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Chinese Government Accused of Hacking Congress

samzenpus posted more than 5 years ago | from the taking-the-gold-in-hacking dept.

Security 237

Alotau writes "Chinese hacking is getting some serious Congressional attention. Two House members said Wednesday their Capitol Hill computers, containing information about political dissidents from around the world, have been hacked by sources apparently working out of China. Virginia Rep. Frank Wolf says four of his computers were hacked. New Jersey Rep. Chris Smith says two of his computers were compromised in December 2006 and March 2007. The two lawmakers are longtime critics of China's record on human rights."

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237 comments

It's all about money. (5, Interesting)

yog (19073) | more than 5 years ago | (#23756157)

The U.S. makes a lot of money off doing business with China, something like $386 billion in 2007. Retailers like Walmart and Target, manufacturers of every description, and shippers all have a huge stake in U.S.-China trade, even though China enjoys a growing surplus with the U.S.

Under these circumstances, it's not surprising that some mischievous hacking of Congressional computers is overlooked by the people who are supposed to care about such things. Where it gets more serious is the hacking of Pentagon systems that seems to be originating from sites in China.

China's government today is trying to juggle a growing nationalism among younger Chinese, a nationalism that is not friendly toward the West and the U.S. in particular, despite our close economic ties. They have fostered a hostile attitude toward the U.S. through years of propaganda, and this, too, the Americans have ignored in the interests of making money.

It will be interesting to see what happens come the day that China's huge internal market is affluent enough and their technology level high enough that they no longer need the U.S. as either a customer or investor. But in the meantime, it would be advisable for these Congressmen and other officials like Carlos Gutierrez (whose laptop was compromised during a trip to Beijing) to switch away from easily hacked systems like Microsoft Windows, and maybe keep their systems offline or only on a secured and firewalled intranet.

I also think that the U.S. government should not be using home computers like Dells running Windows. The hardware components are largely manufactured in China these days and who knows what evil back doors might be implanted in ROMs, akin to the compromised printers that were shipped to Iraq from the U.S. in the pre-Gulf War days.

Windows Again! (-1, Troll)

westbake (1275576) | more than 5 years ago | (#23756191)

Everyone's favorite weak link is revealed in the article:

U.S. authorities are investigating whether Chinese officials secretly copied the contents of a government laptop computer during a visit to China by Commerce Secretary Carlos M. Gutierrez and used the information to try to hack into Commerce Department computers.

The government has more secure systems for people's laptops, like Bastile Linux, and should be using them instead of a consumer grade OS that was never intended to store anything more important than Solitair. When insecure systems are used to access secure systems, security falls to the level of the weak system.

Re:Windows Again! (-1, Troll)

gnutoo (1154137) | more than 5 years ago | (#23756241)

How do you know it was not a Mac, like Al Gore walks around with?

Re:Windows Again! (-1, Troll)

westbake (1275576) | more than 5 years ago | (#23756271)

That would not have been much better, now would it? The point is that sensitive information deserves proper care.

Re:Windows Again! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23756663)

Last night I met a dude while out glory holing. He was early 20s, skinny, seemed pretty inexperienced. We ended up at a bar.

Anyway, after about 2-3 hours of drinking he finally got up the courage to admit to he liked cock, and we went back to my place to fuck.

We make out at the front door for about a minute or two, drunkenly stumble in, throw clothes everywhere, and he pushes me on the bed, gives me one more peck on the lips, then goes down on me...skipping past my penis, and totally ignoring the balls...and starts feasting on my butt buffet. Seriously, I don't think a colonic would have cleaned my ass any better than his tongue did. I am not complaining, he was a fucking expert, jacking me off at the same time and working his tongue around like my dog when I shoved peanut butter up my ass. Of course, all I could think about was how many guys he's done this to before if he's so eager to do it to me, but whatever.

This morning, I roll him over for morning sex, and when we are done, I jokingly call him "poop lips." He doesn't understand why.

Malda: "Uhhhhhh...are you the same dude as last night?"

Poop lips "Of course I am the same guy, wtf!" (yeah, he said double-you-tee-eff)

Malda "Do you not remember licking my ass like it was a Tootsie Pop?"

Poop lips "OH MY GOD I DID NOT!"

Of course you didn't. After all, if you "don't remember" it, than it didn't happen, right?

Re:Windows Again! (0, Offtopic)

willyhill (965620) | more than 5 years ago | (#23756853)

twitter (and twitter I guess... uh), please read my reply to your original post. This is not about what OS you use, but what tools you use with your OS to secure your data effectively. It's not useful to turn this into another "Microsoft sucks!" diatribe.

Moderators: Please note (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23756921)

gnutoo and westbake are both the same person [slashdot.org]

Re:Windows Again! (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23757089)

You're replying to your own posts with sockpuppet accounts. The ONLY possible reason that you're doing this is that you KNOW you are utterly incapable of making a legitimate argument, and must therefore LIE to make it look like you have a shred of credibility.

You don't even do a good job of hiding the fact that you're cheerleading yourself.

You are PRO-Microsoft, far more than even you claim your critics are.

Re:Windows Again! (3, Informative)

dedazo (737510) | more than 5 years ago | (#23757231)

His objective is to get modded up so he can use the resulting mod points on some accounts to drive the others, mod down people he doesn't like, etc. As long as it's obviously working (as in this thread), he'll keep doing it.

Unfortunately there seems to be a Fight Club-like rule that talking about twitter in a thread where he's posting with five different accounts is a big no-no. You're a troll and offtopic if you dare do that. But twitter's OK, he just replies to himself with as many accounts as he can and rack up the karma, since he gets modded down on sight [slashdot.org] whenever he posts with his original account (and that tells you a lot about his standing around here).

