Cyber: Governments vs. Journalists

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*Article courtesy Israel Homeland Security

price sans-serif;”>547924_ml featureGovernments are behind most cyber attacks on media and journalists, this according to the findings of a research conducted by Google and presented last week during a hacker conference held in Singapore. Google’s researchers claim that media organizations and their employees are a favorite target for attacks, this being a global phenomenon not limited to specific areas. According to Google most attacks aren’t reported.


What makes media organizations and journalists such a tempting target for governments? The media acts as a source of information for citizens. It has a lot of influence on public opinion, in addition to relatively easy access to sensitive locations and materials. The combination of these elements can give hackers a wide variety of useful abilities. For example: Mass shutdown of media during military confrontations can be a psychological warfare tool, leaving citizens unaware of the situation – which might lead to full blown panic. In another case a news item concerning an explosion in the White House, added by hackers to the AP news agency’s Twitter feed, caused stock prices to plummet within minutes at the New York Stock Exchange. In Korea attackers hacked into the personal computer of a defense journalist, in an attempt to use his connection to the Korean Ministry of Defense networks to access sensitive materials.


“There are three main motives for attacking media organizations: Fraud by advertising false content; disrupting a media organization’s ability to broadcast; and espionage through infiltration of media network systems. The problem is that media systems, and especially internet news websites, are totally dependent on computers and third-party content suppliers.” This according to Ram Levi, senior researcher at the Yuval Ne’eman Workshop for Science, Technology and Defense. “You only have to attack one of these suppliers to damage the website itself. This type of attacks on the chain of supply is much more complex and difficult to deal with.”


This article was reposted Israel’s Homeland Security

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