Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

China's Cyber-Militia

kdawson posted more than 6 years ago | from the less-power-to-you dept.

Security 196

D. J. Keenan notes that the cover story of the current issue of National Journal reports in depth on China's cyber-aggression against US targets in the government, military, and business. We have discussed China's actions on numerous occasions over the years. The news in this report is the suggestion that Chinese cyber-attackers may have been involved in major power outages in the US. "Computer hackers in China, including those working on behalf of the Chinese government and military, have penetrated deeply into the information systems of US companies and government agencies, stolen proprietary information from American executives in advance of their business meetings in China, and, in a few cases, gained access to electric power plants in the United States, possibly triggering two recent and widespread blackouts in Florida and the Northeast, according to US government officials and computer-security experts..."

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

Microsoft? Windows? (3, Insightful)

westbake (1275576) | more than 6 years ago | (#23611779)

"A computer virus" is as close as this article came to the reason power companies are so wide open to any aggressor.

It's not just power companies. (3, Insightful)

westbake (1275576) | more than 6 years ago | (#23611913)

The article mentions large scale government, military and industry intrusions. They also mention criminal gangs and others besides China as those responsible.

This is an odd issue that gives neo-conservatives fits. They like trading with China, so they don't like hearing old school anti-Communist and human rights complaints. They place the interests of large American companies above those of American people, so they don't like hearing bad things about Microsoft. This leads to a large scale head in sand act.

Re:It's not just power companies. (0, Offtopic)

Macthorpe (960048) | more than 6 years ago | (#23611959)

You're supposed to switch sockpuppets before you reply to yourself, Twitter.

Such a basic mistake... I thought that the multiple accounts game was "dreadfully easy"?

Offtopic (0, Offtopic)

westbake (1275576) | more than 6 years ago | (#23612035)

I'm not Twitter and I'll post how I'll do as I please.

Re:Offtopic (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23612151)

That's a mouthful. Have a cookie.

Re:Offtopic (0, Offtopic)

Macthorpe (960048) | more than 6 years ago | (#23612393)

I'm not Twitter
Yeah, you are. I'll also mention that I found the two anonymous posts you put on one article on the Register. I'm yet to find anyone who can write "Windoze" with quite the same amount of smug venom as you.

Re:It's not just power companies. (4, Insightful)

dotancohen (1015143) | more than 6 years ago | (#23612003)

The article mentions large scale government, military and industry intrusions. They also mention criminal gangs and others besides China as those responsible.

Why not? If Scientology has managed to infiltrate US institutions [wikipedia.org] then why can't China do it with their forged Cisco equipment at every gateway?

China is well situated. (4, Insightful)

westbake (1275576) | more than 6 years ago | (#23612145)

The submitter quotes the most frightening parts of the article [slashdot.org] and our current "trade partner" China is well positioned to spy. We trust them to make equipment and non free software like Cisco routere has proved itself impossible to check.

Still, most of the hacks are common and anyone could do it. Time and time again we read about autopropagating botnets for Windows and how they cover large parts of the internet [usatoday.com] . When that system is used on corporate and government desktops, anyone can exploit it.

Re:It's not just power companies. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23612165)

What makes you think they couldn't do it with real cisco equipment?

Re:It's not just power companies. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23612349)

What makes you think they couldn't do it with real cisco equipment?
What makes you think people will expend energy answering an AC?

Re:Microsoft? Windows? (0, Offtopic)

willyhill (965620) | more than 6 years ago | (#23612715)

I see you forgot to switch sockpuppets before replying to yourself.

Maybe we could organize a code bounty and have someone write you a Firefox extension that makes this easy. A combination HTML highlighter (so that you know you already posted in a thread) and account changer. It could be called SockpuppetSlashFox. Or SlashPuppetFox. Or TwitterSlashPuppetFoxSwitcher. Or just pathetic.

Then you could continue to promote free software in your very special [slashdot.org] way.

It is not all windows fault (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23613003)

The feds are liars. A number of the network switches that are coming in from China are made with custom chips from China. They are out and out openings that allow China into our network. China is very caustious about using that backdoor. The real problem is that we have so many of these switches in our network, that we would have to replace ALL of them. Slim to no chance of that happening. But the feds keep quiet about because it will cause a sheer panic at a time when about the ONLY thing propping up the market is tech. IOW, Bush's admin and the republicans are lying all the time moving us from one disaster to another. GD their black hearts.

My power went out for an hour yesterday (1)

MillionthMonkey (240664) | more than 6 years ago | (#23611817)

Now I know the truth- it was the Chinese cyber-militia!

You may be more involved than you think you are. (1)

Odder (1288958) | more than 6 years ago | (#23611969)

If you run Windows on a cable modem or DSL, there's a good chance your computer is part of a botnet.

Re:My power went out for an hour yesterday (1)

Ethanol-fueled (1125189) | more than 6 years ago | (#23611991)

The US Gov't should buy some or all of the storm botnet from the Russian Mafia(capitalism at it's finest!) and DDoS the hell out of any offending Chinese I.P.'s.

