The Role of Malware in Reported Cyber Espionage: A Review of the Impact and Mechanism
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Original versionWangen, G. (2015) The Role of Malware in Reported Cyber Espionage: A Review of the Impact and Mechanism. In: Information, 6(2), p. 183-211. 10.3390/info6020183
The recent emergence of the targeted use of malware in cyber espionage versus industry requires a systematic review for better understanding of its impact and mechanism. This paper proposes a basic taxonomy to document major cyber espionage incidents, describing and comparing their impacts (geographic or political targets, origins and motivations) and their mechanisms (dropper, propagation, types of operating systems and infection rates). This taxonomy provides information on recent cyber espionage attacks that can aid in defense against cyber espionage by providing both scholars and experts a solid foundation of knowledge about the topic. The classification also provides a systematic way to document known and future attacks to facilitate research activities. Geopolitical and international relations researchers can focus on the impacts, and malware and security experts can focus on the mechanisms. We identify several dominant patterns (e.g., the prevalent use of remote access Trojan and social engineering). This article concludes that the research and professional community should collaborate to build an open data set to facilitate the geopolitical and/or technical analysis and synthesis of the role of malware in cyber espionage.
This is the journal's PDF originally published in Information, http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/info6020183