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The Secret China-U.S. Hacking War?

Zonk posted more than 6 years ago | from the can't-we-all-get-along-online dept.

Security 107

bored-at-IETF-ntp-session writes "In an article at eWeek Larry Seltzer examines the supposed hacking war between the US and China. He surmises 'Even if you can't prove that the government was involved ... it still bears some responsibility'. He quotes Gadi Evron who advised the Estonians during the Russian attacks. 'I can confirm targeted attacks with sophisticated technologies have been launched against obvious enemies of China ... Who is behind these attacks can't be easily said, but it can be an American cyber-criminal, a Nigerian spammer or the Chinese themselves.' Seltzer concluded 'It's just another espionage tool, and no more or less moral than others we've used in the past.'" This a subject we've also previously discussed.

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s/secret/formerly secret/ (3, Funny)

grub (11606) | more than 6 years ago | (#22742156)

Fixed that for you.

Re:s/secret/formerly secret/ (2, Insightful)

TheSpengo (1148351) | more than 6 years ago | (#22742584)

Actually he has a point, it's not exactly secret if it's being posted on /., so there's no reason for that post to be modded troll. It was posted in the past too such as in this article. [slashdot.org] Articles about China and the US beefing up their network security are all over the place too. Just put "china hacking" in the search bar. :P As far as I know, this has been public for a long time.

talking about espionage (0, Offtopic)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 6 years ago | (#22742182)

in terms of morality is like talking about faith in terms of science

neither have anything to do with one another

sure, this remark of mine will invite obfuscating semantic gymanastics in an attempt to talk about faith in terms of science, or espionage in terms of morality. but when you come right down to it, the former are pretty much defined as exceptions to latter

Re:talking about espionage (2, Interesting)

Actually, I do RTFA (1058596) | more than 6 years ago | (#22742386)

sure, this remark of mine will invite obfuscating semantic gymanastics in an attempt to talk about faith in terms of science, or espionage in terms of morality. but when you come right down to it, the former are pretty much defined as exceptions to latter

It will indeed. Espionage is hardly immoral, when done by countries vs. one another. But, it is immoral to allow the collateral damage to get too high, to sweep innocent people into the fray, etc.

All science requires the articles of faith that the world makes sense, will continue to behave in the future the same as in the past, we can trust our senses/are not brains within jars, etc. But you are correct that most other articles of faith are orthoginal to science.

Re:talking about espionage (2, Insightful)

gnick (1211984) | more than 6 years ago | (#22742746)

Espionage is hardly immoral...
I think that the main reason that espionage is accepted is that it's so common. And, because it's so common, it's necessary. But, if only one country in the world was engaged in it, the rest of the world would consider it very immoral and possibly an act of war.

That's of course not the case, but I don't think the issue of morality within espionage is remotely cut-and-dry.

Re:talking about espionage (4, Insightful)

explosivejared (1186049) | more than 6 years ago | (#22742414)

Well unlike religion and science, espionage are quite tangled. Ostensibly, in the case of national security, one undertakes espionage as part of a larger effort to preserve a morality. Espionage is a security measure against threats to a certain group's morality. Most would agree that there is at least some consideration due when discussing the morality of espionage "Semantic gymnastics" aside, it's pretty hard to disentangle espionage from morality in any useful way.

Re:talking about espionage (4, Funny)

Stanistani (808333) | more than 6 years ago | (#22742874)

sure, this remark of mine will invite obfuscating semantic gymnastics
Worse, I feel it will invite eschatologically obtuse Apocalypticism.

Re:talking about espionage (1)

formerlyknownasm6tt (1222186) | more than 6 years ago | (#22753092)

eschatologic and apocalyptic outcomes could be explicated similarly; thus the comment is substantively and heuristically redundant.

Re:talking about espionage (1)

Stanistani (808333) | more than 6 years ago | (#22753178)

My worst fears have come to pass.

Conflation has begun. Run for your lives!

Like it was ever secret... (1)

0p7imu5_P2im3 (973979) | more than 6 years ago | (#22742200)

Please. Everyone knew what was going on. The evidence is so many zombified spam spewers all over the place.

Not suprised (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22742212)

I can confirm this. I work for the department of defense, and we get port sweeps every day coming from china.

Re:Not suprised (3, Insightful)

gnick (1211984) | more than 6 years ago | (#22742356)

...we get port sweeps every day coming from china.
Probably so, but I'd guess that you're also getting port sweeps from Russia, Korea, various others, and from within the US - Am I right?

Also, FTA:

Is the United States under attack again?
If there any nation's government with a large on-line presence that isn't constantly under attack?

