Across industries and enterprises of all types, the specter of cyber espionage lurks behind every email and every cursor click. This year, Microsoft notified more than 600 organizations about 23,000 attempted espionage-related intrusions into systems. The intruders aimed to obtain information stored in the cloud and are associated with nation-state operators.
The inherent and inescapable interconnectedness of the internet, organizations and global commerce means that cyber criminals can break into almost anything, from anywhere. Cyber espionage is a concern for every company. Software vulnerabilities and built-in backdoors allow hackers to quickly access systems, upgrade privileges and launch invasive and insidious surveillance operations in minutes. Although the majority of enterprises are not direct targets, they can function as conduits for larger espionage endeavors.
Analysts warn that the most sophisticated of cyber spies may move into stealing encrypted data. Why encrypted data? To crack the code using the quantum computers of the future. Although quantum computers may be years away, they still represent a legitimate incentive for hackers to steal high-value data right now.
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 “Ignoring Sanctions…,” The New York Times, David E. Sanger, 26 October 2021
 “Hackers Could Steal Encrypted Data Now…,” ZDnet.com, Liam Tung, 30 November 2021