By Siobhan Gorman
The Wall Street Journal
August 18, 2009
WASHINGTON -- Russian hackers hijacked American identities and U.S.
software tools and used them in an attack on Georgian government Web
sites during the war between Russia and Georgia last year, according to
new research to be released Monday by a nonprofit U.S. group.
In addition to refashioning common Microsoft Corp. software into a
cyber-weapon, hackers collaborated on popular U.S.-based
social-networking sites, including Twitter and Facebook Inc., to
coordinate attacks on Georgian sites, the U.S. Cyber Consequences Unit
found. While the cyberattacks on Georgia were examined shortly after the
events last year, these U.S. connections weren't previously known.
The research shows how cyber-warfare has outpaced military and
international agreements, which don't take into account the possibility
of American resources and civilian technology being turned into weapons.
Identity theft, social networking, and modifying commercial software are
all common means of attack, but combining them elevates the attack
method to a new level, said Amit Yoran, a former cybersecurity chief at
the Department of Homeland Security. "Each one of these things by itself
is not all that new, but this combines them in ways we just haven't seen
before," said Mr. Yoran, now CEO of computer-security company NetWitness
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