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Government Security

Hundreds of Thousands of Chinese Black-Hats 247

Posted by kdawson
from the defending-against-gnats dept.
An anonymous reader sends us to Popular Science for a long article on the loose, uncoordinated bands of patriotic Chinese hackers that seem to be responsible for much of the cyber-trouble emerging from that nation. Quoting: "For years, the U.S. intelligence community worried that China's government was attacking our cyber-infrastructure. Now one man has discovered it's more than that: it's hundreds of thousands of everyday Chinese civilians. ... Jack Linchuan Qiu, a communications professor at the Chinese University of Hong Kong [says:] 'Chinese hackerism is not the American "hacktivism" that wants social change. It's actually very close to the state. The Chinese distinction between the private and public domains is very small.' ... According to [James Andrew Lewis, a senior fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies], 'The government at a minimum tolerates them. Sometimes it encourages them. And sometimes it tasks them and controls them.' In the end, he says, 'it's easy for the government to turn on and hard to turn off.'"
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Hundreds of Thousands of Chinese Black-Hats

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  • Not surprising (Score:5, Insightful)

    by WindBourne (631190) on Friday April 24, 2009 @08:39AM (#27700977) Journal
    The chinese are just as nationalistic as any other group. Do they like how their gov operates? I doubt it. BUT, do they love their country? Sure. Of course, telling the crackers that if they crack local systems, they will get the death penality, but if they crack Foreign systems (namely the west) and share with the gov, they will get money, has a LOT to do with this. Basically, we are still in a cold war with one side KNOWING that it is, while the other side hopes that it is not.
    • Re:Not surprising (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Shakrai (717556) on Friday April 24, 2009 @08:45AM (#27701043) Journal

      The chinese are just as nationalistic as any other group.

      Judging from some of the comments about Tibet and the reaction to the protests regarding it during the Olympics I'd say that they are even more so.

      Basically, we are still in a cold war with one side KNOWING that it is, while the other side hopes that it is not.

      Isn't that the truth? Secretary Gates wants to cancel the F-22 and cut our aircraft carrier fleet down so that we can focus on fighting insurgencies. That's understandable in short term but I pray to god that it doesn't bite us in the ass in the long term. I'm not real worried about insurgents altering the geopolitical balance of power. I am worried about China doing the same.

      • They aleady did (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        I'm not real worried about insurgents altering the geopolitical balance of power. I am worried about China doing the same.

        Simple test. Get two oil tankers. Put a Chinese flag on one, put a US flag on the other. Sail them along the Somali coast. See which one gets fired upon and which one does not.

        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by interkin3tic (1469267)

          Simple test. Get two oil tankers.

          See, its good that you're coming up with tests that are simple, but to better prove your point, you would also come up with one that is feasible to those of us who are not oil tycoons. As such I have no way of running your test: Exxon won't let me borrow any more of their tankers after that Valdez thing, no matter how many times I apologize.

      • Re:Not surprising (Score:4, Interesting)

        by WindBourne (631190) on Friday April 24, 2009 @09:04AM (#27701247) Journal
        Secretary Gates wants to cancel the F-22 and cut our aircraft carrier fleet down so that we can focus on fighting insurgencies. That's understandable in short term but I pray to god that it doesn't bite us in the ass in the long term.
        At this moment, we have no choice. Our budget and economy is a TOTAL disaster. Where we need to put the money is into getting this war and invasion/occupation finished. Sadly, Pakistan is shaping up to be a new mess that we will have no choice on (at least as long as they have nukes and the technology). Personally, having the F-22 cut back while we have 180 is not a big deal. BUT I would rather that we continue with the ABL program. In addition, my understanding is that he is putting a lot more money into intel-gathering. That makes sense.
        • Re:Not surprising (Score:4, Insightful)

          by WindowlessView (703773) on Friday April 24, 2009 @09:58AM (#27701981)

          In addition, my understanding is that he is putting a lot more money into intel-gathering. That makes sense.

          Part of that intel gathering is, of course, the half of our recent ramp-up in cyber warfare that is less spoken about. No one thinks that in the cyber war we are only playing defense, right?

      • Re:Not surprising (Score:4, Insightful)

        by maxume (22995) on Friday April 24, 2009 @09:05AM (#27701267)

        Or you might have read comments that are coming from someone more extreme than the typical Chinese. There are plenty of wack-job nationalistic Americans, and plenty of more moderate Americans.

        As far as a new cold war, who cares? China can't invade America anymore than America can invade China, and they aren't seriously rattling the nuclear saber (they would rather sell us crap than blow us up...).

        China probably could find the bodies to invade the U.S., but they would have a tough time holding any territory whatsoever (unless they found a really nifty way of shifting those bodies over the Pacific ocean). The U.S. doesn't have the bodies to invade China.

