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Chinese Hacking of American Military Networks On the Rise 205

Posted by Soulskill
from the secure-the-international-tubes dept.
Anti-Globalism writes with this excerpt from the Guardian: "China is stealing sensitive information from American computer networks and stepping up its online espionage, according to a US congressional panel. Beijing's investment in rocket technology is also accelerating the militarization of outer space and lifting it into the 'commanding heights' of modern warfare, the advisory group claims. ... A summary of the study, released in advance, alleges that networks and databases used by the US government and American defense contractors are regularly targeted by Chinese hackers. 'China is stealing vast amounts of sensitive information from US computer networks,' says Larry Wortzel, chairman of the commission set up by Congress in 2000 to investigate US-China issues." The full study addresses these issues and others relating to the US-China relationship (PDF).
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Chinese Hacking of American Military Networks On the Rise

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  • Obligitory... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by religious freak (1005821) on Friday November 21, 2008 @07:24PM (#25852941)
    But how much is the USA ramping up their attacks on China?
  • WTF? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Ritz_Just_Ritz (883997) on Friday November 21, 2008 @07:24PM (#25852943)

    Perhaps I'm just too simple minded, but WHY ON EARTH is ANY of that information even accessible from the interwebz?

  • Re:WTF? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by aliquis (678370) <dospam@gmail.com> on Friday November 21, 2008 @07:31PM (#25853021) Homepage

    My first though to, why is it even accessible if they think it's such a problem? Guess at least the military should know such basic things. (Though I do understand it makes their sharing easier.)

  • Where's The F***? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 21, 2008 @07:32PM (#25853039)

    No you're not simple minded. Why indeed is it anywhere near the internet ESPECIALLY with a report telling us WE KNOW THERE"S A PROBLEM!.

  • by Colin Smith (2679) on Friday November 21, 2008 @07:32PM (#25853041)

    America is sending all of it's wealth to China anyway and is happily enslaving future generations to chinese investors.

    "Supreme excellence consists in breaking the enemy's resistance without fighting." Sun Tsu. 2500 years ago so.
     

  • It's not one way (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Caedes.Leighton (1186201) on Friday November 21, 2008 @07:38PM (#25853101)
    US hacks China, China hacks US, where is the news in that? It's like watching two kids fight and both of them saying "He started it!" when in fact, they're both annoying little bastards.
  • by istartedi (132515) on Friday November 21, 2008 @07:46PM (#25853205) Journal

    One of the largest non-nuclear explosions ever came as a result of US technology that was stolen by the Russians. Except, the CIA knew it was happening and instead of stopping it they decided to plant faulty chip designs. Once the USSR knew the tech was unreliable, they were stuck with one helluva an auditing problem, beyond their capability.

    How much do you want to bet that somewhere on a "vulnerable" network, there are some designs that are just... a little... bit... off.

  • Re:Get real. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by moderatorrater (1095745) on Friday November 21, 2008 @07:56PM (#25853315)
    I'd agree with you if this were a few decades ago, but right now we're too dependent on China's production and cheap labor.
  • Boo! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ISoldat53 (977164) on Friday November 21, 2008 @07:58PM (#25853343)
    Every age needs bogey man.
  • by moderatorrater (1095745) on Friday November 21, 2008 @07:59PM (#25853361)
    The news is that they're fighting and that the fighting's escalating. The two kids on the playground are more like Godzilla and Mothra - if they fight, there's going to be lots of explosions and buildings falling over. Plus, there's going to be some terrible dub work and the Japanese are going to somehow be involved. Also, we're going to find out about new powers that Godzilla has that he didn't have in the last movie. And then Steven Spielberg will do a remake that'll flop.

    That got out of hand fast. Anyway, just because "they're both annoying little bastards" doesn't mean you shouldn't keep an eye on them. Especially if you live in Tokyo.
  • Re:Get real. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by zappepcs (820751) on Friday November 21, 2008 @08:01PM (#25853381) Journal

    Bang on correct! When do people, especially government types admit that they have a problem and are hemorrhaging data to foreign states? Only when there is an advantage to doing so. In this case, I think you are right, it's part of a ramp up on public information to demonize the Chinese. Specifically who among the Chinese is yet to be determined, but the probably have a short list of targets.

  • Perhaps... (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 21, 2008 @08:09PM (#25853447)

    Perhaps I'm just too simple minded, but WHY ON EARTH is ANY of that information even accessible from the interwebz?

    Bait?

    While we're at it, is there any irrefutable proof or must we just blindly trust the storyteller?

