Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Chinese Keyboard Warriors wage war

From the Mailonline:

Chinese government 'hacks into White House office in charge of the nuclear launch codes'

  • White House confirmed the hack but downplayed it, saying no damage was done and it was unsuccessful
  • Military Office targeted which controls the President's travel, interoffice communications, and nuclear codes
By Meghan Keneally

The White House revealed today that cyber attackers linked to the Chinese government attempted to hack into a computer system in the White House Military Office. 

While the official statement down played the attack, saying that it was aiming for an unclassified 'isolated' network, one report claimed that the hackers targeted the White House Military Office which safeguards sensitive data like the nuclear launch codes. 

'This was a spear phishing attack against an unclassified network. These types of attacks are not infrequent and we have mitigation measures in place,' a White House official told MailOnline...

You can read more here.

In a sidebar on that column are details of how Chinese hackers are waging war on America. 

The Washington Free Beacon was even blunter in their assessment of this attack:


Hackers linked to China’s government broke into one of the U.S. government’s most sensitive computer networks, breaching a system used by the White House Military Office for nuclear commands, according to defense and intelligence officials familiar with the incident.

One official said the cyber breach was one of Beijing’s most brazen cyber attacks against the United States and highlights a failure of the Obama administration to press China on its persistent cyber attacks....

More here.

 This latest is no isolated incident, and some are paying close attention.

Back in June, WND.com had this:

China tech company brags: We hacked U.S. telecoms

Electronic 'backdoor' could let outsiders sabotage U.S. systems, sites

By F. Michael Maloof
WASHINGTON – A major Chinese telecommunications company has been boasting how it was able to hack into U.S. and international telecommunications networks and intercept what it suggested was “malicious” data.

The claim was made at a conference held in Dubai in February by officials with the Chinese firm Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd., and left specialists who attended the seminar alarmed.

They told WND that’s because while Huawei may consider the data “malicious,” the act of intercepting and extracting data means the Chinese company also could steal sensitive information or even alter the function of computer systems where the company’s products are installed....

Read the rest here.

The face of war IS changing.   As our conventional Militaries in at least three coalition countries are being brutally downsized -  USA, Britain and Canada - China continues to expand its conventional Military budget.
War On Terror News tracks these things, and has written a few times on the rapid expansion of China's Military budgets..Start here.

China is apparently also investing heavily in cyber capabailities, and despite the White House choosing to downplay the serious consequences of cyber attacks ('nothing to see here, folks') some analysts/watchers are raising the alarm.

Experts warn of growing cyber security risks to U.S., criticize Congress’s inaction

1 October 2012

U.S.and Russian cyber experts are trying to scare officials into improving cybersecurity protection in the United Statesand around the world; cyber attacks against critical infrastructure escalate in scope and severity; soon, Kaspersky Lab’s Eugene Kaspersky said: “If previous viruses were like bicycles,then the Stuxnet worm that damaged uranium enrichment centrifuges at the Natanz plant in Iran two years ago would be a plane and the latest programs, dubbed Flame and Gauss,would be space shuttles”

During a presentation at a conference held in Washington,D.C.,  former National Security Agency director Michael Hayden told officials that the United Stateshas to resolve basic issues on how to police the Internet as well as how to defend critical infrastructure.

The Chicago Tribune reports that at a separate presentation, Eugene Kaspersky, chief executive officer of Moscow-based Kaspersky Lab, painted a darker picture,saying if government-sponsored intrusion software proliferates in the same way that viruses have in the past, “somewhere in 2020, maybe 2040, we’ll get back to a romantic time — no power, no cars, no trains.”

The cybersecurity threats have escalated sharply in the past two years,as U.S. officials have dealt with the theft of trade secrets and increasing threats to infrastructure. Congress failed to pass legislation aimed at protecting vital private infrastructure networks and facilities,leaving the United States vulnerable to increasing and more powerful attacks. ...

Much more here. 

 The ability to wage cyber war can be a force for good, as we saw in the recent attack on Iran's infrastructure, which nobody has publicly claimed credit for.

However, it is a foolish government which chooses to ignore - or downplay - the very serious consequences of  continued cyber attacks on western infrastructure.  I don't anticipate that the MIC's minions have been charged with effectively guarding the US vital technological interests, but I hope that the rest of the western world is paying close attention.

In the absence of a serious response to breaches of technological security, the next war waged against the west can have catastrophic casualties.

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