The press has been relentless lately in its coverage of Russian cyber-espionage and disinformation campaigns on Facebook and other social networks prior to the last US Presidential campaign. But is Russia the first to engage in election rigging on this sort? Hardly. We thought that looking at the state of cyber-espionage as a tactic in international relations might be interesting, and we were right. It turns out that cyber-espionage is not just for the super-power nations any more. Even small nations are developing cyber-espionage and cyber war capabilities. The reason is familiar to the Internet – it is just so much more inexpensive that physical espionage.
The United States has been accused of spying against China and Russia, of course. But also against NATO allies such as Germany, Italy, and France. And smaller countries such as Brazil.
Russia has been implicated in espionage against the United States, but also for Soviet republics of Georgia and Ukraine, as well as France during its last presidential campaign.
Saudi Arabia has revealed that it has been the target of cyber-espionage by an unnamed group, who also were spying on the middle eastern countries of Iraq, the United Arab Emirates, Turkey, and Israel, and farther flung targets such as Georgia, India, Pakistan and the United States.
Syria, Iran, India and North Korea are known to have significant cyber-espionage operations, too.
So the take-away from this story is to take news of nations using cyber-espionage and cyber-war tactics against the US with a grain of salt, and the realization that the US, through the CIA, NSA and Homeland Security, have been engaged in the same tactics against those same countries. If you are interested in this topic, I have provided some interesting links to other articles on the subject.
- China vs, Germany – TechDirt
- Unknown attacker vs. Saudi Arabia – Reuters
- Smaller Nations Beef Up Cyber-espionage – McClatchey
- Russia vs US – Grizzly Steppe
- US vs China vs US
- US vs Nato – Time
- US vs France – RT.com
- Iran vs. US, Israel, and internal political opposition