'Almost every nation' now has cyber vulnerability exploitation program, NSA official says

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Sep 29, 2021 | CYBERSCOOP

Nearly every country on the planet now has a program to exploit digital vulnerabilities, a top National Security Agency cyber official said Wednesday, and while most are focused on espionage, more are beginning to experiment with more aggressive techniques.

Rob Joyce, director of cybersecurity at the NSA, said there’s a lot of focus on China, Iran, North Korea and Russia, but those countries, which he described as the “big four,” are not the only nations weaponizing technology.

“Almost every nation in the world now has a cyber exploitation program. The vast majority of those are used for espionage and intelligence purposes,” Joyce said at the Aspen Cyber Summit. “There is interest in dabbling in offensive cyber and outcomes.”

Even some smaller nations have proven to be advanced, Joyce said. It’s just that they’re usually more confined in how they pursue their national interests, by things like the amount of money they can spend, the number of people they can devote to cyber and how far they reach across the globe.

China, by contrast, is “off the charts,” he said: “The amount of Chinese cyber actors dwarfs the rest of the

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