"Moderate the post, not the poster" is all well and good, except when you're posting as five different people. I don't see how difficult it is to figure out that westbake, gnutoo and Odder on this thread are the same person (and more on the way, no doubt).

Maybe I'll get me some sockpuppets and do the same. Who knows, maybe I'll be popular and cool. But this is just bizarre.

Re:Windows Again! (-1, Offtopic)

MollyB (162595) | more than 5 years ago | (#23756273)

Twitter, I think you are an agent-provocateur hired by Microsoft to make all open-source advocates look like slavering zealots. Please know that we're all hip to your tired rant.

Re:Windows Again! (1)

HappySmileMan (1088123) | more than 5 years ago | (#23756317)

Am I missing out on something here, you're responding to a post that seem to be calling Windows an insecure operating system by saying that the author was hired by microsoft.

Re:Windows Again! (3, Funny)

mrbluze (1034940) | more than 5 years ago | (#23756443)

Am I missing out on something here, you're responding to a post that seem to be calling Windows an insecure operating system by saying that the author was hired by microsoft.
I think he was referring to Windows being classified as 'consumer grade'. It could be argued it doesn't even qualify as that.

Re:Windows Again! (0, Troll)

camperdave (969942) | more than 5 years ago | (#23756501)

Yes. It's quite clever. MS hires a bunch of long haired hippies to rant and rave about Linux and vaguely mention insecure operating systems (notice that they didn't mention any names). Soon government types will get tired of hearing the rants, especially if they get associated with terrorists or communists (notice how they chose Bastile Linux, which is clearly playing on the US's odd aversion to anything coming out of France). A few well placed reports on how All American MS Windows is "more secure" than this foreign based, communist/terrorist Linux, and Boom! Government sales out the YinYang.

Re:Windows Again! (3, Informative)

willyhill (965620) | more than 5 years ago | (#23756821)

It's kind of a running joke that twitter is such a massive failure [slashdot.org] at advocating free software, often garnering more scorn and ridicule than the credibility and recognition he craves, that he must be employed by Microsoft to make all free software advocates look bad by simple association.

Unlike his claim that anyone who disagrees with him must work for Microsoft, I don't actually believe that. But the fact that someone would actually consider it is bad enough.

Instead of changing his behavior though, he just creates more sockpuppets (three of which have already posted in this thread), garnering even more derision and ridicule in the process.

Re:Windows Again! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23756835)

"westbake" is one sock-puppet account of a notorious troll named Twitter. Most folks object to his hijacking of threads because he uses nine other accounts to hold conversations with himself and trick moderators into believing an actual exchange of ideas is occurring. A signature clue to his posts include the excessive use of M$ for Microsoft and his terminology for their OS: Windoze.

Here is a journal entry listing Twitter's sockpuppets: http://slashdot.org/~willyhill/journal/204399 [slashdot.org]

I use GNU/Linux myself, but think this guy detracts from the discourse with his knee-jerk argument that Microsoft is pure evil.

Re:Windows Again! (2, Insightful)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 5 years ago | (#23756277)

The government has more secure systems for people's laptops, like Bastile Linux, and should be using them instead of a consumer grade OS that was never intended to store anything more important than Solitair. When insecure systems are used to access secure systems, security falls to the level of the weak system.


But as we see in the business world, even though there are technologies that are 10000X superior to what you are currently using and may even cost less, those in upper management will complain that it isn't familiar and they might have to learn something new. I wouldn't see anything different in this case.

Re:Windows Again! (1)

gnutoo (1154137) | more than 5 years ago | (#23756851)

It might be easier if you explained that systems with encryption and other reasonable security will keep lists of dissidents they are trying to protect out of the hands of people who will kill them. Then they might get used to doing things on a system that works.

Re:Windows Again! (2, Interesting)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 5 years ago | (#23757687)

And the same things have been said about unpatched Windows without an anti-virus. About how easy it is for spyware and keyloggers to help steal your identity, about how they will ruin your OS install, about how they contribute to spam, slow down your computer, etc. Still, I run into unpatched Windows installs with no anti-virus will probably hundreds of types of malware on the machine. These people probably see their machine as insignificant, and think that the laptop they have will never get a virus, will never get stolen, will never have a security breach ever in it's lifetime because they are the *insert high ranking official here* or think that because they don't go to *insert website here* or use *insert anti-virus here* or even have *insert names of tech-support people and sysadmins* working for me nothing can go bad! Basically, it is the "it won't happen to me" syndrome.

Re:Windows Again! (5, Informative)

YrWrstNtmr (564987) | more than 5 years ago | (#23756331)

Jebus...can we leave the OS wars out of it? Just this once?

From the line you quoted, it sounds like they had physical access to the machine to do the copying. Any and every OS will fall if you have the thing in your hands.

Re:Windows Again! (2, Insightful)

MikeB0Lton (962403) | more than 5 years ago | (#23756577)

Exactly! This is why sensitive data should not be stored locally on laptops, and if it absolutely must be on there it should be highly encrypted. Microsoft doesn't ship an OS at it's highest security, but a competent administrator can finish the job (albeit sometimes with 3rd party tools).

Re:Windows Again! (0, Flamebait)

Odder (1288958) | more than 5 years ago | (#23756763)

Physical access will get them what if whole disk encryption was used? Hasn't that been a feature of Bastile Linux for five years?

Re:Windows Again! (3, Insightful)

lgw (121541) | more than 5 years ago | (#23757653)

Whole disk encryption fails if you have physical access to the running machine, as the keys are in memory somewhere, but it's certainly better than nothing.

It's not at all hard to use whole disk encryption with a Windows laptop. The complaint here should be "why wasn't the laptop encrypted", not "why was it running an unfashionable OS".

