In the wake of several high-profile cyber attacks on U.S. companies by hackers based overseas, most people have no problem with the U.S. government using cyber spying tools and techniques to monitor unfriendly countries and organizations that would do us harm.
As eSecurity Planet discovered, nearly two in three respondents admitted they approve of some degree of cyber spying to protect U.S. business and security interests.
In fact, one in 14 respondents said they believe it’s perfectly fine to launch devastating denial of service attacks (DDoS) against another country’s communications or financial websites during peacetime.
This somewhat ruthless attitude toward international cyber espionage comes in the wake of several high-profile cyber attacks. Those included Operation Aurora, an assault thought to have been launched from China and targeting some of the largest and most important U.S. technology firms including Google (NASDAQ: GOOG), Intel (NASDAQ: INTC) and Adobe Systems (NASDAQ: ADBE).
Everyone seems to agree that malware and unprovoked hacking are universally bad, but the latest survey from security software vendor Sophos shows that most people have no problem with their government using similar techniques to infiltrate the networks of targeted private companies and other governments.
The Sophos 2010 Security Threat Report queried 1,077 U.S. computer users, asking them whether or not they thought spying via hacking or malware attacks is an acceptable practice if the companies or websites were deemed “legitimate” targets by their government.
Almost two-thirds of those surveyed said they think it’s acceptable for their country to spy on other nations by hacking or installing malware. Twenty-three percent said it was justifiable to do at “any time” while 40 percent said it was only OK during wartime. Only 37 percent said it was unacceptable under any circumstance.