That'll teach them reds! Oh, wait.

Counter-Strike (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23611825)

The USA reminds me of those arrogant but primitive Counter-Strike players: whenever someone beats them, they accuse them of cheating. They love capitalism as long as it favors them; when it starts working both ways, they start looking for excuses.

If the USA wants to blame someone, maybe it should look at its own greed, cost-cutting, and sacrificing of the country's economy for short-term profits.

Huh!? (5, Insightful)

fluch (126140) | more than 6 years ago | (#23611855)

Are vital parts of power plants connected to The Internet? Why?

Re:Huh!? (4, Insightful)

ChowRiit (939581) | more than 6 years ago | (#23611885)

You beat me to it - hell, my old SCHOOL didn't have their servers that contained student records connected to the internet, and this was back 5+ years ago when people were less well educated on these things.

That ANY major infrastructure would be connected to the internet is shocking, and I'd really like to believe that people aren't that stupid...

Re:Huh!? (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 6 years ago | (#23612173)

I'm sure they've got those servers online by now. People have learned a lot about how to monetize the value providers in the last 5 years.

Snarking a bit more, Google has a HUGE amount of infrastructure connected to the internet. It's almost as if their business depends on it. That isn't the kind of infrastructure you are talking about, but it is still a mildly amusing counterpoint.

of course (1)

r00t (33219) | more than 6 years ago | (#23611895)

People need to communicate. There is no place to
draw a line, cutting off more-vital parts from the
less-vital parts.

There mechanical protection systems, so you won't
be making meltdowns over the net.

Re:of course (4, Insightful)

fluch (126140) | more than 6 years ago | (#23611941)

The computers which control the plant should be physically separated from the computers which are needed/wanted for connection with the internet. Otherwise you are begging for disasters.

Re:of course (2, Funny)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 6 years ago | (#23612233)

The computers which control the plant should be physically separated from the computers which are needed/wanted for connection with the internet. Otherwise you are begging for disasters.
It's more like the trees which grow next to the powerlines should be kept trimmed.
Otherwise you are begging for disasters.

Did Hackers Cause the 2003 Northeast Blackout? Umm, No
http://blog.wired.com/27bstroke6/2008/05/did-hackers-cau.html [wired.com]

So China would have to have planted the race condition in a [General Electric] product used around the world, then, using the most devious malware ever devised, arranged for trees to grow up into exactly the right power lines at precisely the right time to trigger the cascade.

Re:of course (1)

ChowRiit (939581) | more than 6 years ago | (#23611957)

I'm not entirely sure what you're saying, your grammar is appalling, but I think you're trying to say the need for communication means all systems should be networked.

Why does communication need to be on the same network as the critical systems? Surely critical systems should be kept off ANY system connected to the internet. Hell, even communications should probably be done over a private network/system that isn't integrated with the main internet...

Re:Huh!? (1)

rfreedman (987798) | more than 6 years ago | (#23612011)

Yeah, but what I find equally amazing is that the U.S. military commonly uses MS Windows and both commercial and Open Source software. Just google 'U.S. Military COTS Software' - COTS means 'Common Off The Shelf' - yeah, the gub'ment has an acronym for everything :-)

Re:Huh!? (2, Insightful)

Stradivarius (7490) | more than 6 years ago | (#23612143)

What's the alternative to COTS? Custom-building every piece of hardware and writing every piece of code from the firmware, to the operating system, and applications in-house?

There's a lot of reason to believe that doing so would result in less secure software. The software would have less people trying to break it, thus less opportunity to find and fix the inevitable bugs. There's something to be said for the trial-by-fire that is a public release of software. And in many cases it probably wouldn't get the same investment of dollars into the software as the commercial world can afford, so you have less money to fix said bugs when they were discovered.

Similarly the software would likely be less functional, given that even the defense budget is not infinite. It just makes sense to leverage COTS, provided you can ensure adequate supply of parts in a major conflict. That is a challenge with the effects of globalization.

Using COTS where it makes sense doesn't mean you should hook everything up the Internet though.

Re:MIlitary doesn't allow Firefox (1)

purpleraison (1042004) | more than 6 years ago | (#23612249)

I wanted to have Firefox installed and use it instead of Internet Explorer 6 (yes, 6), but it is against regulations to have it installed these days.

Clearly military security is reactive, as opposed to proactive -- sad, but true.

Re:MIlitary doesn't allow Firefox (1)

Enderandrew (866215) | more than 6 years ago | (#23612563)

The answer is to use portable firefox, and then you don't have to install it.

Re:Huh!? (1)

grizdog (1224414) | more than 6 years ago | (#23612017)

The article was so vague that it may not be that vital power systems are on the internet - I hope we get some comments from people who know about such things, especially people who work in power company IT departments.

