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China Says It Lacks Skills To Hack US Systems 507

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the next-you'll-tell-me-they-don't-play-checkers dept.
ScentCone writes "A spokesman for China's foreign ministry says that — China being the 'developing nation' that it is — he doubts that his country has the sophistication to hack foreign systems. This in response to statements by two congressmen regarding apparent probing by China-based crackers into congressional systems for information about communication between US officials and activists in China."
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China Says It Lacks Skills To Hack US Systems

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 12, 2008 @12:36PM (#23765853)
    How would we, chinese people with leetle leetle penises have the courage to do something like that against big americans with big penises?
    • by datan (659165) on Thursday June 12, 2008 @01:07PM (#23766489) Homepage
      it's a polite way in China to receive a compliment [google.com]
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Maxo-Texas (864189)
        Exactly.. as it says later,

        "The chinese will say they cannot do something even when they can."

        They are just being modest.
    • by jollyreaper (513215) on Thursday June 12, 2008 @01:22PM (#23766749)

      How would we, chinese people with leetle leetle penises have the courage to do something like that against big americans with big penises?
      God, that's the very first line that went through my head when I read the summary. The second line was Americans saying "Aw, shucks, you don't have to be much of a hacker, we don't know anything about system hardening."

      Of course, the really ironic thing would be if the Chinese were hacking the American systems to turn them into zombies to spam out ads for penis enlargement pills.
  • so.. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 12, 2008 @12:37PM (#23765863)
    They threaten to hack the universe and boast about hitting powerplants and such.. then a month or two later they get accused of hacking an important computer system and they suddenly don't have the sophistication to do so?
  • by AmazingRuss (555076) on Thursday June 12, 2008 @12:37PM (#23765871)
    Lacks the skills to lie convincingly to anybody it doesn't have the power of life or death over, more like.

    • by Rogerborg (306625) on Thursday June 12, 2008 @12:53PM (#23766209) Homepage
      It's not a lie, it's a strategy to receive compliments. Clearly Chinese men have issues with very low self esteem. I wonder what that could be based on?
      • by datan (659165) on Thursday June 12, 2008 @01:02PM (#23766401) Homepage
        it's part of the Chinese culture. The polite way to receive a compliment is to be modest; in fact it's bad manners to receive a compliment without protest...so in this case, the Chinese foreign ministry is merely being polite
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Anonymous Coward

          it's part of the Chinese culture. The polite way to receive a compliment is to be modest; in fact it's bad manners to receive a compliment without protest...so in this case, the Chinese foreign ministry is merely being polite
          I think you're confusing Chinese culture with Japanese. While effusively praising others is an intrinsic part of life both nations, the excessive personal humility the permeates all aspects of Japanese life isn't really common in China.

        • by ceoyoyo (59147) on Thursday June 12, 2008 @01:50PM (#23767263)
          Part of the Chinese culture? That little tradition used to be polite behaviour in the west too.
          • by value_added (719364) on Thursday June 12, 2008 @02:21PM (#23767789)
            Part of the Chinese culture? That little tradition used to be polite behaviour in the west too.

            Not to the extent it is elsewhere.

            A friend of mine told me a funny story years ago of his parents when they first arrived in the US. His mother received an invitation from the neighbours for a housewarming dinner. When she arrived, the hostess came up to her and suggested she help herself from the buffet. The conversation proceeded along the following lines:

            "No, thank you."

            "You really must."

            "I'm sorry, but I really shouldn't."

            "I insist."

            "Thank you for your hospitality, but I really can't."

            "Ok. Suit yourself, then."

            When his mother returned home in tears, her husband asked her what had happened. She said she had never felt so insulted, and didn't eat a thing. When he asked why she didn't eat anything, she replied, "The hostess didn't insist the third time!"
            • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

              by waspleg (316038)
              i was taught to only ask 2x, refusal once is polite.

              times they are a changing?

          • by gnick (1211984) on Thursday June 12, 2008 @02:31PM (#23767965) Homepage

            Part of the Chinese culture? That little tradition used to be polite behaviour in the west too.
            Indeed - In fact my politeness excels beyond that of nearly all others because of my great humility. I may be the most humble person I know - Which is even more impressive because I have so little to be modest about and so many great qualities that I politely refrain from boasting.

            To attempt to quote an old Mac Davis tune that I remember from the Muppet Show:
            Oh Lord it's hard to be humble when you're perfect in every way
            I can't wait to look in the mirror 'cause I get better lookin' each day
            To know me is to love me, I must be a hell of a man
            Oh Lord it's hard to be humble, but I'm doin' the best that I can
    • by aplusjimages (939458) on Thursday June 12, 2008 @02:07PM (#23767551) Journal
      Maybe its true. Maybe they hired the CIA to spy on those two Congressman to make sure they weren't going to do anything to embarrass the Chinese Government during the Olympics.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        Maybe its true. Maybe they hired the CIA to spy on those two Congressman to make sure they weren't going to do anything to embarrass the Chinese Government during the Olympics.

