The Endless Global Cyberwar

Though Americans are constantly warned of the prevalence and danger of cyberattack, the concept remains totally abstract for most people. The reason isn’t just that people don’t understand the methods by which governments and hackers try to gain access to and disrupt private networks, it’s that the scale of the problem itself is difficult to fathom.

That shouldn’t be a problem anymore. The Norse Corporation, a San Mateo-based cyber-intelligence startup, just released a Live Cyber Attack Map, a real-time depiction of cyberattacks across the globe. And it is as scary as it is fascinating.

Norse draws from an enormous data network—nearly 150 data centers in 40 countries around the world—to process more than 130 terabytes of information a day. Much of that data comes from Norse’s more than 8 million “honeypots”, computers owned and monitored by Norse that emulate programs (more than 6,000) that are attractive to cyberattackers, like ATM software and corporate email. The data for the live map comes entirely from these honeypots.

To give a sense of the gargantuan scale of the global cyberwar, the live map represents less than 1 percent of Norse’s total data; if the whole shebang were projected onto the screen it would be hard to make out the map below. (Which, yes, bears an uncanny resemblance to WarGames.)


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