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China Crafts Cyberweapons

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 7 years ago | from the virtual-arms-race dept.

Security 326

MitmWatcher writes to mention that a recent report by the Department of Defense revealed that China is continuing to build up their cyberwarfare units and develop viruses. "'The PLA has established information warfare units to develop viruses to attack enemy computer systems and networks,' the annual DOD report on China's military warned. At the same, Chinese armed forces are developing ways to protect its own systems from an enemy attack, it said, echoing similar warnings made in previous years."

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Sensible (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19301653)

Only sensible. News because they happen to be communist in name. Everyone else is doing the same things. This is like the revolutionary developments in bio-weapons by the major countries last century. China may actually have a better vision of the future in its defence policy than other nations.

Re:Sensible (3, Funny)

smilindog2000 (907665) | more than 7 years ago | (#19301737)

We've been doing the same for years, I hear with some success. In the first Iraq war, I heard a story about an infected printer driver that Iraq downloaded that in theory played havoc with their network during the invasion. I also hear we have a special unit tasked to attack information systems in real time, during an invasion, and to protect our own network. How much fun would that job be? I am seriously envious.

Re:Sensible (1)

mattpalmer1086 (707360) | more than 7 years ago | (#19301993)

Actually, the printer virus is a hoax. But it may have played some part in the overall information war strategy, in terms of psychological warfare / propaganda. Information warfare is as old as war itself - just read the Art of War. http://www.theregister.co.uk/2003/03/10/one_printe r_one_virus_one/ [theregister.co.uk]

Re:Sensible (5, Interesting)

neomunk (913773) | more than 7 years ago | (#19301741)

This is just a new battlefield, like between the world wars when everyone scrambled to get together some kind of airforce. Space hasn't been officially militarized yet because of cold war fears that led to a treaty banning that type of activity. It seems that certain powers in the world are changing their mind about that, but I digress...

Yeah, cyberspace (I know, played out term, but it's common vernacular now) is a place (kinda) where strategy can be applied to hamper an enemies war fighting potential. Not only that, it can be the equivalent to infrastructure destruction when targeted at the private sector. Yep, all that advantage without firing a shot, without having to wait for resupply of ammunition and without putting a single person within killing range of the target.

In other words, this is common sense.

Propaganda Alert: +2, Elevated (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19301997)


You mean the Department of War [whitehouse.org] .

I hope this helps the criminal investigation.

PatRIOTically,
Kilgore Trout

Notable: SharedSource (4, Interesting)

symbolset (646467) | more than 7 years ago | (#19302039)

It is notable here that China is one of the state entities that enjoys access to the source code for Window under Microsoft's SharedSource program. If you're in IT for a government agency in the US, it's your duty to ask 'what does China know about my critical infrastructure that I don't know?'

Unfortunately for the people who rely on you, the answer is undiscoverable.

Re:Notable: SharedSource (2, Insightful)

OrangeTide (124937) | more than 7 years ago | (#19302165)

Sounds like a good reason for every top tier government agency in the US (and possibly in other nations, Canada, UK, Australia, EU, ...) to ban Windows entirely. Top tier being any executive, military, or financial arm of the government. and any private or government entities that provide vital resources (electricity, water treatment, oil refining, mass transit systems, etc)

Re:Notable: SharedSource (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19302211)

Um. Ever wondered why Sun was still around? They make "Trusted Solaris". Any *important* computer systems already don't run windows.

Re:Notable: SharedSource (0, Flamebait)

iONiUM (530420) | more than 7 years ago | (#19302295)

You know, I realize that this article rings strongly of "China is going to attack the united states", but this comment:

If you're in IT for a government agency in the US, it's your duty to ask 'what does China know about my critical infrastructure that I don't know?'


Speaks strongly of "I'm an American and the Chinese are all fucking evil and wanting to attack me". Why China? Why not every other fucking country in the world? Maybe you didn't mean it this way but I see it all the time about <insert politcally understood 'bad' country here>.

OH NOES! (5, Funny)

HappySmileMan (1088123) | more than 7 years ago | (#19301655)

At the same, Chinese armed forces are developing ways to protect its own systems from an enemy attack, it said, echoing similar warnings made in previous years.
China are trying to secure their computers? Do they not realise this is a declaration of war on the US?

Re:OH NOES! (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19301705)

At the same, Chinese armed forces are developing ways to protect its own systems from an enemy attack

PLA Cyber-Defence Directive #1 : No Rindows!

PLA Cyber-Defence Directive #2 : No Rindows!

PLA Cyber-Defence Directive #3 : No Rindows! ...

Re:OH NOES! (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19301723)

China are trying to secure their computers? Do they not realise this is a declaration of war on the US?
Obviously you don't take seriously enough this, with us or against us, mindset that the Americans seem to have. The only reason the mass media would even bring up something such as cyberweapons is to try and jade the common people's perceptions of "our enemies". Since there's no oil the fascists in charge have to come up with some way to make China look like the bad guy before we attack. And mark my words sometime in our lifetimes there will be an attack made on China by US interested parties.

