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Who knew? Biggest coordinated hacking attack ever probably hit a computer near you

A meeting of computer programmers.
A meeting of computer programmers.
José Goulão/Flickr

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Over the last five years, government-sanctioned hackers believed to be backed by either Eastern Europe or East Asia have infiltrated the computer networks of thousands of companies, organizations and governments, stealing military information, snooping into Olympic committee info, and costing victims tens-of-billions of dollars. It’s believed to be the biggest coordinated attack ever launched and perhaps of even greater concern is the discovery that those hackers remain embedded in the computer systems, quietly leaking information to their sources and poised for a greater attack. McAfee, the Internet security firm that uncovered the operation, didn’t name any perpetrators in their 14-page report, but many analysts suspect China played a big role in the operation. They see this as further proof of the viral-like international cyber threat for which, they argue, the US is not currently prepared. We hear from McAfee with more details about the report and check in with a hacker at the 2011 DEFCON gathering of hackers in Las Vegas for a 4-1-1 on hacking into back-systems.


Joris Evers, MacAfee, spokesperson

Larry Ponemon, chairman, Ponemon Institute, a research group that studies Internet security

Mike Schenk, hacker who joins us live from DEFCON, one of the world's largest annual hacker conventions going on right now in Las Vegas