        I guess there is the possibility of an economic war with China, but the coal on mainland America means that we will still be able to make electricity, mitigating the impact on our quality of life, and the fact that China has 4 times the people will make it nearly impossible for the U.S. to continue to 'dominate' the world economically.

        • Re:Not surprising (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Shakrai (717556) on Friday April 24, 2009 @09:54AM (#27701927) Journal

          China probably could find the bodies to invade the U.S

          WOLVERINES!

          Sorry, that was just the first image that came to mind ;) I think invading the US would be a pretty tough undertaking. Logistically it would be a nightmare -- you'd need to move men and material across the largest ocean in the World against the World's foremost naval power. Even if you could manage to do that you'd then have to defeat the American military on it's home soil and pacify the American population.

          Pacifying a nation [wikipedia.org] of 32 million where a sizable portion (a majority even?) of the population supports the invaders may well prove to be impossible. How would you go about pacifying a nation of 300 million where none of the population would support the invaders and where said population is armed to the teeth and presumably willing to fight for it's freedom and independence? Then there's the matter of nuclear weapons to consider....

          No, I'm not real worried about them invading us. I am worried about falling behind them in military capability and having to abandon allies and/or interests. At least when the British came apart there was another world power that was committed to democracy to take their place. Who is going to take our place? I suppose India is a possibility in the long term but they've got enough problems of their own right now. China isn't being very open about their military build-up and I find that troubling on many levels. Unless that changes I don't see any reason why we shouldn't be concerned and taking steps to ensure our own supremacy.

          • Re:Not surprising (Score:4, Interesting)

            by rootofevil (188401) on Friday April 24, 2009 @11:31AM (#27703285) Homepage Journal

            this assumes they have any vested interest in keeping the civilian population alive.

            • this assumes they have any vested interest in keeping the civilian population alive.

              Well, yeah... Why wouldn't they? You think they would invade for Lebensraum or something?

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by MikeURL (890801)
            Actually that movie described one of the few ways to actually get an invasion done. You'd need to have troops massed in Mexico ready to go. Given the US ability to watch the whole planet from satellites it is extremely unlikely that a buildup of that size could happen.

            I tend to agree with you that outright invasion is virtually impossible. FAR more likely is that China would invade Taiwan and/or other closer and more vulnerable targets. That would have the effect of pushing the world order more towar
      • Re:Not surprising (Score:5, Insightful)

        by magarity (164372) on Friday April 24, 2009 @09:11AM (#27701325)

        Long before the US worries about Chinese military superiority there needs to be a good hard look at the very real threat of economic superiority.

        The Chinese economy is still growing, albiet at a much slower pace, while the US shrank lately. And there are only the tiniest of social programs that the Chinese government spends its money on and pretty much nothing on entitlements which make up 2/3 of the US's federal budget. There is no institutionalized 'somebody owes me' mentality keeping a large number of otherwise able bodied adults out of the workforce.

        China will out-produce the US in short order if things continue as they have been. Then the US will no longer be able to afford to keep up militarily much like the Soviets could no longer afford to keep up in the 80's.

        • Re:Not surprising (Score:5, Insightful)

          by maxume (22995) on Friday April 24, 2009 @09:20AM (#27701441)

          It's inevitable. If you accept that people aren't equal, the best 10% of China's workforce is larger than half of the entire United States workforce.

          Throw in that it is much easier to transfer knowledge and technology than it is to create them, and any notion of keeping a lead goes right out the window, especially over the long term.

          The upside is that we are quite a bit more likely to benefit from Chinese advancements than we are to be hurt by them.

        • Re:Not surprising (Score:4, Interesting)

          by WindBourne (631190) on Friday April 24, 2009 @09:21AM (#27701461) Journal
          Actually, China has a social security and socialized medicine. In addition, they spend a LOT more money on their internal security (trying to keep ppl in check). IIRC, They actually spend more on their civil programs than America does (in terms of what we think their budget is; we really do not know exactly WHAT they spend). And right now, they spend a LOT more money on their space program as well as military. Of course, they can afford this at this time.

          The real difference is that they have their money tied to the dollar designed to drain our jobs and W allowed this. That is why China has major barriers to imports and is asking for another decade to drop them, even though they were suppose to drop them in 2002.
          • Re:Not surprising (Score:4, Insightful)

            by Shakrai (717556) on Friday April 24, 2009 @09:32AM (#27701611) Journal

            That is why China has major barriers to imports and is asking for another decade to drop them, even though they were suppose to drop them in 2002.

            I've never understood why the United States engages in "free trade" when our supposed trading partners refuse to do the same. Japan is another good example -- it's virtually impossible for American car companies to sell cars in Japan yet we've allowed them free rein to compete in our own market. WTF is wrong with that picture?

