Blame Game for Cyber Attacks Grows Murkier as Spying, Crime Tools Mix

Eric Auchard reports for Reuters:

FILE PHOTO: A man types on a computer keyboard in front of the displayed cyber code in this illustration picture taken March 1, 2017. REUTERS/Kacper Pempel/Illustration/File Photo[…] The example highlights the dangers of jumping to conclusions in the murky world of cyber attack and defense, as tools once only available to government intelligence services find their way into the computer criminal underground.

Security experts refer to this as “the attribution problem”, using technical evidence to assign blame for cyber attacks in order to take appropriate legal and political responses.

These questions echo through the debate over whether Russia used cyber attacks to influence last year’s U.S. presidential elections and whether Moscow may be attempting to disrupt national elections taking place in coming months across Europe.

The topic is a big talking point for military officials and private security researchers at the International Conference on Cyber Conflict in Tallin this week. It has been held each year since Estonia was swamped in 2007 by cyber attacks that took down government, financial and media websites amid a dispute with Russia. Attribution for those attacks remains disputed.

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