Archive for the ‘cyberwar’ Category

China Hosts Vast Spy Network, Computer Invasion Force

March 28, 2009

A vast electronic spying operation has infiltrated computers and has stolen documents from hundreds of government and private offices around the world, including those of the Dalai Lama, Canadian researchers have concluded.

By JOHN MARKOFF
The New York Times

In a report to be issued this weekend, the researchers said that the system was being controlled from computers based almost exclusively in China, but that they could not say conclusively that the Chinese government was involved.

The researchers, who are based at the Munk Center for International Studies at the University of Toronto, had been asked by the office of the Dalai Lama, the exiled Tibetan leader whom China regularly denounces, to examine its computers for signs of malicious software, or malware.

Their sleuthing opened a window into a broader operation that, in less than two years, has infiltrated at least 1,295 computers in 103 countries, including many belonging to embassies, foreign ministries and other government offices, as well as the Dalai Lama’s Tibetan exile centers in India, Brussels, London and New York.

art.hacker1.cnn.jpg 
The leader of these Chinese hackers says there “is always a weakness” on networks that allows cyber break-ins. 

The researchers, who have a record of detecting computer espionage, said they believed that in addition to the spying on the Dalai Lama, the system, which they called GhostNet, was focused on the governments of South Asian and Southeast Asian countries.

Intelligence analysts say many governments, including those of China, Russia and the United States, and other parties use sophisticated computer programs to covertly gather information.

The newly reported spying operation is by far the largest to come to light in terms of countries affected.

Read the rest:
http://www.nytimes.com/2009/
03/29/technology/29spy.html

Related:
China boosts military, cyberwarfare capabilities

Chinese Hackers Routinely Attack U.S. Computers

China boosts military, cyberwarfare capabilities

March 26, 2009

A CNN news story on a Pentagon assessment of China’s military says, “China’s military is developing longer-range ballistic and anti-ship missiles that are “shifting the balance of power in the region” and could help Beijing secure resources or settle territorial disputes, a report released by the Pentagon said Wednesday.”

U.S. and Chinese militaries need "resumption of dialogue,"  Adm. Timothy Keating told Congress. 

U.S. and Chinese militaries need “resumption of dialogue,” Adm. Timothy Keating told Congress.

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China is continuing a large-scale military buildup of high-tech forces that includes “disruptive” anti-satellite missiles, new strategic forces, and computer attack weapons, the Pentagon’s annual report to Congress on the Chinese military says.

“China has made steady progress in recent years in developing offensive nuclear, space, and cyber warfare capabilities — the only aspects of China’s armed forces that, today, have the potential to be truly global,” says the report entitled “Military Power of the People’s Republic of China (PRC)” that was released Wednesday.

By Bill Gertz
The Washington Times

While noting that China has limited ability to sustain power far from its shores, the report warns that Beijing’s communist controlled armed forces “continue to develop and field disruptive military technologies, including those for anti-access/area-denial, as well as for nuclear, space, and cyber warfare, that are changing regional military balances and that have implications beyond the Asia-Pacific region.”

Anti-access and area denial weapons include precision-guided ballistic and cruise missiles and submarines that are designed to attack aircraft carriers, the report said. The report also criticized China’s arms sales to countries like Iran, Sudan and Zimbabwe. It noted that Chinese arms supplied to Iran were found to have been transferred to terrorist organizations in Iraq and Afghanistan.

This is a serious issue that the United States continues to monitor, the report said.

Under a section on significant developments over the past year, this year’s report for the first time described China’s efforts to develop and wage computer warfare by attacking networks and electronic infrastructure.

In 2008, numerous computer systems around the world, including those owned by the U.S. Government, continued to be the target of intrusions that appear to have originated within the PRC, the report said.

Read the rest:
http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2
009/mar/26/pentagon-beijing-boostin
g-cyberwarfare/

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China Objects To U.S. View

AP

China is criticizing a newly released U.S. report on Beijing’s growing military power as interference in its internal affairs, and says it could damage military relations between the two nations.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang said Wednesday at a regularly scheduled press conference that “China resolutely opposes it and has made solemn representation to the U.S. side.”

A U.S. Defense Department report released in Washington, D.C. said that Beijing continues to develop weapons that threaten longtime rival Taiwan, even though tensions between the two sides have been reduced significantly.

The report also said that China is developing longer range capabilities that could have an effect beyond the Asia-Pacific region.

See also CNN:
http://edition.cnn.com/2009/WORLD/asiap
cf/03/25/china.military.report/index.html

Chinese Hackers Routinely Attack U.S. Computers

February 13, 2009

Chinese government and freelance hackers are the primary culprits behind as many as several hundred daily attacks against U.S. government, electric-utility and financial computer networks, a senior congressman said.

“Sophisticated hackers could really wreak havoc on our financial systems if they were successful,” House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Bennie Thompson said in an interview. The threat is “primarily from China.”

By Jeff Bliss
Bloomberg

While cyber plots to disrupt U.S. computer networks have been thwarted, significant vulnerabilities exist, said Thompson, a Mississippi Democrat.

Many of these problems will be detailed in a 60-day review the Obama administration on Feb. 9 said it would conduct on government cyber-security efforts, Thompson said. President Barack Obama also has said he would appoint a computer-security chief who will report directly to him, a move Thompson supports.

