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Computer network exploitation (CNE) is a technique through which computer networks are used to infiltrate target computers' networks to extract and gather intelligence data. It enables the exploitation of the individual computers and computer networks of an external organization or country in order to collect any sensitive or confidential data, which is typically kept hidden and protected from the general public.
CNE is primarily used within military institutes and organizations. It is a type of cybersecurity operation and can be considered equivalent to the jobs/processes of real-world spies or agents. It consists of techniques and processes that use computers or computer networks to penetrate targeted systems and networks. CNE is part of the computer network operations (CNO) series of techniques for exploiting, attacking and defending against adversarial entities or malicious users.