Business, Finance & Economics

Cyber attack claims victims worldwide (PHOTOS)

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On Aug. 3, the computer security firm McAfee uncovered a massive global cyber attack and identified over 70 organizations, including governments and international corporations, whose websites had been affected.

Credit:

Justin Sullivan

McAfee, a leading U.S. computer security firm, uncovered what it says is the world's biggest cyber attack to date, according to a report released today. 

The report identified 72 organizations as victims, including the governments of the United States, Canada, India, South Korea and Vietnam, as well as top international networks like the United Nations, Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), the International Olympics Committe (IOC) and the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA).

McAfee nicknamed the operation "Shady RAT," after the acronym for a remote access tool that gives hackers access to computer networks. This operation reportedly began five years ago.

While the perpetrator of these attacks has not been declared yet, there is speculation that China may be behind them, experts said, according to the Huffington Post

What sets these attacks apart from previous cyber attacks is the broad list of targets, which are not confined to a specific sector, according to McAfee's chief European technology officer, Raj Samani, who spoke to the BBC earlier today. Dmitri Alperovitch, McAfee's vice-president, stated in the report: 

This is the biggest transfer of wealth in terms of intellectual property in history. The scale at which this is occurring is really, really frightening.

Other victims whose names have been released include the U.S. Energy Department lab, and around a dozen U.S. defense firms, reports the Washington Post.

More from GlobalPost: China implicated in massive cyber attack targeting US

  • rsz_mcafee_it_security_cyber_attack.jpg

    On Aug. 3, the computer security firm McAfee uncovered a massive global cyber attack and identified over 70 organizations, including governments and international corporations, whose websites had been affected.

    Credit:

    Justin Sullivan

  • us_senate_.jpg

    The U.S. government, as well as U.S.-based companies and organizations, are among the victims of the newly discovered computer hacking operation. McAfee reported that the victims' websites have been systematically hacked over the past five years.

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    Alex Wong

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    Two Canadian government agencies' computer systems were infiltrated in the massive cyber attack that was uncovered today. The Department of Finance in Canada confirmed in January that hackers had accessed their networks. The department has since been searching for specialists to secure its network, reports the Vancouver Sun.

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    Carlo Allegri

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    The World-Anti Doping Agency (WADA), based in Canada, is among the international networks that was targeted in the recent cyber attack. Two government agencies in Canada and a Canadian information-technology company were also victims, according to Montreal Gazette.

    Credit:

    Fabrice Coffrini

  • united_nations_victim_cyber_attack.jpg

    The United Nations is another victim. The U.N. Secretariat in Geneva was hacked earlier in 2008, according to the International Business Times.

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    Stan Honda

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    Networks of the Indian government were also broken into by hackers. The government declared that 117 websites of various departments and agencies were defaced by hackers between January and June 2011, reports the Economic Times. The ministry of communications and IT is devising a strategy to strengthen the security of government websites.

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    Raveendran

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    South Korea's government, also a victim, has often expressed concern about cyber attacks since it is one of the world's most wired nations. Last week, S.K. Communications reported a massive hacking scandal, in which the profiles of 35 million users of major social networking sites could have been accessed.

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    Park Ji-Hwan

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    The International Olympic Committee is among those on the long list of victims in what is being called the biggest global cyber attack.

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    Jasper Juinen

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    The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) is among the several organizations that has been identified as a victim of the latest cyber attack.

    Credit:

    Hoang Dinh Nam

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    The Vietnamese government is among those on the long list of victims affected by the five-year cyber spying operation.

    Credit:

    Hoang Dinh Nam