By MIKE MCCONNELL, MICHAEL CHERTOFF AND WILLIAM LYNNOnly three months ago, we would have violated U.S. secrecy laws by sharing what we write here—even though, as a former director of national intelligence, secretary of homeland security, and deputy secretary of defense, we have long known it to be true. The Chinese government has a national policy of economic espionage in cyberspace. In fact, the Chinese are the worlds most active and persistent practitioners of cyber espionage today.Evidence of Chinas economically devastating theft of proprietary technologies and other intellectual property from U.S. companies is growing. Only in October 2011 were details declassified in a report to Congress by the Office of the National Counterintelligence Executive. Each of us has been speaking publicly for years about the ability of cyber terrorists to cripple our critical infrastructure, including financial networks and the power grid. Now this report finally reveals what we couldnt say before: The threat of economic cyber espionage looms even more ominously.
Category Archives: Cyber Polocies
McConnell, Chertoff and Lynn: Chinas Cyber Thievery Is National Policy—And Must Be Challenged – WSJ.com
(RSF/IFEX) – 31 August 2011 – The authorities continue to reinforce their control over the Internet in China, which held its 10th annual China Internet Conference on 23 August in Beijing.
Use of the Internet has grown enormously in recent years. China now has half a billion Internet users. Facebook and Twitter are censored but Sina Weibo, the Chinese microblogging website, has more than 200 million users. The public’s enthusiasm for the Internet and the government’s fear of online protests has resulted in constant advancements in online censorship. Weibo, for example, now employs 100 people around the clock just to monitor the content being posted online, according to the magazine Forbes.
» 06/16/2011 12:31 – CHINA – Either China’s Communist Party opens up to democracy or falls
by Willy Wo-Lap Lam
An analysis of China’s domestic political situation shows how, increasingly, moderates want to take part in the decision-making process. However, they face the all-out opposition of the party, which fears losing its leadership role. Social unrest is just around the corner.
Beijing (AsiaNews) – In what pundits have billed as a battle between David and Goliath, Chinese citizens appear to be pushing back on the all-powerful party-and-state apparatus that increasingly seems out of touch with popular aspirations. Efforts to challenge the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) supremacy are mounting even as the police, state-security agents, and the quasi-military People’s Armed Police (PAP) are stepping up enforcement of draconian methods to muzzle destabilizing or “disharmonious” voices. Moreover, the leadership under President Hu Jintao is apparently spearheading a nation-wide campaign to resuscitate authoritarian norms (See “The Death of Factions within the Chinese Communist Party?” China Brief, May 20).
The past few weeks have witnessed horrendous incidents of ordinary Chinese resorting to drastic steps to vent their frustrations against the authorities. Most eye-catching has been the worst outbreak of disorder in the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region (IMAR)—home to six million ethnic Mongolians—since the end of the Cultural Revolution. Since early May, when two Mongolian herders were killed after being run over by Han-Chinese truck drivers, protests involving several thousand residents have rocked the city of Xilinhot and the nearby counties of Zhenglan and Xiwu. The demonstrators, who included livestock farmers as well as college students, were protesting over the alleged exploitation of herders—most of whom being ethnic Mongolians—by Han-Chinese controlled mining companies (AFP, May 29; The Associated Press, May 29).
Unlike Tibet or Xinjiang, Inner Mongolia had largely been free from ethnic violence for the past 30 years. Given the existence of an underground nationalistic movement in Inner Mongolia, which seeks union with Mongolia just to the north of the IMAR, regional officials including Party Secretary Hu Chunhua have sought to defuse tension caused by the incident by vowing to “firmly uphold the dignity of the law and the rights of the victims.” Hu also vowed to help affected herders seek compensation from mining companies, which were responsible for polluting the grasslands. (South China Morning Post, May 30; People’s Daily, May 30; Apple Daily [Hong Kong], May 31).
