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China's 5-Year Cyberwar Met With Western Silence 185

jfruhlinger writes "McAfee yesterday outlined what it calls Operation Shady RAT, a five-year campaign of cyberespionage launched by a national government against international organizations and private corporations. That government was almost certainly China's, so the question becomes: why are the Western nations silent about it? One fact revealed by the raids is that, predictions of cyberpunk novels nonwithstanding, private companies are still quite weak in the face of national governments — and it's those national governments that must act against such intrusions."
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China's 5-Year Cyberwar Met With Western Silence

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  • by vajrabum ( 688509 ) on Friday August 05, 2011 @11:04AM (#36996908)
    They're like fire extinguisher salesman who rave about the dangers of fire. They sell FUD. There's I'm sure some truth to this, but let's not accept whole the idea that what's good for McAfee is good for the nation.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 05, 2011 @11:04AM (#36996912)

    Because no one cares. Nothing of value was lost and no one gives a crap.

    Ohh a cyberwar. What the hell is that? Phishing emails and selling wow gold? And of course all the security companies are trying to sell it as the new cold war to ramp up profits. Until it actually affects us then no one will care.

  • Big = Safe! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by TaoPhoenix ( 980487 ) <> on Friday August 05, 2011 @11:06AM (#36996928) Journal

    LulzSec / Variants copy some email addresses - GET TEH TERRORISTS!!!

    China wages a 5 year espionage capaign against multiple targets:


  • by imperious_rex ( 845595 ) on Friday August 05, 2011 @11:10AM (#36996972)
    Because, financially, China has the West (especially the US) by the balls and everybody knows it. "If you're unhappy about our alleged cyberespionage, then you'll be even more unhappy when we buy fewer bonds or make fewer investments in your country."
  • No chance. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by marto ( 110299 ) on Friday August 05, 2011 @11:18AM (#36997088)
    Nobody will start a fight with China, at least while they manufacture Apple products, how would the west cope without iPads etc?
  • by bberens ( 965711 ) on Friday August 05, 2011 @11:20AM (#36997092)
    I have a different view. Megacorps view this stuff the same way they view the rampant theft at retail stores. It's a cost of doing business and it's passed on to competitors. It's only worth fighting to the extend that they can get a competitive advantage over their competitors to improve their margins. Given that the effort required to have a meaningful affect on the "hackers" is quite large and the return on that investment is quite small, it doesn't happen and the cost is just passed on to customers.
  • by Nidi62 ( 1525137 ) on Friday August 05, 2011 @11:23AM (#36997146)
    Retaliation doesn't even have to be in the form of a cyber attack. You can have the embassy in Beijing send over a note saying basically "hey, we know you're doing this, you need to stop." It can take the form of a little extra military aid to Taiwan, or encouraging some companies to switch to Taiwanese suppliers for the next contract. Maybe we just have a few extra ships stop by Taiwan for liberty, or have a large exercise in the area. Maybe a few extra flights right outside Chinese territory. Remember, in the international arena, you don't always respond tit for tat, or even immediately. Retaliation can come weeks or months later, and it can be in a form dissimilar from the original injury. So, just because we aren't talking publicly, doesn't mean we aren't responding, and they don't know we are responding.
  • by MarkvW ( 1037596 ) on Friday August 05, 2011 @11:36AM (#36997290)

    We have information crimes punishable by 16 years in prison. And now we're having information "wars."

    The Internet is the Wild West. If you don't like it, create a physically secure regimented network and don't let unregistered bad people onto it. Stop with the "war" rhetoric.

    Think for half a second. Who would want a cyberwar and who would benefit from one? Now ask yourself: Who would end up doing the dying when the cyberwar turned ugly?

    This is just a variant of the nonsense that the RIAA is trying to pull. People with money want to capitalize and control the internet, and violence, and the threat of violence (the killing and imprisoning kind) are the traditional means of imposing control.

    Don't buy into the bullshit. "Information war" can become just another synonym for the restriction of free speech.

  • by gmack ( 197796 ) <> on Friday August 05, 2011 @11:38AM (#36997324) Homepage Journal

    Or it's due to the fact that China could bankrupt the US by simply refusing to buy any more treasury bonds.

  • by petes_PoV ( 912422 ) on Friday August 05, 2011 @11:44AM (#36997392)

    Let's not for a second think that this is a one-way street. If one nation is at it, you can bet that pretty much everyone else is, too (just like torture). That it's done under the radar and with no public acknowledgement just tells us that it falls under the category of black-ops, rather than ordinary warfare.

    And unlike ordinary warfare, where it's pretty obvious who's shooting at you, in cyberwar I doubt that it's possible to tell who are your friends, or even if the concept of allies actually exists. It's not about ideology it's about sticking the boot in to anyone who appears to be getting the upper hand.

  • by gnick ( 1211984 ) on Friday August 05, 2011 @11:47AM (#36997428) Homepage

    I think that's an economic version of Mutually Assured Destruction. Of course, both sides are trying to get out of that cycle and China is prevailing, but right now China would never go to economic war with the US because there is no winner, only multiple losers. Cyber warfare, however, just gives one side an edge over the other with little repercussions. Sometimes I feel like, here on /., anytime rivalry between the US and China comes up somebody just knee-jerks and feels the insatiable need to bring up the debt regardless of how irrelevant to the discussion.

  • by Dragon Bait ( 997809 ) on Friday August 05, 2011 @12:58PM (#36998064)

    If they refuse to buy more I'm sure someone else will.

    In order to a entice sufficient "someone else" to buy the Treasury bonds we'd have to raise interest rates -- unless the bonds are being purchased for non-investment reasons. The Federal Reserve is buying the bonds to artificially lower the interest rates on the bonds: the major side effect of this action is inflation.(1)

    Or we could just default on the ones they are holding.

    If we default on the ones we're holding (yeah! debt free!) then no-one in the future will buy more bonds for fear that we'll default on their holdings -- we're now an incredible credit risk. If we eventually do con people into buying our bonds again, they'll want exorbitant interest rates: just like if you walk away from your house, you'll be charge a significantly higher interest rate on your next house.

    Either of your solutions means that the United States stops borrowing. While that is a good long term fix, we're currently too addicted to spending to quit cold turkey.

    (1) We do have ourselves in an interesting predicament where we have both deflation going on in durable goods (cars, appliances, houses) and inflation on the consumable level (e.g., food). This shows that (a) the fundamentals are bad for the currency, and (b) consumer confidence low enough that people don't want to make major purchases. What they're forced to buy (food) is going up in price; what they can avoid buying (durables) they are.

  • HUMPH (Score:5, Insightful)

    by McGiraf ( 196030 ) on Friday August 05, 2011 @01:28PM (#36998442)

    "private companies are still quite weak in the face of national governments" [Citation needed]

"Turn on, tune up, rock out." -- Billy Gibbons