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CIA Warns China Might Be Planning Cyber Attack 711

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the you-gotta-be-kidding-me dept.
malibucreek writes "The Los Angeles Times is reporting that the CIA is warning of possible cyber-terrorism against U.S. and Taiwanese computer systems by the Chinese Army. Or, China could just launch a massive denial-of-service attack by sending billions of "GET HERBAL VIAGRA" e-mails from the .cn TLD." The article has a reasonable amount of information and is probably worth a read if you're curious about what could be a real big deal in the future.
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CIA Warns China Might Be Planning Cyber Attack

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  • National Firewall (Score:2, Interesting)

    by ktambascio (227616)
    How do you think people in the US would respond to a national firewall to protect from outside attacks? Would people view it has a means to control the internet content? Or a valid and necessary element in our nation?

    My personal choice would be to have a national firewall, even though it could be used against us, or limit our privacy. But at least we could completely shut off our internet access if another country decided to attach us.
    • As long as you only shut out that specific country... However, the Internet is so not controlled by the government already, I think it might be really difficult, if not impossible to have such a firewall. It's not like as if all the traffic would pass one single point...
    • by dark_panda (177006) on Thursday April 25, 2002 @03:30PM (#3411443)
      By establishing such a system, you're practically inviting the government to abuse it. While initially, the purpose of the system might be to keep bad people out, it will undoubtedly be twisted to keep people in.

      Do you really want to give any more control over the Internet to the government?

      J
    • Re:National Firewall (Score:3, Interesting)

      by MongooseCN (139203)
      How do you think people in the US would respond to a national firewall to protect from outside attacks? Would people view it has a means to control the internet content? Or a valid and necessary element in our nation?

      Depends if we are attacked. After Sep. 11 people found surveillance cameras, wire tapping, packet sniffing, etc to be much more acceptable. I bet if China really did "cyber-attack" us, the government (along with the media) would hype it up as much as possible. Resulting in more funding for our national security agencies and more control over our information.
    • Oh, come on (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward
      The chinese have a massive military, billions of people, incredibly modern technology, a space program, etc. You honestly think that if we firewall off their nation, that will stop a *planned, deliberate attack*? OK, even assuming you have a fullproof method to wall China off from the internet (and Pakistan, and Russia, and all of the 23 other countries sympathetic to China and willing to let chinese communications companies route through them..) They could just come over to the united states covertly (they have these things called "submarines") drive to some telephone switch in the middle of nevada, and install a box that recieves commands from china via satellite and injects whatever its commanders tell it to into the american communications network. Boom, they're inside the firewall. You think if america couldn't keep agents of a disorganized, wacko terrorist network from infiltrating the U.S. and obtaining pilot's licenses last year, they would be able to keep agents of a nation of 6 billion from infiltrating the U.S. and signing up for free internet accounts on AOL?

      Remember the old adage: Digital security measures are always useless against someone who has physical access to the machine. Firewalls aren't much use if the hacker can physically get to a machine on the inside of the firewall..
    • Although the assessment concludes that China has not yet acquired the technical sophistication to do broad damage to U.S. and Taiwanese systems, it maintains that this is the "intended goal" of the People's Liberation Army in China.

      The fact that China keeps attacking before they have perfected the attacks means that we will gradually "evolve" the weaknesses and security risks out of the sytem. The first poster made a good point in commending China for helping reduce the number of insecure NT servers.

      The best national firewall will be to develop internal mechanisms for countering the attacks. Even if we wrapped a condom around China, they would still be able to attack us by launching attacks on US soil, satellies and other methods.
    • Re:National Firewall (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Master Bait (115103) on Thursday April 25, 2002 @04:26PM (#3411954) Homepage Journal
      Patriots, here at the Homeland Defense Agency, we're protecting your Freedom and Innovation with new internet blocks on foreign infiltrators. Thanks to new powers given in the 2003 American Patriot and Copyright Protection Act, we're now protecting our citizens from foreign terrorists and other enemies of the state.

      All GPL and so-called 'Open' source transfers will be blocked to protect Microsoft's interoperability patents. Although GPL and so called 'Open' source was eliminated under the 2003 American Patriot and Copyright Protection Act, reports have shown that this scourge continues to proliferate in foreign lands. We will block all foreign ftp transfers to ensure that American jobs will remain secure. American jobs mean security for American citizens.

      All enemy political propaganda websites, such as in the People's Republic of China, Muslim terrorists in the Middle East, Communist, Socialist, British Labor Party, all French and Dutch, and the (formerly) American Democratic Party will be blocked to ensure that Patriots do not become polluted with unsound ideals.