Equally disturbing to the CCP leadership has been a series of at least five bombings the past fortnight in the provinces of Jiangxi, Shandong, Sichuan, Heilongjiang and Shaanxi. Most of these incidents, which led to the death of ten people in total, appeared to be perpetrated by individuals with anti-government grievances. The most talked-about mishap took place in the city of Fuzhou, Jiangxi. On May 26, suicide-bomber Qian Mingqi set off three bombs in two government buildings in this medium-sized city. At least one other person apart from Qian was killed and six were injured. In Chinese Cyberspace, however, Qian received massive support and sympathy due to the fact that he was a victim of “land grab,” a reference to the confiscation of citizens’ properties by officials acting in collusion with developers. Qian said shortly before his quasi-terrorist act that he had petitioned Jiangxi and Beijing officials for ten years, but to no avail (Cable TV [Hong Kong], May 29; New York Times, May 27; Ming Pao [Hong Kong], May 29).
“Mass incidents” featuring confrontations between protesters and police have also been reported over the past month or so in provinces and cities including Jiangsu, Guizhou, Hunan, Hebei, Gansu, Henan, Guangdong, Tibet, Liaoning, Beijing and Shanghai (The Guardian, May 19; South China Morning Post, May 29; Kansas Star, May 29; Apple Daily [Hong Kong], May 13).
While it is too early to tell whether this spate of unrest will prod the authorities toward either liberalization or enhanced repression, it is noteworthy that a number of respected “public intellectuals” have chosen to push forward political reform by using established institutions and channels. Several editors, lawyers, professors and NGO activists have in the past month declared their intention to register as candidates for elections to grassroots-level legislatures. They include five opinion-leaders who are running for seats in district-level People’s Congresses (PCs) in Beijing, Shanghai and Chongqing. The three Beijing-based candidates are think-tank researcher Xiong Wei, China University of Politics and Law professor Wu Danhong, and veteran editor Yao Bo. Li Chengpeng, a popular journalist and political commentator, plans to run in Chongqing, while human-rights writer Xia Shang is hoping to become a deputy in a Shanghai district-level PC (Ming Pao, May 28; Radio Free Asia, May 27; Central News Agency [Taipei], May 28).
In an apparent attempt not to provoke the authorities, these intellectuals have stuck to relatively neutral themes such as “promoting social equality and justice,” which is Premier Wen Jiabao’s favorite motto (See “Beijing’s Blueprint for Tackling Mass Incidents and Social Management,” China Brief, March 25). Most stated their “electoral platforms” in personal blogs and other social-media vehicles. For example, Chongqing’s Li said he hoped to help the city’s residents “realize their legitimate wishes and aspirations, supervise the government and implement social [reforms].” Beijing’s Xiong vowed to improve the social-security benefits and civil rights of “migrants” who lack permanent residence status in the capital (Chinareviewnews.com, May 29; Sina.com, May 26).
According to veteran human rights lawyer Xu Zhiyong, who is providing legal assistance to these would-be candidates, “more citizens devoted to the public interest are considering taking part in the polls.” Xu, a former district-level legislator, added, “The mere act of running for office” would give a boost to reforms. People’s University political scientist Zhang Ming pointed out that the government should encourage more citizens to realize their democratic rights. “However, it is true that the [political] atmosphere is tight,” he said. “The authorities are accustomed to controlled elections and they may not want [public intellectuals] to take part” (Taiwannews.com, May 28; Ming Pao, May 28).
Indeed, it is too early to say whether Li, Xiong and others can really become official candidates. This is despite the fact that Beijing has, since the early 1980s, allowed—at least on paper—all Chinese to contest polls for becoming PC deputies at the level of counties, medium-sized cities and districts within big cities such as Beijing or Shanghai. For instance, in early May, unemployed worker Liu Ping, 47, was stripped of her rights to run for a seat in the legislature of the city of Xinyu, Jiangxi Province. A former employee of the Xinyu Steel Works, she has a track record of fighting for the rights of workers. Last year, Liu repeatedly went to Beijing to hand in petitions to central-level departments after having been dismissed by her work unit. Xinyu authorities claimed that she could not run for elections on the grounds that she had been detained for ten days by local police for “illegally petitioning Beijing” (Caing.com, May 29; Southern Metropolitan News, May 9). Political observers in Beijing have pointed out that the authorities are nervous about liberal intellectuals and human rights lawyers running for elections partly because of memories of the 1989 democracy movement. Two years earlier, a number of activists, including Peking University student leader Wang Dan and Li Shuxian, wife of physicist and democracy theorist Fang Lizhi, had contested—albeit unsuccessfully—in polls for seats in Beijing’s Haidian District PC (RFA, June 11, 2005; Boxum.com, May 30, 2005).
