Footprinting or Data Search
The first stage carried out by the perpetrators is to look for data that is easy to infiltrate and then determine the scope of the attack, select, and map the network.
Scanning or Target Selection
After the perpetrators have managed to get the data, the next step is the selection of targets. Perpetrators will immediately determine and choose which network system weaknesses of the victim.
Enumeration / Target data search
It’s like the perpetrator has succeeded in breaking through the weaknesses of his network system, the next step is to search for the target data. Examples are like share resources, account names, and others.
After that, the perpetrators looked for ways to gain access with the aim of becoming a normal user so that they would not be suspected.
After successfully gaining access, the perpetrator will of course become an ordinary user. After that, the way to do this is how this user can become admin.
After successfully becoming an admin, the perpetrator will get the desired data or just spy on the network system running.
Create a Backdoor and Eliminate Traces
After getting the desired data, the perpetrator will usually create a backdoor that can be made easily. This backdoor is used to remove traces.
General Target of Cyber Espionage
The most common targets of cyber espionage include large companies, government agencies, academic institutions, think tanks, or other organizations that have valuable intellectual property and technical data that can create a competitive advantage for other organizations or governments. Targeted campaigns can also be carried out against individuals, such as prominent political leaders and government officials, business executives and even celebrities.
Cyber espionage perpetrators most often try to access the following assets:
- Research & Development data and activities
- Academic research data
- IP, such as product formulas or blueprints
- Salaries, bonus structures and other sensitive information about the organization’s finances and expenses
- List of clients or customers and payment structure
- Business goals, strategic plans and marketing tactics
- Political strategy, affiliation and communication
- Military intelligence
How to Overcome Cyber Espionage
As dangerous as cyber espionage is, it makes many leading agencies or people very vulnerable to what is called cyber espionage. However, don’t worry, because there are several powerful ways to overcome cyber espionage that you can try.
This method is not only for reputable companies or individuals, but you can also try it to at least prevent it before it happens. How to overcome cyber espionage is as follows:
- Identify the techniques used in cyber espionage attacks. This can give organizations a good basis for what to protect.
- System monitor for unexpected behavior. Using security monitoring tools can help detect or prevent suspicious activity from occurring.
- Ensure critical infrastructure is protected and updated.
- Define data policies, including who has access to what information. This will help ensure that only those who need access to critical information are able to gain access.
- Make sure there are no vulnerabilities in the system and the third party software systems used are properly secured and protected from cyber attacks.
- Create a cyber security policy that addresses security procedures and risks.
- Defining incident response If an attack is detected, the organization must be able to respond quickly to minimize damage.
- Educate employees about security policies, including how to avoid opening suspicious-looking emails with links or document attachments.
- Make sure the password is changed regularly.
- Monitor what data can be stored on individual mobile devices for organizations using carry-on devices.
Examples of Cyber Espionage Cases
Cyber espionage is not a secret because it has happened a lot. However, there have been several cyber espionage crimes that have occurred and have shocked the world because the leaked data is not just data.
This Aurora operation occurred in 2009. There were about 30 large companies affected by this Aurora operation including Google and also Adobe System.
The hackers managed to steal the intellectual property of these companies by utilizing the security system of the Internet Explorer browser. This Aurora operation can be named because according to McAfee’s Vice President of Threat Research, Dmitri Alperovitch explained if he found the word ‘Aurora’ in one of the file directories on the attacker’s computer. Therefore, he thinks the hacker named Aurora for this action.
Espionage of Barack Obama and McCain
Have you ever heard of Barack Obama and McCain’s espionage? This case was indeed an uproar in 2008 during the campaigns of the two presidential candidates. The perpetrators are suspected of installing spyware on the computers of the two candidates and stealing very sensitive data related to US foreign policy.
At first, this attack was considered as ordinary malware, but in fact computer experts found that there was a file leak that was quite large.