Re:OH NOES! (4, Insightful)

smilindog2000 (907665) | more than 7 years ago | (#19301765)

sometime in our lifetimes there will be an attack made on China by US interested parties.

Not a change. China holds too much of our debt, and is too crucial for our economy. Also, China historically is mostly interested in China. Kinda makes for a poor enemy.

Re:OH NOES! (4, Insightful)

imemyself (757318) | more than 7 years ago | (#19301863)

Also, China historically is mostly interested in China.

Yes, but their definition of "China" includes Taiwan, Tibet, and the Spratly islands.

Re:OH NOES! (3, Insightful)

neomunk (913773) | more than 7 years ago | (#19302033)

I agree with what I think is your base point about China, but still, what about any of those places makes you think that the U.S. would be willing to risk having China stop financing our debt for any of them?

Besides that a couple of years ago China's political leadership and military leadership both told the press that if they DID go to war with the U.S. they would immediately resort to nuclear weapons, because they know they couldn't win conventionally.

No, even if that's all bluster, it's still too much risk (especially the debt financing) as long as they don't try and take OUR piece of the oil/diamonds/whatever economists say we need today. They won't, I think they are willing to share with the U.S. for now, and probably for the foreseeable future, barring something like peak oil being imminent or something. Maybe then, but that's probably not likely in the near future.

Re:OH NOES! (1)

phantomcircuit (938963) | more than 7 years ago | (#19302293)

The vast majority of the US national debt is owned by the federal reserve bank, that's right we owe ourselves money.

Re:OH NOES! (2, Interesting)

Pantero Blanco (792776) | more than 7 years ago | (#19301735)

Actual attacks on US military and government computers from China have been happening for years. There was especially a lot of crap flying during the "spy plane" incident a few years back.

Re:OH NOES! (1)

yogurtforthesoul (1032362) | more than 7 years ago | (#19301783)

Remember the defense system will be the eighth wonder of the world, The Great Firewall of China. I know bad pun, been done, needed to be said, etc...

Re:OH NOES! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19301983)

That's ok. I have Norton Antivirus.

I'm just wondering... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19301661)

When Armitage will crash there!!!

jv

And why shouldn't they? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19301671)

After all, 100% guaranteed that everybody else are.

One word ... (0, Redundant)

kh_naba (633761) | more than 7 years ago | (#19301673)

Linux

Re:One word ... (2, Funny)

LiquidCoooled (634315) | more than 7 years ago | (#19301717)

I'm sorry, but I cannot get the image of Stallman bashing a tambourine singing 'Kum by Yar' whilst crossing the battlefield.
Linux is many things, but its not a cyber weapon.

Re:One word ... (1)

ichigo 2.0 (900288) | more than 7 years ago | (#19301729)

I believe you missed his point. Which I believe was that Linux would be a defense against these cyberweapons. :)

Re:One word ... (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19301755)

Linux itself might be, but Linux users (being communists) will leave the gates wide open.

Or so a /. troll said.

Re:One word ... (3, Insightful)

neomunk (913773) | more than 7 years ago | (#19301801)

Linux is many things, but its not a cyber weapon.
You're right, it can however be a perfectly powerful cyber-weapons factory, deployment platform, hidden storage facility, you name it.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not bashing linux at all, but if my history serves me well here, linux gained a following among, shall we say, highly technical miscreants for a reason. It's powerful and able to be reconfigured to perform most any given task optimally.

Re:One word ... (4, Insightful)

vivaoporto (1064484) | more than 7 years ago | (#19301731)

I like Linux as much as every other guy here but, if you actually believe that Linux is flawless enough to endure a military funded search for flaws and vulnerabilities and come out immaculate, you must be out of touch with reality.

If "given enough eyeballs, all bugs are shallow", given enough eyeballs (and china has the most), money, military grade technology and bad intentions, every bugs is a potential weapon.

Re:One word ... (1)

Pantero Blanco (792776) | more than 7 years ago | (#19301793)

I like Linux as much as every other guy here but, if you actually believe that Linux is flawless enough to endure a military funded search for flaws and vulnerabilities and come out immaculate, you must be out of touch with reality.


Care to tell us what is? Because Solaris and Windows sure aren't. OpenVMS has a good record, but I doubt it's completely bugless.

Re:One word ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19301855)

Why do you think there is something that is?

Re:One word ... (2, Insightful)

vivaoporto (1064484) | more than 7 years ago | (#19301939)

There is no such thing as "the perfect weapon", the "invulnerable shield" or, for all that matters, "invulnerable O.S.". If there is an Operational System that is secure enough to be resistant to hostile military attacks, it must certainly be kept 1) developed by the military itself 2) restricted for the general public, for the same reasons strong cryptography was back in the days. Who would be fool to let a tool like that potentially fall in the hands of the enemies (whatever side they are)?