Beijing’s reactions to the growing number of independent-minded intellectuals taking part in PC polls could depend on which way the political wind is blowing. Despite the party-state apparatus’ apparent lurch toward conservative ideas, quite a few official media outlets have published articles appealing for an open mind toward political pluralism. Writing in the Guangzhou-based Southern Weekend, Zhang Lihua said, “Criticizing [the authorities] is also a kind of patriotism.” Zhang, who is a member of the CCP Committee of Deqing County in Fujian Province, argued, “criticizing [the party and government] doesn’t mean opposing [them]; and opposing [certain policies] is not the same as being an enemy [of the administration].” Zhang added that “the entire society should treat yizhi [nonconformist] thinking with an inclusive attitude.” Zhang was repeating the viewpoint of a much-discussed article in a late April edition of the People’s Daily. Apparently reflecting the viewpoint of the minority of CCP liberals, the piece pleads with the authorities to “adopt a tolerant attitude toward yizhi thinking.” Citing Voltaire’s famous dictum about safeguarding the freedom of speech of one’s opponents, the article said that the “mentality that ‘you are my enemy if you think differently’ is a reflection of narrowness and weakness – and of no use for the construction of a harmonious society” (Southern Weekend, May 19; People’s Daily, April 28; Financial Times, May 10).
That the party may be undertaking a sizeable leap backward—at least in terms of ideology and tolerance toward dissent—however, is evidenced by a commentary that the CCP Central Commission on Disciplinary Inspection (CCDI) published in the People’s Daily on May 25. The CCDI, which is in charge of discipline and fighting corruption, said “upholding the CCP’s political discipline is a serious political struggle.” The commentary scolded unnamed party officials for “speaking out of turn—and pursuing their own agendas—regarding the basic theories, paths and principles of the party.” It even accused certain party members and cadres of “fabricating and spreading political rumors,” which had resulted in “the distortion of the image of the party and country” (People’s Daily, May 25; Ming Pao, May 26). There was speculation in Beijing’s political circles that the CCDI might be targeting Premier Wen, who recently asked the public to be wary of “the vestiges of feudal society” as well as the “pernicious influence of the Cultural Revolution” (The Economist, May 26; South China Morning Post, May 26).
In an editorial on the Qian bombing incident in Jiangxi, the official Global Times editorialized that “opposition to retributive killings” should be recognized as a “universal value.” “Murderers are penalized everywhere, which shows that prohibiting killing is a universal value among all mankind, which towers above everything.” The party mouthpiece noted that sympathy for the perpetrator of the “terrorist act,” as expressed by postings on the Internet, was symptomatic of “the confusion of values in Chinese society.” The paper also claimed that since “China is on the way to becoming a society ruled by law,” all disputes should be settled by legal means (Global Times, May 28; Ming Pao, May 29).
It seems beyond dispute, however, that the bulk of mass incidents in China have erupted because members of disadvantaged sectors are unable to redress wrongs such as “land grab” through proper legal channels. Moreover, party-and-state departments are seen as themselves breaking the law when they carry out the systematic intimidation and detention of globally respected human rights activists such as artist Ai Weiwei. If relevant authorities continue to use trumped-up pretexts to bar moderate intellectuals from taking part in grassroots elections, the CCP leadership risks being accused of desecrating “universal values” that are enshrined in both the United Nations Charter and China’s own Constitution.