        More likely that our intrepid congressmen were engaged in a lengthy session of viewing some "non-work-related sites" (i.e., "browsing porn") and managed to snag a worm. Rather than demonstrate any personal responsibility, they picked the first easy target.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Maestro485 (1166937)
      They don't lack skills...

      ...they rack disciprine
  • by alextheseal (653421) on Thursday June 12, 2008 @12:38PM (#23765881)
    So who did it then, elves?
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by BulletMagnet (600525)
      No the Network Gnomes and Fairies did it....you know, the ones that make backups go bad, servers tip over in the middle of the night, when they get really drunk, they make your data magically find ways into the hands of the evil Chinese hackers.....

      Apparentely this foreign minister needs to go back to Marketing 101 - he missed the week where "how to lie convincingly" was taught.
    • by snl2587 (1177409)

      Gnomes. Looking for underpants.

    • by InlawBiker (1124825) on Thursday June 12, 2008 @12:54PM (#23766251)
      If a teenager from Seattle can hack WOPPER with an acoustic modem and 8-bit computers....

    • by antifoidulus (807088) on Thursday June 12, 2008 @01:06PM (#23766465) Homepage Journal
      China loves using this "developing nation" bullshit whenever it wants to try to elicit sympathy or otherwise justify their actions. Want to pollute as much as you want? "We are a developing nation!" Want to not have to play by WTO rules? Again, "Developing nation"

      If China actually WERE a developing nation, that stuff wouldn't be so bad. But China has 0 problem throwing its weight around places like Sudan where it uses its ginormous reserves of foreign currency and military know-how to help the Sudanese slaughter their own citizens in exchange for oil.

      China, if you want the benefits of being one of the big boys, you are going to have to pay the costs as well. This whole "we are a developing nation when it suits us" bullshit has got to stop, but unfortunately anyone who is actually in a position to make them play by the rules is either a cheater themselves or just so hypnotized by the theoretical promise of China that they refuse to do anything about it.
      • Sorry, the Developing nation excuse is lame. Developing nations dont produce and design electronics devices, design and build ICBMs, submarines, warships, launch GPS satellites, etc.

        And using thier logic, the USA is also a developing nation. Maybe we are a little more developed, but we still have a way to go and are making progress.

  • Yeah, right (Score:5, Insightful)

    by the eric conspiracy (20178) * on Thursday June 12, 2008 @12:39PM (#23765901)
    China has the money and skills to build the Great Firewall. They are clearly capable.

    • Re:Yeah, right (Score:5, Interesting)

      by hardburn (141468) <hardburn@wumpus- ... OWnet minus city> on Thursday June 12, 2008 @01:04PM (#23766435)

      Not to mention that a lot of the key mathematics that broke MD5 was done by Chinese cryptographers, among quite a few other mathematical and scientific breakthroughs over the last few years. Saying they don't have the capability is absurd.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        among quite a few other mathematical and scientific breakthroughs over the last few millennia.

        There, fixed it.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by chthon (580889)

      They are certainly capable. I have here a stack of magazines, dating from 1978. One article shows a Chinese computer designed back then. If China is a developing nation, then so where the US and the USSR in the 1950's.

  • The guy that delivers my chinese food seems to be pretty computer savvy, he farms WoW gold on his time off :)

    Okay.. flame away :P
  • by MrBippers (1091791) on Thursday June 12, 2008 @12:40PM (#23765917)
    ...they generally outsource all their hacking in exchange for WoW gold.
  • by Chas (5144)
    Welcome our "we're too primitive to hack" hacker overlords.

    Oh yes. One more thing.

    *COUGH*BULLSHIT*COUGH*BULLSHIT*COUGH*

    Now where were we?
  • step 1, hide source (Score:5, Informative)

    by Keruo (771880) on Thursday June 12, 2008 @12:41PM (#23765949)
    For talented crackers, it would be relatively easy to cover their tracks by using several compromised machines as proxies for their attack.
    China has large internet user base and the average Jin would likely secure their home machine as well as average Joe across the ocean.
  • Well... (Score:2, Funny)

    by geekmux (1040042)
    ...you do have the Great Firewall thing going for you...which is nice.
  • whats more likely (Score:2, Interesting)

    by thermian (1267986)
    That China hacked the systems of two congressmen they are unlikely to have any interest in, or that someone else, knowing everyone would leap to blame China, hacked Chinese computers and used them to do the attack?

    Seems to me they could use the access to try and steal something they could sell.

    If it was an attack, I mean, has there been any evidence released? Or is this just finger pointing in the absence of proof?
    • Re:whats more likely (Score:4, Informative)

      by jimbobborg (128330) on Thursday June 12, 2008 @12:47PM (#23766087)
      Read the fine article. Quoted from second article:

      "The extent of the intrusions on Capitol Hill, which officials said began in August 2006, was unclear, although Rep. Frank R. Wolf (R-Va.), whose office had four computers affected, said that other members of Congress were targeted, as well as at least one congressional committee. "They got everything," Wolf said at a news briefing, describing the attack on his office systems.