        • And there are only the tiniest of social programs that the Chinese government spends its money on and pretty much nothing on entitlements which make up 2/3 of the US's federal budget. There is no institutionalized 'somebody owes me' mentality keeping a large number of otherwise able bodied adults out of the workforce.

          ...and about 2/3 of those entitlements are going to retirees. Let's get those lazy old people off their asses!

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by rtb61 (674572)

          China is inevitably screwed. They are polluting themselves to death, productivity is tied to a working in poverty exploited workforce and corruption is out of control. The majority of citizens in China, by far the majority, can not afford to buy the bulk of products they produce. They live and work in conditions, that would drive the majority of more modern democratic citizens to physical violence against those who tried to force them in via the 'police state'.

          China's economic viability is purely based u

      • by 4D6963 (933028)

        We have built 135 F-22s as of now, don't you think that's enough for the time being? Besides, this "Cold War" is/will be even colder than the one with Russia : whereas the previous Cold War was ICBM rain vs ICBM rain, this one with China is ICBM rain vs ICBM rain + we depend on them because we owe them trillions + they depend on us since their economy is mainly export-based, and now more than ever they need to maintain a certain pace in their economic growth, failing that, civil unrest might get out of hand

        • Re:Not surprising (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Shakrai (717556) on Friday April 24, 2009 @09:28AM (#27701545) Journal

          We have built 135 F-22s as of now, don't you think that's enough for the time being?

          The thing is that once you shut down a production line for a modern aircraft like that it's very hard to impossible to start it back up again. I could understand if Gates wanted to reduce the number of them that we are ordering (although that also runs into issues with economy of scale, see the B-2 for an example) but shutting down the production lines altogether seems short-sighted to me.

          But then, this is the same DoD that axed production of the Seawolf in favor of the "cheaper" Virginia's -- which turned out to be only 10% cheaper in exchange for only having half of the weapons load of the Seawolf. Hmm......

          So keep your F-22 money, they're not likely to take on the Chinese air force anytime soon

          I don't think we are going to take them on "anytime soon". God willing, we'll never have to take them on. But it takes years to decades to design a new fighter aircraft. It takes years to start up a production line even for existing designs. You can't think about tomorrow when looking at these decisions -- you have to think ten to twenty years ahead.

          • by AdamHaun (43173)

            We'll still have the JSF, so it's not like we won't have *any* advanced fighters. The reality of today's world is that you don't need air superiority fighters to deal with countries that have weak air forces, and those are the only kind we've actually fought in the last 50 years. Unless we're planning for another world war, there isn't much point to having the F-22.

            An even better alternative would be to stop invading small countries altogether, but it seems to be an unshakable pastime of ours...

          • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

            by Publikwerks (885730)
            To be fair, manned fighter aircraft will soon be a thing of the past. And they are increasing funding to unmanned aircraft significantly. So maybe they are looking to the future.
            • Re:Not surprising (Score:5, Insightful)

              by Shakrai (717556) on Friday April 24, 2009 @12:55PM (#27704473) Journal

              To be fair, manned fighter aircraft will soon be a thing of the past.

              Says who? Our unmanned aircraft are all dependent upon communications with operators on the ground. For the most part those communications rely on satellites. Are you going to lay odds that an advanced nation-state like China can't figure out a way to disrupt these types of communications systems?

    • I agree that the chinese gov. probably tolerates such actions towards other cournties, and that even maybe deals out encouragement to those who can by giving them jobs. But try in americas to do such things, you will get the door knock from men in black. Then if they find that you really ARE patrioitic and not a hax00r that wanted the fame or glory, then maybe they might let you walk away unscathed, but you will be watched from then on.....maybe in the near future they might call for help if there is someth

      • That is not entirely true. If you crack systems and are not destructive, and do not represent a threat, you will likely be offered a job. The feds maintain a number of honeypots for exactly that purpose. OTH, if you broke into a real system, found out that it contained useful information, downloaded the secured data, and then put in a backdoor, you will go to prison. Quietly. If this was not in the news, you will go away for a VERY LONG TIME. Rightly so.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by CodeBuster (516420)

      The chinese are just as nationalistic as any other group. Do they like how their gov operates? I doubt it.

      Excuse me, but that statement merely demonstrates ignorance of Chinese culture and history. The Chinese have a long history of authoritarian governments in one form or another from emperors and kings to the present central committee of the Communist Party. This authoritarian bent, or at least deference to and respect for authority, is deeply instilled in their cultural heritage through traditions of ancestral worship, social primacy of elders, and the teachings of Confucius [wikipedia.org]. Most Chinese people today would

    • It is a little disappointing to see /. add to the Chinaphobia media feeding frenzy.