      All unauthorized downloads from pirate, copyright-violating music sites and international file-sharing networks will be blocked as per the procedures in the American Patriot and Copyright Protection Act of 2003.

      In addition, for our citizen's protection, all email received in the United States from foreign internet addresses will be checked for malicious, terrorist, or other prohibited activity to identify and aprehend enemies of the state that may be within our own borders.

    • I'll secure my own systems, thanks. I don't need the government to do it for me.

      Not to mention that I don't trust them enough to stop themselves from abusing it.
  • Are they somehow going to stop all the other southeast Asian, African, and South American countries from spamming while they do this? If so, it might actually lighten our load. If not...I fail to see anything unusual here
    • It's the CIA telling us about it. It is your duty as a Real and Patriotic American to take these threats seriously and to be afraid of the Enemies of Freedom at all times.

      Look out!! Behind you!! Oh, never mind, I must've scared him away.

      • Bearpaw wrote:

        > It's the CIA telling us about it. It is your duty as a Real and Patriotic
        > American to take these threats seriously and to be afraid of the
        > Enemies of Freedom at all times.

        I know you were joking, but what you said makes a very valid point. Beyond the usual issue of whatever organization with a three letter acronym crying wolf yet again, there is the more important issue of how these "calls to panic" are in fact doing the terrorists work for them. Al Quada in particular have an easy job of it. They don't have to take the risks of actually trying an attack anymore, all they have to do is have their jailed members lie. It gets hyped by the media, and people panic nicely. If the media had half a brain, they would have realized by now that the only people in Al Quada that know about an attack before hand are Bin Laden and the guy leading it.

        The duty of Americans is not to "be afraid of the Enemies of Freedom at all times". It is to be vigilant and kick their cans, if indeed they are evil. It is also the duty of Americans to stand up for our rights and the rights of others.

        It is the sad results of a false patriotism that has pale pink and white rags proudly flying from yards and cars, poor filthy flags lying in the road, a capital overgrown with stinkweed politicians, and a loss of real freedom. Firewalls, strip searches, etc. aren't going to come and save us. It's the compassionate heart that saves a stranger's life in a disaster, the courageous heart that defends liberty, and the wise heart that cherishes happiness. Heart alone can conquer terror and restore peace and freedom.

        America, what happened to your heart?!?

        "Heart can reach where hand cannot. Climb over any wall..." Mothra (via Moll) "Mothra 3: King Ghidora Attacks"

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 25, 2002 @03:22PM (#3411364)
    That American Hackers = #1! Go America! If Americans can hack alien spaceships with Mac laptops, then China should be no threat at all!
  • by damien_kane (519267) on Thursday April 25, 2002 @03:24PM (#3411374)
    China could just launch a massive denial-of-service attack by sending billions of "GET HERBAL VIAGRA" e-mails from the .cn TLD."

    Since many mail administrators have simply blocked anything coming from the .cn TLD (as well as pretty much any other domain known to originate from China), who is the massive DDoS going to affect?

    I think for this to be effective, not only would Chinese administrators have to smarten up and close off their mail servers, but they would have to prove it to the rest of the world... that could take years.
  • by ch-chuck (9622) on Thursday April 25, 2002 @03:25PM (#3411381) Homepage
    If China invaded Tiawan, where would we get our VIA SIS etc AMD mobo's from???? That would be a huge disruption in PC supplies, and, to the vendors delight, higher prices, thicker margins.

    • Good let the prices get higher, We'd all be making more money!
  • Great! Now we can be prepared!

    sheesh :)

    Also, there is evidence that certain Germans may covet Krakow. Be on the alert.

    One if by land, two if by sea!

    timothy
  • by edrugtrader (442064) on Thursday April 25, 2002 @03:25PM (#3411386) Homepage
    months accross the top, days on the side...

    $10 a square, the bet - when will china simply be cut off the internet and all chinese traffic blocked by all of the major routers?

    my guess is sooner than later. china already blocks the internet from itself, maybe its time for us to do if for them... although that herbal viagra really did work!!
    • by JonWan (456212) on Thursday April 25, 2002 @03:30PM (#3411441)
      although that herbal viagra really did work!!

      Sure it does... Why do you think that there are so many Chinese?
    • Where can you get a regional list like this?