Re:Not suprised (1, Funny)

Deanalator (806515) | more than 6 years ago | (#22742594)

You must have forgotten to put on your lulz hat this morning :-p

Re:Not suprised (2, Funny)

Deanalator (806515) | more than 6 years ago | (#22742920)

Seriously now, did I just get a troll mod point for mentioning the word "lulz"?

geez.. some people.

Re:Not suprised (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22743008)

There you go - Now you have a deserved (+1 Funny) point too.

But, do "Why did I get modded down?!?" or "How in the hell is this a +5 Inisghtful?!?" comments ever really add anything to the conversation?

geez.. some people.

Re:Not suprised (0, Offtopic)

Deanalator (806515) | more than 6 years ago | (#22743118)

Oh ya, all of this is offtopic :-) We are all throwing comments that will mod us all to offtopic hell (except you AC). Most mods don't really care that much about comments that sit at 2 unless they are pretty offensive though. This is why I ride at +5 and mod down anything that gets in my way :-)

Re:Not suprised (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22744988)

Ah, so you're the butthole who is always modding down topics? Down modding is only for spam or especially retarded comments. Read the guidelines and stop f&*%^ing with our Karma.

Re:Not suprised (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22749900)

Metamodding also affects karma. :D

Re:Not suprised (1, Offtopic)

uniquename72 (1169497) | more than 6 years ago | (#22743032)

The modding today is way out of whack -- multiple threads where legitimate statements are modded Troll.

(BTW mods, this one is OffTopic. Thanks.)

Re:Not suprised (1)

gnick (1211984) | more than 6 years ago | (#22743282)

You must have forgotten to put on your lulz hat this morning
I guess so. Today I opted for my "So obtuse that I could believe that Chinese cyber-attacks on the U.S. may be news to some people" hat. Lulz hat is in wash - May wear it tomorrow.

Cheers.

Re:Not suprised (4, Interesting)

JustAnObserver (1194117) | more than 6 years ago | (#22742720)

...we get port sweeps every day coming from china.
Probably so, but I'd guess that you're also getting port sweeps from Russia, Korea, various others, and from within the US - Am I right?
Hardly. In my university (top 50), well over 90% of such attack attempts (and port scans are just a small fraction of those, mind you) come from China. Connection attempts from Russia happen much, much less often, and those from other sources are extremely rare exceptions.

Yes I understand your scepticism. I used to think along same lines until having had looked at Snort logs.

Re:Not suprised (2, Informative)

AaronW (33736) | more than 6 years ago | (#22743790)

I saw the same thing in my home firewall logs. One IP address in China filled 75% of the logs. Out of curiosity I googled that address and came up with a PDF file from the Department of Homeland Security from two years earlier listing the same IP address.

It's well known that China has been spying on us since we periodically catch them and they make the news. It's probably safe to say that a lot of it is quietly supported by the Chinese government or at least they turn a blind eye to it. Much of the espionage on the US government is probably directly from the Chinese government. It's also well known that they break into US companies as well to steal technology and oftentimes the government turns a blind eye to companies infringing on patents.

You can get lots of information on this just by typing chinese espionage [google.com] in Google.

Re:Not suprised (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22742410)

I use the Internet, and every public IP address I have ever connected with gets port sweeps every day coming from machines all over the world, including infected machines within the department of defense.

Re:Not suprised (2, Interesting)

Valcrus (1242564) | more than 6 years ago | (#22742650)

Yeah but I don't really rank the military up there in security. I High School I took a vocational network admin course for Novell. We had a couple of network engineers from the DoD come in to talk to us about what they did and they explained the basics of network layout (I believe one of them was a friend of the teacher). They even brought a layout of the network with them. It was great. The only issue was the layout the had listed all of the IP Addresses for the servers at each point. The next day they came and replaced it with one that did not have the IPs as we had been trying to connect to them all day while goofing around.

Re:Not suprised (5, Funny)

MightyYar (622222) | more than 6 years ago | (#22743082)

LOL.

For kicks, I opened up my secure log (just on my home computer, which only has ssh enabled)...
221.120.210.42 - Pakistan
194.19.140.202 - Denmark
201.251.126.210 - Argentina (who tried to log in with "fluffy", among others...)
203.90.124.69 - India (and from a company my company contracts with! small world)
80.55.178.206 - Poland
61.115.238.121 - Japan
218.95.228.154 - China! Finally.
66.166.72.206 - California
88.148.10.32 - Spain
87.204.60.174 - Poland (again! WAR! WAR!)
222.233.120.3 - Korea
212.99.92.150 - France
60.248.103.66 - Taiwan
221.6.5.237 - China! Again! But it's the guy who starts with "fluffy" again...