Anyway, if there is any O.S. out there that cannot be compromised even by its own creator or by a determined enemy, we do not and will not know and, the most important thing, will not code.

Re:One word ... (2, Insightful)

Pantero Blanco (792776) | more than 7 years ago | (#19302007)

That was what I was implying. Linux (and other Unixes like *BSD, Solaris, etc) aren't invincible, but as far as I know they're better than the current alternatives. The fact that enough dedicated attackers could break them seems like a moot point to me.

Re:One word ... (1)

meringuoid (568297) | more than 7 years ago | (#19302171)

If there is an Operational System that is secure enough to be resistant to hostile military attacks, it must certainly be kept 1) developed by the military itself 2) restricted for the general public, for the same reasons strong cryptography was back in the days. Who would be fool to let a tool like that potentially fall in the hands of the enemies (whatever side they are)?

A lone genius who developed it themselves and just posted it on the internet, perhaps?

Re:One word ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19301745)

It'd seem likely that if viruses are being developed for military applications, some of those viruses are indeed targeted at Linux and the BSDs: even if these operating systems don't have enough market share to be viable for virus writers whose goal is maximum infection percentage, or economic gain through spamming or scamming, they do keep a lot of important servers up and running and serve confidential information from important databases.

With open source products, agents might even try to introduce deceptively coded back doors into the OS, rather than discovering accidental vulnerabilities.

Re:One word ... (4, Insightful)

meringuoid (568297) | more than 7 years ago | (#19302221)

It'd seem likely that if viruses are being developed for military applications, some of those viruses are indeed targeted at Linux and the BSDs: even if these operating systems don't have enough market share to be viable for virus writers whose goal is maximum infection percentage, or economic gain through spamming or scamming, they do keep a lot of important servers up and running and serve confidential information from important databases.

Probably not viruses, but worms, and remote-root exploits. If your local equivalent of NSA or GCHQ has found a really nasty bug in, let us say, Apache, which allows root control of the server, they'll quietly code up a worm to exploit it, and keep it in storage against the day they decide they need to knock down a whole bunch of systems.

However, the potential economic gain from owning Apache / MySQL systems is far greater than from owning IIS / SQL Server systems. The reason Windows-based servers are more commonly attacked isn't because they're more numerous, it's because they're more vulnerable. That, and a vulnerability affecting one generally affects all. That's not always the case with the more varied Linux systems, where exploits often depend on a very specific combination of software. So, if you're truly paranoid about informational attack, make sure your crucial systems are as secure as possible, and also varied in configuration, so that no single attack can take out all of them.

Cowboys (4, Funny)

SpectreBlofeld (886224) | more than 7 years ago | (#19301677)

"...ICE patterns formed and reformed on the screen as he probed for gaps, skirted the most obvious traps, and mapped the route he'd take through Sense/Net's ICE. It was good ICE. Wonderful ICE... ...His program had reached the fifth gate. He watched as his icebreaker strobed and shifted in front of him, only faintly aware of his hands playing across the deck, making minor adjustments. Translucent planes of color shuffled like a trick deck. Take a card, he thought, any card.

The gate blurred past. He laughed. The Sense/Net ice had accepted his entry as a routine transfer from the consortium's Los Angeles complex. He was inside. Behind him, viral subprograms peeled off, meshing with the gate's code fabric, ready to deflect the real Los Angeles data when it arrived."

From Neuromancer, by William Gibson, following protagonist Henry Dorsett Case as he uses a Chinese military-made icebreaker to hack a virtual fortress...

If only computer security were really so dramatic :)

kuang11 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19301795)

gcc kuang11.c -o kuang11

Re:Cowboys (1)

tzanger (1575) | more than 7 years ago | (#19301981)

You know, I'm reading Neuromancer right now. I have never been able to make it though the book, not in any of the several attempts I've made of it over the past 15 or so years. I find I just cannot get in to it. I just started Chapter 5, and it's a chore to not just put the book away. People keep telling me it's good, but... ugh.

Re:Cowboys (0, Offtopic)

soulprivate (1011963) | more than 7 years ago | (#19302053)

maaan you have issues :-)

I read it for the first time in 1985. To this date I have read it at least 30 times.

I was almost moved to tears by the quote ...

Re:Cowboys (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19302119)

Get a fucking life.

It's a shite book.

Re:Cowboys (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19302229)

What do you recommend instead? Keep in mind that I've already been through the Hardy Boys oeuvre.

Re:Cowboys (1)

Javagator (679604) | more than 7 years ago | (#19302253)

I agree. Neuromancer is in second place in my all time favorite books, just after Herman Hesse's Damien.

Re:Cowboys (1)

Feyr (449684) | more than 7 years ago | (#19302067)

i can't blame you. i did read it, twice even, but the writing style is pretty dense and it's hard to stay focused on it

Re:Cowboys (1)

Harmonious Botch (921977) | more than 7 years ago | (#19302203)

Umm...wasn't it a Russian icebreaker?