No, we can't. And we shouldn't, either. (4, Insightful)

Ungrounded Lightning (62228) | more than 5 years ago | (#23757527)

Jebus...can we leave the OS wars out of it? Just this once?

No, we can't. And we shouldn't.

People in the government are putting life-critical and national-security-critical information on computers driven by a software system that is notorious for a multi-decade history of being riddled with security holes, some of which are architectural and unfixable.

Doing this - and CONTINUING to do this when they should know better - is a major part of the issue under discussion.

In this case it has resulted in the disclosure of the identities of dissidents to the intelligence agencies of foreign governments who wish them eliminated. This will probably result in a number of incarcerations, tortures, and deaths.

In other cases it may even lead to outcomes as serious as the US losing a war, being conquered, or being destroyed.

This is an important issue. Failing to fix it may result the deaths of multiple millions of people and creating a future consisting of a jackboot on humanity's neck for generations to come.

For us to refrain from discussing it because you're sick of "OS wars" would be beyond criminal. It only lacks a declaration of war to qualify as treason.

Re:No, we can't. And we shouldn't, either. (1)

dedazo (737510) | more than 5 years ago | (#23757591)

Are you serious? Or were you going for the funny mod here?

Re:No, we can't. And we shouldn't, either. (1)

Charbox (1134059) | more than 5 years ago | (#23757731)

A declaration of war has nothing to do with the crime of treason, the threshold for which is set forth in Article III, Section 3 of the Constituion:

Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort. No Person shall be convicted of Treason unless on the Testimony of two Witnesses to the same overt Act, or on Confession in open Court.
Refraining from discussing the OS wars is not an overt act, regardless of whether you believe it gives aid and comfort (which it does, IMHO.)

Re:Windows Again! (5, Insightful)

willyhill (965620) | more than 5 years ago | (#23756679)

Windows can be perfectly secure, if you exercise some common sense. My company's XP laptops are all encrypted, and require a password at boot time to work. You can also use BitLocker if you have Windows Vista. Your Solitaire dig is unfunny at best.

In any case, they had physical access to the machine, so unless you're encrypting the HDD, it's game over. Your stock Debian laptop would have been compromised as quickly as the one with Windows XP. Bastille Linux is just the same type of protection that can be had for Windows if you want or need it, and I'm guessing in this case they do want and need it. But it's not Windows' fault, and it's not Microsoft's fault, no matter how much you want that to be the case.

Re:Windows Again! (2, Funny)

Tim4444 (1122173) | more than 5 years ago | (#23757459)

No no, guys this is our government. You know, the one that thought DES was secure. The government that keeps "losing" veteran records. The same that thought you could delete IE just by dragging a desktop shortcut to the trash bin and then actually bought the argument that the web browser is an integral part of the operating system. Maybe they need systems a little more appropriate for their level - how about a bunch of XO's?

Re:Windows Again! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23757663)

No, actually, the "Solitaire dig" was hilarious. I almost spit my half-chewed pretzel all over my keyboard, when I read it. :-)

Nevertheless, you are right: Even a Windows machine can be secure, and even a Linux machine will be compromised if physical access is possible and the data is not encrypted.

Still: "... never intended to store anything more important than Solitaire". HAHAHAHAHA ... snort!

Re:Windows Again! (5, Insightful)

lawn.ninja (1125909) | more than 5 years ago | (#23756953)

Bastile-Linux. Great tool. It doesn't prevent you from booting the laptop with knoppix or something of the like, then mounting the drive and dd'ing it. They should be using multi-tier'd security for any system that leaves the premises. With considerations for different types of attack vectors. Physical and virtual. JMO. Also... If they can fry the electronics in a plane with the flip of a switch why can't they make the laptops self destruct when something cracks or penetrates the case? You could easily kill anything that would of had data on it by frying it if someone tries to remove it. Or better yet... Don't carry a laptop with data on it. Get the data via some secure channel and have it armed with a TTL, so it removes itself from existance. But what do I know, all my important stuff lives on the flash drive in my pocket and its encrypted.

Sorry! Physical access! (3, Insightful)

Chas (5144) | more than 5 years ago | (#23757121)

Sorry, they could have been running a fully locked down setup that even the legitimate END USER has trouble getting into, and it wouldn't make any difference.

If they were able to get the laptop long enough to copy the system, you're screwed either way.

Re:It's all about money. (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23756313)

The funny thing about the nationalism argument is that US is one of the most nationalistic nations in the world. We call it Patriotism and consider it a good thing. So then why is it bad if the Chinese are Patriots too?

Re:It's all about money. (1, Insightful)

DittoBox (978894) | more than 5 years ago | (#23756635)

Dissent is patriotism. Nationalism is not. No matter how much spin they put on it.

China's Nationalism problem is tremendous. (5, Insightful)

MasaMuneCyrus (779918) | more than 5 years ago | (#23757179)

We have nothing on China. According to the BBC's annual poll of nations [globescan.com] opinions of other nations influence, 90% of Chinese think China has a positive influence on the world. Ninety percent. That's not only provocative, but outrageous. That's surely similar to 1940s-era America, hardly like now, where only 56% of Americans believe that America has a positive influence on the world.

China has an unquestionable horrifying nationalism problem. This can be seen in issues such as Tibet and Taiwan. What's troubling isn't that Chinese want Tibet and Taiwan to be part of China, I can view that as acceptable. What isn't acceptable, however, are such obvious propaganda-induced lines of reasoning such as "Tibet has always been a part of China and forever will be a part of China." Not only is that false -- Tibet was its own country until China marched in there 50 years ago and took it, but that's how it works in war; winner takes all. But then the Chinese government proceeded to educate their entire 1+ billion population that, indeed, Tibet had always been a part of China, and that anyone who questioned otherwise was not Chinese and was siding with the Dalai Lama, who isn't even human.

