《经济学人》:网络安全,幽灵般的敌人
日期:2011-06-24 10:52

(单词翻译:单击)

Internet security
网络安全

An anonymous foe
幽灵般的敌人

Hackers hit big companies, the IMF and the headlines
网络黑客席卷名企和国际货币基金组织,大出风头

Jun 16th 2011 | SAN FRANCISCO | from the print edition

DEFENCE companies such as Lockheed Martin have seen some of their cyber-defences penetrated. Sony, Google, Citigroup and other firms have had sensitive customer data swiped by high-tech intruders. The IMF has been the victim of a digital attack, as has the website of America’s Senate. And a hackers’ collective, called Anonymous, has threatened to launch an online assault on the computer systems of America’s Federal Reserve unless its chairman, Ben Bernanke, agrees to step down.

洛克西德马丁公司虽作为国防军企,却也意识到其部分网络防御被黑客所渗透。入侵者以其较高的技术窃取了索尼,谷歌,花旗集团等公司的客户敏感数据。国际货币基金组织成为了这次数字化入侵的受害者,美国参议院的官网也不能幸免。一个叫做“佚名”的黑客组织扬言,如果美联储的主席Ben Bernanke不愿下台,那就要对美联储的计算机系统发起网上攻击。

These and other events—such as the attack on the public website of the CIA, which was disrupted briefly on June 15th—have led to speculation that there has been a big increase in the threat posed by hackers in recent months. They have also reinforced a belief in some quarters that America is already engaged in a cyber war of sorts, most notably with China. Yet such claims are controversial.

美国中情局在6月15日也因黑客袭击暂时瘫痪,这样或那样的针对公共网站的袭击使得最近几月来公众对网络黑客动辄发起攻击行为的关注与日俱增。他们同样也更加坚定地认为,美国在某些方面的确陷入了一场网络大战,最沸沸扬扬的莫过于和中国的网络战。然而这些言论尚存争议。

Although some security experts think hacking activity has hit a new high, others say such claims are overblown. They point out that laws in some states in America now require firms to reveal if their defences have been breached, which means more hacking cases are coming to light that would previously have been buried. High-profile attacks, such as the ones on the Senate website, also get plenty of media coverage, fuelling talk of an epidemic.

尽管一些安全专家认为黑客的行为创了历史新高,其他人则认为这种观点有些言过其实了。他们指出,现在美国一些州的法律要求公司透露是否他们的网络防御被黑客突破过,这意味着以前许多不为人知的黑客袭击将公之于众。一些高调的攻击,比如针对参议院网站的袭击,得到了媒体铺天盖地的报道,成了公众流行的话题。

The vast majority of the hacking that does take place is still perpetrated by different sets of private hackers rather than by cyber spooks. Take “hacktivists”, members of such groups as Anonymous and Lulz Security, the outfit that has claimed responsibility for attacking the Senate’s and the CIA’s sites. (To “lulz” means to laugh at someone’s misfortune in jargon.) Loosely organised and motivated by causes rather than money, these online rebels shot to prominence last year. They targeted firms such as MasterCard that shunned WikiLeaks after the transparency group began releasing secret diplomatic cables. And they thrive on the oxygen of publicity, boasting of their exploits on Twitter and other social-media services. Anonymous even announced its intention to target the Fed by posting a video on YouTube. This listed all kinds of recriminations against the central bank, including plenty of bizarre ones such as “crimes against humanity”, scrolled down against a backdrop of eerie face masks that have become Anonymous’s calling card (see picture above).

大量的黑客入侵都仍是不同群的个体黑客所为,而不是网络幽灵干的。黑客分子是“佚名”和“鲁兹安全”这样组织的成员,他们已经宣称对参议院和中情局网站的入侵事件表示负责(“鲁兹”在行话中表示嘲笑某人的不幸)。他们机构松散,动机和金钱无关,这些网上反叛者的行为去年可谓登峰造极。他们瞄准了万事达卡这样的公司,因为在维基泄密这个以透明为宗旨的组织开始披露外交秘闻的时候,万事达卡和它划清了界限。他们在公众的关注下逐渐壮大,在微博和其他社会性媒体上鼓吹其功绩。“佚名”组织甚至在YouTube视频网站上传了视频,公开宣布其入侵美联储系统的意图。片中在怪诞的人脸面具的背景之下,逐一陈述了中央银行诸多罪责,其中许多很奇怪,比如“反人性罪”之类的,这些都逐渐勾勒出这个叫做“佚名”的黑客组织的个性轮廓。

Hacktivists’ assaults on state targets have prompted governments to try rounding them up. On June 10th Spanish police arrested three men that they claim are core members of Anonymous, which responded by causing a police website to crash. Then on June 13th police in Turkey rounded up another 32 alleged hackers from the group, which had recently attacked a couple of official websites, protesting plans to increase policing of web traffic.

黑客分子针对政府的攻击行为使政府越发地想把他们一网打尽。在6月10日,西班牙警方逮捕了三名嫌犯,据其称是”佚名”组织的核心成员。“佚名”曾声称对某警方网站的瘫痪负责。在6月13日,土耳其警方逮捕了32名的某黑客组织的成员,他们最近入侵了一系列官方网站,以抗议对日渐增加的网络监管的计划。

Dmitri Alperovitch of McAfee, a web-security company, reckons that these and future raids will ensure that hacktivism declines as a source of online attacks within six to 12 months. But other experts warn that by trumpeting the arrest of Anonymous members, instead of simply labelling them as common-or-garden hackers, governments are boosting the outfit’s standing. In the eyes of potential recruits such as young “script kiddies”, who first turn to hacking chiefly as a test of their programming skills, Anonymous may now seem more attractive.