Good.. (5, Funny)

Pranab (1088713) | more than 7 years ago | (#19301683)

Now we can buy millions of pirated copies of these weapons at almost nothing.

Re:Good.. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19301799)

If you don't know what Cmd-Shift-1 and Cmd-Shift-2 are for, GTFO.
If you think Firefox is a decent Mac application, GTFO.
If you're still looking for the "maximize" button, GTFO.
If the name "Clarus" means nothing to you, GTFO.

Bandwagon jumpers are not welcome among real [imageshack.us] Mac [imageshack.us] users [imageshack.us] . Keep your filthy, beige [imageshack.us] PC fingers to yourself.

Re:Good.. (3, Funny)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 7 years ago | (#19302061)

Now we can buy millions of pirated copies of these weapons at almost nothing.

Yes, but the death and destruction only satisfies for a few hours and then you are hungry again.
         

Quick! Send more American jobs to China! (-1, Troll)

Travoltus (110240) | more than 7 years ago | (#19301685)

Before they launch cyber-attacks against the US.

Oops, too late! [dba-oracle.com]

How is that a troll? (0, Flamebait)

Travoltus (110240) | more than 7 years ago | (#19301841)

My post contained nothing but documented facts. I guess that must have offended the neo con free-trade-with-our-enemies crowd that's selling out our country.

Maybe your job will get outsourced to your country's enemies next?

Re:How is that a troll? (1)

eMbry00s (952989) | more than 7 years ago | (#19301933)

Now, we don't belong to the same nation, but when it comes to nationalism I am inclined to think that the owner of my nation is the enemy of my class.

Re:How is that a troll? (0)

Travoltus (110240) | more than 7 years ago | (#19302223)

Let's revisit the practical meaning of nationalism:

n., the idea that taking care of the needs of your people/country is as important or more so than taking care of the needs of others.

And yet... (4, Insightful)

Pantero Blanco (792776) | more than 7 years ago | (#19301701)

The US will ignore this for the most part, keep trading with them, and allow corporations to send its citizens jobs to the nation that is attacking it. It makes me sick.

Re:And yet... (1)

iminplaya (723125) | more than 7 years ago | (#19301749)

It's what's known in the trade as a "hostile takeover". It's just business. Those in charge will continue on as usual. In their world there is no US and China. That's an illusion for us to keep so we will be their slaves to defend it.

Re:And yet... (1)

iknownuttin (1099999) | more than 7 years ago | (#19301847)

It's just business. Those in charge will continue on as usual. In their world there is no US and China. That's an illusion for us to keep so we will be their slaves to defend it.

It is funny that you said that. Whenever some politician starts grandstanding about China and wants to introduces a bill that will "balance out trade", it's interesting that they shut up real quickly. Of course I can't prove anything, but I think Sprawlmart and others, of course, has a lot to do with it. They're the ones who profit the most from trade with China.

Am I for legislation of trade with China to make it more "fair"? No. Although, I am quite concerned about our nation's dependence on them and their 1.25 Trillion(!) Dollars of cash reserves. On the other hand, I believe that China is even more dependent on trade with us than we are with them - for the time being.

Re:And yet... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19302285)

Quite perceptive. Plutocracy, indeed, knows no nationality.

Re:And yet... (4, Insightful)

mattpalmer1086 (707360) | more than 7 years ago | (#19301881)

Hmmmm - if any other country invests in its military capability, it's equivalent to an attack on the US? That's got to be the most fearful stance I've heard in a long time, and especially perplexing coming from someone in the world's biggest military spender, by some very large margin.

Do you not think it better to trade with countries and develop strong relations with them? You have another strategy?

Re:And yet... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19301917)

I believe that was a reference to the Chinese and Russian freakout when the US started working on missile defence initiatives when Dubya first took power.

He had such a hardon to pick a fight with SOMEONE to show daddy how tough he was that the first thing he did was poke his thumb in their eye. Makes you wonder if Osama hadn't given him an excuse to go after Iraq if we'd be in a much tougher spot with Russia or China by now?

Re:And yet... (3, Interesting)

Pantero Blanco (792776) | more than 7 years ago | (#19301957)

Hmmmm - if any other country invests in its military capability, it's equivalent to an attack on the US?

Have you been offline for the past decade? Chinese attacks on US networks aren't some nebulous possibility; they've been going on for years. Quite a few articles about it have shown up right here on Slashdot.

As for the US's military spending, that annoys me because it gets blown kicking over some dictator in the Middle East or chasing "terrorists" who kill less people than cars, instead of preparing for and dealing with real threats.

Do you not think it better to trade with countries and develop strong relations with them?

No, not while they're attacking.

Good for the gander (4, Insightful)

Harmonious Botch (921977) | more than 7 years ago | (#19302227)

Are we assuming that our military isn't attacking them, too? It just seems like standard operating procedure to me.

