To date, many cyberattacks are successful for several reasons: they do not depend on the location of the cybercriminal and the remoteness of the potential victim, as well as time frames and time zones. Truly courageous and skillful malefactors, often united in groups or even coalitions, resort to hack the government.
Such a category of cybercrime as government hacking has the greatest threat. Modern cyberattacks are automated as much as possible and, at the same time, hacks targeting security forces, which allows attackers to speed up their implementation and use artificial intelligence to increase the success of their performance. Today’s digital security tools effectively fulfill their task of ensuring security and strengthening security vulnerabilities – they block typical attacks. Still, they are not yet perfect for pointing out manual threats.
We will talk about what hacking is and what means of protection are now defending countries of the world in this article.
Attack on Critical Infrastructures: Damage to Government and Business
One of the greatest strengths of our modern advanced society is also one of its greatest weaknesses. In today’s interconnected world, developed and high-tech organizations are highly dependent on the operation of many services that have now become vital.
Some infrastructure ensures the normal operation of essential services, computer systems, and production in any society. Therefore, a failure in their process due to natural causes, technical problems, or deliberate actions can have serious consequences for the supply of resources or the operation of critical services, not to mention the security threat usually monitored by the national security agency or law enforcement agencies worldwide.
Elections in the USA – The Main Political Hack of 2016
The hackers used malware to remotely control servers and transfer files, and spy on all user activities within the network. After the cyberattack, the hackers cleaned up all traces of their activity.
Hackers managed to access the email of Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton and her team. As a result, 30 thousand emails were published on WikiLeaks, including 7.5 thousand documents sent by Clinton herself.
The rest contained the personal data of members and sponsors of the Democratic Party, including their credit card numbers.
US internet security experts blamed the attacks on Russian-based hacker groups Cozy Bear and Fancy Bear.
The correspondence story caused a split within the Democrats and greatly shook their positions on the eve of the elections. The scandal negatively affected Clinton’s ratings and prevented her from defeating Donald Trump in the presidential election. She also laid the foundation for Pizzagate, one of the largest conspiracy theories in the United States.
WannaCry Ransomware: How to Huak the Government of 150 countries
In May 2017, the largest cyberattack of the 2010s took place, resulting in at least 200,000 users and companies in 150 countries. WannaCry shut down banks, hospitals, and even airports.
A malicious ransomware virus penetrated a Windows operating system’s computer, encrypted all content, and extorted $600 in bitcoins from the user. The total damage from WannaCry is estimated at $1 billion.
The spread of the virus was stopped by accident when British government agencies of cybersecurity researchers under the nickname MalwareTech discovered that WannaCry sent a request to a non-existent domain and registered it before encrypting files. After that, security stopped the virus.
The Most Sudden Attack: DDOS Against Dyn
On the morning of October 21, 2016, the world got acquainted with what it means to “break the Internet”: many services, from Twitter and Netflix to Amazon and Reddit, was unavailable. Half of the US has found out that the Internet is no more. Everything worked slowly – for some, it didn’t work at all, including Europe. The Internet “lay” for several hours – the reason for this was a series of DDOS attacks on the DYN DNS provider, one of the largest in history.
As a result, tens and even hundreds of thousands of smart things are under the command of the person who controls the botnet. But, of course, this is how any DDOS attack happens. Still, it turned out to be very easy and painless to build a botnet on smart things: their owners do not notice anything since there are no antiviruses on video cameras and multicookers and, at the same time, a lot of security flaws.
Luckily, Dyn could deal with these kinds of DDOS in less than a minute, so the attacks stopped. But Mirai hasn’t gone anywhere – there are still thousands and hundreds of thousands of vulnerable devices, and besides, the source code is being finalized, releasing new malware. Its creator seems to have been caught by the federal government with the help of the FBI, but this is not certain: he admitted involvement in the attacks, but whether he developed Mirai alone is unknown.
Hack the Government: State Methods of Protection from Cyberattacks
Cybercrime is gaining momentum every year, and now it is the number one topic. In just a year and a half since the start of the pandemic, all previous years’ records regarding the number of successfully carried out cyberattacks have been broken. Anti-record of 2021 – 86% of companies worldwide have become victims of hackers to one degree or another. Standard tools and equipment include:
- Technical means.
- WAF complex.
- Firewalls (FW)
- SIEM systems.
Of course, their level is the most affordable and expensive.
Next Level Defense
It is important to understand that the state, in addition to the best, uses more advanced methods. Let’s highlight 3 of them:
- The main preventive method of protection is the promotion of laws related to criminal liability for cybercrime. On the one hand, this is a rather weak tool, but on the other hand, it is a new stage in budgeting, which mentions various intelligence agencies and teams of programmers for protection.
- Another so-called simple method is cooperation between government agents and hackers. An example is the Tailored Access Operations hackers who helped extract information from phones used by more than 40 low- and mid-level al-Qaeda operatives.
- And the last ace, which is used by almost all countries of the world, is the creation of structures and teams that are trained by the best specialists and become the vanguard during government attacks. Their experience, skills, and other security features are on a new level.
But what should ordinary people do during such cyberattacks? First, it is important to understand that if the protection of higher structures is broken, your home antivirus will in no way protect you from this kind of criminal violence. All that remains is to wait for the decline in activity and the complete attenuation of cyber attacks.
One of the most famous hackers can be called Gary McKinnon, and as for organizations, there were many. However, they acted mainly under the leadership of other countries – Russia, Iran, etc.
Yes, and they do it most often loudly and brightly. There are a lot of various media reports on the net where they thank or, on the contrary, hate hackers for this.
White or ethical hackers look for vulnerabilities and hack government systems for the benefit and benefit of the state, companies, corporations, etc.
Stuxnet’s nuclear strike is legendary, as he even wrote a book on it by journalist Kim Zetter. This hack disabled Iran’s uranium enrichment centrifuges in 2009, exploiting vulnerabilities in the whole government system and setting Iran’s nuclear program back several years.