Shadows in the Cloud
Crime and espionage orm a dark underworld o cyberspace. Whereas crime is usually the rst to seek out newopportunities and methods, espionage usually ollows in its wake, borrowing techniques and tradecrat. The
Shadows in the Cloud
report illustrates the increasingly dangerous ecosystem o crime and espionage and itsembeddedness in the abric o global cyberspace.This ecosystem is the product o numerous actors. Attackers employ complex, adaptive attack techniques thatdemonstrate high-level ingenuity and opportunism. They take advantage o the cracks and ssures that open upin the ast-paced transormations o our technological world. Every new sotware program, social networkingsite, cloud computing, or cheap hosting service that is launched into our everyday digital lives creates anopportunity or this ecosystem to morph, adapt, and exploit.It has also emerged because o poor security practices o users, rom individuals to large organizations. Wetake or granted that the inormation and communications revolution is a relatively new phenomenon, stillvery much in the midst o unceasing epochal change. Public institutions have adopted these new technologiesaster than procedures and rules have been created to deal with the radical transparency and accompanyingvulnerabilities they introduce.Today, data is transerred rom laptops to USB sticks, over wireless networks at caé hot spots, and stored acrosscloud computing services whose servers are located in ar-o political jurisdictions. These new modalities o communicating de-concentrate and disperse the targets o exploitation, multiplying the points o exposureand potential compromise. Paradoxically, documents and data are probably saer in a le cabinet, behind thebureaucrat’s careul watch, than they are on the PC today.The ecosystem o crime and espionage is also emerging because o opportunism on the part o actors. Cyberespionage is the great equalizer. Countries no longer have to spend billions o dollars to build globe-spanningsatellites to pursue high-level intelligence gathering, when they can do so via the web. We have no evidence inthis report o the involvement o the People’s Republic o China (PRC) or any other government in the
network. But an important question to be entertained is whether the PRC will take action to shut the
network down. Doing so will help to address long-standing concerns that malware ecosystems are activelycultivated, or at the very least tolerated, by governments like the PRC who stand to benet rom their exploitsthough the black and grey markets or inormation and data.Finally, the ecosystem is emerging because o a propitious policy environment — or rather the absence o one — at a global level. Governments around the world are engaged in a rapid race to militarize cyber space,to develop tools and methods to ght and win wars in this domain. This arms race creates an opportunitystructure ripe or crime and espionage to fourish. In the absence o norms, principles and rules o mutualrestraint at a global level, a vacuum exists or subterranean exploits to ll.There is a real risk o a perect storm in cyberspace erupting out o this vacuum that threatens to subvertcyberspace itsel, either through over-reaction, a spiraling arms race, the imposition o heavy-handed controls,or through gradual irrelevance as people disconnect out o ear o insecurity.