Currency trading is among the financial networks targeted by hackers, Thompson said. An attack would be particularly damaging in light of the financial system’s troubled state, he said.

He said electric utilities’ networks also have several points of weakness.

“We were provided alarming data on the vulnerability of our electrical grid in this country,” he said.

China’s Denial

Wang Baodong, a spokesman for the Chinese Embassy in the U.S., denied that the Chinese government was attacking U.S. computer systems.

“Allegations that the Chinese government is behind cyber attacks against the U.S. computer networks are totally unwarranted and misleading for the America public,” Wang said in an e-mailed statement.

Wang said the Chinese government is “cracking down” on computer hacking and other cyber crimes.

Thompson, during the interview, touched on topics ranging from immigration legislation to terrorism. He called a “cheap shot” former Vice President Dick Cheney’s assertion in an interview Feb. 3 that Obama’s policies make a terrorist attack more likely.

Read the rest:
http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pi
d=20601087&sid=aP7TPl_IQwFQ&refer=
worldwide

Pentagon Says “Secure” Internet System Was Subject of Cyber Attack

December 11, 2008

The Pentagon’s primary secure internet information system has become the subject of a cyber attack.

Experts say the trouble originated in Afghanistan when an outside Internet Service provider (ISP) was hired to support the U.S. troops in Afghanistan.  The ISP turned out to be a front company for former Russian KGB agents.

Fox news is reporting that an external drive like a “thumb drive” was most probably used to penetrate the U.S. system.  U.S. experts are working to determine the full nature of the trouble.

External drives are no loger allowed in DoD systems, we are told.

Pete Hoekstra, a Republican member of the House Intelligence Committee, says even our most secure computer systems are “not secure enough.”

The Department of Defense group evaluating the situation is unsure if Russia is behind the intrusion or another entity used the ISP front company.

“Denial of service” was the first indication of trouble for the Pentagon system.

Experts say that Russia launched a major “Denial of Service” campaign prior to and during the attack on Georgia and South Ossetia last August.  The websites impacted then included the site of Georgia’s President Mikheil Saakashvili.
.The Pentagon US Department of Defense building.jpg

John E. Carey
Peace and Freedom

Related:
 U.S. “Highly Vulnerable” To Cyber attack, Especially Military, Government

 

The official website of Mikheil Saakashvili, the Georgian President

The official website of Mikheil Saakashvili, the Georgian President, was under external control from shortly before Russia’s armed intervention last August until the end of hostilities.

U.S. “Highly Vulnerable” To Cyber attack, Especially Military, Government

December 11, 2008

Center for Cybersecurity Operations is proposed to protect military, government, and corporate electronics from criminals and other nations….

The U.S. faces a cybersecurity threat of such magnitude that the next President should move quickly to create a Center for Cybersecurity Operations and appoint a special White House advisor to oversee it.

Those are among the recommendations in a 44-page report by the U.S. Commission on Cybersecurity. The bipartisan panel includes executives, high-ranking military officers and intelligence officials, leading specialists in computer security, and two members of Congress.

To compile the report, which is entitled “Securing Cyberspace in the 44th Presidency,” commission members say they reviewed tens of thousands of pages of undisclosed documentation, visited forensics labs and the National Security Agency, and were briefed in closed-door sessions by top officials from Pentagon, CIA and British spy agency MI5. From their research, they concluded that the U.S. badly needs a comprehensive cybersecurity policy to replace an outdated checklist of security requirements for government agencies under the existing Federal Information Security Management Act.

The report calls for the creation of a Center for Cybersecurity Operations that would act as a new regulator of computer security in both the public and private sector. Active policing of government and corporate networks would include new rules and a “red team” to test computers for vulnerabilities now being exploited with increasing sophistication and frequency by identity and credit card thieves, bank fraudsters, crime rings, and electronic spies.

By Keith Epstein
Provided by

art.hacker1.cnn.jpg 
The leader of these Chinese hackers says there “is always a weakness” on networks that allows cyber break-ins. 
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“We’re playing a giant game of chess now and we’re losing badly,” says commission member Tom Kellermann, a former World Bank security official who now is vice president of Security Awareness at Core Security.

Obama seems on board

Kellermann should know: He had a hand in crafting the nation’s cybersecurity strategy in 2003. But as he tells it, government efforts led by the Homeland Security Dept. have been stymied by bureaucratic confusion and an unwillingness by agencies and corporations to share information about cyber break-ins.

The commission’s report catalogues incidents afflicting financial institutions, large corporations, and government agencies, including some first detailed publicly over the last year in various BusinessWeek articles. In an ominous note for the private sector, the commission notes that “senior representatives from the intelligence community told us they had conclusive evidence covertly obtained from foreign sources that U.S. companies have lost billions in intellectual property.” (For more on the spread of malicious software, read the New York Times article, “Thieves Winning Online War, Maybe Even in Your Computer.” )

Read the rest:
http://www.businessweek.com/bwdaily/dnfla
sh/content/dec2008/db2008127_817606.ht
m?chan=top+news_top+news+index+-+tem
p_dialogue+with+readers