The U.S. State Department questioned the Chinese government about a cyberattack that had temporarily shutdown Change.org after the site held a petition urging Chinese authorities to release artist Ai Weiwei from custody.
The U.S. State Department questioned the Chinese government about a cyberattack that had temporarily shut down the website Change.org after the site hosted a petition urging Chinese authorities to release artist Ai Weiwei from custody.
U.S. deputy assistant secretary Daniel Baer raised concerns about the attack in April with China’s foreign ministry, according to an official letter sent from the State Department to U.S. Rep. Rosa DeLauro. Change.org obtained a copy of the letter and released it on Tuesday.
The nature of those talks is still unclear. The U.S. Embassy in Beijing said it had no current information on the matter and deferred to the State Department. China’s foreign ministry has yet to respond to a request for comment.
Change.org, an online petitioning platform, was the victim of a distributed denial of service(DDoS) attack originating from China on April 17. The attacks nearly brought down the site for days.
DDoS attacks can do this by using hundreds or thousands of hacked computers to drive enough traffic to a website. The data will become so overwhelming that the site will become inaccessible to normal users.
Change.org said the DDoS attacks from China are still ongoing and continue to bring down the site intermittently. The FBI is investigating the case, said Benjamin Joffe-Walt, an editor with Change.org.
Change.org said the DDoS attack was its first. The site’s founder Ben Rattray believed the incident was connected to an online petition calling for the release of Chinese artist Ai Weiwei, who is still under arrest. When the attack occurred in April, the petition had attracted about 100,000 people. Now the petition has more than 142,000 signatures.
Ai Weiwei’s arrest followed the detainment of other human rights activists in China after online postings were made starting this February calling for a “Jasmine revolution“ against the Chinese government. Since then, Authorities have increased their censorship of the Web, and have been quick to block searches for sensitive words relating to protest actions.
China has been named the country of origin for several other cyber attacks. This month, Google said it had disrupted a targeted phishing campaign meant to break into the Gmail accounts of government officials, political activists and military personnel. Google said the cybercampaign had originated from Jinan, China.
Previously, the search giant was the victim of another attack coming out of China back in 2009 that was aimed at accessing the Gmail accounts of Chinese human rights activists.
China, however, has denied it sponsors any cyber attacking, and claims that the country is also a victim of hacking attempts.
In response to Richard Clarke’s article published on the Wall Street Journal, entitled ‘China’s Cyber assault On America,’ Jeffrey Carr, author of Inside Cyber Warfare: Mapping the Cyber Underworld, said on The Diplomat Blogs that the story is full of mistakes, logical inconsistencies and a serious lack of understanding of how targeted cyber attacks work at a granular level.
Carr criticized that Clarke tries to draw a parallel between the Obama administration’s protection of Libyan dissidents from Gaddafi and his lack of protection for US citizens from cyber attacks in China, when he obviously knows that although the president has authority over military actions as commander-in-chief, he doesn’t have any authority over US corporations.
From Clarke’s point of view: “cyber criminals don’t hack defence contractors — they go after banks and credit cards.” Carr also has words to say, taken Zeus and Hilary Kneber hacker crews for example, they have been conducting cyber espionage attacks against government and military employees using the same malware that they use in financial crime since at least February 2010. Carr alone has been attacked by those same crews because of it, and he believed that it is the modus operandi of the Russian and Ukrainian governments.
It is a known fact that governments around the world have informal relationships with criminal hackers that allow them a safe harbour to conduct cybercrime as long as they also conduct cyber espionage or other types of cyber ops for their host government as needed. The Russian Federation have been known to conduct cyber espionage against foreign firms for years and yet their name is almost never mentioned in conjunction with attacks from which they would clearly benefit.
Carr said he is not trying to defend China, as the country is vacuuming huge amounts of intellectual property and sensitive data from around the world, but these are also many other countries have done. They all have the technical capability of crafting a targeted spear phishing letter and gaining access to valuable data.
He further indicates that anyone who says that only China is conducting these types of attacks couldn’t be more wrong and such views are harming, not helping, the cyber security posture of the United States.