I remember years ago I was consultant for the NSA, and on one occasion I entered a computer room at the Friendship Annex ("why is that red light flashing?" "Because you're in here"). I saw the low security machine that I would use to communicate with my contracting officers, and right next to it was a high-security machine, not on arpanet (this was a real long time ago), but connected to the low security machine. People do strange things sometimes.

Re:Huh!? (1)

blhack (921171) | more than 6 years ago | (#23612825)

They aren't.

However, the computers that hook into the SCADA systems are.

Although, I would love to see the manual for operating a power plant start like ths:

"Open a web browser (internet explorer is recommended(read:required due to some fucking activex crap on the page)) and navigate to http://10.8.0.15441/ [8.0.15441] you will be promted to log in. The default password is "Admin" with no username. Please change this as soon as possible".

Difficult since hackers hide behind huge NAT (0)

amrik98 (1214484) | more than 6 years ago | (#23611861)

It's hard to prosecute hackers and spammers when they hide behind the Great Firewall of China. The information is of course in the NAT logs, but these are controlled by their government. Thats why when I see automated SSH cracking attempts at my computer I can't really do anything other than block it.

Re:Difficult since hackers hide behind huge NAT (1)

david.given (6740) | more than 6 years ago | (#23612651)

It's hard to prosecute hackers and spammers when they hide behind the Great Firewall of China. The information is of course in the NAT logs, but these are controlled by their government.

You do know that the Great Firewall is not, in fact, a NAT? It's just a simple filtering service applied on the master gateways to the outside world. It does proxy DNS, but that's it; all other packets are either passed through unchanged or blocked entirely, depending on the firewall policy.

Go look at the Wikipedia article; it's got a reasonable amount of technical information.

Re:Difficult since hackers hide behind huge NAT (1)

Ziest (143204) | more than 6 years ago | (#23612733)

Yep, These bozos were banging away at my sshd process for weeks until I changed the port sshd listens on. Now, I change it every months or so and alert the people who need to login into these servers that the port has changed.

I hope this guy isn't getting paid (4, Funny)

ShieldW0lf (601553) | more than 6 years ago | (#23611865)

Computer hackers in China, including those working on behalf of the Chinese government and military, have penetrated deeply into the information systems of U.S. companies and government agencies, stolen proprietary information from American executives in advance of their business meetings in China, and, in a few cases, gained access to electric power plants in the United States, possibly triggering two recent and widespread blackouts in Florida and the Northeast, according to U.S. government officials and computer-security experts.

Wow, has professional writing ever gone downhill. Ever heard of a period?

Re:I hope this guy isn't getting paid (0, Offtopic)

dotancohen (1015143) | more than 6 years ago | (#23612025)

Wow, has professional writing ever gone downhill. Ever heard of a period?
Some guys just don't like doing it on the rag.

Re:I hope this guy isn't getting paid (3, Insightful)

Cairnarvon (901868) | more than 6 years ago | (#23612217)

The sentence is as clear as it can be, and splitting it up would only serve to add padding and dilute the information content. I realise catering to short attention spans is the in thing to do right now, but come on.

Re:I hope this guy isn't getting paid (4, Informative)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 6 years ago | (#23612271)

Wow, has professional writing ever gone downhill. Ever heard of a period?
You've obviously never read anything written over a hundred years ago.
Professional writing used to be a competition to put on paper the longest sentence with the least amount of punctuation possible.

What we call a paragraph, they called a sentence.

Re:I hope this guy isn't getting paid (2, Funny)

couchslug (175151) | more than 6 years ago | (#23612973)

"Wow, has professional writing ever gone downhill. Ever heard of a period?"

No

Some quotes from the article (5, Interesting)

D. J. Keenan (524557) | more than 6 years ago | (#23611875)

[I am the submitter.]
It is a long article, but worth reading. The suspicion of Chinese involvement in two major U.S. power outages is extremely worrying. Following are quotes on related aspects.

The Central Intelligence Agency's chief cyber-security officer, Tom Donahue, said that hackers had breached the computer systems of utility companies outside the United States and that they had even demanded ransom.

... many of the systems that [U.S.] utility operators use were designed by others. Intelligence officials now worry that software developed overseas poses another layer of risk because malicious codes or backdoors can be embedded in the software at its creation. U.S. officials have singled out software manufacturers in emerging markets such as, not surprisingly, China.

"Numerous computer networks around the world, including those owned by the U.S. government, were subject to intrusions [in 2007] that appear to have originated within" the People's Republic of China. ... the [Chinese] Army is "building capabilities for information warfare" for possible use in "pre-emptive attacks."

Re:Some quotes from the article (3, Informative)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 6 years ago | (#23612191)

How about another view [wired.com] on this.

If you don't want to go there, the short version is that the data for hacking into the power systems is pretty darn weak.

Since we can't beat up Iran anymore, we have to have somebody to hate.

Re:Some quotes from the article (1)

fan of lem (1092395) | more than 6 years ago | (#23612533)

Intelligence officials now worry that software developed overseas poses another layer of risk because malicious codes or backdoors can be embedded in the software at its creation.

