During his speech at the McAfee Focus Event in London, David Blunkett, the former British Minister of Internal Affairs, provided some details about the 2000 negotiations with Nicolas Sarcozy (the French Minister of the Interior at that time), where the latter admitted that France had been intercepting electronic correspondence of the British embassy.
The future president of France thereby confirmed the fact of active hi-tech espionage on the state level. These days, virtually all government agencies use strong data encryption for all correspondence, especially for messages sent abroad.
During his address, Blunkett also raised the topic of “advanced persistent threats (APT’s), which usually target the IT systems of public organizations and government agencies.
One of the characteristics of APT’s is that hackers disguise their activities using the tools already present in the system being attacked, exploit commonly used ports, mask their activities as actions performed by standard applications or even hide their control communications in HTML comments, which allows them to capture highly-confidential and secret information for prolonged periods of time.