Another Nationalism-brought issue outlined by the BBC poll is its hatred of Japan. There are only two important countries in the world that hate Japan -- China and South Korea. One might argue that it's because of Japan's war-time atrocities that they never properly atoned for. They have apologized many times, however poorly, and Japan is not elegant in international relations. That said, my argument is, East Asia was hugely and negatively affected by the Japanese Empire. China and South Korea aren't the only countries affected with horrendous atrocities. But why then, have all of the other South-East nations forgiven Japan, but China and South Korea haven't? Only 12% of Chinese carry a positive view of Japan's influence on the world -- not opinion of Japan, but opinion of the positiveness of Japan's influence on the world. Whereas in Taiwan, Japan's very popular culturally, even though many elderly people still speak Japanese from being forced to learn it during occupation!

And my last argument -- Anti-Anti-Chinese protests? VIOLENT Anti-Anti-Chinese protests, with prevalent stalking and death threats of anyone that criticized China? C'mon, that's pitiful.

And to any Chinese that might be reading this, my message would be that there's nothing wrong with being proud to be Chinese. There's nothing wrong with wanting the Chinese people to be united and patriotic. But people and government are separate. Just because you're Chinese doesn't mean you have to defend your government for no other reason than that it's my government, just how Americans don't have to defend President Bush just because he's my President. Nationalism is good in small doses for the morale of a country, but in large quantities like currently present in China, war is almost certainly inevitable. Think about the nationalism of 1940s America, 1940s Japan, 1940s Nazi Germany (hah, Godwin's law strikes again!). Unchecked Nationalism only brings horror and foolish decisions, all for the sake of being Chinese, or being American, or being Japanese, or being German.

Re:It's all about money. (2, Insightful)

couchslug (175151) | more than 5 years ago | (#23756545)

The solution is simple:
Don't connect personal computers containing Shit That Matters to the internet.
Invoking teh Yellow Peril is a smokescreen. If they can get in, so can others...

Re:It's all about money. (3, Insightful)

zoogies (879569) | more than 5 years ago | (#23757087)

They have fostered a hostile attitude toward the U.S. through years of propaganda, and this, too, the Americans have ignored in the interests of making money.


One thing I'd like to point out is, this is much less due to "years of propaganda", as you say, than the fact that the US has not exactly made friends throughout the world recently. It's viewed as an arrogant superpower trying to police the world.

On the flip side, US media is doing its best to foster a national sentiment that is very unfriendly towards China.

But I do agree with the rest of your post.

Re:It's all about money. (1, Insightful)

martin-boundary (547041) | more than 5 years ago | (#23757327)

You'll excuse me if I don't take these hacking claims at face value. The first question ought to be who is claiming that the Chinese are hacking the Pentagon? It's not independent civilian computer experts, is it?

The military (and certain politicians) have a vested interest in blowing threats out of proportion to get better funding, especially under this administration. The same goes for the intelligence services, who have already shown themselves incompetent at producing real facts.

Hacking happens, sure. Evil Chinese Spies targeting the Pentagon to Take Over The World(TM) is just a neocon wet dream. Those guys are just hedging in case the Evil Iranian Terrorists Taking Over The World(TM) plot doesn't work out.

Propaganda or piss-off by US? (1)

hackingbear (988354) | more than 5 years ago | (#23757435)

China's government today is trying to juggle a growing nationalism among younger Chinese, a nationalism that is not friendly toward the West and the U.S. in particular, despite our close economic ties. They have fostered a hostile attitude toward the U.S. through years of propaganda, and this, too, the Americans have ignored in the interests of making money.

Your theory would be true if it were 1970's now. I have not heard much anti-West or anti-US propaganda from the government since then. As you said, the Chinese enterprises, many are state-owned or creating lot of jobs, have been profiting from US-China trades. Why would smart business organizations like the Chines government kill their golden goose?

Rather, the new trend of anti-West nationalism seems triggered by Western media from CNN to Slashdot -- the Chinese are just pissed off by the seeming biased and inaccurate coverages of those media outlets. Why are these coverage bias? Just read the TFA. How can any reasonable person blame, or even hint, that in the era of email spam and malwares, some unknown hacking from an IP address within China as state-sponsor "activities" while there are many many other possibilities? And not to mention, we have read these unprovable accusations every other week for the past 3 years.

Re:Propaganda or piss-off by US? (1)

Detritus (11846) | more than 5 years ago | (#23757519)

"Once is happenstance, twice is coincidence, three times is enemy action."
-- Ian Fleming

Re:It's all about money. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23757703)

It will be interesting to see what happens come the day that China's huge internal market is affluent enough and their technology level high enough that they no longer need the U.S. as either a customer or investor.

Interesting like a thermonuclear war interesting?

Re:It's all about money. (4, Interesting)

DaedalusHKX (660194) | more than 5 years ago | (#23757713)

Not only that, but the issue at hand isn't just crappy software, or cheap hardware, the issue is that the laptops and desktops used by the "representatives" are truly representative of their base. Built on ignorance.

I will illustrate what they are NOT, instead:

My personal work, and travel abroad laptop, contains CAD software, email RECEIVING software, video watching software, instant messaging software and secure delete software. It does not contain, services, weatherbug type stuff, spyware or other things that should NOT be running on a system that might get stolen or broken into while I'm out sampling the local night life in some third world country.

Does my system contain sensitive info? Depends what you call sensitive. Is it hard to get to? You betcha. Are the federales in the USA (or government agents in ANY country for that matter) as careful with THEIR client info (namely that of their respective people or informants abroad?) All evidence points to the contrary. Trust the government if you wish for a not so swift, painful death at the hands of whomever they willingly or unwittingly sell you out to. As for me, I value my health and wealth enough not to leave my data lying around for others to partake of.

