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[liberationtech] Chinese Hacking, Mandiant & Cyber War

Yosem Companys companys at
Thu Feb 21 08:27:39 PST 2013

From: Gary McGraw <gem at>

No doubt all of you have seen the NY Times article about the Mandiant
report that pervades the news this week:

I believe it is important to understand the difference between cyber
espionage and cyber war.  Because espionage unfolds over months or years in
realtime, we can triangulate the origin of an exfiltration attack with some
certainty.  During the fog of a real cyber war attack, which is more likely
to happen in milliseconds,  the kind of forensic work that Mandiant did
would not be possible.  (In fact, we might just well be "Gandalfed" and pin
the attack on the wrong enemy as explained here:

Sadly, policymakers seem to think we have completely solved the attribution
problem.  We have not.  This article published in Computerworld does an
adequate job of stating my position:

Those of us who work on security engineering and software security can help
educate policymakers and others so that we don't end up pursuing the folly
of active defense.


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