Jonathan Masters, writing for the Council on Foreign Relations, interviews McAfee’s Dmitri Alperovitch over his intelligence threat report investigating wide-scale intellectual property theft over the net:
What do you say to the critics who claim that this notion of cyberwarfare is exaggerated and that organizations like MacAfee are potentially engaging in hyperbole because they stand to profit?
You can accuse us of whatever intentions you want, but try to dispute the facts that we're reporting - that massive sectors of our economy have been compromised and valuable intellectual property has been stolen (NYT). We're not the only ones saying that.
Google was very courageous in announcing their intrusions back in January 2010, and just recently RSA has announced intrusions (Bloomberg), as have Lockheed [Martin] and others. We're not the only ones pointing a finger at this problem. And when you go and talk to an official off-the-record, or even on the record, some will tell you the exact same thing - that it's a massive problem.
What percentage of cyberattacks - the ones discovered by the target entities - are reported?
Below 1 percent. And we've been involved in hundreds of investigations over the years. The reason we could not disclose most of them publicly is because of nondisclosure agreements. None of the companies have ever come forward. Most of the disclosures you've seen in the media, even this year, have been accidental leaks.