Continued from page 1

He added that cyberattacks and cyberespionage remain a “very serious problem” for both government and private industry.

Financial analyst Howard Rubel of Jefferies & Co. in New York told The Washington Post last month the Pentagon is spending between $10 billion and $11 billion on cybersecurity, and it could be one area where money is added in the next budget.

COMPOUND CYBERTHREAT

Computer attacks are becoming a daily occurrence, and an online newsletter says the threat is getting worse.

MalwareCity.com reported Jan. 24 on an unusual case of a Frankenstein hybrid — a computer virus accidentally infecting a worm, potentially increasing its lethality to computers and networks.

According to the newsletter, the malicious software in question morphed into a different threat than was intended by its human creators.

“Ten years ago, there was a clear-cut distinction between Trojans, viruses and worms,” the report said. “They all had their own features specific to one family of malware only. As more people connected to the internet, cyber-criminals started mixing ingredients to maximize impact. … Trojans with worm capabilities or viruses with Trojan features, and so on.”

But a new practice emerged recently. The new digital threat: viruses that infect executable files happen to hit a system already infected with a worm — a malicious executable file — that then carries the virus with it to other computers and networks.

“Although this happens unintentionally, the combined features from both pieces of malware will inflict a lot more damage than the creators of either piece of malware intended,” according to the report, based on the work of the software firm Bitdefender.

Bitdefender found 40,000 examples of piggybacking malware in a pool of 10 million files. One was identified as the Virtob virus combining with the Rimecud worm.

Military cybertechnology officials say the virus-worm combination is likely to be used in military-grade cyberwarfare attacks in the future.

RUMSFELD’S TAIWAN VISIT

China tried convince former Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld that he should not visit Beijing’s rival Taiwan last year.

According to sources close to the former Pentagon chief, a Chinese Embassy political officer called Mr. Rumsfeld’s office before the October visit to urge him not to go.

Mr. Rumsfeld ignored the request. During his visit, he said Taiwan needed more U.S. arms in response to China’s continued large-scale military buildup.

Story Continues →