Tracing the history of cyberespionage and cyberwarfare from the invention of the Internet up to the targeted attacks on US banks by an Islamic hacktivist group.
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August 2008 – Russian forces invade Georgia, preceded by cyberattacks on Georgian government and business websites and network infrastructure, disabling the country's Web-based communication with the outside world.Skip to next paragraph
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November 2008 – Unknown foreign intruders use "thumb drives," portable memory sticks, to infect DOD networks – resulting in what one Pentagon official would later call the "most significant breach of US military computers ever."
December 2008 – Joel Brenner, national counterintelligence executive, calls China's cyber militia formidable. He says the Chinese operate both through government agencies and sponsoring organizations, which mount attacks on the US in "volumes that are just staggering."
2009 – President Obama announces creation of a Cyber-security Coordinator under the National Security Council and the National Economic Council responsible for implementing cybersecurity policies and strategy.
March 2009 – Based on an eight-month investigation, Canadian university researchers report that cyberspies penetrated computer systems in India, using social networks to install botnets.
January 2010 – The Monitor uncovers evidence of cyber espionage attacks in 2008 and 2009 on at least three large US oil companies, which included the theft of proprietary "bid data" for energy discoveries worldwide. A Chinese connection is suspected by some at the companies.
January 2010 – A California-based company files a $2.2 billion suit alleging that two Chinese companies stole software code and then distributed it to tens of millions of end users in China.
May 2010 – US Cyber Command, operating under the US Strategic Command and integrating existing cyber units,begins operation. It is headed by Lt. Gen. Keith Alexander, who also heads the National Security Agency.
2010 – Richard Clarke, former counterterrorism director for Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, publishes the book "Cyber War!" He warns of the possibility of an "electronic Pearl Harbor" – a cyberattack that could induce power blackouts, refinery explosions, subway crashes, and other disasters in 150 cities across the US.
August 2010 – The Pentagon formally recognizes cyberspace as a "new domain of warfare."