      I mean, there are many internal problems with China, and this hacking issue is clearly a potential cause for concern but is there and evidence that there are more hacks coming from China per capita than anywhere else in the world? I would like to see that sort of evidence first before pointing fingers.

  • Doing us a service? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by DoofusOfDeath (636671) on Friday April 24, 2009 @08:40AM (#27700991)

    To date, we've had hacks that are serious enough to alert us to the real threat, but rarely or never serious enough to cause us real harm.

    It's a gentle warning to our vulnerabilities, with plenty of lead time to do something about it. At this point, if we keep on producing vulnerable and exposed important computer systems, we share the blame for the consequences of a serious hack.

    • Re: (Score:2, Offtopic)

      by Thelasko (1196535)
      Speaking of doing us a service, how about posting some links to the hacker's blogs. I think some slashdotting is in order...
    • This is America (Score:5, Insightful)

      by castironpigeon (1056188) on Friday April 24, 2009 @08:55AM (#27701147)
      We only take action when our bean counters say we've sustained enough damage to cover the cost of change. Just look at flight safety regulations, or car safety regulations, or food safety regulations, or environmental regulations...
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by maxume (22995)

        Are you kidding?

        Many European cars fail American crash safety standards. U.S. flights are equally or more safe than the global average. The food supply is quite safe (waiter snot is probably the biggest thing to worry about, not shit in your cabbage).

        As far as the environment, you go swim in a river in China and I will swim in 20 rivers in the U.S.

        • by Wolfier (94144)

          > Many European cars fail American crash safety standards

          Many American cars fail European safety standards as well - the standards are just different.

          On the other hand, American driving test expectations are WAY below those of some European countries.

        • Well, as for european cars failing american crash safety standards, it is pretty much the same as american poultry failing russian food standards (true story, american chicken thighs is banned in russia since 2002).

          It is not that european cars are less safe, it is just that american crash tests are different (for example chevy aveo practically failed the european crash test but got four stars in the american crash test).

  • Interesting Article (Score:5, Interesting)

    by cabjf (710106) on Friday April 24, 2009 @08:40AM (#27700993)
    I read that article in my latest Pop Sci issue. It was very interesting that many of the Chinese hackers were not explicitly sponsored by the government, but do it for the fame and nationalistic pride. The hacker that the article zeroed in on seemed to disappear after college, but it was fairly obvious he was hired by some level of the government. It's like the Chinese government lets these young hackers learn on their own (so long as they aren't hacking their sites), then offers them jobs once they get skilled enough. The more direct damage from Chinese hackers is more likely from these uncontrollable hobby hackers than from the government sponsored and controlled ones.
  • 'At 8 a.m. on May 4, 2001, anyone trying to access the White House Web site got an error message. By noon, whitehouse.gov was down entirely, the victim of a so-called distributed denial-of-service (DDoS [popsci.com]) attack. Somewhere in the world, hackers were pinging White House servers with thousands of page requests per second, clogging the site. Also attacked were sites for the U.S. Navy and various other federal departments'

    The solution is obvious, get a 'computer' that can't be hijacked to be used as part of a
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by cbiltcliffe (186293)

      The solution is obvious, get a 'computer' that can't be hijacked to be used as part of a botnet, to launch DDOS attacks, to me co-opted in a spam farm, to be used to steal online identity and steal all your money from your bank account.

      I think I've got a calculator watch somewhere that might meet your qualifications.

      Seriously, if you think there is anything capable of being connected to the Internet that "cannot" be used for any of this nefarious crap, you're either seriously delusional, or woefully uneducated in security.

      Everything can be hacked somehow. If it's got a network port with a cable plugged into it, and that cable allows physical (logical connection not necessary - only physical) connection with the Internet somewhere along

      • Seriously, if you think there is anything capable of being connected to the Internet that "cannot" be used for any of this nefarious crap, you're either seriously delusional, or woefully uneducated in security

        Run the device from a read-only device and flush all the detritus from the cache at shutdown. Have the base system run the screen, mouse and keyboard and run the rest from a U3 [wikipedia.org] type device. I'm using something similar, a bunch of portable apps [portableapps.com] on a USB stick.
      • by 4D6963 (933028)
        Maybe in practice, but in theory it'd be trivial to make a unhackable computer connected to the Internet. If the only thing running on your computer is an OS which only knows how to turn raw data from the Ethernet cable into coloured pixels, I'd say that's pretty unhackable.
  • by vivaoporto (1064484) on Friday April 24, 2009 @08:54AM (#27701125)
    What's up with all these "chinese menace" news? There are two in the front page right now, and more or less a dozen this year. Stirring up the herd with this "us vs. them" mentality is something that I'm not be surprised to see on the mainstream media, but here on Slashdot?

