Cyber Threats History: A New Cold War (Present)

This is the decade of cloud computing, the rise of hacktivism and the birth of real cyberwarfare. Who knows what else is going to happen? Cyber attacks continue to rise at a great pace, increasing 42 percent in 2012 from the previous year and IT security experts have no reason to believe that it'll slow down. On the contrary, most experts believe cyber threats will not only grow in frequency, but will also become more sophisticated. Hackers are now either criminals out to make money, activists out to protest or governments engaged in targeting their own citizens or attacking other governments, whether for espionage or cyberwarfare. This new level of resources and sophistication makes life very difficult for those charged with defending networks from attack.

Historical Landmarks


Dozens of technology companies - most in Silicon Valley - have their computer networks infiltrated by hackers located in China. Google publicly reveals that it has been sustaining a highly sophisticated and targeted attack on their corporate infrastructure also originating from China that resulted in the theft of intellectual property. The attacks are named Operation Aurora and official Chinese media responds stating that the incident is part of a U.S. government conspiracy.

Operation Aurora

Britain announces it will devote $1 billion to building new cyber defenses. Iain Lobban, the director of the Government Communications Headquarters, says the country faces a "real and credible" threat from cyber attacks by hostile states and criminals as government systems are targeted 1,000 times each month, threatening Britain's economy.

Cyber Threats History: A New World (2000s)

In this new decade, the average consumer is persuaded to use the credit card on the Internet for purchases, raising the risks of cyber theft. Insurance policies are offered by most credit cards companies and former hackers are hired by the industry to design improved security measures.

Cyber attacks become more frequent and destructive and kids using automated programs that perform functions they could not perform on their own, conduct many of these actions, hitting big companies and causing severe financial losses. The denial-of-service attack becomes a tool of war and the attacks are designed to paralyze websites, financial networks and other computer systems by flooding them with data from outside computers.

Alongside with these criminal attacks against banks and every wire dependent industries, there a rise of the cyber terrorism threat. This is the 9/11 decade and the attacks in the United States spawn diverse reactions from different groups, with the FBI issuing warnings of potential terror attacks through the Internet. Some believe that the threat is real and possible at any given moment, while some countered that it is not that easy, and is almost impossible with all the existing security systems.

Historical Landmarks


Michael Calce, a 15-year-old Canadian with the handle "MafiaBoy", launches a series of DoS attacks against huge companies with high levels of security and numerous e-commerce sites. Amongst those attacked are computer manufacturer Dell, media giant CNN, and shopping sites Amazon and Ebay. In order to do so, MafiaBoy gains illegal access to 75 computers in 52 different networks and plants a DoS tool on them which he then activates and uses to attack several Internet sites causing about $1.7 billion losses.

Mafia Boy