The difference between probing and mapping and actually attacking depends on the intent of the people doing it, which is hard to figure out and may change. The dangers, however, remain worrying.
North Korea's cyber army is closely controlled by the ruling regime – a key difference from other countries' cyberattack and espionage groups.
Iranian cyberthreats come from independent hacker groups and from those suspected of having government ties. Their efforts may be part of a campaign to counterbalance other international powers.
The Russian cyberthreat goes back over three decades, extends into the country's educational systems and criminal worlds, and shows no signs of letting up.
The prospect of foreign hackers interfering with democracy is not just an American story. It could happen in Australia too, and we need to guard against it.