Run Silent, Run Deep
Testing, testing, one, two, three. The Government Executive reports a dramatic increase in the incidence of Chinese cyberattacks on Western targets in September, 2007.
Media reports detailed what appeared to be Chinese attacks against Pentagon networks and government computer systems in Germany, France and the United Kingdom -- putting Defense Department officials on the offensive.
It began in early September when Financial Times reported attacks against Pentagon computer systems, and quoted unnamed Defense Department officials who pinned the blame on China's People's Liberation Army. In France, Germany, the U.K. and New Zealand, officials reported attacks and evidence of spyware traceable to China on government computer systems. In the U.K., Times Online reported that "China leads the list of countries hacking into government computers that contain Britain's military and foreign policy secrets."
Of course, it's all America's fault. The Chinese explained:
China has accused the United States and other Western powers of conducting a campaign of computer infiltration and subversion through the Internet, according to Vice Minister of Information Industry Lou Qinjian. In an article published by Reuters, Lou said Internet technology products exported to China by the United States and other countries contain "back doors" used for technological espionage.
Occasions like this are always a good time to create and seize control of a defense mission.
In June, Lt. Gen. Robert Elder, head of the Air Force's cyber command, told the Defense Technology Forum in Washington that he intends to "redefine air power" and extend the service's "global reach and power into cyberspace." That includes both defensive and offensive operations, Elder added.
A report released in April by the Defense Science Board stated: "Adversaries need to be assured that their attacks against U.S. information systems will be detected, that U.S. functionality will be restored . . . and an adversary needs to know that the U.S. possesses powerful hard- and soft-kill [cyber warfare] means for attacking adversary information and command and support systems at all levels."
Yet the threat is doubtless real. Just because you're paranoid doesn't mean they really aren't out to get you.