Re:And yet... (1)

Timesprout (579035) | more than 7 years ago | (#19302243)

As for the US's military spending, that annoys me because it gets blown kicking over some dictator in the Middle East or chasing "terrorists" who kill less people than cars, instead of preparing for and dealing with real threats. Do you not think it better to trade with countries and develop strong relations with them? No, not while they're attacking.
Well unfortunately for him Saddam was ahead of the game but signed his own death warrant when he wanted to be paid in Euros for Iraqi oil. God forbid the US should lose the control they wield with the petro dollar and be put in a position where unilateral action be made more difficult because their trading partners did not approve and were actually in a position to do something about it.

Parent is not a troll... (5, Insightful)

ushering05401 (1086795) | more than 7 years ago | (#19302069)

or off topic. When a country develops any sort of new military technology that creates increased competition with American military technology there is a political reappraisal. The dramatic example is nuclear technology, but many others exist. The parent poster is pointing out that these revelations of new military technology will not be handled with regard to China as they would with regard to many other nations.

His comment is not particularly insightful, but his assertions are defendable:

Slashdot has reported on attacks apparently coming from within China (titan rain), and attempts by China to disable U.S. spy sats (ground based laser something or other).

The U.S. government continues to grant China 'Favored Trade Nation' status and facilitate the offshoring of work... esecially in manufacturing despite continued resistance from China to enforce safety/humanitarian regulations in those industries (something we require from our other top trading partners, though not from the poorer ones).

The U.S. government continually ignores international organizations such as Amnesty International who attempt to open dialogue about human rights records.

So now China is creating systems designed to realign the BOP on the net. How will the U.S. react? If it's track record holds true, then the U.S. will not react... which is really puzzling. True, if we have it, then others should not be prohibited... but that is now how we treat the non-chinas of the world.

The only disputable or inflamatory statement made by parent is that he actually feels sick about this.

Regards.

So..... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19301703)

Where can I place an order for a Kuang Grade Mark Eleven?

not war just scare tactics (3, Interesting)

wizardforce (1005805) | more than 7 years ago | (#19301711)

Do they not realise this is a declaration of war on the US?

not so much war as it is to prevent the US or other capitalist/democratic countries from undermining their regime. china is a known source of some cyber attacks- mainly from less organized hackers but now that it will be more organized- more bang for the buck. they probably wont try to destroy our systems completely as that would likely have a ripple effect on their economy as well- they sell a lot of stuff to us and where they to screw that up it would hurt them quite dearly. there is one thing that we have that they dont and that is oddly enough sheer number- if i remember correctly we out number them in computing power so if we ever needed to we could do a real DOS attack from hell on them.

Re:not war just scare tactics (1)

soulprivate (1011963) | more than 7 years ago | (#19302115)

Ok, cyber-MAD policy ... the more things change ... (sigh)

Re:not war just scare tactics (2, Insightful)

meringuoid (568297) | more than 7 years ago | (#19302255)

they probably wont try to destroy our systems completely as that would likely have a ripple effect on their economy as well- they sell a lot of stuff to us and where they to screw that up it would hurt them quite dearly. there is one thing that we have that they dont and that is oddly enough sheer number- if i remember correctly we out number them in computing power so if we ever needed to we could do a real DOS attack from hell on them.

In a shooting war, a DOS wouldn't work, certainly not against China. Filter everything out at the Great Firewall. Then the border routers might be saturated, but who wants to email the enemy? Everything inside China would still work fine.

My guess is they'll use these techniques not for aggressive warfare but for espionage. They don't want to bring down the USA. Why bite the hand that feeds you, why destroy the people who'll buy all the cheap plastic junk you can produce? But you certainly would want to spy on what they're doing. Certainly you'd like to know what their government's thinking. Certainly you'd like to know what the American companies who compete with Chinese companies are thinking.

China isn't an enemy of the USA in military terms, and isn't likely to be any time soon, but in business they're a deadly rival, and if they can gain an advantage by spying they'll do it. And I'm quite sure that Japan's doing the same. And if Britain and France and Germany aren't also at it I'd be absolutely amazed.

Re:not war just scare tactics (2, Interesting)

rucs_hack (784150) | more than 7 years ago | (#19302283)

America is creating these kinds of weapons, so why would it be surprising that China would too? Although, given the other things that the US has been convinced other powerful nations had in the past that have been wrong, 'undetectable subs', WMDs, and so on, I wonder if this isn't being made to sound more significant then it really is.

I liken this to the uproar about China developing space based weapons. Um, weren't the US doing it first?

I'd see this more as a sign that China is catching up with the US in terms of utilisation of computing technology. Possibly this is more of a threat because it might mean a chinese microsoft may not be far behind. I'd be willing to bet good money that this is the real thing that's got powerful people having pause for thought.

Personally I'm something of a fan of China. What I wouldn't give to be involved in their space program, even if only in a small way. Hopefully some research might crop up that's related and I can jump in.

