The impacts are getting closer. On January 6th of this year, the security company Volexity observed the first attacks on Exchange servers around the world. Attacks that exploited previously unknown security vulnerabilities. Because Microsoft Exchange is the communications hub for many companies, the alarm bells rang at Microsoft. The company immediately began working on patches to address the loopholes. But even before Microsoft could deliver these patches, the unknown attackers decided to go on the offensive: They scanned the Internet for vulnerable systems, attacked them, built a back door into the system and moved on. Tens of thousands of Exchange servers were cracked in this way.
For criminals, this is an unusual practice, to say the least. Because with their large-scale attack, the attackers, who, according to an analysis by Microsoft, presumably operated from China, drew far too much actually undesirable attention. A very disturbing interpretation emerges: It was not an act by criminals, but a demonstration of power by state-funded hackers, writes Jürgen Schmidt, Senior Fellow Security at Heise. “There is no longer just spying. A cyber unit of the military flexes its muscles ”- an“ international tail comparison of the military in cyberspace ”.
If that’s true, how do you answer it? For years there has been a growing political group that is convinced that it is not enough just to strengthen one’s own defenses. Rather, one also has to develop offensive skills. The EU Commission, for example, presented a “cybersecurity strategy” in December 2020 and stated that it was already working with the member states on “building operational capacities for prevention, deterrence and reaction” against major hacker attacks. A “common cyber unit” is being prepared.
- Access to all heise + content
- exclusive tests, advice & background: independent, critically well-founded
- Read c’t, iX, MIT Technology Review, Mac & i, Make, c’t photography directly in your browser
- register once – read on all devices – can be canceled monthly
- first month free, thereafter € 12.95 per month
- Weekly newsletter with personal reading recommendations from the editor-in-chief
Start FREE month
Start your FREE month now
Already subscribed to heise +?
Sign up and read
Register now and read articles right away
More information about heise +