    When it is not about the Chinese it is about Venezuela. Or Cuba. Brazil and Iran. Good old (ex)Soviet Russia. The french and the european in general.

    Echoing Homeland Security FUD the way Slashdot is doing is only to generate buzz, flamebaiting the pro- and the anti-american, creating nothing but more endless threads of mutual accusations and jingoistic regurgitation, overgeneralizing statements and outright racist/xenophobic ones.

    Fuck that, if there is nothing better to fill the main index, please, post less, not worse.
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Greetings citizen,

      We need to raise taxes to fight the Chinese.

      Yours menacingly,

      The Government

    • by Thelasko (1196535) on Friday April 24, 2009 @09:47AM (#27701825) Journal

      What's up with all these "chinese menace" news?

      <sarcasm>Yeah, and what's up with all of the "Obama administration is corrupt [slashdot.org]" news? If we keep this up, there might be an all out civil war soon. I mean, Texas is already considering secession. [usnews.com] </sarcasm>

      Seriously, there is a difference between being racist/nationalist, and stating facts. This article is fact, and you are recommending censorship. If you don't think this article is true, than prove otherwise. Don't ridicule this article because it's "not nice."

    • by tnk1 (899206)

      The editors are getting nostalgic for the good old days of the Red Menace.

      I have to admit, life's just not as much fun any more without some pinkos to get riled up about. Venezuela is working on it, but it's just another two bit banana dictatorship like Cuba. There's nothing that says "screaming Communist hordes out to rape and enslave" or "godless heathen Juggernaut" like the Red Chinese.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by mordx (463323)

      If you want to know why these articles are popping up all over the place now, all you have to do is realize this.

      Our federal government wants to pass this really awful piece of legislation which you can find a draft of here.

      http://static.arstechnica.com/tech-policy/CYBERSEC5.pdf

      They want the public to support it because it's got some fairly awful stuff in it, therefore the propoganda machine has started to insure that the public will ignore just how awful this thing is and cheer them on when they pass it.

    • that what is motivating some people in china is exactly the kind of "us vs them" mentality you denounce in the west?

      yes, such blind nationalist rabble rousing exists in the west

      but what good does it do to pretend it doesn't exist in china?

      at best, you are intellectually dishonest, at worst, you are exactly like those who are blindly nationalistic: criticism is something that you can only point at yourself. you are exactly like a blind nationalist because you think only in terms of western actions, as if there are no other actors in the world. in your world view, all we can do is criticize the west, that, for example, if china does some horrible crime, who are we to judge?

      well, yes, we CAN judge. as a nonchinese, i am 100% free to criticize china. as long as i do it with intellectual honesty, that openly admits western crimes as well

      in fact, to NOT criticize china at all, and only the west, is to serve only some sort of defeatist attitude. not nationally defeatist, but defeatist in terms of the idea that we need to move beyond nationalism, and think critically in terms of world problems free of nationalistic prejudice. you still have a nationalistic prejudice, you just apply it backwards than most. this is an intellectually inferior approach than the idea that you freely criticizing all parties in the world, free of nationalistic prejudice, basing your observations on principles, and principles alone

    • Without something to fear we might become interested in domestic politics or worse, thinking.
    • by Thelasko (1196535)

      Echoing Homeland Security FUD the way Slashdot is doing is only to generate buzz, flamebaiting the pro- and the anti-american, creating nothing but more endless threads of mutual accusations and jingoistic regurgitation, overgeneralizing statements and outright racist/xenophobic ones.

      That sounds like something a Chinese hacker would say.... only with better grammar.

    • by CompMD (522020)

      "When it is not about the Chinese it is about Venezuela. Or Cuba. Brazil and Iran. Good old (ex)Soviet Russia. The french and the european in general."

      In Soviet Russia, its about YOU!

  • What happens when you have most of a country of over one billion people trained to be consistently nationalistic?

    In fact, I thought that this was already well-known information.
  • by the idiocies of nationalism

    if anyone looks to the far east and sees a land blissfully free of the stupidities of monotheism, think again: china does have a religion. that religion is called china. han imperialism is on par with all of the other vicious forces in this world we must contend with and defeat. not that china is alone. russian nationalism and imperialism, american nationalism and imperialism... it's all evil, it all must be defeated

    one day we will have a world if not free of organized religon and ethnocentrism, at least outside the all-controlling clutches of such

    until then, we must all contend with blind pride: the source of so much evil in this world

    nationalism and organized religion are forces in this world which must be defeated if we are all to live in peace

    • Sorry, but pride and prejudice is hardwired into everyone. Once you get rid of one problem another will be right around the corner. This idea that we're going to weed out the ills of society one by one is laughable at best.
      • i agree with you 100%: blind pride is part of human nature, and we're never ridding ourselves of it. i have blind pride. you have blind pride

        i wrote the following line with your complaint in mind:

        "one day we will have a world if not free of organized religon and ethnocentrism, at least outside the all-controlling clutches of such"

        for example: you can't say with a straight face that organized religion is in complete control, nor that countries aren't coming out of the shadows of it even today. witness europe

        • by rts008 (812749)

          ...your cynicism is no replacement for real intelligence

          Neither are your delusions.