    • In response to two sibling posts, you wouldn't have to know China's IP addresses... You just need to unplug the land/sea line and/or sat link that China is attached to at each major router on the Internet that China is directly connected to.
    • If China ever does implement the Great Firewall their days as a superpower are over. They would fall behind technologically. I think they are too smart to make that mistake. China has used isolationist policies in the past and they haven't done much good.

      And how can China afford to piss off the US? Who do you think buys most of the crap they make? China will need a much richer population before they have enough consumers to support their own industries.
  • by DoomHaven (70347) <DoomHaven@hotmai[ ]om ['l.c' in gap]> on Thursday April 25, 2002 @03:25PM (#3411388)
    [BLOCKQUOTE]"The People's Liberation Army does not yet have the capability to carry out its intended goal of disrupting Taiwanese military and civilian infrastructures or U.S. military logistics using computer virus attacks," said the CIA's report, which was included in a broader national security assessment that authorities distributed to intelligence officials. [/BLOCKQUOTE] What, they don't have a text editor and a book Visual Basic? Could it be that Microsoft's monopolistic pricing schemes has saved democracy?
  • Despair? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Telastyn (206146) on Thursday April 25, 2002 @03:25PM (#3411390)
    Lately I've been having thoughts regarding the internet as a whole. General nostalgia about times when the internet was free, and good, and exciting.

    I worry that the Internet is doomed to irrevicably loose what made it so good (for me). Popup ads, spam, trolls, lamers in the doom-like of the season, and the concept of 'cyberwar' fill me with despair over how misguided most of humanity is. I fear that what is probably the best invention of my lifetime will be tarnished by greed, selfishness, and stupidity.

    Guess this is how Environmentalists feel... :[
    • Re:Despair? (Score:5, Funny)

      by digitalsushi (137809) <slashdot@digitalsushi.com> on Thursday April 25, 2002 @03:30PM (#3411449) Journal
      You just gotta accept that layer 7 of the OSI is a write-off at this point and hang out with all the cool kids on layer 2 and 3.. dont go near 4, though, that's still on the other side of the tracks.
    • Re:Despair? (Score:5, Funny)

      by miracle69 (34841) on Thursday April 25, 2002 @04:06PM (#3411786)
      We're always on the brink of destruction because it sells.

      When was the last time you read an article with the title:

      "Congratulations! We're still not glowing!"

      hell, this could be a great Onion Piece.

      By. R. Jason Valentine.

      Today, the world rejoiced. It's been 45 years since nuclear weaponry had reached numbers and yield to destroy all life on earth at least one time over, and we haven't done it yet. Senior level officials at Norad and the Pentagon were seen slapping each other on the back and smoking large cigars. Said one high-ranking official, "Man, I've never done my job - which basically involves blowing up the wholeworld - and I'm glad! I hear I'm even getting a bonus this year!"

      Meanwhile, in Moscow, an unprecedented run on vodka was reported. One senior staff member noted, "Well, the Americans are getting hammered about not blowing up the world, so why shouldn't we?" Grumblings about no bonuses were quickly silenced, for fear of being "party-poopers".

      Meanwhile, Tree-hugger doomsdayers were a bit more glum. Not only have they proven to be as reliable as Clinton's testimony, but if news of this celebration gets out, they could lose a significant portion of their funding. Some of the better amongst them have come up with a great new spin, proving that American ingenuity is still alive and well. The spin? "Doomsday nears as weapons controllers man stations with horrid hangover."
  • by ip_vjl (410654) on Thursday April 25, 2002 @03:26PM (#3411404) Homepage

    The confidential alert, which was reviewed by The Times ...


    Confidential?

    We are in trouble if the best way we know to keep things confidential is to give them to a major newspaper.

    • Re:Confidential? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by lkaos (187507) <anthony.codemonkey@ws> on Thursday April 25, 2002 @04:16PM (#3411870) Homepage Journal
      Yeah, IMHO, this is all bullshit.

      Are chinese citizens planning on attacking the US? Sure, so are American citizens.

      Has the chinese government considered the possibility of cyber-attacking the US? Sure, just like we considered the possibility of dropping nukes on half the world recently.

      Is the chinese government actively planning to attack the US? Not if they have even the remotest bit of sense in the world.

      The chinese economy is _heavily_ dependent on the American economy. An attack on America would effectively be an attack on their own economy. The codependence of our economies is probably the only reason all-out-war hasn't broken out between us.