Perhaps now they will see the value in open source :P Although come to think of it, if the US government outsources its software from other countries, isn't it just prudent to demand for the source code, too?

Washington is full of pussies (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23611889)

Here we are fighting this "war on terror" on a bunch of arabs hiding in caves, and a bunch of arabs hiding in iraqi slums who are not a threat whatsoever to the USA while we have the 1000 pound behemoth that is China completely owning our infrastructure through investments, and espionage. The folks in Washington are a bunch of pussies who can not get their priorities straight. Well people we are in for a rude awakening. China has a brand spanking new fleet of nuclear armed subs just sitting off the coat of the USA, THAT is a true threat, NOT a bunch of arabs hiding in caves. World War 3 will start with a conflict with China, not these arabs hiding in caves. Washinging needs to grow a pair and focus it's efforts on China. I can't fathom why we are still in the middle east. I guess it's just a power hunger grab for arab oil.

I hope the Chinese own Washington's computers and shuts down the Shithouse (Whitehouse) then possibly(?) Washington will grow a pair and get us the fuck out of the middle east to focus on more imporatant issues.

Re:Washington is full of pussies (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23611983)

I hope the Chinese own Washington's computers and shuts down the Shithouse (Whitehouse) then possibly(?) Washington will grow a pair and get us the fuck out of the middle east to focus on more imporatant issues.
But before we rush off and start another cold war let's also make sure that these claims of evil Chinese hackers trying to assassinate the American way of life are more accurate than reports of WMD's in Iraq turned out to be.

Re:Washington is full of pussies (1)

adamchou (993073) | more than 6 years ago | (#23612207)

World War 3 will start with a conflict with China, not these arabs hiding in caves.

Neither government is stupid enough to ever fight each other. In today's modern global economy, the entire world's economy would go to shit if the US and China went to war.

The only front that a war with China will take place on is the digital front.

And the point of the article is...? (1, Insightful)

adamchou (993073) | more than 6 years ago | (#23611897)

China isn't the only country hacking US interests so whats the big deal here? I'm pretty sure we have just as many hackers hacking into not only Chinese systems, but probably every country out there that doesn't align with our interests.

This just seems like more propaganda.

Re:And the point of the article is...? (2, Insightful)

jeiler (1106393) | more than 6 years ago | (#23612027)

The US not only hacks into governments that don't "align with our interest," but in all probability with governments that do. Remember, we've had folks kicked out of Israel (and, IIRC, England) for espionage within the last two decades--and these are two of our staunchest allies.

Re:And the point of the article is...? (1)

bsDaemon (87307) | more than 6 years ago | (#23612295)

Yes, and Israel constantly spies on the US as well. Just because someone is your "ally" doesn't mean that they always will be, and I suspect that all countries keep tabs on as many others as they possibly can.

In the generic sense, there is "nothing wrong with" this, but whatever can get people to realize that outsourcing and free trade, especially with commies like China is bad for us, then I'm cool with attention being brought.

It's only an issue if they start making stuff up. I'm not cool with being lied to, even if I like what I'm being told.

Re:And the point of the article is...? (1)

jeiler (1106393) | more than 6 years ago | (#23612567)

Espionage (even mutual espionage) has nothing to do with free trade, outsourcing, or socio-political philosophies. We spy on our trading partners, and we spy on countries we've never sent a single dollar or job to--the only difference, actually, is that it is easier to spy on nations that you have an established economic presence in.

Re:And the point of the article is...? (1)

bsDaemon (87307) | more than 6 years ago | (#23612643)

They have to do with each other in that anything that makes the public leery of the Chinese is going to increase pressure to divest from them.

Re:And the point of the article is...? (1)

Crazy Taco (1083423) | more than 6 years ago | (#23612387)

China isn't the only country hacking US interests so whats the big deal here? I'm pretty sure we have just as many hackers hacking into not only Chinese systems, but probably every country out there that doesn't align with our interests.

Yes, but China is known to A) do more hacking than other nations (perhaps because it has more people in general) and B) to do better hacking/cyber crimes than a lot of other nations. Most other nations (example: Nigeria) have people who commit cybercrimes and fraud, but they tend to be far less sophisticated and rely on social engineering a lot. And additionally, the criminals don't tend to be as well organized or work collectively, which is more common with Chinese hackers (possibly because their military coordinates it). That's why the Chinese are a bigger threat: they have more hackers, they are working together and have many more weapons in their arsenal of cyber attacks than criminals in other countries.

And as for us hacking into others systems, I'm sure our military may do some of that, but our companies don't tend to engage in stealing the intellectual properties of others. Many Chinese companies, however, are perfectly happy to break the law if they can make a quick buck. Just look at their knockoff industry... they do more of that than original thinking.

Re:And the point of the article is...? (1)

fan of lem (1092395) | more than 6 years ago | (#23612541)

I agree, this all sounds like utter FUD. Blame Canada? Oh no, blame China!

