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HBGary boss blames China for new ‘Cold War’ of cyber-terror

Greg Hoglund, CEO of US security contractor HBGary, has accused China of waging a “Cold War” against online targets in the US and elsewhere, while warning of the future prospect of cyber-terrorist threats against infrastructure resources and cloud-based computing systems.

Speaking in London where he was attending the RSA security conference, Hoglund also shed some light on the attack on his company earlier this year by WikiLeaks-loving hacker group Anonymous, which published 60,000 emails online from the company's Google-hosted email servers.

Pointing out that the breach was not the result of a hacking attack, but instead exploited human error - Aaron Barr, former CEO of sister company HBGary Federal, had used the same passwords for different accounts and server logins - Hoglund played down the effect of the email outing, but said it had led to a reassessment of security across the industry.

More worrying, said Hoglund, was the increasing occurrence of state-sponsored cyber-attacks, the blame for which he pinned mostly on China. "There's a kind of cyber Cold War going on right now. I see it every day."

According to Hoglund, many sectors of industry were still complacent about online threats, relying on technology to protect themselves but remaining unwilling to dedicate human resources to the task.

In particular, the HBGary CEO singled out infrastructure resources such as power grids as a potential victim for future attacks.

"I predict there will be at least one major attack on an infrastructure target by a terrorist group between 2010 and 2020," he says. "And it's really scary." Read the full interview with Greg Hoglund at (opens in new tab).