In the latest national security related revelation it was brought into notice from the documents leaked by Edward Snowden about how offensively computer operations work. The Washington Post reports that solely in 2011, 231 breakdowns took place with about three quarters of them against “top-priority” targets. The sources are indicated to be from Iran, Russia, China and North Korea. There have also been reports of software and hardware implants designed to infiltrate network hardware and persist through upgrades and access other connected devices or networks.
This effort to break into networks is codenamed Genie. The “Tailored Access Operations” group has been custom built to execute the attacks. There is this new system called the “Turbine” that can successfully automate the control of “potentially millions of implants” to gather data or execute an attack. However the access is not possible for free. A cyber operation budget of $1.02 billion is needed of which $25.1 million was spent this year in purchasing software vulnerabilities from malware vendors. Check out the “Black Budget” breakdown of overall intelligence spending.
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