Ahhh anger at China (1)

Adambomb (118938) | more than 6 years ago | (#23611899)

Why must either the chinese government or the organization involved continuously act so amorally in the pursuit of profit (monetary or otherwise) despite the terrible impact it has on others and ignore any 'outsiders' outcry against their actions.

oh...wait...familiar that.....sounds like a good chunk of humanity.

Not saying its not wrong, just putting a perspective stick in the spokes.

Re:Ahhh anger at China (1)

mi (197448) | more than 6 years ago | (#23612135)

Why must either the Chinese government or the organization involved continuously act so amorally in the pursuit of profit (monetary or otherwise) despite the terrible impact it has on others and ignore any 'outsiders' outcry against their actions.

This is not the worst thing done in preparation for a (possible) war.

Just wait (4, Funny)

LM741N (258038) | more than 6 years ago | (#23611903)

From now on every instance of government stupidity and incompetence will be blamed on Chinese Hackers. Well, maybe the 13 year old hacker in his parent's basement is finally safe.

power plant + internet = duh (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23611905)

Why are effin' power plant controls accessible on the internet?

"hacked by chinese" (3, Funny)

bsDaemon (87307) | more than 6 years ago | (#23611923)

It would be sweet revenge if they suddenly started seeing their government websites reporting "hacked by Tibet"

Re:"hacked by chinese" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23612111)

Obviously they haven't hacked their way into our earthquake weapon yet.

cyber-attakers? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23611953)

Attak! Attak!

We are at war... (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23611987)

When will we finally admit that the Chinese government declared war on us some 20 years ago? Now we are seeing the fruits of the action. Our infrastructure is more vulnerable to the Chinese than to Al Queda, they have been stealing key nuclear and missile technologies, we can't make portions of OUR key IT infrastructure, without Chinese products...the list goes on.

If you go to any US port, you will find that almost every single shipping container in almost every US port is loaded and moved with a container crane made in China. ZPMC has something approaching a monopoly on container handling equipment. We can't even build the infrastructure to participate in the world economy independently anymore.

Unfortunately, the actions of the PRC government do a grave disservice to the Chinese people, who I'm sure would love to interact with the rest of the world in a fair (possibly democratic) way.

wake up people (0, Troll)

ILuvRamen (1026668) | more than 6 years ago | (#23612057)

When are we going to consider it an act of war and bomb them back to the stone age or at least stop buying their cheap plastic crap (and only buy their useful electronic crap) so their economy goes down the toilet, we can get cheaper oil, and their people sink into poverty and rise up against their opressive government and turn into a democracy? Sounds like a plan to me. We should at least anonymously EMP blast some of their major government datacenters to send them a message.

Re:wake up people (1, Funny)

rhakka (224319) | more than 6 years ago | (#23612147)

You mean kind of like we did with Cuba (minus the EMP bit)? I mean, that works really well, right? Or Iraq? Embargo the heck out of them, and sooner or later those pissed off commoners will throw off their shackels!!

right?

So, how do you seriously get to the point where a couple of blackouts and some economic competition justifies bombing around 1 billion people because you're paying too much for gas? Do you kick puppies for training, or are you just born that much of an asshole naturally?

Re:wake up people (1)

wonnage (1206966) | more than 6 years ago | (#23612169)

Because when you do that your fat american ass will be sad as all your shit is made in china for a reason - you're expensive and incompetent. Tough luck, lardy.

When will we retailate? As soon as... (4, Insightful)

AmazingRuss (555076) | more than 6 years ago | (#23612215)

...China gets rid of their nuclear weapons.

Till then, they get to do as they please, same as any nuclear-armed country.

Re:When will we retailate? As soon as... (3, Insightful)

Drakonik (1193977) | more than 6 years ago | (#23612575)

Ding ding ding. We have a winner.

The concept of M.A.D. is what is keep the world in one piece, and not a giant puddle of radioactive sludge. Thanks to modern intelligence tech, all countries capable of launching ICBMs are also capable of knowing when OTHER ICBMs are launched, within minutes. If one gets launch, then other countries will launch retaliatory strikes, and eventually, EVERYONE will launch their weapons, hoping to at least destroy the enemy before they are destroyed themselves.

China is a threat to us. They have enough nuclear warheads to pepper every population center with deliciously lethal Uranium goodness, and they can launch theirs five to ten minutes after we launch ours. Considering that an ICBM would take twenty to forty five minutes to travel to its intended target, that's more than enough reaction time. That's why we buy their cheap shit, take their insults and attacks, and let the Communist thing slide.

Deterrence has been beneficial... (1)

AmazingRuss (555076) | more than 6 years ago | (#23612861)

...in preventing global wars, but I fear it is going to end up the same as our efforts to prevent all forest fires. The population grows and grows, and disputes like this little thing mount and mount, until a huge war/fire destroys everything.

M.A.D. just squashes down the desire to slaughter each other by the millions. Eventually it's going to pop back out of the box with a vengence.