  • by bleh-of-the-huns (17740) on Friday November 21, 2008 @08:21PM (#25853585)

    This sends the message to the rest of the world that the US may not pay its debt to them if they do something the US does not like.... That would be a bad precedent, as we would soon find ourselves very isolated when it comes to finance and commerce...

  • by krou (1027572) on Friday November 21, 2008 @08:32PM (#25853721)

    Beijing's investment in rocket technology is also accelerating the militarisation of outer space

    Funny, I thought it was the US [commondreams.org] stance [eetimes.com] of space dominance [defensetech.org] that was accelerating militarisation of space.

  • by MrNaz (730548) * on Friday November 21, 2008 @09:13PM (#25854071) Homepage

    In the democratic theater that is modern western politics, the two governments that the population choose between (Republican/Democrat in the USA, Liberal/Labour in Australia, Conservative/Labour in the UK) need to be effectively identical in order that the real decisions get made not by the people, but by the neo-nobility.

    There's no difference between modern western politics and autocratic regimes such as monarchy or even dictatorships. It's just that the ruling class hides behind the veil democratic system, and like the Wizard of Oz, pulls the string without the vastly dumbed down population being any the wiser.

    They are kept in this subjugated state with a combination of bread and circuses to keep them politically passive as well as carefully constructed media content that portrays a monoculture as though it's freedom.

    This is actually an on-topic point, that meandered for a bit. The point I'm trying to make is that only a fool would believe that the US does not have a cyber-warfare (ugh, idiotic term) program, and all this reporting on online attacks by the Chinese is an example of the media reporting bias.

  • The pdf may be of interest to those studying relationships with China, but very little mention of any "cyber war" except part of chapter two that stresses its 'non-classified' information. The biggest hole in US computer security is Windows and how people use it. It is very common for 'users' of Windows not to set passwords, which just makes it even easier easier to penetrate the whole network. Hopefully, no Windows machine can even access classified information in the first place.

    Unix isn't perfect either and again, its the human aspect that is the biggest risk. Anyone caught using an account with access to 'sensitive' or 'classified' without an adequate password should be warned, explained what a good password is and fired if they can't comply. It would seem that there is high compliance and regular audits anywhere 'classified' information can be accessed. Chapter 2 of the pdf only mentions 'unclassified' material, never mind all 'classified' material is created from 'unclassified' resources. Truly classified data should never be accessible from The Internet in any way, in the first place. Any information placed on, or close to The Internet should be considered 'public' on a worldwide basis.

    Generally speaking, China uses the simplest, known techniques, to penetrate servers. Any admin can tell you how many dictionary attacks come from China. It is impossible to determine which ones are just 'script kiddies' or students and which are serious organized efforts. There is a very small rate of success from this method. Today it seems that these (Unix) machines are simply used to spread the simple scripts on a wider scale. Simply moving off port 22 (even to port 23) will stop 99% of the problem. Statistical programs that temporarily deny access to a certain IP address can be very effective as most scans never return, even if the access is denied for as little as five minutes. To combat the hardcore attempts where the attack returns, simply increase the 'access denied' time and ultimately blacklist the IP address and the whole net if necessary. (It is very rare it ever goes that far.)

    In conclusion: Don't put classified information in the reach of The Internet. Never use any Microsoft product to view 'classified' or 'sensitive' information unless it can be assured there will never be any Internet connections of any sort. It is highly unlikely any government secrets leak out unless that was the intention, such as a "trial balloon". At this time, this is a non-problem that can be stopped. If absolutely nothing is done, it could escalate in much the way spam did. The official report appears to draw the same conclusion, however that is buried in a pile of irrelevant and off-topic material.

    BillSF

                           

  • by dotmax (642602) on Saturday November 22, 2008 @12:12AM (#25855233)
    And you guys claim to read Schneiier?? Consider this: if the Chinese are spying on our tech, we can stick it to them rather badly by lettng them find pointless dead end projects upon which to waste their treasure. everything is an opportunity... .max
  • by TubeSteak (669689) on Saturday November 22, 2008 @12:30AM (#25855335) Journal

    The point I'm trying to make is that only a fool would believe that the US does not have a cyber-warfare (ugh, idiotic term) program, and all this reporting on online attacks by the Chinese is an example of the media reporting bias.

    The burden of proof is upon you to show that the US has a cyber-warfare apparatus which is attacking foreign governments in the same way that the Chinese are attacking the US government.

    The are only 2 reasons you shouldn't be able to provide credible support for your claims:
    1. The US government doesn't actually conduct Chinese style hacking raids.
    2. Foreign governments hacked by the USA do not publicly talk about it.

    I'll accept any news stories from credible foreign or domestic media.