      Remember though, money is absolutely the most powerful influence in diplomacy and there isn't much that could come in the way of the massive amounts of money being exchanged between China and the US.
  • My take on this? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by WildBeast (189336) on Thursday April 25, 2002 @03:27PM (#3411410) Journal
    the CIA want to keep there jobs and they want more funds so they come up with warning after warning after warning. How come the US has so many enemies all of a sudden?
    • Yep. I think you're right.
      The "obvious" solution is to remove important networking systems from the internet requiring plenty of new infrastructure. New contracts... New equipment.... New departments.... New financing...

      If there were ever such a Chinese state sponsered attack on Western governments from China would there not be a large amount of retaliation by private individuals?? I think it also unlikely that China would not be immediately blocked by the back bone providers if an attack ever occured. Somalia was cut off, why would China be any different?

    • I believe it is a general spread of FUD by the current administration. This is not very much out of line of what John Ashcroft has been doing with regular attack fears: "we have information that terrorists are trying to blow up a bank in North East" and so on. The approach is self fulfilling too -- "we foiled their plans by giving an early warning".

      In case of the cyber terrorism, there is tonnes of e-power (censorship, morality police, etc) and also cash -- the real fire wall would dwarf the great wall of china :)
    • by cpeterso (19082) on Thursday April 25, 2002 @04:48PM (#3412096) Homepage


      Oceania has always be at war with Eastasia.
  • by Kenja (541830) on Thursday April 25, 2002 @03:27PM (#3411411)
    They will flood the US game market with thousands of knock off Anime style RPGs and poorly dubbed Kung Fu movies. After a few years of this geeks everywhere will sucumb to speaking bad english without moving there lips and thinking that all problems can be solved if only they can find the right gem/egg/key/strange furry creature. We will all hail Wu Ping, Jakie Chan and Jey Le as our lords and masters. The upcomming movie Zu Warriors [miramax.com] is just the start.
  • by delphin42 (556929) on Thursday April 25, 2002 @03:27PM (#3411413) Homepage
    All they have to do is set up a chinese version of slashdot and post links to important US government websites.
  • Retaliation? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by theRhinoceros (201323)
    It would seem highly unlikely that the US would call China out directly for cyber-terrorism (unlike recent material attacks) and respond with physical force. However, the consequences of covert retaliation, even a grass-roots "let loose the dogs" sort of coordinated counter-attack by fringe groups (script kiddies roused to patriotic fervor, hacker groups wanting to dish it back) seem rather severe especially since this sort of action isn't the kind that requires guns, ammunition, or specific combat training to be effective. Heck, people do this sort of thing as it is for fun. Imagine what would happen if they were recruited to direct their efforts in a specific direction, especially in light of the recent American patriotic response to terrorist activity.
  • Now why would the CIA warn China about an attack that they are planning? What is this world coming to?
  • by Ron Bennett (14590) on Thursday April 25, 2002 @03:34PM (#3411483) Homepage
    Such discussion is a red herring to get more government funding as well as to push for even more laws - like we don't have enough already.

    Never underestimate the extent the government will go...for example it's widely suspected the anthrax attacks last year was a government test gone awry; or perhaps more sinister, such as a way to get lots of extra funding and laws passed fast with little resistance - most everyone I've spoken with who has truly read the Patriot Act is appalled at the total disregard of the U.S. Constitution and basic human rights.

    Bottom line is don't believe all you read - but then most here already know that...for the biggest threats to our security are from within...another reason the U.S. government should NOT develop mini-nukes (a misnomer to say the least!) for it's likely they will be used against us at some point...technology is a double-edged sword and thus we should not rely solely on it to solve our problems.

    Ok, I really rambled on here, but anyways one must be careful what they believe...for the U.S. propaganda machine is running full-tilt these days to stuff our minds full of garbage and lies...it's happened before and is happening now!
    • by LMCBoy (185365) on Thursday April 25, 2002 @04:03PM (#3411748) Homepage Journal
      Never underestimate the extent the government will go...for example it's widely suspected the anthrax attacks last year was a government test gone awry


      Uh, I think you need to adjust your tinfoil hat, there.
      At least try to have your conspiracy theories make some kind of sense. Exactly what kind of government test can go awry, resulting in anthrax being mailed to US senators?


      Prof. Egbert: "Jenkins, I asked you to put that anthrax back into deep freeze, and mail our funding request to the capitol...I found our funding request in the freezer, but where is the anthrax?"


      Prof Jenkins: "D'oh!"

      • by Tazzy531 (456079) on Thursday April 25, 2002 @04:11PM (#3411825) Homepage
        At least try to have your conspiracy theories make some kind of sense. Exactly what kind of government test can go awry, resulting in anthrax being mailed to US senators?


