We all know the anger and aggravation we feel when our grandparents or parents get scammed online. Online thieves have become so prolific there is generally only a sigh from police. They advise giving our parents training in spotting deceit online. Then you notify appropriate online government agencies. Then follows the inevitable computer cleansing, the new passwords, and a host of other unexpected pitfalls, all thanks to the scam.

The cleared world is much like this. If we are ‘scammed’ by a collector (that is, a spy) we might not know what the purpose of the online theft is. Consider this. If we determine that some unknown connection has been sucking away data and feeding it to another computer somewhere, that is espionage. But what if the device we ‘discover’ is only by inference? We see bad results in our program, but can’t figure out the cause. Even worse, what if the secret collector’s online malware insertion just stayed where it was, doing nothing? How could that even be a cause for worry? Think again.

Don’t Ignore Intrusions

In 2010 inspectors couldn’t account for the damage done to many nuclear centrifuges in Iranian facilities. The Iranians were perplexed. They fired engineers, then sought possible spies. They then concluded their data was simply wrong. Nothing they did corrected the failure of these vital equipment performances. What happened? As far as who’s guilty, we can leave that for another day. What is important here is that the…

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