      Wolf said that after one of the attacks, a car with license plates belonging to Chinese officials went to the home of a Chinese dissident in the Washington suburbs and took photographs of it."

      • by ceoyoyo (59147) on Thursday June 12, 2008 @01:53PM (#23767309)
        The obvious question I haven't heard anybody ask: why did these congressmen have sensitive information on machines connected to the Internet?

        In spy stories you commit things to memory because they're too dangerous to write down. Have we degenerated to the point where you not only write things down but you put them on the Internet with a big sign saying "steal me?"
  • Software cracking skills are much different from, say, ICBM technology. They can be developed by an individual through reading readily accessible texts and practice. The argument that China as a whole does not have the technical sophistication to crack into U.S. systems due to it being a "developing nation" is disingenuous.
  • A country that manufactures most of the world's - well, everything - doesn't have the sophistication to hack a couple of lousy Windows boxen? Ummmmmmmmm....
  • by anglico (1232406) on Thursday June 12, 2008 @12:48PM (#23766091)
    then how did one of their submarines pop up in the middle of one of our Navy carrier groups undetected?
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by tzhuge (1031302)

      Didn't South Africa pull off the exact same feat against some NATO naval forces during an exercise?

      If anything, it's probably an indication of just how much Western military forces oversell the effectiveness of high-tech toys.

    • by Mikkeles (698461) on Thursday June 12, 2008 @01:05PM (#23766455)
      Buoyancy.
  • by Notquitecajun (1073646) on Thursday June 12, 2008 @12:54PM (#23766241)
    Remember, they readily come here to get educated at our grad schools as well. Not only could they have learned there, they could have learned HERE as well.
  • Right... (Score:3, Funny)

    by JakeD409 (740143) on Thursday June 12, 2008 @12:58PM (#23766313)
    I'm far too simple-minded to post a satirical comment on Slashdot.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      Ya know, a bunch of us were just talking about how simple minded JakeD409 was, but couldn't quite come up with a defining statement -- "too simple minded to...?" Someone suggested "Pour piss out of a boot with the instructions printed on the heel", but that was overstating things a bit - and nobody was really sure you could read so having the instructions printed might not help you much. Someone else thought "Eat a box of chocolates (My momma says, 'Life is like...')", but, while getting closer, just didn't
  • Obligatory (Score:4, Funny)

    by PPH (736903) on Thursday June 12, 2008 @01:01PM (#23766369)
    Nothing to see here, western capitalist lackeys. Move along.
  • DAMN YOU! (Score:5, Funny)

    by db32 (862117) on Thursday June 12, 2008 @01:10PM (#23766525) Journal
    I almost died! I almost choked on my lunch reading this summary. I sit down...take a bite, open slashdot, and nearly choke! Damn you editors!

    I propose that stories with claims THAT ridiculous this should have title and summary hidden with a warning so that readers eating or drinking can be prepared! I mean really...think how many geeks you might endager with a headline of "Openly Gay Republican Elected to Office"
  • by UttBuggly (871776) on Thursday June 12, 2008 @02:16PM (#23767707)
    My company is expanding into China in 2009-2010. Over 100 locations with Windows boxes acting as POS terminals (Point Of Sale and Piece Of Shit both apply here, unfortunately), connecting back to our network infrastructure in the U.S.

    I'm a Network Systems Analyst, but not in a Information Security role. Still, I felt it prudent to ask recently; "so, how are we hardening the systems going into China?" only to be met with the deer in the headlights look. I pointed out the inception of this story and then went on to describe how people could buy in iPhone 1.0 in China last year...30-60 days before last June's U.S. launch. And the fact that virtually ANY software you wanted was available, for pennies, in China. Hacked, cracked, and pre-loaded with malware galore in many cases, to be sure, but available nonetheless.

    I didn't get the sense my comments got anyone in power even a little concerned. Luckily, I can retire in Fall 2009. I'll get to read about this upcoming disaster in the easy chair with a cup of joe. I may even think it funny since I won't have to do any mitigation of the virtually guaranteed compromise(s) that will occur.

    Underestimating the potential threats in this part of the world is painfully stupid. Which explains the idiot who left an unsecured laptop unattended in a foreign country that isn't exactly an ally, economic or otherwise. There are several firms in that part of the world that offer services to Fortune firms doing business in Asia BECAUSE of the increased risks.

    Disingenious? Naw...this is an outright lie, plain and simple.

  • Sun Tzu (Score:5, Interesting)

    by lufo (949075) on Thursday June 12, 2008 @02:22PM (#23767817)

    18. All warfare is based on deception.
    19. Hence, when able to attack, we must seem unable; [...]

    The art of war, Sun Tzu (6th. cent. B.C.), I.18 and 1.19

  • by Mongoose Disciple (722373) on Thursday June 12, 2008 @02:30PM (#23767941)
    I can't buy China's official story on this one.

    Damn you, falling U.S. dollar!

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