North Korea has been conducting “drills” for cyberwar against its southern neighbor using simple, but very effective denial-of-service attacks, according to security experts.
A team from McAfee looked into the attacks on South Korean internet networks in July 2009 and March this year, and concluded they were probably efforts by North Korea to test cyberwar weapons.
Those weapons are blunt and crude, but they work.
Chinese Cyber Warfare Threat to be Analysed at Cyber Warfare Europe as Rhetoric… — LONDON, June 29, 2011 /PRNewswire/ —
As China-based organisations are increasingly accused of launching cyber warfare attacks, LtCol USMCR (RET) Bill Hagestad from the US Marine Corps, will be discussing the intent and scale of the threat from China at Cyber Warfare Europe 2011.
Recently reported network attacks on Lockheed Martin and attempted hacking of the Google email database for senior US military personnel and Chinese human rights activists have been linked to China, raising tensions between the US and China as both countries begin to accelerate their cyber warfare strategies.
As part of the Pentagon‘s formal cyber strategy, it announced in plain terms that cyber attacks do indeed constitute an act of warfare.
In a recent interview with the Wall Street Journal, a US military official stated that cyber attacks could be met with a kinetic response. He was allegedly quoted as saying, “If you shut down our power grid, maybe we will put a missile down one of your smokestacks”.
An article in the Chinese-language Liberation Army Daily, which was also published on China’s Ministry of Defence website, stated that, “the U.S. military is hastening to seize the commanding military heights on the Internet, and another Internet war is being pushed to a stormy peak.”
Even though it is unlikely that all-out cyber warfare will break out, the heightened tensions between the US and Chinaincreasingly dominate the cyber battlespace. At Europe’s pre-eminent Cyber Warfare event, LtCol USMCR (RET) Hagestad will look at the China cyber warfare threat within the context of China’s history and explore the intent behind China’s cyber warfare capabilities. His session will include the:
- Definition of the Chinese cyber threat
- Organization of China’s PLA Cyber Command, key personalities
- The 8 Pillars of the PLA‘s Cyber Warfare Strategy – mapping East to West
- Specific case studies of cyber attacks by the PLA
- Interests and Intent of the PLA Cyber Command
The timely post-conference seminar has already generated major interest from senior military professionals and is fast-becoming one of the major highlights of Europe’s premier Cyber Warfare event. If you would like to attend LtCol USMCR (RET) Hagestad’s post-conference workshop or learn more about Cyber Warfare Europe, visit http://www.cyberwarfare-europe.com.
Beijing: The People’s Liberation Army (PLA) has formed a special cyber warfare unit, called Blue Team, to safeguard the Internet security of the military, Chinese Defence Ministry has said.
It is important for the military to strengthen its defence capabilities against the Internet attacks, Defence Ministry spokesman Geng Yansheng has been quoted as saying in the official media here today.
“Cyber attacks have become an international problem affecting both civilian and military areas. China is relatively weak in cyber security and has often been targeted. This temporary programme is aimed at improving our defences against such attacks,” Geng said.
One of Albert Einstein’s most memorable quotes was “I know not with what weapons World War III will be fought, but World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones”. It is year 2011 and we are already receiving hints about what the next war will most likely include, with several nations officially deploying “Cyber Armies”. Back in January 2011 and after a nationwide attack in 2007 from foreign hackers,Estonia announced the “Cyber Defence League”, an online army consisting mainly of volunteers. Several other “unofficial” cyber armies emerged in multiple other nations, such as North Korea and Iran, with several other nations admitting that they are considering recruiting capable programmers, software engineers, computer scientists and hackers to assist with the nation’s online security in case of cyber warfare.
SAN FRANCISCO/NEW YORK, May 19 (Reuters) – Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is planning to make his second visit to China as the world’s No. 1 social networking company looks for the best way to expand into that country.
“Our company mission is really clear, which is we want to connect the whole world,” said Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg at the Reuters Global Technology Summit on Thursday. “And it’s impossible to think about connecting the whole world right now without also connecting China.”