Biggest Hack Ever? Beware Hype From McAfee

The hacking is real but not all that surprising: security experts

By John Johnson,  Newser Staff

Posted Aug 3, 2011 12:25 PM CDT

(Newser) – McAfee says it's uncovered the biggest hack in history with Operation Shady RAT, in which at least 70 governments and businesses around the world were breached. At Naked Security, expert Graham Cluley isn't quite ready to join the frenzied coverage. "To be honest, there's nothing particularly surprising in McAfee's report to those of us who have an interest in computer security," he writes. (Ditto for Dan Rowinski at ReadWriteWeb.) One big caveat is that the McAfee report doesn't say "precisely what information was stolen from the targeted organizations, and how many computers at each business were affected," writes Cluley. It's tough to call it the "biggest hack ever" without knowing that. As for blaming China: Probably not a bad bet, but what government isn't spying via the Internet?

Both bloggers note that McAfee released its report just in time to grab headlines as the BlackHat security conference gets under way in Vegas. But even if Operation Shady RAT is a bit over-hyped, it still offers security lessons to organizations, adds Cluley. As Arik Hesseldahl at AllThingsD writes, "How did these attacks happen? It's very simple: Someone at the target organization received an email that looked legitimate, but which contained an attachment that wasn’t."

Photo illustration.
Photo illustration.   (Shutterstock)
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