          Put more than one person in an 'area', and it's only a question of when there will be conflict, not if there will be conflict.
          The more important the reasons for the conflict, the more intense the conflict will become.

          As long as people have a sense of 'self', and any form/degree of self-determination, your vision will never be possible. If we evolve into a 'hive-mind' species like bees or ants, then your vision may have a chance until we degrade back to cavemen...then it all start

          • of course violence will never end for bullshit reasons

            do you believe we can minimize it, or not?

            or are we doomed to hellish deaths by the millions for stupid reason forever?

            if you don't believe in progress, you are part of the problem. you have complicitly accepted the evil that will happen in this world. this is not intelligence, this is mindless cynicism

            i believe we can do better. do you believe that or not?

            are you intellgient? or are you an empty pointless negative cynic?

    • nationalism and organized religion are forces in this world which must be defeated if we are all to live in peace

      I think that contains a subset of the real problem. The real problem is people thinking that, because they belong to a certain group (country, religion, secret club), they are somehow better than people not in the same group. Nations and religions are not the problem, it's the idea that "I'm better than you" because of some group.

      • the truth of course is that we all belong to a group: humanity. but there are people who fimly 100% believe that their han ethnicity, that their islamic beliefs, that their americanness, etc., is something that is more important than their shared sense of humanity

        this person is a source of our doom. it doesn't even have to be active. a wily demagogue can enunciate and manipulate their prejudices and sense of blind pride in such a way that death and suffering at the hands of islam, or the usa, or the red arm

      • by steelfood (895457)

        These kinds of social dynamics are pretty much biologically ingrained. Humans are social creatures. We're programmed to form groups because that increases our chances of success (propogation). And we form like-minded groups because the like-mindedness improves unity. Differences create divisions, and hence naturally, anyone with a different mindset wouldn't be a part of the group. It makes the ability to compromise all the more important.

        I think the solution isn't to decry this fact of life and try to fight

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by DomNF15 (1529309)

      nationalism and organized religion are forces in this world which must be defeated if we are all to live in peace

      I disagree with your blanket statement about organized religion, and with blanket statements in general. It is this kind of closed minded thinking that causes problems in the first place. There are a number of organized religions that work towards peace and the civil treatment of all human beings, I point you to the Catholic Church's pope as an example.

      Furthermore, there is nothing wrong with being proud of where you come from, as long as you are willing to accept that others will also be proud of whe

      • there is nothing wrong with being catholic

        there is nothing wrong being scottish

        there is nothing wrong with being american

        etc.

        the problem comes when one of these features of your identity is something you consider more important than your shared sense of humanity

        for example, the pope breaks this rule:

        http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/19692094/ [msn.com]

        his assertion is that only the catholic church is a true church

        "Christ 'established here on earth' only one church," the document said. The other communities "cannot be calle

    • by Plutonite (999141)

      It's called collective ego, or group ego. It's not about nationalism or religion, although with bigger groups it tends to get worse. It is part of your evolution, just like your individual ego, and serves almost the same purpose.

      • by Plutonite (999141)

        I just thought I'd clarify that this is not some standard theory but rather something I cam up with while washing dishes at home :)

        And for everybody who is about to jump out of their chair to tell me that evolution doesn't mean to do things, it just happens to do so: I know.

      • if you understand that one subsumes their identity to a group, you fail to see that someone can also subsume their identity to THE group (ie, all of humanity)

        yes, as a facet of the evolution you are refer to, and are correct about

        not because anyone wants to beleive in some cotton candy idealism of all of humanity, but simply as an evolutionarily superior attitude. groups do better than individuals and smaller groups when it comes to survival, which is indeed why we have these national and tribal and relgiou

    • Perhaps you should read "Lord of the Flies" or "On War"

      By and large, the mainstream organized "religions" (using your AD-HOC definition which includes nationalism/imperialism) create peace, not war. Consider that there are over a billion Chinese people living within close proximity to each other without absolutely slaughtering one another for their resources. Consider how few wars there actually are in a world of 6 billion, starving people, when it's hard to find any 2 people who can get along without f
  • Umm (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 24, 2009 @09:06AM (#27701277)

    How much of this is just loose, uncoordinated hackers, using proxies in china?

  • FTA

    A series of defacements left little doubt about where the attack originated. "Beat down Imperialism of American [sic]! Attack anti-Chinese arrogance!" read the Interior Department's National Business Center site. "CHINA HACK!" proclaimed the Department of Labor home page. "I AM CHINESE," declared a U.S. Navy page.

