Cyberwarfare gets real

For nearly a decade, think tanks and government officials in Washington D.C. have wrestled with the question of what cyberwar will look like. This year we found out.

Flame malware
The Flame malware that infected computers in Iran and the Middle East was named after one of the main modules it uses to spread. Securelist

For nearly a decade, think tanks and government officials in Washington, D.C., have been wrestling with the question of what cyberwar will look like.

In 2012, we learned the answer: Stuxnet, the malware that infected Iran's Natanz plant in a bid to slow the nation's nuclear effort, which was developed by the U.S. and Israel. Security researchers had speculated those governments were the most likely Stuxnet suspects, and a New York Times report in June confirmed it.

Flame, the name given network-sniffing, audio-recording, keystroke-logging malware that infected Iranian oil ministry computers, was discovered in May. At first, it wasn't entirely clear who was responsible, but by mid-June, a Washington Post report had confirmed it was another U.S.-Israel joint cyberwar effort. A few months later, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta announced that the age of cyberwar had begun, saying the U.S. military "has developed the capability to conduct effective operations to counter threats to our national interests in cyberspace."

Go back to the CNET 100

Featured Video
6
This content is rated TV-MA, and is for viewers 18 years or older. Are you of age?
Sorry, you are not old enough to view this content.

Is a 12.9-inch iPad Pro coming soon?

Apple may be getting ready to unveil the iPad Pro, iPad Mini 4 and a new Apple TV. Also, Google's Nexus refresh starts Sept. 29 and Tesla announces pricing on the Model X SUV.

by Jeff Bakalar