Hacking: The Necessary Evolution of Espionage - Part 1

There are no hackers. Hacking is nothing more than the necessary evolution of espionage.

Author:
Eric O'Neil
National Security Strategist at VMWare Carbon Black, Bestselling Author, Former FBI
Twitter: @eoneill

Here's a theme for you: There are no hackers.

I know you're probably thinking "That's crazy. How does this guy think he's an expert in cybersecurity, saying there are no hackers?" Because all we hear is hacker this, and hacker that, and this hacking group, and this cybercrime group, right? But bear with me.

There are no hackers.

There are only spies. Hacking is nothing more than the necessary evolution of espionage.

As we took that old information that used to be in this ancient way that we used to share and collect and collaborate on information, data, and paper. And we got rid of all the paper, we got rid of all the file cabinets, we got rid of all the files and we put it on computer systems. And then we network those computer systems. And we made it easy to collaborate and communicate and do exactly what we're doing now. That is how we have progressed. And as we've made this data so available and so collaborative, the spies and the cybercriminals, and the cyber attackers have had a field day.

There are no hackers.

There are only spies. Hacking is nothing more than the necessary evolution of espionage.

We live in a connected world. There are no more file cabinets, and data has become the currency of our lives.

And now that we've fought to survive a pandemic, that's changed our lives. Remember 911? Everything that has happened with travel has changed irrevocably. We haven't ever gone back. The pandemic has changed how we work. We used to all sit in a nice office, and then the next day we were all home. And in this last year, we've been figuring out how to work in a distributed workforce. And during that stress, that pressure situation, attackers, spies, and cybercriminals have just made a field day. It's the greatest banner year for them in stealing information.

If you just want to look at the FBI's internet crime complaint center, the IC3, which is kind of a neat name, right?  The FBI IC3 collects all sorts of statistics on crime. So you can report your cyber crimes and they collect the statistics, and every year you can look at them.

So we have statistics from 2019, right? The first year of this pandemic, cyber attack reports quadrupled during the pandemic. That's four times as much! And foreign spies, by the way, were targeting COVID-19 research at an unprecedented level. Obviously, that's what every other country wanted to steal and learn, as well as the health care center. So if there was a therapeutic, if there was a new vaccine, the spies were out to steal it. Now in cybercrime, 800,000 internet crime complaints occurred in 2020; that's up 69% from 2019 and the total amount lost? More than $4 billion dollars in losses.

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Eric O'Neil, National Security Strategist at VMWare Carbon Black, Bestselling Author, Former FBI
Twitter: @eoneill


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