        Check these articles: 2nd Leak Of Anthrax Found at Army Lab [washingtonpost.com]

        Or this one: investigation raised the possibility that there was a secret CIA project to investigate methods of sending anthrax [bbc.co.uk]
        Excerpt:
        Three weeks ago Dr Barbara Rosenberg - an acknowledged authority on US bio-defence - claimed the FBI is dragging its feet because an arrest would be embarrassing to the US authorities. Tonight on Newsnight, she goes further...suggesting there could have been a secret CIA field project to test the practicalities of sending anthrax through the mail - whose top scientist went badly off the rails...


        DR BARBARA ROSENBERG: FEDERATION OF AMERICAN SCIENTISTS: Some very expert field person would have been given this job and it would have been left to him to decide exactly how to carry it out. The result might have been a project gone badly awry if he decided to use it for his own purposes and target the media and the senate for his own motives as not intended by the govt project...but this is a possibility that I think needs to be considered
    • Never underestimate the extent the government will go...for example it's widely suspected the anthrax attacks last year was a government test gone awry; or perhaps more sinister, such as a way to get lots of extra funding and laws passed fast with little resistance

      I don't suppose you could provide a reference from some reputable source for this suspicion?

      Or is it too late for that and we should all get our tinfoil hats on...
      • As I said in another thread following this parent:

        Read this article: investigation raised the possibility that there was a secret CIA project to investigate methods of sending anthrax through the mail which went madly out of control. [bbc.co.uk]

        Excerpt:
        Three weeks ago Dr Barbara Rosenberg - an acknowledged authority on US bio-defence - claimed the FBI is dragging its feet because an arrest would be embarrassing to the US authorities. Tonight on Newsnight, she goes further...suggesting there could have been a secret CIA field project to test the practicalities of sending anthrax through the mail - whose top scientist went badly off the rails...


        DR BARBARA ROSENBERG: FEDERATION OF AMERICAN SCIENTISTS: Some very expert field person would have been given this job and it would have been left to him to decide exactly how to carry it out. The result might have been a project gone badly awry if he decided to use it for his own purposes and target the media and the senate for his own motives as not intended by the govt project...but this is a possibility that I think needs to be considered


        Is BBC News enough of a reputable source?
      • By definition reputable means government approved. Any underground news source is automatically branded irreputable and fringe.


        ;)


        Just because it doesn't come from a major newspaper is no reason to assume it to be false.

  • If a server starts throwing garbage over a network, most network engineers that have two brain cells to rub together will either take it offline (if they have access) or blacklist it (if they don't).

    What do you think the networks will do when a nation's government proves to spew this kind of noise all over the world? China could get on everybody's hit list by doing something like that. In that regard, it seems somehow counterproductive.

    I'm not saying it's impossible, a sufficiently short-sighted government (say, one that calls itself the "Peoples' Liberation Army" and expects people to believe it after mashing students with tanks) might attempt it.

    But in light of the possible consequences, it seems somehow e-suicidal.

  • Giant Spam Attack: and we would notice it precisely how?

    That's like threatening to pour a glass of water on someone's head, while they are taking a shower.

    I already GET 15,000 different INCREASE YOUR MANHOOD and HELLO FUTURE MILLIONAIRE emails, like another 5000 from China are even going to make a dent.
  • If the Communist Chinese think their cyberattack will cripple our military, I think they're going to find out that might not exactly work.

    The reason is simple: US military systems are NOT connected to the commercial Internet. Given that we have devoted a lot of resources to monitor and safeguard our military communications, the Chinese won't dent much of our military communications unless they deliberately drop a nuclear bomb against our military command centers (and even that won't quite work because we have contingency plans thanks to Looking Glass and NEACAP planes).

    Now, China deliberately interfering with the commercial Internet is something else, though. However, careful design of routers and careful firewall installation will likely limit any damage since the Internet doesn't really have any critical points that can bring down most of the Internet.
  • by Yet Another Smith (42377) on Thursday April 25, 2002 @03:44PM (#3411587)
    Of course, the way we figured it out is we went to the CIA and DOD and said,

    "Are you guys planning to attack Chinese computer systems?"

    "Of course."

    So the thinking goes, if we're planning on how to do it, so are they. Ergo:

    CHINESE MAY BE PLANNING ATTACK ON US & TIAWAN COMPUTER SYSTEMS!

    Awake! Awake! Fear - Fire - Foes! Awake!

