Thursday, October 25, 2007

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.


Blogger Final Historian said...

I have been convinced for a while now that the next "Pearl Harbor" will be quite different from the original one, in fact, the two would probably look nothing alike to the casual observer. I suspect the next one would start as a massive cyber attack on all US infrastructure connected to the net, and either coincide with, or be followed closely, by a concerted attack on US Satellite infrastructure.

The original Pearl Harbor sought to knock us out. The next one may try to blind us instead.

10/25/2007 06:04:00 PM  
Blogger JD said...

Doesn't the US host all of the root servers?

Disconnect China for a while.

10/25/2007 06:29:00 PM  
Blogger NahnCee said...

They can't keep Google or Yahoo out without Americans selling them the software to block what they want blocked. I'm sure they're trying to break into whatever they can in the West, but sheesh - if they can't even keep us out without our help, how are they going to get in ... without our help?

10/25/2007 06:31:00 PM  
Blogger rickl said...

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.

I should certainly hope so.

10/25/2007 07:14:00 PM  
Blogger F said...

I agree with rickl: I certainly hope US technology sold to China contains a "back door." God knows, China is working to install a big back door in the US. Her name is Hillary. F

10/25/2007 08:54:00 PM  
Blogger Valentine Smith said...

And God knows Hillary's backside is HUGE.

10/25/2007 09:29:00 PM  
Blogger RWE said...

Cybercrime is an area in which the "broken window" approach to law enforcement should apply.

Let the little crimes go unpunished and big ones will follow.

If a few Spammer shops in Miami and internet cafes in Nigeria just mysteriously blew up with huge loss of life then people like the Chinese might get the message.

A Smith and Wesson beats four aces. A Hellfire beats a clever programmer, every time.

10/26/2007 06:45:00 AM  
Blogger LarryD said...

jd: Doesn't the US host all of the root servers?

No, just 11 out of 13. One is in Japan, and the last is in Europe.

10/26/2007 08:06:00 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

The part left out is that the russian programmers are creating the spyware and china military is using it. Are russia and china in bed when it comes to hacking us and allied defense systems?

10/26/2007 03:31:00 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Looks like russia and china are planning the next pearl harbor to me. They have over a million some estimate as high as 15 million zombies (thats compromised computers) ready to attack us now. My question is what are we doing?

10/26/2007 08:46:00 PM  

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