China has tried to hack me twice, along with Poland. We must be having a secret war! I'm going to declare war on California, too. You'll see my wrath in the form of an earthquake sometime in the next 30 years.

Re:Not suprised (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22745078)

And I bet 1/2 are instigated from right here in the USA.

Think you are a hacker. Don't want to be caught. Hack a system in another country, then setup a VPN. Then using the remote hacked site as a proxy right back to your neighbor, employer, NSA, favorite easy university target and they blame it on foreigners. The authorities are not going to go out to each country one by one to follow your trail. To expensive.

Proxies (1)

VoiceOfDoom (875772) | more than 6 years ago | (#22751738)

Do we know for certain that all of these attacks originated wholly in China, or is there a possibility that the attacks originated somewhere else, and were simply proxied through a Chinese server?

Just playing devil's advocate.....

Re:Proxies (1)

MightyYar (622222) | more than 6 years ago | (#22751856)

I'm nearly 100% certain that all of these attacks are from scripts on previously compromised machines - I was sort of making fun of the whole concept.

Going through the logs, you can see patterns emerge - so it's either the same scripts or the same attackers working through many different locations.

Re:Not suprised (2, Funny)

XnavxeMiyyep (782119) | more than 6 years ago | (#22743890)

I can confirm this. I work for the department of defense, and we get port sweeps every day coming from china.

I can confirm this, too. I work for NetCraft.

Re:Not suprised (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22747478)

I can confirm this. I work for the department of defense, and we get port sweeps every day coming from china.
BFD. I work for an education company and we get port sweeps from China (and everyplace else) too.

Re:Not suprised (2, Insightful)

angus_rg (1063280) | more than 6 years ago | (#22749644)

And 99% of the port sweeps aren't a hacking war. It's people looking for places to store warez. I'm not saying there is no hacking war, but I think it gets hyped up by a lot of unrelated traffic.

More than hacking (0, Flamebait)

uncoveror (570620) | more than 6 years ago | (#22742214)

China is doing a lot more to wage war on us than just hacking. All the tainted products are a part of it, too. Read more! [uncoveror.com]

Re:More than hacking (4, Insightful)

Geoffrey.landis (926948) | more than 6 years ago | (#22742354)

The article says: "He quotes Gadi Evron who advised the Estonians during the Russian attacks. "

Note that this wasn't a "hacking war," and it wasn't a "Russian attack". It was a 20-year old Estonian kid with a botnet [infoworld.com] . More details here [techachino.com]

Re:More than hacking (1)

fastest fascist (1086001) | more than 6 years ago | (#22742678)

The first thing that popped to my mind when I heard it turned out to be an Estonian kid was the question if anyone would stop thinking of it as a Russian aggression. I guess not. It is a more exciting version of history, to be sure.

Re:More than hacking (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22744822)

Thank you for pointing that out. It was my first thought when I saw that sentence. How short are people's attention spans? Slashdot even carried that story if I remember right. Can we demand Slashdot editors remove the offending comment, or at least clarify it in their response in the story submission? Its just jingostic bullshit.

Re:More than hacking (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22746226)

The 20 year old was the only person charged so far for participating.
Doesn't mean there weren't others.

Re:More than hacking (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22749402)

'It was a 20-year old Estonian kid with a botnet.'

Actually, a 20 year old Russian kid who happened to be born and live in Estonia. One of the problems of using the same words for an ethnic group and a nation.

Re:More than hacking (1)

Geoffrey.landis (926948) | more than 6 years ago | (#22751054)

Actually, a 20 year old Russian kid who happened to be born and live in Estonia. One of the problems of using the same words for an ethnic group and a nation.

Good point. Here in America, we would call somebody who was born in Estonia, raised in Estonia, and lives in Estonia as "Estonian," but it does confuse things, since in much of the rest of the world, identity really doesn't come from where you're born and raised. (The apex of this was Nazi Germany, of course, where people of Jewish descent whose families had been in Germany for a thousand years were labelled "stateless persons"-- oops, no reference to Godwin's law intended. (But then I don't think I trigger Godwin's law here, since I didn't mention Hitler... ooops...))

Re:More than hacking (1)

Helevius (456392) | more than 6 years ago | (#22750560)

From TFA: ...police are still trying to find others who may have been involved in the attacks, although the investigation is complicated since the attackers are likely outside Estonia...

Setec Astronomy (1)

Wowsers (1151731) | more than 6 years ago | (#22742248)

Too Many Secrets !