I have friends who are involved with China, assisiting in their establishment of research institutions and suchlike, although its still early days. I think it's a good thing. Anything to reduce the neo-conservative dream of a world divided into the good and the evil, with everyone outside of US airspace being broadly defined as 'probably evil, unless we can sell them something'.

Eh (1)

iminplaya (723125) | more than 7 years ago | (#19301727)

They're taking their queues from from the RIAA and Sony. I hope nobody's surprised by this.

And the US? (1)

denver38 (1050472) | more than 7 years ago | (#19301777)

Do you really think the US is not doing the exactly same thing?

Re:And the US? (1)

iminplaya (723125) | more than 7 years ago | (#19301819)

"What did I just say?"* :-)

*Dr. Julius Hibbert

Re:And the US? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19301893)

Do you really think the US is not doing the exactly same thing?
If the U.S. is doing it does not have any relevence to the morality of China doing it.

If you believe that planning for "cyberwar" is good thing, then clearly both the U.S. and China are doing the correct thing by planning for "cyberwar".

If you believe that planning for "cyberwar" is a bad thing, then clearly the U.S. and China are doing the wrong thing by planning for "cyberwar".

But saying "The U.S. does it" doesn't make something OK for someone else to do it. And condeming China for planning for "cyberwar" doesn't mean someone supports the U.S. doing it. You need to give up your one-dimentional us-vs-them political thinking.

OK Here's the Plan (3, Funny)

onkelonkel (560274) | more than 7 years ago | (#19301779)

1. Convince Chinese government that spam is a plot by Falun Gong.
2. Half a million Peoples Liberation Army Cyberwar Programmers attack!
3. ???
4. Profit?

Re:OK Here's the Plan (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19301873)

Corner market on Moo Goo Guy Pan...

US military has one too: USAF Cyberspace Command. (4, Interesting)

Aaron England (681534) | more than 7 years ago | (#19301787)

Last year the Secetary of the Air Force (SECAF) hijacked the realm of cyberspace for the Air Force, when he announced the Air Force's new mission to provide the President with "[options] in in air, space and now cyberspace." According to a recent congressional hearing, the Air Force Cyberpsace Command (AFCYBER) will be stood up sometime Summer 2007.

http://www.af.mil/news/story.asp?storyID=123030505 [af.mil]

Re:US military has one too: USAF Cyberspace Comman (4, Funny)

Puff of Logic (895805) | more than 7 years ago | (#19301883)

Last year the Secetary of the Air Force (SECAF) hijacked the realm of cyberspace for the Air Force, when he announced the Air Force's new mission to provide the President with "[options] in in air, space and now cyberspace."
Yes, but in all fairness it's certainly part of the USAF's mission. We've been defending freedom from our cubicles for a long time now and they don't call us the "chair force" for nothing!

Yes? (1)

Xiph (723935) | more than 7 years ago | (#19301809)

Best way of keeping peace, is by preparing for war, incidentally, best way of preparing for war, is excactly the same.
If whatever country you live in, is not doing this, then shame on them.

Re:Yes? (4, Interesting)

polar red (215081) | more than 7 years ago | (#19302163)

BULLCRAP !!!!

1/Europe was a warzone for a thousand years. The moment the EU(actually its predecessors) was founded, war ceased. The economic bonds between these member states prevent any war. No-one in his right mind would think of a war between 2 of the member states, and yet Europe is the least militarized zone in the world.
2/the way people keep thinking of "enemies" is an outdated concept. At least in some parts of the world. Can you point them on the map? And Can you make a link to countries not involved in any war in 50 years ?

And they both use Windows (2, Funny)

dattaway (3088) | more than 7 years ago | (#19301823)

...this should get interesting.

"Crafting Cyber-Weapons" (4, Funny)

drDugan (219551) | more than 7 years ago | (#19301851)

I have an image of thousands of Chineese computer specialists, working tirelessly in huge warehouses of cubicles. I can hear them mumbling now... "Collect metal, collect wood, collect magic talisman of sharpness, rrrun to forge, use skill +5 "Weapon Craft" with added +2 ring-of-the-crafter proficiency." Bingo! a new Shadow Axe of Sharpness, sold for 350 RMB on Ebay. Rinse and repeat.

Re:"Crafting Cyber-Weapons" (1)

neomunk (913773) | more than 7 years ago | (#19302131)

That's like the little hacker guys in Command and Conquer whatever the hell version that was. It was kinda neat, they'd sit down with a laptop and start making like 5 bucks every few seconds...

Pot kettle black? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19301905)

As if the US haven't been doing exactly the same, since at least as far back as the eighties. And probably much longer, after all the internet started out as an ARPA [wikipedia.org] project.

Or am I the only one who's always been paranoid enough to find it a bit suspicious that the big internet worm [wikipedia.org] was created by "the son of" the NSA's chief computer security scientist?

I've always believed that if it really was Morris who wrote it in the first place, dear son must have been browsing through some stuff dad brought home from work, or else he wouldn't have found multiple vulnerabilities in multiple software products (see the wiki article) in a timespan short enough to use them in a single worm.