Re:wake up people (1)

NeutronCowboy (896098) | more than 6 years ago | (#23612361)

Wow. Umm. You seriously believe this? That the US can anonymously EMP their data centers? That the US can just stop buying Chinese goods (check out a Walmart - almost everything there is from China)? That we can bomb them back to the stone age without getting hit by at least as much in return? That the Chinese really would respond to outside pressure by turning on their government?

You are clueless and naive to a degree that is both astounding and frightening. Good job.

Re:wake up people (-1, Troll)

ILuvRamen (1026668) | more than 6 years ago | (#23612527)

There was suddenly 10x the auto sales and ownerships in China. Everyone's rich from trading their crap with us (well okay selling it to us, not trading) and if we suddenly stop even just the non-essentials that anyone could live without, it would over for them. That's gotta be a third of their market at least. They make almost all of our toys! We can live without toys. Electronics not so much but cut out the multi-billion dollar toy trade and China's toast. And yes, we can anonymously EMP their datacenters. Drive an unmarked semi past, charge it up, and release a blast. They could probably even drive off too if they properly shielded their truck's electrical system. Or just sit there and look like every other stalled vehicle and the driver can ditch. Do you really think they'd have enough evidence to trace it back to us if we were careful? No way! We can't even trace most terrorist attacks correctly here in the US obviously. All they'd know is some random group from their own country or another one just EMP bombed them and they don't know who did it.

Re:wake up people (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23612591)

Wow. Umm. You seriously believe this? That the US can anonymously EMP their data centers?
Sure they can, haven't you seen Ocean's Eleven?

Re:wake up people (3, Insightful)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | more than 6 years ago | (#23612603)

When are we going to consider it an act of war and bomb them back to the stone age
Congratulations. You are doing exactly what the publishers of the article wanted you to do - go apeshit over innuendo. The article had zero proof, but lots and lots of speculation about China causing power outages. You know what speculation is, right? Its just bullshit they want to trick you into believing without actually outright lying.

What kind of un-patched Windows crap... (3, Insightful)

istartedi (132515) | more than 6 years ago | (#23612059)

What kind of un-patched Windows crap is running the power grid?

Of course the attackers are guilty; but that doesn't excuse foolish security practices. Nevermind bad security on the end-point, or in the software. It seems like the power company, with all its rights-of-way, shouldn't even have to route over the public network. Routing over a private network would provide physical security. Breaking into that requires putting your actual body at the point of attack. Since the power company came before the Internet, I would have thought they had a private network of some kind in place already, or close cooperation with telcos. I guess not.

Re:What kind of un-patched Windows crap... (1)

Frosty Piss (770223) | more than 6 years ago | (#23612237)

What kind of un-patched Windows crap is running the power grid?
Windows is the only hackable OS / network? You're making an assumption that might not be true.

Re:What kind of un-patched Windows crap... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23612259)

The question is why is the power grid hooked up to the internet? Shouldn't it be on a closed circuit network?

Re:What kind of un-patched Windows crap... (1)

Detritus (11846) | more than 6 years ago | (#23612267)

It's a question of money. How many corporations still operate private networks? Not many. It's so much cheaper to piggyback on the Internet.

If you are operating a system under configuration control, you can't just apply patches to Windows without a process to test and approve them. Testing can be very expensive, and third-party software vendors may only provide support for their software in configurations that have been tested in their own lab.

Re:What kind of un-patched Windows crap... (1)

joe 155 (937621) | more than 6 years ago | (#23612333)

I agree completely, whilst china may be backing some already good hackers who will be even better with more powerful resources there is no excuse for this happening at all. That is to say the actual blame should lie primarily with the electricity companies. They could have prevented this, they should have, and it was entirely predictable that someone would want to take the power grid offline; terrorists, bored hackers, foreign governments, etc. Companies who have had their servers hacked probably deserve a little more sympathy, but I doubt much more... I'd be willing to bet most had security well under par - security is everyone's responsibility!

Re:What kind of un-patched Windows crap... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23612401)

> For all intensive purposes, "whom" is no longer a word. That begs the question, "who cares?"

Your sig needs work. It's actually "intents and purposes." And "who cares?" is correct as is. You would use "whom" if "him" or "her" is the subject. "Who" is used for "he" or "she." As such, there's no irony in your sig.

Just doing my job...

Grammar Nazi

Re:What kind of un-patched Windows crap... (1)

$random_var (919061) | more than 6 years ago | (#23612743)

I think a whoooole lot of sarcasm just flew right over your head.

Stolen proprietary information? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23612061)

Come on Slashdot, they were only infringing copyright!

Or.... (1, Insightful)

thermian (1267986) | more than 6 years ago | (#23612079)

China is just doing exactly what the US, Russia, England, and every other nation is doing, and has done for hundreds of years, which is stealing each others secrets...

And the recent power outages are due to badly maintained and or out of date hardware thats not very fault tolerant.

I might have my cynical head on though.

