America Faced With Wave of Chinese Espionage: Hello? Where Have You Been?
Deputy Defense Secretary William Lynn III never said the word China in his speech on Thursday about “Cyber Strategy,” but he didn’t have to. The threat of a cyber-attack from Beijing weighs heavily on the minds of military commanders. And while officials have not said publicly who was behind the newly disclosed theft of 24,000 files from a defense contractor in March, one of the worst cyber-assaults in Pentagon history— it may well have been a Chinese operation. And even if Beijing officials were not involved in the theft, they have been implicated in other matters—so many, in fact, that federal officials are discussing publicly what do to about cyber-attacks, without saying explicitly who their number-one villain is.
From The Daily Beast
CYBER WAR!! CHINA TO BLAME! DIGITAL TSUNAMI IMMINENT!
So, we are going to be in for a digital wave of hacking and espionage are we? Say, have you been around lately? Like say the last oh, twenty years or so? Cuz if this is the big wave, I would hate to see what the tsunami is going to look like. Well, at least this article has some of the facts right including the issues over attribution for attacks and operations. however, it still glosses over the fact that this is nothing new. Espionage by the Chinese has been a favorite past time for them with regard to the U.S. and now that espionage is taking place within computer networks.
Nope, this is indeed nothing really new. The scale of it may be the new twist here and that is really because of the interconnection that has happened over the years to the internet. We have done it to ourselves and we did it without any real thought as to the security of our networks/systems/data
But, that is a screed for another day.
Since we are so connected now, and even systems that should not have (S) (NOFORN) data have been hooked up too (I know, I have seen it myself) or said data has been placed on non cleared servers, we have been making it easier for the likes of China to get our secret sauce. China though, is not the only one doing this, but, they have made it an art form. The reason for this is that the Chinese had decided early on, that cyberspace (for lack of a less buzzworthy name) was going to be the 5th battlespace as well as the next frontier in espionage. Rightly so too.
As I said above, the networking of the world has made it that much easier to gather intelligence and in the case of the Chinese, they began to use the nascent hacker community to do it. However, old school espionage on the part of China has been going on for a long long time. If you are interested in this, then I suggest you pick up “Tiger Trap” by David Wise Suffice to say, that we have been industrially spied on at the very least by China dating back to at least WWII.
And they have been exceedingly successful.
(for more on China’s Thousand Grains of Sand and Espionage go HERE)
Back to the article and its catchy headline though, the great Cyber War has yet to come and we are woefully ill equipped to handle it right now. There have been incursions that we have found and I am sure there are more that we still don’t know about (whether or not the government has classified them, thus burying them) that paint a larger picture of the issue I am sure. So, when they cry out that we are in for the big hit yet to come, I say “heh” look at what already has happened!
Pretexts; Anonymous, China, and Cyber-Espionage:
The one area that the Beast article does not allude to that it should in my book on this subject is the current climate in the ‘cyber’ world. As you can likely tell from the header here, I personally think that Anonymous and LulzSec are the key to future attacks. Not that they are directly involved per se, at least not knowingly, but that China has latched onto their antics as a pretext for their own attacks.
Think of Anonymous, AntiSec, and LulzSec as the gift that keeps on giving any state or person who wants to carry out attacks online and have the questionable cover of it all being for the Lulz.
With all of the AntiSec/Anonymous operations ongoing, who is to say that China’s PLA has not infiltrated the infrastructure and effected the decision making process some? What better way to deflect than to use an alleged headless group of nae’r do wells to do your bidding in some larger scale attack? This is an area of thought that I have put out there before and every day I am convinced more and more that not only China is using this, but also other state actors.
…At least they would be smart to do so *wink wink nudge nudge, SAY NO MORE!*
Even if these state actors are not directly working from within the Anon’s.. At the very least they can be blamed.
Just saying… “Interesting times indeed”
Current Status China: Landlord, Banker, Petulant Child:
Beijing’s leaders have ramped up spying operations partly because they are angry at the United States, and they have been especially peeved at State Department officials; China believes that the Americans have tried to empower dissidents and to influence domestic politics. Indeed, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has pushed for greater access to the Web for dissidents, giving a speech in February in which she called for “a global commitment to Internet freedom,” a phrase that officials in Beijing found particularly galling. The Chinese officials resented her proclamations about the Net, which they believed are an underhanded way of trying to meddle in their affairs. “For them, this is a very aggressive interventionist policy,” Fidler explains.
From The Daily Beast
To conclude though, I would also like to touch on the fact that China has always been a proud nation. In that, they have been prone to reaction to any perceived sleight by nations such as ours. Much of the proto hacking that went on in China took place over the acts of countries like Viet Nam or Taiwan and resulted in defacement of pages (in a nice and polite way as well) Today though, the tenor of the hacking has taken a bit of a darker tone and much of it is due to the hard liners in the politburo taking the reigns and directing the Green Army to act.
While China holds much of our debt, they still do not have all of our assets (IP) and as such, they want to keep us under control politically and financially. All the while giving us the rope to not just hang ourselves, but to do so for China’s best interest. The only time that I will worry that China will go all out cyber war on us is when they have nothing left to use us for.
Then we are in some deep shit. Imagine they call our markers AND hit our systems with attacks. They may not have the military capabilities hardware wise, but, they certainly could likely cause our military to falter and fail by breaking the command and control as well as supply chain with attacks today. So, I am not all that worried if they get peeved at us over Obama meeting HH Dalai Lama as much as I am their just calling our debt markers.
Sure, the Chinese leaders are worried about the Arab Spring, but they will just pull another Tienamen won’t they? After all, if they hold our debt, what are we going to do to them that isn’t going to be measured to not offend? So on it will go, we will ruffle their feathers, they will hack and steal data, and we still won’t have a debt ceiling agreement because our politicians are too self involved to care about the country.
I welcome Chairman Meow…