And of course it isn't suspicious that the connection to the NSA was removed from the wiki page about the worm itself (it is still mentioned on the page about its author [wikipedia.org] , however).

And that's exactly why.... (1)

thrill12 (711899) | more than 7 years ago | (#19301923)

...my firewall blocks China completely. If anyone wants to enter, they first need to ask politely. Same could count for other countries by the way.
 
This combined with severe passive OS fingerprinting delivers a good way to solve most issues (except DOS attacks ofcourse).
Not perfect, but in the light of current state of internet affairs a most needed solution.

Re:And that's exactly why.... (2, Informative)

andrewjhall (773595) | more than 7 years ago | (#19302137)

If you believe that a Chinese hacker couldn't hack into one of a few million PCs outside of China and then attack you from there, you're probably not giving them enough credit...

Hmmmm. (0, Offtopic)

Adambomb (118938) | more than 7 years ago | (#19301937)

I'll take one Kuang Grade Mk. XI to go please.

Re:Hmmmm. (1)

Bendy Chief (633679) | more than 7 years ago | (#19302113)

Don't forget that it's a slow acting virus... slides on up to the ICE all stealthy-like, then unfolds. :-)

Imagine the following: (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19301965)

Flash forward ten years ... a group of American military commanders are gathered around a conference table deep inside the pentagon to discuss the most recent Chinese cyber attacks on US infrastructure. Voices are raised, tensions are running high, and nobody can seem to reach agreement on the best way forward. But everyone knows that time is running short and that a response is needed.

Suddenly, the huge video conference screen on the wall springs to life. A stern Chinese communist party official appears in a smart beige chairman-Mao suit. The shouting and arguments stop and an eerie silence descends. All eyes turn toward the Chinese official.

He speaks.

"How are you today gentlemen? All your base are belong to us."

Know how your stuff works!!! (5, Insightful)

anubi (640541) | more than 7 years ago | (#19302005)

Doesn'e even this undermine to our nation just how important it is that we KNOW how our stuff works... and how to fix it if someone messes it up?

Honestly, I am so frustrated with this "its someone else's responsibility to make it work" and other finger pointing paradigms. Its MY stuff, I bought it with legal tender, and if I don't know how to maintain it, do I really have that much business having it?

If my dog made a mess, its obvious to me just what he did and where he did it. If termites made a mess, I can find and put back what they messed up. I feel exactly the same with my computing apparatus, and I highly resent efforts by others ( via DMCA like legal maneuvering ) to keep me ignorant of how my stuff works. It frustrates me to no end to have others make knowledge illegal, enforceable by police at gunpoint, only for the financial gain of blocking off alternative remedies I have for maintenance or customization needs.

Having ANY software vendor locking me in to their "support" is like having the contractor who built my house locking me in for anything I want to do to maintain or modify my house.

Not to say I would want to deprive him of his art of driving nails, but if he was too hard to get along with, or overprices himself, I strongly reserve what I feel is my right to pick up the hammer and saw and do it personally, if need be.

Ignorance is going to be the end of us (US).

Richard Clarke on Countdown (3, Informative)

not_hylas( ) (703994) | more than 7 years ago | (#19302009)

Richard Clarke, top counter-terrorism adviser to presidents of both parties interview.
Countdown with Keith Olbermann in January '07.

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/16771741/ [msn.com]

My Summary:

http://politics.slashdot.org/comments.pl?cid=18061 138&sid=222938 [slashdot.org]

Haha. And the US does not do this ? (4, Insightful)

aepervius (535155) | more than 7 years ago | (#19302013)

I am pretty sure the following "news" could be read somewhen in China

"'The US has established information warfare units to develop viruses to attack enemy computer systems and networks,' the annual PLA Defense departement report on USA's military warned. At the same, US armed forces are developing ways to protect its own systems from an enemy attack, it said, echoing similar warnings made in previous years."

This leave me wondering with such a NON-news, what sort of propaganda is theUS trying to kick up. Are there commercial negociation starting soon with China ? Are they trying to put some pressure on China for a better rate ?

Re:Haha. And the US does not do this ? (2, Insightful)

jd (1658) | more than 7 years ago | (#19302143)

Possibly something drummed up by the GAO. Virtually every single Federal department has failed security audits year after year, with some of the military ones getting worse. It would not surprise me if someone came up with the idea of scaring the Feds into finally taking this seriously. (Same with corporate security. A few million credit cards stolen here or there don't seem to bother the online stores much, they still have lousy safeguards and probably retain data on a machine directly connected to the Internet. If they won't take customers' security seriously, then maybe someone in Government has had the bright idea of terrifying them into doing better.)

Hey, I can dream that there is intelligent life in Washington DC.