Re:Or.... (1)

TheHandsomeOne (1296831) | more than 6 years ago | (#23612197)

I can't imagine england is morally capable of this kind of thing, though you may wish to single out France here.

Re:Or.... (2, Insightful)

thermian (1267986) | more than 6 years ago | (#23612529)

I can't imagine england is morally capable of this kind of thing

You may find it instructive to research how England got its first tea plants from China. That is possibly one of the finest feats of industrial espionage in history.

Also, check out the antics of the East India company, and ponder what happened to all that money and power, think it evaporated away and england is all cuddles and sweetness now?

 

Security not a real concern (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23612085)

No business or government agency can claim to be seriously concerned about security if they continue to insist on running MS windows on the dekstop.The Air force, for example, is transitioning to thin client desktops because they REALLY CARE about their users getting hacked.

Did Red China really hire the hackers? (3, Insightful)

justinlee37 (993373) | more than 6 years ago | (#23612115)

Computer hackers in China, including those working on behalf of the Chinese government and military

Can they prove that? This sounds like regular old corporate espionage -- nothing unusual or even foreign there. Is xenophobia starting to take hold, or are those statements substantiated? No time to RTFA.

Re:Did Red China really hire the hackers? (1)

gujo-odori (473191) | more than 6 years ago | (#23612245)

Leaving the question of whether or not they can prove that on the table (I don't know if they can either, and those who do know probably aren't going to talk about that publicly), I'll go to the corporate espionage angle.

I don't know if you're familiar with how business works in a communist country, or have ever lived in one to see it up close, but I worked for a foreign-owned consulting company in a communist country in East Asia, and a great deal of the companies there are government corporations, in whole or in part. We were importing wide-area wireless networking equipment and re-selling it, but we couldn't import it directly. The actual importer had to be another company, which was a wholly owned subsidiary of... the army. One of our largest prospective customers was a wholly owned subsidiary of... the post office.

In short, to say it's regular old corporate espionage when you're talking about a communist country is pretty much the same as saying "those working on behalf of the government and military" because most of the corporations are in fact owned by the government or military.

Just to touch on the power outage issue, that's not the sort of thing corporate spies do. If there were induced power outages, whoever did it had an agenda other than corporate espionage. That doesn't mean it was necessarily China - there are a number of state or non-state entities that might want to do something like that - but it makes corporate espionage highly unlikely.

Re:Did Red China really hire the hackers? (1)

justinlee37 (993373) | more than 6 years ago | (#23612313)

In short, to say it's regular old corporate espionage when you're talking about a communist country is pretty much the same as saying "those working on behalf of the government and military" because most of the corporations are in fact owned by the government or military.

Wow, that is an excellent point. Those damn commies.

Re:Did Red China really hire the hackers? (1)

justinlee37 (993373) | more than 6 years ago | (#23612347)

Just to touch on the power outage issue, that's not the sort of thing corporate spies do.

You must have forgotten about Enron already. Granted, they had some unique motivations (energy in cali was deregulated so they could turn off the power to create artificial price spikes), but I could probably stretch my imagination and name a few foreign companies that would benefit from power shortages in the U.S. ... like Japanese automobile manufacturers!

Re:Did Red China really hire the hackers? (1)

gujo-odori (473191) | more than 6 years ago | (#23612827)

Enron manipulated the heck out of the market and controlled energy in ways that led to power shortages, but they didn't go around making attacks on infrastructure. What is being discussed here is not fallout from greed, but actual malice.

Re:Did Red China really hire the hackers? (1)

justinlee37 (993373) | more than 6 years ago | (#23612917)

Stop and think about my example. One of the primary sources of competition for Japanese auto manufacturers in the U.S. is locally-based auto manufacturers, like Ford. If those Japanese companies (or even German companies, for that matter) could hire hackers to cut off the power to large municipalities that supported locally-based auto factories, it would necessarily drive up the cost of American automobiles because the power shortages would reduce the amount of time available for production, increase the cost of production, and in turn create a shortage. This would increase demand for the more reasonably priced foreign automobiles, so there could be a greed incentive (increased sales/revenue/stock prices) for the company owners or managers to hire the hackers.

This sort of tactic would be feasible for any sort of industrialist / manufacturing corporation. Producers of disposable lighters, pencils, computer hardware ... the list is practically endless. Cutting off the power paralyzes the economy, and that's exactly what companies exporting to America want -- increased demand.

By triggering rolling blackouts in California, Enron did attack the infrastructure. It wasn't their primary goal, of course, but as I said, a lack of power paralyzes the entire economy. We depend on it. Enron preyed on California's economic prosperity for their own gain, and it isn't inconceivable that another company could do the same.

Re:Did Red China really hire the hackers? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23612251)

It's xenophobia.

If China continues to grow at its current rate - economically, technology, and in terms of its military abilities (militarily? is that a word?), it'll eat the USA and Europe for breakfast in a generation or two at most.

