Cyberattacks on US military jump sharply in 2009

China is blamed as attacks on Department of Defense systems are on pace to rise 60 percent

Cyberattacks on the U.S. Department of Defense -- many of them coming from China -- have jumped sharply in 2009, a U.S. congressional committee reported Thursday.

Citing data provided by the U.S. Strategic Command, the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission said that there were 43,785 malicious cyber incidents targeting Defense systems in the first half of the year. That's a big jump. In all of 2008, there were 54,640 such incidents. If cyber attacks maintain this pace, they will jump 60 percent this year.

The committee is looking into the security implications of the U.S.' trade relationship with China. It released its annual report to Congress Thursday, concluding that a "large body of both circumstantial and forensic evidence strongly indicates Chinese state involvement in such activities."

"The quantity of malicious computer activities against he United states increased in 2008 and is rising sharply in 2009," the report states. "Much of this activity appears to originate in China."

"The cost of such attacks is significant," the report notes. Citing data from the Joint Task Force-Global Network Operations, the report says that the military spent $100 million to fend off these attacks between September 2008 and March 2009. A Defense Department spokesman did not have any immediate comment on the report's numbers Thursday.

Attacks on department systems have been rising steadily for years. In 2000, for example, only 1,415 incidents were reported. The increase is in part due to the fact that the U.S. military is simply better at identifying cyberthreats than it used to be, said Chris Poulin, the chief security officer of Q1 Labs, and formerly a manager of intelligence networks within the U.S. Air Force. The department figures are "probably more accurate now," than they were nine years ago, he said.

Security experts have long known that many computer attacks originate from Chinese IP (Internet Protocol) addresses, but due to the decentralized nature of the Internet, it is very difficult to tell when an attack is actually generated in China, instead of simply using Chinese servers as a steppingstone.

Q1's Poulin says that his company's corporate clients in the U.S. are seeing attacks that come from China, North Korea, and the Middle East. "We do definitely see patterns coming from specific nation states."

He said that because China's government has taken steps to control Internet usage in the country, it could probably throttle attacks if it wanted to. "China's defiantly initiating attacks," he said. "State-sponsored? Who knows. But they're certainly not state-choked."

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags security

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Robert McMillan

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Essentials

Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive

Learn more >

Mobile

Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive 

Learn more >

Exec

HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450

Learn more >

Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive 

Learn more >

Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards 

Learn more >

Budget

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Kathy Cassidy

STYLISTIC Q702

First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.

Anthony Grifoni

STYLISTIC Q572

For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?