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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September 2010 – German researcher Ralph Langner and other sources confirm Stuxnet to be the world's first publicly verified military-grade cyber weapon capable of destroying machinery and a major new proliferation threat, a finding first published by The Monitor. Mr. Langner and others' analyses also show the computer worm was likely targeting Iranian nuclear facilities at Bushehr and Natanz.Skip to next paragraph
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November 2010 – Britain' announces it will devote $1 billion to building new cyber defenses.
December 2010 – Iran's covert uranium enrichment plant at Natanz may have lost 1,000 centrifuges due to damage caused by the Stuxnet cyber weapon, according to a report by the Institute for Science and International Security.
December 2010 – Germany's Interior Ministry announces it will set up a national cyber defense center.
September 2011 – Malware afflicted computer networks at Creech Air Force Base in Nevada, after a computer virus introduced it onto ground control stations for US Air Force drones. No drones were lost or data stolen, but the malware took several attempts to remove. Perpetrator: unknown.
December 2011 – Hackers penetrated the US Chamber of Commerce networks for more than a year, gaining access to member company communication and industry positions on US trade policy. Perpetrator: Press reports linked the hackers to China’s People’s Liberation Army
March 2012 – The US Department of Homeland Security alerted operators of gas pipelines about a cyberintrusion campaign. Perpetrator: an unknown single source.
March 2012 – Thirteen advanced attacks penetrated NASA computers in 2011, the space agency reported. In one, intruders stole user credentials that would allow unauthorized access to NASA systems. Perpetrator: Some attacks came from computers in China.
June 2012 – A phishing campaign targeted aerospace industry experts attending the annual conference of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers. Perpetrator: unknown.
July 2012 – Cyberbreaches at infrastructure companies jumped 17-fold between 2009 and 2011, the director of the National Security Agency reported.
September 2012 – Nine US banks were the targets of a distributed denial of service attack that blocked customer access to bank websites for about three weeks. A similar attack on five of the banks took place in December. Perpetrator: an Islamic hacktivist group allied to the military wing of Hamas.
Sources: National Research Council, General Accounting Office, Cyber Conflict Studies Association, Strategic StudiesQuarterly, Center for Strategic and International Studies, and Monitor reporting