    Yep, that everything your read on the internet is true is a well established fact. Or, could this just possibly be psyops with the purpose of generating fear, fishing for funding and any other of a myriad of other possibilities beside that it is a Chinese attack, which of course that too is a possibility.

  • it's easy for the government to turn on and hard to turn off.

    The American Government is as capable as any to do the same. Anyone like to relive the political/social environment when Bush #43 was justifying a war on two fronts? I'm old enough to remember the fabrications used by Bush #41 to get congress to go to war in Kuwait.

    There is nothing special about the Chinese.

  • Congressional whitepapers on China have been warning for 15-20 years that they are actively working to develop non-traditional means to pursue asymmetrical warfare against the United States. That is, China has been gearing up to go to war with the U.S. that whole time, and we foolishly allowed ourselves to be distracted by the ridiculous Chicken-Little "Terrorists! Terrorists!" meme. It is China, not a bedraggled pack of guys hiding in caves in Pakistan, who poses the existential threat to us.

    Everyone ac

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Martin Foster (4949)

      SSBN's are not necessarily the trump card everyone makes them up to be. They are effective against other nuclear submarines such as the Alpha which is renowned for generating large amounts of self-noise.

      They are not however overly effective against diesel-electric submarines that can move through the water with a lot less noise generation. I would assume that the Chinese has a fleet of Kilo-like class of diesel-electrics that would prevent or threaten naval operation close to their shores.

      In the end, de

    • by NeutronCowboy (896098) on Friday April 24, 2009 @10:57AM (#27702797)

      Wow. I rant quite a bit about the threat that China represents, but you certainly take the paranoid cake.

      A few issues with your post:

      1. China is not an existential threat. That would indeed be the Muslim extremists. You're simply confusing the intent of terrorists with the capability of China.
      2. Nuclear boomers are not the solution, and a volley of missiles from them will not terminate the Chinese leadership. Not to mention that it will also mean the end of the US. Remember MAD? Apparently not.
      3. Panama owns the Panama Canal. You're referring to the two ports on the exits/entries of the Canal which have been leased to Hutchinson Whampoa. There's a slight, but significant difference there, especially since the US retains the official right to intervene militarily to protect its access to the channel.
      4. The treasuries currently bought by the Chinese are their Achilles hill as much as it is ours. How does it go? If you owe a bank 20k, the bank owns you. If you owe a bank 20 million, you own the bank. The comment by the ministry was the sound of a concerned investor: "Please don't fuck with my money."

      I find mostly two types of misconceptions about China: either it's a monolithic group of "Reds", with the best of the Cold War rhetoric attached to it. Or it has a master plan to gain world domination, and is deploying it relentlessly.

      Both are wrong. China has as many internal issues as any other country, and is subject to all the economic pressures that affect others. The two things that are true are:
      1 China thinks longterm. I'm talking decades, centuries.
      2 Land and respect is everything.

      China can be an issue, and is aggressively pursuing a strategy that will make it the superpower of the world. But that doesn't mean that the only interaction with them will be through nuclear volleys.

      • by Seakip18 (1106315)

        I agree with most of your points. The only problem is that once you hit a flashpoint that the GP mentioned, there is little to no recourse. You've got to a pull a juggernaut like China off the small nation of Taiwan.

        If you can achieve the same ends of a nuclear volley, minus the negative aspects of blanketing a nation(s) with fallout, you'd be a genius.

      • I wish I had mod points, or I would mod it up myself.

        Parent is one of the most insightful analysis I've seen of the current situation with China. It's quite a bit more complex than what everybody appears to think, and parent has done an excellent job encapsulating it succinctly.

  • While the article itself properly describes the phenomenon in its early stages as "loosely coordinated", the word uncoordinated is never used, and is in fact misleading in this write up.
  • by filmmaker (850359) on Friday April 24, 2009 @09:34AM (#27701635) Homepage
    Ok, over the last couple weeks, several stories have made their way into the news about cybersecurity.

    These stories overstate the threat, and, in particular, only serve to loudly announce things which are already well known. For example, the fact that DoD systems are probed continuously by the Chinese. But! That's always been true. Where were all the alarming sounding news reports last year? Two years ago? Ten years ago? Where was Jay Rockefeller's Senate bill, S. 773, which aims to restrict Internet freedom in the United States [govtrack.us] in previous years? We can all expect the media heat to increase even more as the public is whipped into a frenzy of fear, and then comes to accept that we need the Federal Government to restrict our Internet freedom--for our own safety, of course!