Not because I worry that I will be hacked or my clients will sue me... no, I do this out of RESPECT for those with whom I've done business or with whom I've exchanged information. I respect them enough NOT to sell their info or treat them like trash. As a result, they return the favor. And if they do not, they won't long remain on my contact list. I make it a point not to associate with the stupid or the insane. I safeguard even my tavern mates' information, not because it is financially valuable, but because I respect those individuals and would not subject them to undue privacy violations (other than what the DHS and other spy in the sky types will subject them to regardless of their guilt or innocence in any particular subject). Respect is one of those things that is not valued as much in this world, even if it, along with TRUST are still the most valuable and among the few things one should consider "assets".

Do the government goons and politicians in various countries respect those whose information they access on their computing equipment? Apparently, the answer is not exactly one that encourages me to wish to associate with these individuals, regardless of how much money they make or what titles they are bestowed with.

Well some parts of the US make a lot of money (2, Insightful)

multi-flavor-geek (586005) | more than 5 years ago | (#23756229)

Most of the rest of us get cheap inferior crap, lead poisoning, manufacturing sectors out-sourced, and jobs greeting people at Wal-Mart. I am not the least surprised by this China is on a bid to become the dominant super power through what ever means necessary, the only thing they have in their way is the United States (there are others above them, but not as far). Therefore by keeping tabs on and gradually infiltrating the US they advance their way to dominant status. I just wish some people other than us left-wing nutjobs would actually start looking at this and thinking about it.

Re:Well some parts of the US make a lot of money (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 5 years ago | (#23756637)

You got lead poisoning from your job at Walmart?

Damn, that sucks dude.

People of China != Government of China (5, Insightful)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 5 years ago | (#23756237)

Having not read TFA but read the summary, it only says that they were working out of China. That could mean that any person in China with access to a computer and *possibly* access beyond the great firewall of China could have done it. The summary sounds like if a US hacker hacked the Chinese government it would have to be the US government and not some ordinary hacker.

Re:People of China != Government of China (2, Interesting)

Otter (3800) | more than 5 years ago | (#23756319)

In TFA, Frank Wolf implies that the Chinese government is involved, but the the article presents no evidence that that's the case.

Harassing a human rights critic is the kind of thing a nationalistic script kiddie moron would do; the Chinese intelligence agencies have much higher-value targets to pursue.

Re:People of China != Government of China (1)

Vectronic (1221470) | more than 5 years ago | (#23756397)

But, but but... China, they done it!

It seems to me, that they (whoever they may be) are trying to start a war of sorts... pinning country against country on the internet... to what gain, im not really sure, perhaps ultimately to create a UN (United Network?) for the Internet, or simply just to create more business trying to out-do other countries security, intelligence (as in the passing of information), and control of their public.

Re:People of China != Government of China (3, Insightful)

CrazedWalrus (901897) | more than 5 years ago | (#23756907)

I don't really understand why this is such a surprise to people. Countries spy on each other. News at 11. No one is starting a war, it's plain ol' espionage such as has gone on since the beginning of civilizations.

The fact that the US government seems to think that this doesn't apply to computers and the internet is what's appalling, not the fact that China has spies.

It's time that the government wake up and secure their systems. That the Chinese and every other government will look out for their own interests by whatever means they can get away with should simply be assumed.

Re:People of China != Government of China (1)

Gogo0 (877020) | more than 5 years ago | (#23757497)

of course this does not prove in any way that they were involved, but the chinese government has a long history of utilizing triads and nationalists to do dirty work. its far more likely than you make it sound (though i do think the public finger-pointing is stupid on a few levels).

Re:People of China != Government of China (1)

MikeB0Lton (962403) | more than 5 years ago | (#23756641)

To add to that, perhaps it means that a good percentage of computers in China are already compromised and someone else is making it look like it is a Chinese attack?

Re:People of China != Government of China (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23757405)

Hackers need to learn to initiate their attacks from some country that the U.S. government doesn't seem to care about spying on them. Why isn't there any rhetoric from the politicians about Israeli spies in the U.S.?

War. (0, Troll)

TheSubAtomic (1305939) | more than 5 years ago | (#23756245)

inb4 war with china also inb4 the US gets wtfpwnt by china

Re:War. (1)

Wiseblood1 (1135095) | more than 5 years ago | (#23756301)

in after incredibly retarded statement China can enjoy getting bombed to hell and back due to American air superiority. Oh and lolnavy.

So What? (5, Insightful)

camperdave (969942) | more than 5 years ago | (#23756305)

So what makes China any different. Lobbyist groups have been "hacking" congress for ages.

Re:So What? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23756901)

So what makes China any different
China isn't Israel.

Perhaps... (1)

mpthompson (457482) | more than 5 years ago | (#23756321)

the congressmen should have realized a sock shoved in the "series of tubes" would have been an effective countermeasure.

Sheesh! Politicians these days. They don't know anything.

Digital Photo Frames? (1)

Knowzy (950793) | more than 5 years ago | (#23756431)

I know how it happened: These congresspeople received an anonymous gift of a Chinese-manufactured digital photo frame shortly before their Windows-based PC's were compromised. It seemed harmless enough at the time!

Malware is not hacking (1)

1_brown_mouse (160511) | more than 5 years ago | (#23756451)

An unpatched hole in winders grabbed by malware brandx served up from the cn tld does not rise to the level of hacking in my book.

Anyone recommend an online Mandarin turorial? (4, Insightful)

damburger (981828) | more than 5 years ago | (#23756469)

Because I think its going to be a useful skill given the way the wing is blowing.

