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China Security

Penn State Yanks Engineering Network From Internet After China-Based Attack 101

coondoggie writes: Penn State's College of Engineering has disconnected its network from the Internet in response to two sophisticated cyberattacks – one from a what the university called a "threat actor based in China" – in an attempt to recover all infected systems. The university said there was no indication that research data or personal information was stolen in the attacks, though usernames and passwords had been compromised.
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Penn State Yanks Engineering Network From Internet After China-Based Attack

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  • A logical response (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    There are Chinese nationals at Penn State and every other university in America, displacing our own people. Why don't we start revoking student VISAs as a response?

    • by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 15, 2015 @01:15PM (#49699397)

      Yeah, and they'll switch to Mastercards. Great plan.

      Wait, what? :)

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by epyT-R ( 613989 )

      Because the radical left on campuses would say that's racist and 'anti-social.'

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        Because the radical left on campuses would say that's racist and 'anti-social.'

        And the left would be right.

        • No, discrimination based on country of citizenship isn't any more racist than something like an embargo. Can it be racially motivated? Yes, but because any such blanket ban does not consider race, it cannot be racist.
      • by Feral Nerd ( 3929873 ) on Friday May 15, 2015 @02:06PM (#49699879)

        There are Chinese nationals at Penn State and every other university in America, displacing our own people. Why don't we start revoking student VISAs as a response?

        Because the radical left on campuses would say that's racist and 'anti-social.'

        Here's a thought... perhaps we should stop this xenophobic whining and retaliate against the culprits rather than applying a shotgun remedy like revoking the student visas of every Chinese person in sight regardless of whether they were involved in these attacks or not? The "drop a 2000lb bomb on it" approach may be intensely satisfying, especially to the political right. However, it causes collateral damage, it is therefore inelegant and it reeks of stupidity and desperation. Just play the old eye for an eye and tooth for a tooth game. If the Chinese can set up 'cyber warfare' units and think they can attack the USA with impunity in times of peace without it being an act of war then surely they will not complain if the USA uses the 'cyber warfare' branch of it's military to launch attacks inside China against the assholes who are doing this? ... and if they do complain about being hoisted by their own petard then they'll just look pathetic. The USA does have a credible 'cyber warfare' capability does it not?

        • We should probably make a distinction between cyber "attacks" and cyber "thefts". This appears to be of the latter variety, although of course no details were given. Ransom-ware or Stuxnet would better be classified as an "attack". No doubt the government would like any military or political intelligence they can get, and I'm sure they're working to that end already.

          One problem (among many) with equivalent retaliation is that we have a lot more worth stealing then they do. There's less of an incentive i

        • by rtb61 ( 674572 )

          Stop making bullshit claims for a start. Got a complaint, prove it in court and then apply a fiscal trade penalty by confiscating assets from foreign business located locally and placing the onus upon them to recover the money from their government. Considering the behaviour of the NSA the rest of the world could logically claim something in the order of a couple of hundreds billion dollars of economic damages. Oh, yeah and the US can also try doing it to the rest of the world.

          Stop with the bullshit, got

      • by dywolf ( 2673597 )

        no, it would have more to do with it being effectively a conviction and punishment without due process let alone accusation.

        I'm beginning to think you are having a stroke, your lack of context and knowledge of definitions is so striking.

        that or you just suffer from diarrhea of the mouth, issuing random phrases you heard once.

    • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Because that would create a major diplomatic incident over something that you have no evidence involves any State players. Just because the attack is based in China does not imply that China was behind the attack.

      • bullshit.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        Considering that the Penn State College of Engineering has a research partnership with the U.S. Navy, state-sponsored espionage is a reasonable working assumption until an investigation proves otherwise (much like suicides are investigated as homicides, until proven otherwise).

    • by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 15, 2015 @01:30PM (#49699527)

      Because Microsoft would lose all their new H-1B employees.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Want to know how I know you don't know anything about international relations? First clue is you are talking out your ass.

    • Why don't we start revoking student VISAs as a response?

      Yes, that is so much better than implementing decent security and salting passwords.

  • by andydread ( 758754 ) on Friday May 15, 2015 @01:10PM (#49699369)
    To reduce the susceptibility to these attacks engineering/research institutions and corporations should just block originating source IP blocks from China. It may not reduce all such attacks but it should help
    • by Cramer ( 69040 )

      Personally, I do something very similar... every address block assigned to APNIC. Yes, it's a shotgun approach, but it's surprisingly effective. HOWEVER, it's not something that can be done by everyone; it works for me because I have no need to talk to anything in Asia. That won't work for my employer as they have offices all over the world -- including Asia, and all of our manufacturing is done by companies in Asia.

  • Were they in clear text somewhere? If so, then they deserved to be hacked.
    • by aitala ( 111068 )

      No.

    • Ever heard of john the ripper and the 50 other password crackers that are free to download?

    • Or maybe use use of "compromised" comes from a responsible adult to mean that "a copy of the salted and encrypted db has been made which they could possibly brute-force before the heat-death of the universe so we should go ahead and replace all entries now".

  • First off, is this hyperbole?

    Moving forward, we all will need to take additional steps to protect ourselves, our identities and our information from a new global wave of cybercrime and cyberespionage.

    Second, and most importantly, how long until the US and China "come in from the cold" and enter an actual hot war(with the way events are unfolding in the South China Sea, and this cold war that has been going on for the last 15 years)?

    • I'd say it's not really a 'new wave', though it's certainly 'new' to the people who haven't really been involved in the network security field.

      As to the odds of a shooting war in East Asia, my hope is that there is too much money and profit involved for anything to really get out of hand. That said, what concerns me is the possibility that the Chinese government will rely increasingly on nationalism to shore up its domestic popular support as the double-digit growth years become a thing of the past. This i
  • "We will prepare your children for the future by hiding in caves."

  • Without knowing any of the gory details, I have to wonder if this could have been caught by the network team monitoring and characterizing the inbound/outbound traffic and watching for anomalies.
    • I'd be curious to know what sort of network monitoring team they have - if any. My impression is that most universities don't tend to think of themselves as a target, and thus this tends to be a function that network admins conduct rather than having dedicated network security personnel and IDS/IPS/etc suites the way you would likely see in a corporation or government entity.
  • PENN STATE!
  • The Penn State announcement doesn't mention China at all. The other says an unnamed source said one of the two sources was China. Where was the other?

    Other countries are doing exactly what the NSA does. The NSA does the same thing, forwarding technology information and foreign business strategies to US companies by hacking communications through ECHELON, tapping into privately owned infrastructure cables, keylogging and tapping phones at sources.

    But that's OK because it's "us" and not "them."

  • The university said there was no indication that research data or personal information was stolen in the attacks, though usernames and passwords had been compromised.

    Because you know...who would consider passwords to be personal information...

  • 'Penn State's College of Engineering has disconnected its network from the Internet in response to two sophisticated cyberattacks – one from a what the university called a "threat actor based in China"'

    What was the nature of the attack, what Operating System does Penn State run on?
  • by Anonymous Coward

    A friend of mine at Rutgers complained that attacks resulted in Rutgers being cut off from the Internet in recent weeks.

Stupidity, like virtue, is its own reward.

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