While hacking to steal information is relatively common in international affairs, hacking to attack and cause damage is very, very rare. According to U.S. officials, the only time a digital weapon has been planted inside a critical U.S. system was when the government found out that the Nasdaq was being attacked. During an investigation in which malware tied to Russian hackers was discovered, government officials not only determined how vulnerable important systems were, but also that criminal hackers and Chinese cyberspies had been operating freely and their actions had gone unreported for years. While the investigation is ongoing, Bloomberg Businessweek reports that various conclusions were drawn about who was behind the attack and why. At one point, some believed it was someone in the FSB (Russia’s security agency) working with the Mafia, but there was no evidence of suspicious transactions. By 2011, investigators concluded it wasn’t actually a sabotage but an attempt to steal technology from Nasdaq for Moscow’s merging stock exchanges.
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