Only a few years ago the eclipsing of the US by China was seen as a far off, ad even an unlikely, contingency. Now it is looking almost certain. They've quietly kept their heads down, developing their economy and their military, whilst the US has blown trillions of dollars on a pointless war, fumbled its economy and trashed its international reputation.

What kind of superpower can't do anything in response to such an open violation of its national security? It is the same kind of powerlessness that was demonstrated by the UK when the Russians openly murdered someone in the middle of London and we did nothing of consequence.

We in the west have squandered our soft power and shown our hard power to be just about adequate for securing two barely armed third world shitholes. This fact hasn't been missed by Russia and China.

Re:Anyone recommend an online Mandarin turorial? (1)

Deanalator (806515) | more than 5 years ago | (#23757341)

Rumor has it that the online Rosetta stone version is pretty good.
http://www.rosettastone.com/personal/languages/chinese-mandarin/osub [rosettastone.com]
I will probably be signing up for that in the next couple weeks. It seems a lot more interactive, and I like the idea of paying for a service that can update as time changes rather than just pay for a single piece of software.

What I would really like to see is a list of good movies and tv shows in Mandarin. Pretty much every good Chinese movie I have ever seen has been in Cantonese, and I have never been able to watch a Mandarin tv show all the way through an episode.

Re:Anyone recommend an online Mandarin turorial? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23757377)

I usually just peel them and eat them, although sometimes I add them to a salad.

Re:Anyone recommend an online Mandarin turorial? (1)

dbIII (701233) | more than 5 years ago | (#23757695)

What kind of superpower can't do anything in response to such an open violation of its national security?

Even something as serious as a foreign government detonating a car bomb in Washington D.C. (Chilean assassination of Orlando Letelier) usually get dealt with by angry words in meeting rooms instead of counterproductive invasions.

Re:Anyone recommend an online Mandarin turorial? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23757827)

If memory serves, the Soviet military was booted out of Afghanistan in the 1980s, thanks to aid provided by the "The West." You might think that 'securing two barely armed third world shitholes' is easy (and yes, they are shitholes), but sometimes a seemingly targeted conflict becomes a proxy war. Iraq or Afgahnistan or both may not be the best place for the fight against Muslim Extremists that want to irradiate your backyard, but it's much closer to the source of the problem than a skyscraper in New York, or the Tube in London, or a train in Spain. BTW -- you haven't seen the full might and size of the U.S. military until Congress authorizes conscription. As it stands, the WoT has been engaged with an all-volunteer army.

I agree that the amount of money that the U.S. has spent on the WoT is outrageous. By all rights we could pursue a better course by weening ourselves off of oil as the dominant source of energy. The West is enriching those that want to destroy it because of a century-old energy policy. If, in stead of spending another trillion on the WoT, we spent a trillion on developing fusion power, or implementing fuel rod reclamation and building additional nuclear plants, we would be further ahead of the problem and simultaneously boost the tech industry -- something that needs a pick-me-up at the moment.

As far as China and the U.S. are concerned, the two economies are so interdependent that a crisis in one country ultimately makes a noticeable negative economic impact on the other.

You should probably learn Mandarin anyway -- it would provide any overseas investor another advantage.

As for China overtaking the U.S. economy in size, well, the reason for China's phenomenal growth is the cheap labor. As labor in China becomes more expensive, you can expect to see more trade agreements with countries that can compete on that level (Vietnam, Malaysia, and Brazil come to mind).

don't shell out that cash yet... (3, Interesting)

je ne sais quoi (987177) | more than 5 years ago | (#23757839)

I know many native chinese and have even been to Beijing. I can say that you should take Mandarin if you want to learn more about Chinese culture or because you want to travel there, not because your afraid of China becoming a super-power. They're not super-powering anywhere yet.

The same cultural factors that cause them to ship lead paint based toys and glycol laced toothpaste [nytimes.com] affects them too. It's called corruption. For one thing, the whole place is an environmental disaster. For another, if you look at building quality there it's the same thing -- buildings in China that have been made 15 years ago look like they were made 50 years ago, with water stains and poor quality maintenance. A good example of this? Look at the school buildings that fell down in the earthquake [timesonline.co.uk], bricks that fell apart like sand, rotten supports, etc. etc. etc. Classic corruption at work. This also extends to their military. [nytimes.com]

Let's put it this way, in the U.S. we have occasional overt corruption of politicians and government officials (notably the current administration and their no-bid contracts to Halliburton in Iraq, etc.), and some institutionalized corruption such as lobbying, but it's nothing like China. Imagine politicians like Bush and Cheney, or the democratic congressman with the $90k in his refrigerator were the norm. from the state to local level. Nothing would work, everyone would be promoted due to loyalty rather than competence. In the U.S. there's been tremendous damage just from seven years of the current adminstration, but think about what the country would look like after 50 years of it: that's China. So yeah, if the Chinese were to suddenly change their culture and make it dishonorable to be corrupt rather than just get caught, we'd have problems but as it is China is going nowhere fast.

Stop using Windows (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23756489)

Let's kill two birds with one stone here.

Ubuntu (1)

r6_jason (893331) | more than 5 years ago | (#23756513)

I bet those computers weren't running Ubuntu. :-)

Re:Ubuntu (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23756575)

Why would anyone hack into a Ubuntu system, there isn't anything they could do with it.

Re:Ubuntu (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23757241)

You're right. The use Ubuntu requires a couple of neurones. And these are hard to find in Congress nowadays...

Hacked By Chinese! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23756517)

Attention! CODE RED [wikipedia.org]

Hacked By Chinese!

