Just recently, the New York Times delivered a missive with no less than three instances of "sophisticated" buried within. This article was based on a report with seven repeat appearances of security's single-most abused adjective. In what's now a tradition, the word was misapplied to some stuff that's considered pretty basic by security professionals, and didn't escape ridicule on cybersec's watercooler hangout spot, Twitter. There is no barrier to developing malware. Even ISIS managed to produce custom malware for a targeted attack!
Driving the news: Labour ultimately faced what's known as a denial of service attack, a way of overwhelming servers with a ton of traffic. It's a digital blunt force attack -- harmful, yes, but hardly sophisticated. In the last year or so, victims blamed "sophisticated" hackers for breaches at the Australian Parliament; a hamburger chain; a bank; another bank; yet more banks and universities in Australia, the U.S. and UK; a 1,200-student high school; newspapers; Amnesty International; WhatsApp users; a medical center; an electronics supplier; an embassy; and a community college, among others. Be smart: Some of those hackers were, in fact, sophisticated. The sophisticate who cried wolf: For network defenders trying to follow what's going on across the industry, it's important to know when actual sophisticated hackers emerge.
The Navy report underscored long-known cyber threats from Russia and China that have plagued the U.S. government and its contractors for more than a decade. It said there were "several significant" breaches of classified Navy systems and that "massive amounts" of national security data have been stolen. The report laid out a number of recommendations to reduce cyber vulnerabilities across the Navy and make cybersecurity a higher priority.