    The Russians are also planning on retaliating against a major nuclear attack from the US by launching thier own massive nuclear attack.

    Ain't none of it actually likely to happen.
  • Hey, CmdrTaco, how about a spoiler warning?

    Maybe some of us wanted to be surprised when the cyber attack comes? Geez....
  • by Infonaut (96956) <infonaut@gmail.com> on Thursday April 25, 2002 @03:50PM (#3411640) Homepage Journal
    I knew as soon as I saw the title of this article that the response on Slashdot would automatically be along the lines of:

    A) This is lame. China cant or won't do this, and the CIA is stupid for thinking they can.

    B) This is all part of some plot on the part of the CIA to get more funding and/or strip away all of our remaining freedoms.

    The CIA's primary role is to examine information from a wide variety of sources and attempt to categorize and where possible act to mitigate short-term and long-term threats to the security of the United States. Given that their job is akin to predicting the future, and given that even with tremendous resources, predicting the future is exceedingly difficult, the CIA will miss a lot of things that look obvious in hindsight (Al-Quaeda was planning an attack on NYC!).So the public says "shame on you, CIA, for not spotting that obvious threat!"

    But then, they often catch things that you and I aren't even aware of. They actually do this on a routine basis, and often times American foreign policy is directly influenced by information the CIA has successfully collected and/or analyzed. Of course, the CIA can't go around trumpeting these successes, because it decreases the odds of them being successful in the future.

    So China may or may not be planning cyber-attacks on Taiwan and/or the United States. Do you really think that you for some reason know better than the CIA what's going on in the minds of China's rulers?

    The CIA has been very wrong in the past, but more often than not, they're right. Also, remember that if China doesn't launch such attacks, it's not necessarily proof that the CIA was in error. It could be that by leaking their knowledge of Chinese plans, the CIA is betting that they'll elect not to try it.

    • Of course, the CIA can't go around trumpeting these successes, because it decreases the odds of them being successful in the future.

      If they don't even want to tell about the times they've been right in the past, it is even less of a chance that they will tell the public a truthful prediction of the future (like this alledgedly is).

      What the CIA says publicly will obviously have no correlation (neither positive nor negative) with what they really think is the truth. They will simply give statements that they think have a desired effect, either on the american public or on foreign governments. How could it be otherwise? This is not because they are "evil" or whatever. It is their job.

      Do you really think that you for some reason know better than the CIA what's going on in the minds of China's rulers?

      This is a strawman. I certainly do not think so, neither do anyone else. The real question is: Do you really think that you know what the CIA knows about the minds of the rulers of China? What would CIA possibly have to gain by being consistently truthful in what they say to you to you (about as much as if they were consistently lying, I suppose)?

      The conclusion must be that to extract any information whatsoever from the CIA, you have to analyze what they say. Do they have anything to gain by lying about this matter? (Yes, a lot - More threats = more budget). Do they have anything to gain by being truthful (Sure - If they think it is a real threat, it is only good if the servers get prepared). This analysis give no reason to believe either one or the other. In other words, the article has almost zero informational content.

      Simple, no? A bit of critical thinking will get you a long way.

  • is every citizen of china getting on line and /. ing all the .gov sites in the US
  • by ahfoo (223186) on Thursday April 25, 2002 @03:51PM (#3411656) Journal
    his adult life and who rides his bike by the CIA office where they park their convoy of matching pink 50cc scooters --I'm not kidding-- everyday on his way to work, I can tell you that spooky stories about mainland China are that. . . . spooky stories. Dime a dozen, they wrap fish with spooky China stories around here.
    You want to know about a spooky country--Japan. That's a scare story that has everything to do with Taiwan. Those whacky Japanese are playing scuicide with their economy and they're going to take Taiwan with them.
    DOS attacks from Mainland China are not a threat, Japan's serene implosion is a major threat to the global economy. DOS attacks, not scarry, Yen at 200, very very scarry.
  • Remember then Chinese hacker push in early May of last year? It was to coincide with May Day and in protest over the whole U.S. Spy Plane Hainan Island debacle the month before that.

    Some MS boxen got "f**k USA government f**k poizonbox" pasted all over their IIS roots. Not much beyond that, and I think some American hackers returned the favor. A little miniature patriotic hacker war.

    Out of curiosity, I kept up to date on Chinese hacking at a site whose address is www.cnhonker.com (visit at your own risk, and don't hit the Back button ;-P ). I guess honker is hacker in Chinese. It was a toolbox of scripts and methodologies.