Targeting or firehose? (5, Insightful)

victim (30647) | more than 5 years ago | (#23756541)

I have a server the size of a double CD case locked in a dark generator shed on a tiny island miles from anywhere that sits alone 9 months of the year reporting battery bank voltages to me.... Chinese hackers attempt to break into it several times a day.

The fact is, there is a metric shitload of Chinese hackers out there. Just because you think you are something special doesn't mean they are targeting you.

(of course the hacker may not be from China, they are just using a machine in China as the most recent hop.)

Re:Targeting or firehose? (1)

divisionbyzero (300681) | more than 5 years ago | (#23757285)

"(of course the hacker may not be from China, they are just using a machine in China as the most recent hop.)"

That's a heck of a last hop from Beijing to Washington D.C. :-) I know what you mean, but it seems unlikely to be that straightforward.

those morons should be impeached. (1)

lophophore (4087) | more than 5 years ago | (#23756573)

Duhhh. More congressional stupidity. Let's put confidential or secret information on a Windows PC that's connected to the Internet. Duhhhhhhhhhhh.

Those morons should be impeached.

OTOH, I am pretty much totally in favor of firewalling off all of China's IP address space...

Re:those morons should be impeached. (1)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 5 years ago | (#23756885)

OTOH, I am pretty much totally in favor of firewalling off all of China's IP address space...

Yes, but then China would immediately retaliate by firewalling us off ... oh, right.

As much as I think this is important... (5, Insightful)

mathfeel (937008) | more than 5 years ago | (#23756585)

Suppose China were found unequivocally guilty by this congressional hearing, what kind of punishment/sanction is our pro-business government (both parties) going to impose? There'll surely be economical retaliation and Walmark are not going to like that.

Just like suppose Windows were found to be running on most of the hacked computer, is our government going to to tough enough to demand replacing all our military computers with something more secure? Not when a multi billion contractor from Redmond has anything to say about it.

This raises another point. Surely our enemies with resource (and computer resource is cheap and abundant) are going to try to hack us. Shouldn't we be more focused on securing our system: something we can do pro-actively. Instead of blaming the attacker, over whom we have to jurisdiction (or unwilling) to punish, shouldn't we punish those people who leave us vulnerable here, at home, when we are paying them shit load of tax money to secure our infrastructure? And if the infrastructure is to blame, should we blame congress?

Re:As much as I think this is important... (2, Insightful)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 5 years ago | (#23756905)

Surely our enemies with resource (and computer resource is cheap and abundant) are going to try to hack us. Shouldn't we be more focused on securing our system:

Enemies. Yes, that's a good point. Security is all well and good, but frankly we should be more focused on the consequences of our economic ties to a hostile totalitarian state.

Hey! (0, Troll)

crhylove (205956) | more than 5 years ago | (#23756589)

Our congress is the most inept, pathetic, and treasonous part of our government. Nearly as bad as Dick Cheney himself. Attacking us there is really like hitting below the belt. WTF?

Probably malware, not hacking (1)

urbanriot (924981) | more than 5 years ago | (#23756695)

Okay, considering what I know about hacking, how do you 'hack' your way into a laptop? I bet the real truth of the situation is that these two users installed some malware or other malicious files on their computers, that pushed sensitive data out, or at least gave them a back door rather than hackers 'hacking' it out. But using the word hacking sounds more sensational.

Their are millions of people in China (1)

pembo13 (770295) | more than 5 years ago | (#23756711)

And it isn't even a democracy, so how exactly does a user of a computer on a Chinese subnet equate to the Chinese government? Furthermore, the US Air Force has public advertisements for hacking positions on national tv, it's not as if the USA's government is above hacking.

Chinese Logic (1)

electronixtar (1042742) | more than 5 years ago | (#23756727)

Hmm, have subscribed slashdot all day, found the common Chinese Logic: China: GFW, Human rights, democracy, hacking, red-commie

Just out of curiousity... (0, Offtopic)

dv8ed (697300) | more than 5 years ago | (#23756753)

Why are there Congressional computers with lists of political dissidents from around the world on them? Should I have checked 'Post Anonymously'?

Working out of China or working for China? (4, Insightful)

Drakin020 (980931) | more than 5 years ago | (#23756809)

Does working out of China mean they work FOR the Chinese government? Or is it just speculation?

Re:Working out of China or working for China? (1)

Deanalator (806515) | more than 5 years ago | (#23757423)

In the case of the titan rain attacks, US investigator (Shawn Carpenter) broke into the machines that the attackers were bouncing off of, and the trail always stopped at a set of three routers in Guangdong. He set up camp there and watched.

"Carpenter had never seen hackers work so quickly, with such a sense of purpose. They would commandeer a hidden section of a hard drive, zip up as many files as possible and immediately transmit the data to way stations in South Korea, Hong Kong or Taiwan before sending them to mainland China. They always made a silent escape, wiping their electronic fingerprints clean and leaving behind an almost undetectable beacon allowing them to re-enter the machine at will. An entire attack took 10 to 30 minutes."

http://www.time.com/time/magazine/printout/0,8816,1098906,00.html [time.com]

Still going on (4, Insightful)

DynaSoar (714234) | more than 5 years ago | (#23756831)

This has been happening since China first got IP space. Their defense department was the origin of their first (very amateurish) hacks, those against pro-Tibet web sites. Thousands have happened since and have been reported, and it's no more likely to end than any other intrusions.

If the US wanted it to stop they'd put up honey pots with credible but artificial data and then wait for it to get used. This is how you catch the intruder and protect the real data at the same time. And the US knows this. This is first semester psyops. Fact is, they're almost certainly doing it, making this announcement utterly meaningless. And it is, unless you stick around for second semester psyops. That's when they teach you how to craft a story that makes such a big splash that something more important but entirely unrelated gets missed.