  • by religious freak (1005821) on Saturday November 22, 2008 @01:02AM (#25855479)

    hides behind the veil democratic system

    Well, that's your problem right there... we are not a democracy, we are a republic. And a republic functions exactly as you describe. The older I get, the more appreciation I have for this too. Some of the dumbass ideas I've seen and heard over the years that most everyone would support (if they actually voted) would ruin this country. There's a reason the founding fathers set us up this way.

    If you and your ideas are truly worthy, you can get your message out and past the gatekeepers who keep dumb shits out (not trolling you personally, by any means - just saying).

    Irrespective of your opinion of him, Obama is evidence of this fact - he was not supported by the elites in EITHER party until he passed the tests and demonstrated his ideas could withstand critical scrutiny. The average citizen cannot provide this skilled scrutiny - the average citizen's job is to keep the elites accountable.

  • by thaig (415462) on Saturday November 22, 2008 @03:47AM (#25856095) Homepage

    IMHO Western countries are *not* comparable to dictatorships at all - not in the slightest. I am from Zimbabwe - that's all I claim as qualification.

    Whether or not they are heavily influenced by powerful individuals, there are a lot more powerful and rich people in democracies so there are many interests to be satisfied and compromises to be made to keep parties in power. i.e. nobody can have it all their own way.

    In dictatorships, anyone who appears even as if they *could* provide some challenge is mown down. This way the dictator *can* have everything the way they like it and in my country's case that turns out to be a very bad thing for everyone else.

  • by MrNaz (730548) * on Saturday November 22, 2008 @04:16AM (#25856185) Homepage

    Well hello there, neighbor, I'm from South Africa, soon to be Zimbabwe v2.0 :P

  • by Gunnhild (1078543) on Saturday November 22, 2008 @04:39AM (#25856239) Homepage
    Regardless of how friendly or unfriendly relations would be between the US and China, the US is the country with the more creative, inventive talent and that is where the technology and patents are that the Chinese want to steal. It is all in line with their lack of innovative talent, and tradition of plagiarism. They would steal ideas from their best allies or enemies equally. Just do a search for "Chinese plagiarism". They have been spying on the US like this for decades.
  • Re:Get real. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by RocketRabbit (830691) on Saturday November 22, 2008 @05:33AM (#25856387)

    You're living in fantasy land if you believe the Chinese aren't spying on us to the best of their ability. Yes, this includes network sweeps and all kinds of other shit that you can see, right in your own logfiles! You can read about it in the paper if you wish.

    I don't think the poster was saying "All people of Chinese heritage including people who are genetically Chinese but were adopted by American parents are evil!" He was saying "The People's Republic of China is spying on us."

    Get a grip, man. Save yourself the effort and relax. The Chinese, Israeli, Canadian, French, and Mexican states are all spying on us all the time. We spy on them too. States are like pigs at a trough, always jockeying for position among each other. Sometimes they bite each other. I hear there are a few people who manage to make obscene amounts of money all the while.

    Were the Rockefellers or Morgans or Chases or Vanderbilts or the Fords ever eating meatloaf because they had to stretch their meat ration?

  • by TheLink (130905) on Saturday November 22, 2008 @09:27AM (#25857139) Journal
    "The people very loudly clamored against that, to no avail"

    Bush still got reelected.

    So either the voters didn't object to it that much, or the elections got significantly Diebolded...

    You will have a problem as long as voters keep voting for candidates mainly because those candidates get a lot of money from greedy companies. Go figure.

    Democracy is window dressing if the voters abdicate. Which is what many do.
  • Re:Huh? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by TheLink (130905) on Saturday November 22, 2008 @01:51PM (#25858683) Journal
    Not surprised he had millions in the bank. It's good business if you can keep selling 1 million dollar stuff for 30 million.

    So what's your point? That he'd stop trying to make lots more money because he already had millions in the bank?

    That's hilarious if you knew how a typical chinese businessman thinks.

    Most Chinese care about Family and Money (for some - Money first then Family ;) ), Country at most is a distant 3rd place. Yes they will get that patriotic spirit from time to time, but that's about it.

    Just go visit a chinese temple and see what they ask for. Count how many ask for good fortune and $$$, or healing/blessings for their family members, and count how many ask for "China to be blessed".

    Take a close look at the Chinese New Year festivities and see what it's all about. The names of the food. The reasons for doing stuff.

    Think those chinese in China putting melamine in everything and everywhere were doing it because they loved China? Or hated America? They were doing it to make themselves richer.

    I bet if the French government also offered the Taiwanese guy 20 million for the designs, he'd make copies and sell them to both the French and Chinese governments. Unless he was getting enough extra money for an exclusive deal and goodwill.

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