    But very recently, in March, the site was closed by someone called "lion". I had a Chinese coworker of mine visit the site, and she translated the brief explanation for the site's closing as "After long thinking, we have no choice but close it. Please don't write to us asking why, give us a little time. We'll be back. September 2002, we'll see you again"

    I am not much of a conspiracy theorist, but when it comes to autocratic governments, my instincts change... any bets on whether or not the Chinese Government has coopted some of their talented hackers for a patriotic cause?
  • Big deal, they slow the internet down to a crawl for a few days as firewall administrators around the globe block them.

    I've already blocked them. If the eggheads can't control their mail servers I really don't want any traffic from them. They aren't getting me any business.

    Can anyone give me a reason that I SHOULDN'T block those racists?
  • This is all about enacting a treaty that will allow us to pursue "cyber-terrorists" into the networks of china, rather than allowing the world to hack a chinese box and have anonymity.

    Scare the public into blocking china's net access and see how quickly they allow info-extradition treaties to form.

  • In other news... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by tempestdata (457317) on Thursday April 25, 2002 @04:01PM (#3411734)
    China warns that the CIA and the pentagon might be investing in and researching methods of carrying out Cyber attacks on countries such as China in case of war...

    Why does the US always feel that it is justified in arming itself with every weapon imaginable but others aren't. Remember what happened when India and Pakistan tested their nukes?

    If they are developing methods of attacking via the Internet, so are we. Yes its a good thing we know of its possibility and are going to take steps to defend ourselves incase such an attack occurs, however, it doesn't mean the Chinese are "evil terrorist hackers!"

    Just my opinion anyway.

  • This is a copy of the message which set off the chain of events leading to this news article.

    ---

    From: eli7ehax0r@yahoo.cn
    to: President@Whitehouse.gov
    Subject: fuck poiSonB0x!

    ALL YOUR BASE ARE BELONG TO US.

    FUCk PoiSonB0x! Mr. President@!!!!!`

    from: #poisonB0x@irc.haxor.cn
    w3 are leetest. America must die!!!

    ---

    Needless to say, the US elite anti-terrorism squads are taking the very seriously, and will start bombing China immediately.

    (note: lameness filter sucks.)
  • More FUD... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by wedg (145806) on Thursday April 25, 2002 @04:10PM (#3411817) Homepage Journal
    ...this article can't really be taken seriously. The Supreme Court has rejected prior restraint except in cases where National Security is involved. The article states that it was a classified report that discusses China's activities. If it was something important, the CIA could've pulled the whole article simply because it's classified - that's the only justification they need of its importance to National Security.

    Furthermore, isn't leaking classified information treason? Yeah. So read it and write it off as "FUD". China simply wouldn't be able to hack into the U.S. systems - if we thought there was a threat, we could simply temporarily disconnect the overseas backbones (of which there are suprisingly few). Beyond that, the military, for some time, has used satellites to communicate; and every critical computer system is connected to a separate internal network, with no contact points to the Internet.

    If China wants to drop some Spec. Ops. onto the Pentagon, that's a whole different story. But for now I'm not worried. Unless they try and DOS whitehouse.gov and kill all my RtCW ping times.
    • Re:More FUD... (Score:3, Informative)

      by BCoates (512464)
      The Supreme Court has rejected prior restraint except in cases where National Security is involved.

      Uh, no. The Supreme Court requires a "clear and present danger" to allow prior restraint; the example they gave is that it would be acceptable to restrain the media from releasing the location of troop ships at sea during wartime. Prior restraint is presumed unconstitutional, the burden of proof is on the government to convince a judge that the information must be kept secret. Security clearances don't do anything to stop the media if they get their hands on something, only the government employee that leaked the information can be (hypothetically) punished...

      Furthermore, isn't leaking classified information treason? Yeah

      No, it isn't.

      --
      Benjamin Coates
  • Okay using a bit of Perl we find that this article had 10 instances of the word 'cyber' in it. A stupid meaningless buzz word. Any competant admin who updates their system has very little to fear from <insert favorite communist/terrorist/evil organization here>

    I especially love the part where it tells us how 'future conflicts will be cyber in nature'. Whatever, we dropped bombs in WWII without computers I'm sure we can do it now.

    Stupid fear mongering, move along

  • by dimitri_k (106607) on Thursday April 25, 2002 @04:14PM (#3411852)
    I submitted this a few hours ago and got rejected, but anyway... One question I raised in my submission (just about where the HERBAL VIAGRA joke is in this one), and one that I still think is worth answering is this:

    The L.A. Times piece cites the CIA as saying that the People's Liberation Amry is conducting "research into offensive-minded cyber-tools" with the intent to cause damage to U.S. and Tawainese systems.