The present administration rarely hides its efforts along these lines, or Jon Stewart wouldn't have nearly as much material to work with. It's when something is really threatening to them that they work in the grey. Just as a possible for instance, in how many sources can you find this story, and in how many can you find the story of Kucinich's reading of articles of impeachment? And which is the more important story?

When something gets way too much coverage than it deserves, look around and see what's not getting enough. It'll be there because they can't make it go away. All they can do is tie a bell around the media's neck and wait for the sheeple to follow it.

"Taking the gold"? Hardly. (3, Insightful)

John Hasler (414242) | more than 5 years ago | (#23756891)

I wouldn't think that cracking the pc of the average Congressman would be all that challenging. A bit of spearphishing and you're in.

clearly the Chinese have money to waste (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23756899)

All the other governments just wait for another former White House aide to write a book. Or Bob Woodward to dump the contents of his latest stack of notebooks onto the Barnes and Noble "new releases" shelf.

Re:clearly the Chinese have money to waste (1)

Ungrounded Lightning (62228) | more than 5 years ago | (#23757747)

clearly the Chinese have money to waste ... All the other governments just wait for ...

The Chinese have a LOT of manpower. So why wait? And why do only ONE attack?

In a competition you use your strengths to your advantage.

Re:clearly the Chinese have money to waste (1)

dbIII (701233) | more than 5 years ago | (#23757873)

They also have a lot of money. A very large amount of it was loaned to the USA to pay for the war effort. This is one thing that capitalists have been trying very hard to get into the heads of the various "cold warriors" out there that would like to see a fight with China.

Posting as AC for obvious reasons, but (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23756915)

I work at a place that is routinely attacked. As someone else noted there's a load of hackers in china, most script kiddies, but when you work at a nice juicy target you get thousands more hits. Where I work I've watched the hack attempts come in and regardless of other posts saying "Oh, China's actual government would be more careful", most of the time they are pretty brazen, easily traceable and there isn't a damn thing we can do about it. We tried to run it up the chain once and after a lot of complaining we got sat down and told:

"Even if we confront someone from the Chinese government they'll just look at us and deny it."
but we have the logs.
"They'll say we faked them."
but we'll let them pull the logs themselves.
"They'll say that we are staging the attacks to frame the chinese."
I didn't have a response to this.
"We've done this before. Don't feel bad. Everyone who gets assigned to monitoring thinks they will be the first person to prove the chinese government is allowing its employees to target us. You get used to it after a while. Next year come to the import meeting and we'll let you hear how we are obviously setting up insecure servers just to tempt moral citizens to hack us." said the PHB.

George Bush and his crew of incompetence have NOTHING on the chinese when it comes to flat out lying, ignoring evidence, and blaming the target of the attacks.

So just get rid of the national governments (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23756951)

Is it really all that difficult to conceive of disposing of the nation state? Now that we live in an age of a global society, what do nations do for us? Do they not just divide us and make us fear each other? Enter open source governance [wikipedia.org] and the metascore [sourceforge.net] open source project. Instead of having Chinese hackers and Rep. Smith fighting it out on the net, why not have everyone all in the same mix?

Re:So just get rid of the national governments (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23757061)

You mean Russian hackers too?

Domestic animals proposing getting rid of farmers. (2, Interesting)

Ungrounded Lightning (62228) | more than 5 years ago | (#23757797)

Is it really all that difficult to conceive of disposing of the nation state? Now that we live in an age of a global society, what do nations do for us? ...

You are in much the same position as a cow or sheep proposing to get rid of farmers.

It's easy to conceive of getting rid of nation states. It's really hard to do it. The people in power raise, herd, milk, and slaughter the bulk of the population for their own benefit. Part of this process is culling from the herd those "rogues" who attempt to change the situation, before more of the herd starts following them.

Encryption? (4, Insightful)

dark_requiem (806308) | more than 5 years ago | (#23757021)

I notice the article doesn't mention if any of the data on these computers was encrypted. It's one thing to hack into a Windows desktop. It's quite another to have to break a 1024-bit AES cipher to actually make use of the data you find. This should be (yet another) wakeup call that any data of any importance should be encrypted with a strong cipher. It's not like it's difficult to do, and it's not like the software is expensive (TrueCrypt, anyone?). I encrypt all my personal data, and if it was compromised, worst case scenario my identity might be stolen. These idiots (sorry, that's Representatives...) are storing personal information about political dissidents and refugees. If THAT data is compromised, worst case scenario people get killed, and entire political movements are quashed by force.

Re:Encryption? (1)

l0ungeb0y (442022) | more than 5 years ago | (#23757457)

"I notice the article doesn't mention if any of the data on these computers was encrypted"

These were Congressmen. So I think it's safe to assume these were in regular word docs with filenames like SuperSecretMeetingAgendaForChineseradeTalks.doc

Maybe if our government could start taking security seriously, we'd see Congress move to OS X with filevault enabled by default on the Documents folder.

Terrorist scare? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23757049)

What is this, the new terrorist scare? Instead of the war on drugs and the war on poverty and the war on unjust 3rd world regimes, will they have the war on information theft and intellectual property theft? Is this Bush rallying for a 3rd term?

Use OpenBSD, Duh! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23757397)

Well, that's what you get for not using OpenBSD. =)

One man's opinion (1)

mcecil (1248130) | more than 5 years ago | (#23757513)

I, for one, welcome our new Chinese masters... On a related note, Falun-gong is simply the chinese version of scientology; and the public outcry about it's repression is a lesson for those in the states who think a harder stance should be taken re: Tom Cruise. Discuss.

I swear I told them (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23757637)

Stay off the pr0n sites and stop using IE on windows ME but would they listen ... NOOOOOOOOOO!

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