Seriously, this seems designed to provoke a reaction, and those are the two major groups who are not only the most likely targets in a cyberwar, but also the least secure against such an attack. Since nobody has ever successfully persuaded them to do the work needed - to the point that the Internet Czar has been a vacant position for many years - scare tactics would be a reasonable next step. (The last Internet Czar quit in frustration, precisely because none of the big players pay attention to good practices, no matter who is doing the talking.)

Re:Haha. And the US does not do this ? (2, Informative)

readin (838620) | more than 7 years ago | (#19302303)

I am pretty sure the following "news" could be read somewhen in China

"'The US has established information warfare units to develop viruses to attack enemy computer systems and networks,' the annual PLA Defense departement report on USA's military warned. At the same, US armed forces are developing ways to protect its own systems from an enemy attack, it said, echoing similar warnings made in previous years."


On the other hand, you wouldn't find this "The main focus of USA's military modernization efforts are Taiwan". You see, Taiwan isn't developing nuclear weapons and doesn't support terrorism. Instead, Taiwan is a democratic country where human rights are respected. Taiwan is a threat to no one.

If China weren't regularly threatening to its empire through invasion, people wouldn't be so concerned about their military modernization. But the sad fact is that China frequently threatens to invade Taiwan, and has even tried to use missile tests in Taiwanese waters, disrupting commercial shipping to and from major Taiwanese ports, to intimidate Taiwanese voters during Taiwanese presidential elections.

wait wait? (0, Troll)

heptapod (243146) | more than 7 years ago | (#19302073)

> 'The PLA has established information warfare units to develop viruses to attack enemy computer systems and networks

The Phone Losers of America have sided with the red Chinese?

and what do we do? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19302079)

Our DOD keeps buying insecure and unsecurable OSes. The only way to guarantee a PC with windows never gets a virus, or a keylogger, or pwned is to never turn it on.

Interesting (3, Informative)

Howitzer86 (964585) | more than 7 years ago | (#19302117)

It's interesting to hear repeatedly that they are making so much effort in this area. The obvious target is the United States, though they could effectively attack our allies as well.

Coupled with anti-satellite weapons and a developing blue water navy - One could say they are preparing for conquest.

The rewards are enormous. China could completely destroy our networks and economy in a single day with a well coordinated strike.

That's not enough time to move our forces and fight back.

What is DOD doing? Spying on their citizens and making life a living hell for Iraqis.

Re:Interesting (1)

jpop32 (596022) | more than 7 years ago | (#19302275)

One could say they are preparing for conquest.

From Wikipedia: American defense expenditures in 2005 were estimated to be greater than the next 14 largest national military budgets combined.

So, you were saying, someone is preparing for conquest?

Nobody's saying "it's an attack on the US" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19302193)

They are, however, saying that it's a "credible threat". And - and this is the important point, the key point, the only point of the whole story that really matters - therefore, the Pentagon needs huge extra funding to maintain US military superiority in every sphere.

It's the same as the stories that broke *every single year* from 1945 to 1990 about how huge the Soviet nuclear arsenal was. It doesn't mean anything, except "we want more money".

Don't bite the hand that feeds (2)

OKCfunky (1016860) | more than 7 years ago | (#19302195)

Attacking the country that ultimately controls your economy is not a wise move. Shame on the man that has 50K in debt to the bank. Shame on the bank for allowing multi-hundred billions in debt.

Re:Don't bite the hand that feeds (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19302269)

Attacking China would be a bad thing for the USA's economy.

Solution to Cyberwarfare (4, Informative)

unlametheweak (1102159) | more than 7 years ago | (#19302265)

There is an easy solution to cyberwarfare. Just don't keep important parts of your information infrastructure connected to the Internet; and always have offline backups. If people (especially businesses and government) rely too heavily on one medium (like the Internet) then it will become an obvious target. If worse came to worse, we could always just pull the plug. If your main line of business is related to the Internet, then you need to think of contingencies, like at the very least having VPNs for your customers/clients to use.

If people, businesses, governments, or armies cannot function without the Internet, then things have gone to far. I do however believe that the cyberwarefare concept is more hyperbole than a real threat. If I couldn't read Slashdot because of some Chinese government DoS attack, it would be sad for me, but it would not be the end of the world. And remember: the Internet as it is was designed for redundancy and routing around communication problems.

Duh (1)

nephridium (928664) | more than 7 years ago | (#19302271)

What makes this article newsworthy? TFA doesn't report anything new or out of the ordinary. Any army in the world would recruit hackers and use their abilities. In fact TFA starts with "The People's Liberation Army (PLA) continues to build cyberwarfare units..." - Yes, well, in other news: "A sack of rice just tipped over in Zhejiang province, China. No casualties have been confirmed yet. Authorities advise citizens to remain calm..."

Is this article just general fear mongering or is someone setting up a new potential military venture since the current one isn't running so well... - Sorry, but reading sensationalist crap like that just gets me riled up.

im not scared (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19302297)

I'm not scared, bring it on! Hope they're ready to find the 3rd (remote) exploit in OpenBSD in 10 years...
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