    A technical contact at the Chinese Embassy in Washington counters that the research conducted by the Chinese government is purely defensive in nature.

    There is no difference between offensive and defensive research except the intent, right? I mean, you could write a virus strictly for a deeper understanding of viral algorithms and how to protect against them. You could study more secure firewalls in order to circumvent them.

    In short, the CIA can't prove that the research is offensive in nature unless they have intercepted Chinese plans to utilize the research in an offensive way. Similarly, it would be even harder for the Chinese to prove that it is defensive.

    Therefore the news content in this article is essentially this: the CIA noticed that Chinese government studies network security.
  • This isn't significantly different from the militarizaton of space. China has space launch capabilities, and it doesn't take more than simple collision to destroy a satellite. Yet I don't worry about China (or anybody else) knocking US (or anybody else's) satellites out of the sky.

    Why? Because an attack on our satellites would be no different from, say, offshore planes or ships jamming radio signals, or, for that matter, a bunch of commandoes blowing up inland transmission towers. It's a potentially devastating move, but it's also unquestionably an attack on the US and an obvious precursor to invasion or nuclear attack.

    A concerted attack on the Internet, and especially on Amereican military computers that are connected to the Internet, is every bit the act of war as are the other scenarios.

    Folks, the Chinese are not stupid. For all the sabre-rattling Beijing might do (and let's not forget that Washington's swords are pretty noisy, themselves), they're not about to commit species suicide anytime soon. MAD aside, China is no match for the US militarily in an all-out war, and that's what we've promised if they invade Taiwan. They might not like it, but they know it.

    Should the military take steps to protect themselves against such an attack? Of course. But the rest of us shouldn't worry about it any more than we worry about CNN going off the air due to military action.

    b&

  • Sheesh, I wish these politicians and spooks would grow up. The Yellow Menace went out with poodle skirts and tailfins. These poor blokes, with George "how do you spell W?" Bush at their head, need an enemy to pad their profit lines.

    Yeah, some Chinese twits might do something annoying -- just like our own twits. Why are *their* twits worse? I can hazard a guess...

  • Isn't all the really critical stuff (defense, space, air traffic, telecom, power, finance, etc) all air-gapped? Meaning, they're PHYSICALLY disconnected from the Internet or other public networks.

    Maybe I'm naive, but I don't see how short of a "deep plant" to get an agent "inside" in a position of responsibility, very good social engineering or physical sabotage/attacks, hackers (from any part of the world) could cause REAL crippling damage (more than just defacing web sites or destroying non-critical servers).
  • by inquis (143542) on Thursday April 25, 2002 @05:13PM (#3412274)
    [flamebait]

    Ok, so public support for Operation Bomb the Towelheads is declining; what's the government to do? I know! Let's make the American people xenophobic of ANOTHER socioreligious group!

    What this all boils down to is a game of hide-the-sasuage that the government is playing with us. The general public is like a herd of buffalo: pretty dumb, hard to get moving, hard to turn, hard to stop when they ARE moving. Apparently support of the US' support of Israel (as Israel plays their own game of Bomb the Towelys) is waning, so the US needs another shiny object with which to distract the herd.

    Hmm, I know how to distract them! Let's release a shiny press releas^H^H^H^H news item! Let's see, it's buzzword bingo time:

    Hackers? CHECK
    Cyber-terrorism? CHECK
    Red commie Chinese? CHECK

    SHINY OBJECT COMPLETED. DO YOU WISH TO DEPLOY? (Y/N)

    DISTRACTION SUCCESSFUL, YOU MAY RECOMMENCE BOMBING OF THE ARAB NATION.

    [/flamebait]

    I'm sorry if I sound cynical, but the public seems to be infinitely stupid and the government seems to be infinitely willing to leverage this stupidity to their advantage. Just planting the meme of "Chinese Cyber-terrorists!" is bad enough. What's even worse is that the lemmings will be talking about this vaporous Chinese threat over the watercooler tomorrow morning instead of talking about how Israel murdered so many Palestinians and buried them in a mass grave.

    It's a red herring planted by a cynical government which isn't afraid to use blatant misdirection to draw attention away from itself.
  • by Ilan Volow (539597) on Friday April 26, 2002 @01:21AM (#3414376) Homepage
    I seriously doubt we'll notice any difference.

The world is no nursery. - Sigmund Freud

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