Cyber espionage is a form of information gathering in which computer systems are compromised to gain access to sensitive data for collection. It may be undertaken either by state actors or non-state actors with various motives in mind.
Cyber spies often seek both economic and political influence; the impact of cyber espionage can have dire repercussions, threatening public services, infrastructure and even lives.
Cyber espionage employs techniques such as social engineering, zero-day exploits and supply chain attacks in order to bypass conventional defenses like firewalls and signature-based antivirus products.
Even with an increasing number of indictments and legislation designed to restrict cyberspace abuse, many hackers remain at large due to their living in countries without extradition provisions.
State-sponsored cyber espionage poses a growing threat, especially as it can be conducted alongside military operations and acts of terrorism. Unfortunately, due to lack of international agreements among nations most hackers remain at large and difficult to capture.
Real-World Examples of Cyber Espionage
State-sponsored cyber espionage refers to state-sponsored activity that involves hacking or other electronic spying in order to gain intelligence. Such attacks may also occur alongside traditional forms of warfare or terrorism and may even result in loss of life.
Recent events have demonstrated the power and dangers associated with cyber espionage as a political and military weapon, necessitating security teams to take cyber threats seriously in order to safeguard networks from potential attacks.