Brace yourself for a US-led war against China in the mid-term future. This is really just the foundations - the FUD that is supposed to ingrain the "evil Chinese are our enemies" thinking in the general population.

FUD by US Gov (1)

kubitus (927806) | more than 6 years ago | (#23612153)

at least the US governement learned from Billy or is that the Caine example is till around! or the Vietnamese Canon boat attack on US ships or the WTC attack 911 so the next to blame is not terrorists but China who is the next scapegoat - framed or not! who trusts the US??

Complain all you want... (1)

HockeyPuck (141947) | more than 6 years ago | (#23612257)

What are we going to do to China? Sanctions? Trade Tariffs? Probably just a "stern speech"

Even if it is Chinese Government sponsored hackers, the american people still want their cheap goods.
Just like most americans we care more about the price of gas, than what type of government is in Iraq.
We want fresh fruit picked by illegal immigrants who have no healthcare.
We want cheap power, but as long as the nuclear power plant is built in someone elses backyard.

solution .. (1)

rs232 (849320) | more than 6 years ago | (#23612269)

"gained access to electric power plants in the United States, possibly triggering two recent and widespread blackouts [shaneharris.net] in Florida and the Northeast"

Solution is, don't put your SCADA units on the Internet. And even if this were true the more likely explanation is that they didn't have enough spare capacity.

What really happened .. (2, Informative)

rs232 (849320) | more than 6 years ago | (#23612371)

"a leading trade group, said that U.S. intelligence officials have told him that the PLA in 2003 gained access to a network that controlled electric power systems serving the northeastern United States"

No, what really happened was the grid was overloaded and the SQL virus was playing havoc with connectivity, then a tree fell over and tripped out a line, which spread in a domino effect all the way to Canada. A similar virus tripped out the control system in a Nuclear power plant.

http://www.nationaljournal.com/njmagazine/cs_20080531_6948.php [nationaljournal.com]

"During the hour before the Aug. 14 blackout, engineers in the control center of an Ohio utility struggled to figure out why transmission lines were failing and complained that a computer failure was making it difficult to determine what was going on, transcripts of telephone communications released Wednesday show"

http://www.wired.com/science/discoveries/news/2003/09/60285 [wired.com]

"Software failure cited in August blackout investigation .. A malfunctioning alarm system may have played a big role in the outage Dan Verton Nov 20 2003"

http://www.nrc.gov/reading-rm/doc-collections/gen-comm/info-notices/2003/in200314.pdf [nrc.gov]

http://www.computerworld.com/securitytopics/security/recovery/story/0,10801,87400,00.html [computerworld.com]

Power cut responsible for at least one death? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23612409)

I wonder if this woman was killed as a result:

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/worldnews/article-1022699/Woman-lived-inside-iron-lung-60-years-killed-power-cut.html

It does happen after all... (1)

theinvisibleguy (982464) | more than 6 years ago | (#23612539)

I never realized the severity of these articles until a couple months ago my boss noticed someone from a Chinese i.p. trying to get root access to our Linux server. Fortunately they didn't get in but it did make these articles a lot more real for me, we're just a small software company and even we were targeted.

It sounds like China is saying that they involved (1)

Joe The Dragon (967727) | more than 6 years ago | (#23612543)

It sounds like China is saying that they are involved in our power grid going down when they did not do anything. It's our poor grid setup that took it down.

"attakers"? Really? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23612761)

For God's sake Slashdot, get it together.

Already losing the next war? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23612915)

Not only is this administration losing the last war, it's losing the next war as well.

Sucessful (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23612937)

FTA
"in a few cases, gained access to electric power plants in the United States, possibly triggering two recent and widespread blackouts in Florida and the Northeast"

The secret to success is knowing who to blame for your failures.

Spend a few minutes and think about this. What is there to gain? If China really did it, they completely expose their capability and for what???

Perhaps the author should ask himself one question. Would you do it if you are in control? That's right my friend!!Exactly!

Thank you China (3, Insightful)

CopaceticOpus (965603) | more than 6 years ago | (#23613071)

This is fantastic news, and I can't thank China enough for these attacks. The fact is, vulnerabilities in our systems exist whether they are under attack or not. These attacks should serve as a wake up call and lead to security being taken much more seriously. Can you imagine if these weaknesses were left open and were exploited by terrorists, or by some country we find ourselves at war with in the future?

good old propaganda (3, Interesting)

Gearoid_Murphy (976819) | more than 6 years ago | (#23613173)

I've often scoffed at the seemingly obtuse propaganda used by communist nations in their media, to be fair, usa has plenty propaganda too, but this is just laughable, if you read about the North East blackout [wikipedia.org] , you'll see that a bug in a Unix based system was primarily responsible for the failure of the electricity infrastructure to react when it should have.
Now, if I was a Chinese spy, I'd infiltrate General Electric, install a bug in the operating software responsible for the control of the energy distribution network, wait till those dumb ol americans had got complacent and then, for no strategic advantage whatsoever, cripple their energy distribution network, and then laugh my black communist heart out.
Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?