    As these stories come through Slashdot, we all bicker amongst ourselves as to how grave the threat is. Or where it's coming from. Or how we might combat it. It's so predictable. And while we're distracted with these irrelevant (although admittedly interesting in some cases) discussions, Senate and House bills are moving through our Congress right now which I consider to be "Patriot Acts" for the Internet. Nobody is talking about those, though.

    We get what we deserve when we demand nothing at all.
    • by rts008 (812749)

      Well said!

      This all just strikes me as more of the same old shit, like yesterday's article about OMGZZ!!! Chinese Hackers Assault the NYPD!!!!

      Some intern, or some such person who knows just enough to be dangerous finally noticed the botnet attacks in the server logs...or something similar.
      While I'm sure there are some genuine 'hacking' going on, that is to be expected. Hell, even allies frequently spy on each other! The internet does not make that news, just another of many methods.
      If any of this was unexpec

  • Cyber-Boxers? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by yogibaer (757010) on Friday April 24, 2009 @09:47AM (#27701827)
    The question remains, if this just (a very large) bunch of isolated individualists on the hunt for fame and fortune, or if they could be united under a common belief and turned into a nationalistic, anti-foreign mass movement like the "Boxers" http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boxer_Rebellion [wikipedia.org], lashing out violently against anything or anyone that critizises or threatens mother China. A lot has been writtten about the downtrodden rural masses that could destroy the chinese "Wirtschaftswunder" in a bloody uprising with unforseeable consequencesfor the world, but I wonder if we also have to be wary about something like a boxer movement in cyberspace.
  • After RTFA. I had to say, the person responsible for the article was an ex military, but contracted to do recon about chinese hackers, but should the US not be doing this, instead of some freelance contractor. Now we know that the gov does not have the most capable people working for them to filter cyber crime, imagine some dude walks in ...says hey did you look here? and presto the biggest chinese
    cyber gang bang around.

    Imagine if they actually really wanted to do something about the problem, instead of spe

  • by SEWilco (27983) on Friday April 24, 2009 @10:15AM (#27702167) Journal
    Following the tradition, I did not RTFA, but I did read the ad on this article. Cisco is advertising something called "The Realm" and illustrating it with some superhero types. Can't those guys take care of China for us? Cisco, save us! And make a reality show of it for our enjoyment.
  • by golodh (893453) on Friday April 24, 2009 @10:21AM (#27702269)

    We have an extensive and poorly secured (as no un-passworded systems, vulnerable dictionary-based passwords, no system auditing, almost no network auditing) IT infrastructure, we have loads of national and international computer burglars banging away at it, we have a lot of people who know something about IT looking for a job, and we have a government looking for sensible ways to spend money so as to alleviate the recession.

    Am I alone in thinking that it would be money well spent to set up 3 or so military schools in the US specifically to train network administrators? Students to enlist for the duration of their training (basic raining plus 2 years specialist training), subsequently 5 years of operational service as a sergeant. Graduates of this course to be unconditionally qualified for all basic network security and operation anywhere in the government (from local to federal).

    It helps protect both our civillian and our military IT infrastructure, it builds a reservoir of people who know how to secure and operate a computer network for any government agency to draw from, and it provides jobs.

    So ... how about it?

  • by DnemoniX (31461) on Friday April 24, 2009 @10:23AM (#27702291)

    Why do people not just drop the traffic from these harbors of hostile activity? Even if a cracker was located outside of China and using TOR or something similar to route through China, drop them at the last mile. This will provide at least a small amount of relief. I am sure somebody will respond to that idea with "well they would just use local zombies then". Yes, but dealing with hostile intent on your own soil is much easier to deal with than trying to shut down a connection on foreign soil. Can anyone come up with a reason that doing this on and government network/resource shouldn't be a standard practice? Does anyone in China have a legitimate reason for going to a DoD/FBI/NSA/Military network presence? Nope, not really. Should anyone care if somebody in Hong Kong cannot get to the NYPD website? Nope, not really. Sorry if this sounds a bit extreme but come on, when somebody is able to siphon off terabytes of stolen data on one of the most expensive military projects ever, measures need to be taken.

  • by DnemoniX (31461) on Friday April 24, 2009 @10:25AM (#27702331)

    Maybe our government should start sponsoring patriotic groups of our own in the same way that China does. Instead of treating misguided young hackers as hardened criminals, give them a free pass to operate outside of our borders. Send them a case of Red Bull and a job offer in a few years. Sounds fair to me.

  • "Certain privacy/full session SSL email hosting services have been purchased/changed operational control by NSA [indymedia.org] and affiliates within the past few months, through private intermediary entities,"
  • Screw em (Score:2, Funny)

    by eschnell (1540351)
    Somebody cut the fiber optic lines leaving China.
  • I believe that the proper term for these Chinese hackers is "Useful idiots" [wikimedia.org].

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