来自网络安全公司迈克菲的副总裁Dmitri Alperovitch认为,这些和未来的清剿行动会保障未来6到12个月的以黑客行动主义作为精神指导的网络攻击行为的下降。但是其他的专家警告说,政府这种吹嘘逮捕黑客组织成员的行为,与其说是简单地盖棺论调,给他们贴上不过如此的黑客标签,不如说是在变相承认其组织的地位。许多潜在的新人,比如年轻的“脚本小子”们,都因为入侵系统可以测试他们的编程能力而进入黑客行业,“佚名”组织对于他们来说现在似乎更有吸引力了。

While hacktivists are gathering speed, another source of hacking—organised-crime groups—are going about their business as usual. But that means they are using increasingly sophisticated techniques to extract passwords and other personal information from their victims. This then gives them access to data they can profit from in various ways. These gangs are behind some of the biggest data breaches that companies have owned up to (see chart). They also often launch cyber-attacks using “botnets”, or networks of computers that have been taken over without their owners’ knowledge.

正当个体黑客组织壮大得如火如荼的时候,另一种入侵形式源的黑客-有组织犯罪的黑客群体-也在像往常一样经营着他们的勾当。不过这意味着他们使用更成熟的技术从受害者那边窃取密码和其他的个人信息数据,然后以各种形式从中牟利。一些名企的大规模数据泄露就是拜这些黑客群所赐(如图表所示)。他们经常用“僵尸程序”发起网络攻击,或者不为用户所知地感染其主机,形成僵尸网络发起攻击。

Code red 红色代码

Such ploys can make it hard to identify exactly who is behind a particular online assault, says Adam Vincent of Cyber Squared, another security firm. In China things are particularly unclear. Jayson Street, a security researcher who has written a book on dissecting hacks, reckons the Chinese government itself is struggling to contain hacking within the country. He recounts how the website of one regional government he studied turned out to have been compromised by hackers who had made it part of a botnet. Chinese cyber-crooks are only too happy to rent out their networks to other gangs and governments who want to launch attacks using them. North Korea and Russia are said to be among the countries that have taken advantage of such offers.

来自另一家网络安全公司Cyber Squared的Adam Vincent说,这样(僵尸网络的)形式的攻击真的很难定位到某次入侵的幕后真凶是谁。在中国事情就更扑朔迷离了。研究网络安全的Jayson Street曾写过一本剖析黑客行为的书,他认为中国政府自身也在挣扎着控制黑客行为于境内。他详述了他所研究的一个地方政府网站是怎么在黑客们的控制下“蜕变”到僵尸网络的一部分的。中国的网络犯罪分子倒是希望能够把他们的网络租给其他黑客帮派或者政府,供其发起攻击。朝鲜和俄罗斯据说也是利用这种机会来获取好处的。

This does not mean that the Chinese government is innocent of all of the hacking charges levelled against it. A recent study by McAfee of “SQL injections”, a technique used to penetrate databases, showed that around half of the reported attacks in the first quarter of 2011 originated from China. Given the scale of such activity, it is likely that at least some of these were launched by Chinese cyberspies. Google has also dropped heavy hints that the Chinese government was behind a recent hack of Gmail, its web-based mail service, which let online snoopers read the e-mails of high-ranking American officials and those from some other countries.

这并不意味着中国政府在所有罪状等身的黑客行为指控面前是无辜的。迈克菲最近的一份针对”SQL注入”(一种入侵数据库的技术)的研究中指出,2011年第一季度,大约半数的所被报告的攻击源自中国。如果考虑这种攻击的规模,那么至少有一些入侵很可能是由中国的网络间谍所发起的。谷歌也掷出重言,中国政府是最近针对其基于网络的邮件服务Gmail进行攻击的幕后使者,这样做可以让网上的间谍获取美国高官和其他国家重要人物的电子邮件。

But China is far from the only country engaged in cyber-espionage. It is surely no coincidence that according to McAfee’s statistics the second-largest source of SQL injections in the first quarter was none other than America. Such probing of a rival’s systems is hardly new, though it has assumed an exaggerated importance because of all the feverish talk of “cyber-warfare”.

但中国绝不是参与网络间谍活动的唯一国家。根据迈克菲的数据,第二大SQL注入攻击源的国家正是美国,这当然不是巧合。由于“网络战”是公众乐此不疲的话题,这种入侵行为的严重性有些被夸大了,毕竟入侵对手系统的行为可谈不上是新事物。

According to a report on cyber-security issued earlier this year by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, the chances of a conflict fought solely in the electronic world are extremely slim. The same report also warns that many high-tech attacks described as acts of cyberwar, including the antics of hacktivists, do not merit the label. That is surely right. Even so they are no laughing—or lulzing—matter.

根据今年早些时候由经济合作与发展组织发布的网络安全报告,仅在电子世界中发生冲突的可能性微乎其微。报告还提到,许多有着高技术手段的被称作网络战的入侵事件,和那些哗众取宠的黑客分子,都有些言过其实。这当然是对的。不过就算是这样,这些(黑客和黑客行为)也不是拿来搞笑的事,或者说可以被“鲁兹”的事。

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重点单词
  • coden. 码,密码,法规,准则 vt. 把 ... 编码,制
  • assaultn. 攻击,突袭 vt. 袭击,突袭
  • backdropn. 背景幕,背景
  • misfortunen. 不幸,灾祸
  • controversialadj. 引起争论的,有争议的
  • turkeyn. 土耳其 turkey n. 火鸡,笨蛋,失败之作
  • transparencyn. 透明度,幻灯片
  • innocentadj. 清白的,无辜的,无害的,天真纯洁的,无知的
  • conflictn. 冲突,矛盾,斗争,战斗 vi. 冲突,争执,抵触
  • exaggeratedadj. 言过其辞的,夸大的 动词exaggerate的