US Congress under attack

Politico reports staggering statistics for cyber attcks on the US Congress.

Accfording to a report submitted by the Sergeant-at-Arms, Terrance Gainer,

– congress and other government agencies are attacked an average of 1.8 billion times a month (up from 8 million hits per month average last year.)

– The Senate Security Operations Center alone receives 13.9 million attacks.

– Attacks are increasingly focused on infiltrating application software, including Adobe Acrobat, Microsoft Office and Internet Explorer, which may not have the latest security patches.

– Attackers are both domestic and foreign

– In the last five months of 2009, 87 Senate offices, 13 Senate committees and seven other offices were attacked by spear-phishing attacks (ie email messages urging recipients to open infected attachments or click on links.)

– “Malicious content was successfully delivered to Senate computers approximately four times each month.”

If you mount such a large number of attacks, then it is inevitable that some will get through: and just 4 successes each month could rapidly build up a network like Ghostnet.

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