Opinion

Real people in the age of the cyberwar


The most unusual thing about the spy row that has broken out between the US and Russia is not so much the fact that despite the end of the Cold War these things continue to happen but the methods being used.

In a way it's refreshing to find out that in a era when all this spying business is meant to be done via computers and the web that real people are still involved out there. The thought of shady looking characters in long Macs peeking out from behind newspapers and swapping briefcases on park benches is a blast from the past.

So now we find out that a group of ten spies posing as couples that were on a long-term strategy to infiltrate the US government have been exposed and now face possible prison sentences. They will be heralded as abused heroes back in the Motherland. But they will also take a fair bit of the spotlight away from the cyber efforts being made by Russia and other countries.

Where are the hackers and scammers hiding behind banks of monitors and flashing lights? perhaps we have all rushed too quickly to discount the old methods.

This was first published in June 2010

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