A year in cybersecurity and cybercrime: 2012 review

A year in cybersecurity and cybercrime: 2012 review

Summary: During the year, we have seen the destruction of SOPA and PIPA but the emergence of CISPA and similar laws around the world, a growing trend in hacks and scams, an explosion in malware, and states committing cyberwarfare on their friends and foes. Here's a run-down of what happened in 2012.

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  • Anonymous records U.K. police/FBI call; publishes it

    In February, Anonymous settled a score with anti-Anonymous police in the U.K. and the U.S., by breaching a secure conference call in which the hacking collective was discussed, along with names of alleged members who had attacked high-value infrastructure targets and companies. It was no doubt a serious embarrassment for law enforcement on both sides of the Atlantic.

    Not only did they breach the cybercrime call, it was recorded and subsequently uploaded to YouTube. The call shed light on U.S. and U.K. intelligence sharing arrangements, and clearly shows that a number of law enforcement units are working together in a bid to track down those who were involved in the previous and continued hacking attacks.

  • CBS News' 60 Minutes covers Stuxnet

    Cybercrime to cyberwarfare: from low-level criminals to high-levels of state attacking countries, government targets, and their critical national infrastructure.

    CBS News "60 Minutes" detailed how the Stuxnet cyberweapon was used, and how may have been behind the cyberattack. Many pointed fingers at the U.S. working with Israel, but even to this day it remains unclear who was behind the cyberattack.

    Stuxnet, one of the most famous of all cyberweapons, specifically targeted Iran's nuclear facility, among other high value plants. In attacking the facility's networks, it caused a mini-meltdown at the unit that resulted in physical damage to the nuclear centrifuges, setting the program back by many months if not years. 

  • See you later, SOPA. Oh wait, hello CISPA

    Only a few months after SOPA was defeated by the collective protest power of the Web, in spite of the White House threatening to veto such a bill should it pass across Obama's desk, the Cybersecurity Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA) came along and threatened to do just as much -- if not more damage than SOPA and PIPA would have done.

    With support from major U.S. technology firms, such as Facebook, Microsoft, Verizon, Intel -- and so on -- the bill would allow the U.S. government to remove legal barriers that currently prevent companies, though exempt from the Fourth Amendment, from handing data to the government in order to share intelligence easily across the various intelligence and law enforcement agencies, without the need for a warrant. In spite of it being a "cybersecurity" tool in the global war on terrorism and online crime, the term is not actually defined in the bill.

    Later in the year, though CISPA is still under review and yet to become law, President Obama signed a classified directive that would allow federal agencies to react accordingly -- including "offensive" action -- against those who breach networks, dish out cyberattacks and hack networks.

Topics: Security, Apple, Browser, Government US, Legal, Networking, Outage, Privacy, EU

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13 comments
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  • Is that all?

    Seems a rather short article for the headline. Well, I am glad that the White House will veto legislation like SOPA and PIPA and, hopefully, any Trojan Horse legislation that incorporates similar stuff, such as the various trade agreements that threaten to do the same thing. However, the US is fairly practiced at getting other countries to introduce such legislation.
    Mahegan
    • yeahhhh...you have to look harder.

      There are 14 "image" screens you can scroll through each with its own article.....Be more "techy"..lol
      Civsoldier52983
  • Is that all?

    Seems a rather short article for the headline. Well, I am glad that the White House will veto legislation like SOPA and PIPA and, hopefully, any Trojan Horse legislation that incorporates similar stuff, such as the various trade agreements that threaten to do the same thing. However, the US is fairly practiced at getting other countries to introduce such legislation.
    Mahegan
  • Other legislation

    Philippine cybercrime law must protect, not harass, citizens - for example, this article.
    Mahegan
  • Headline Improvements, Please?

    Firstly, I enjoy this site and I visit frequently -- so kudos to you all for your articles and your clear, attractive, website layout!

    Secondly, may I suggest that you tone down the shrill of your headlines? The title of this article is a good example. A look back at ONE event is not an annual review in any way.

    As well, the title of another article "One in five Microsoft logins are in hands of hackers" is as grossly sensationized as it is misleading.

    Thanks for reading.
    ReadandShare
    • It's not just ONE event...look haaarderrrrrr

      There are 14 "image" screens you can scroll through each with its own article.....Be more "techy"..lol
      Civsoldier52983
  • multi-page article format = counter-productive

    Dear ZDnet,
    Read a few of these comments - clearly your dear readers aren't noticing that it's a 14 "page" article that one must keep clicking through to see the whole thing.
    Clearly, your (and many other publication's) transparent attempt to increase page impressions & eyes-on-ads is a failure. Can we please get back to normality now?
    techydude71
    • Matter of opinion..

      I don't think it's really that much trouble to click a single button for a new page, honestly. I believe the reasoning for multiple pages may have been because they wanted to show the image for every article. So, having a single page with all these images and articles would be a much bigger page. I realize it still comes down to a matter of opinion, but being their site sharing this wealth of information, I'd think they can decide on their own between the two options.
      Civsoldier52983
    • All that REALLY needs to happen...

      Is people need to open their eyes a little more and not be so used to the convenience of everything being universally aligned. If they signed up for the site, they have to have SOME level of intelligence...
      Civsoldier52983
  • ...and by the way...

    "This year in..." articles should never been seen until well into December, not mid-November - just makes you look like idiots.
    techydude71
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  • Zack,

    Love the work, hate slide shows.

    Stick with column format. I won't sit here clicking next and waiting for the page to load.
    mlashinsky@...
  • A run-down of what happened in 2012.

    Very interesting and well put together in a format that I am pleased with. Please keep up the outstanding articles, Zack Whittaker. I look forward to reading your IT, informative information.
    RichsAC