As anticipated, Chinese hackers unleashed attacks against U.S.-based Web sites Monday. Several sites have been defaced, including those for the Department of Labor, Department of Energy, and Health.gov. According to Chris Rouland, an executive with Internet Security Systems Inc., Chinese and U.S. attacks on each other have increased dramatically since tension between the countries arose a month ago.
"I was surprised to see the level of sites successfully attacked," says Rouland. He and others are concerned that Web-site defacements may be an indicator of more damaging attacks. "It's quite possible there are levels of hacking underway we haven't seen yet," he adds.
Analysts and security firms say they've seen a sharp increase in the number of Web sites and networks being scanned for vulnerabilities. Rouland says he hasn't seen activity like this since Palestinian and Israeli hackers carried out cyber skirmishes in November.
Forrester analyst Frank Prince says IS departments need to insure that their security software, applications, and operating systems are running with the most recent patches or updates. The attacks followed a warning from the National Infrastructure Protection Center last week, which said companies should look out for attacks April 30 through May 7.