China ... is evil ... (2, Insightful)

PC and Sony Fanboy (1248258) | more than 6 years ago | (#22742298)

Well, isn't this a surprise. The USA (and US media) is pointing fingers at an outside force for causing internal problems. Sure, it probably happens (that people in china attack american networks) ... but people all over the world do the same. Why target china? well... the US economy is in trouble, and china is economically booming.

Then again, both Hillary and Obama have said they'd renegotiate NAFTA if elected (and basically blaming canada and mexico for their problems) - which is already skewed in the favor of america - to fix their domestic problems.

Re:China ... is evil ... (1, Insightful)

Kazrath (822492) | more than 6 years ago | (#22742576)

You do realized that the reason China's economy is booming is because we buy so much of their crap. We have a HUGE trade deficit with China which if resolved/balanced out would stablize our economy much more than the inflation causing double infusion the gov is doing to our econmy over the next few months.

Re:China ... is evil ... (1)

colinrichardday (768814) | more than 6 years ago | (#22743966)

And how much of this deficit is due to the Chinese lending money to us to support our budget deficit?

Re:China ... is evil ... (2, Insightful)

bug1 (96678) | more than 6 years ago | (#22744634)

So, let me see if i understand this...

China is the cause of the US problems as its lending the US money so that the US can afford to continue to buy stuff.

I have an idea, maybe the US is to blame for being such a consumer driven society and wasting all their money on useless shipt that they hardly ever use and dont really need.

I don't think that's a fair assessment (2, Insightful)

mosb1000 (710161) | more than 6 years ago | (#22745574)

My biggest expenses are:

1) Taxes (35%)
2) Rent (17%)
3) Food (11%)
4) Tythe (10%)
5) Transportation (7%)
6) Student Loans (7%)
7) Therapy (6%)
6) Bills (4%)
7) Other stuff (3%)

Most of the stuff I buy from china comes from the "other stuff" department, which is my smallest expense. I think this is also a pretty typical for other Americans. I don't think it's fair to say that I or people like me waste "all their money on useless shipt that they hardly ever use and dont really need."

A bigger contributor to the trade deficit is China's deliberate manipulation of their currency. Measured in nominal dollars, the GDP of china is only about $2.5 trillion, but at purchasing power parity with US prices, it's $10 trillion. That's means that a dollar is worth four times as much in china as it is in the US. It's no wonder people chose to manufacture things in China.

Re:I don't think that's a fair assessment (1)

caferace (442) | more than 6 years ago | (#22748304)

My biggest expenses are:


1) Taxes (35%)
2) Rent (17%)
3) Food (11%)
4) Tythe (10%)
5) Transportation (7%)
6) Student Loans (7%)
7) Therapy (6%)
6) Bills (4%)
7) Other stuff (3%)

Drop that whole "tythe" thing and you'd have a boatload of cash for blow and hookers. :D

-jim

Re:I don't think that's a fair assessment (1)

mosb1000 (710161) | more than 6 years ago | (#22749336)

Fair enough. As long as they're not Chinese blow and hookers my point still stands.

If your theory is correct the spending pattern for a typical american might look something like:

1) Taxes (35%)
2) Rent (17%)
3) Food (11%)
4) Blow and Hookers (10%)
5) Transportation (7%)
6) Student Loans (7%)
7) Therapy (6%)
6) Bills (4%)
7) Other stuff (3%)

Re:I don't think that's a fair assessment (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22749478)

Drop that whole "tythe" thing and you'd have a boatload of cash for blow and hookers. :D

You can't drop the tithe. The minister wouldn't be able to afford *his* blow and hookers then...

Re:China ... is evil ... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22742588)

wow... just wow... I'm guessing your a democrat. I'm one too so this ain't some closet democrat bashing cause I'm too afraid to be one but just wow. China's ecnomy is tightly bound to the US. Actually a US economic down turn is some of what China needs.

Back to the hacking. China happens to be actively purposing US. government secrets in order to catch up. If you read any news, including the fair left which rarely argees with the government, China is doing this. This is not just some story the US government made up.

Re:China ... is evil ... (5, Insightful)

MaWeiTao (908546) | more than 6 years ago | (#22742752)

China's economy isn't booming quite to the extent that the American media would have us believe. Inflation [iht.com] is becoming a serious problem there. It may not be as big an issue for the small percentage of the population who are well off, but given that most of the nation still lives close to or in poverty it is a serious problem.

There are economists who believe China has a bubble economy built on credit and corruption. So far they've done well for themselves but it's only a matter of time before they hit a downturn. And when that happens they're going to have serious problems with civil unrest. My concern is that when that happens the government will quickly start blaming other nations for all their ills.

Believe me, Chinese people have a lot to be resentful of. All that economic growth has been great, but many people have suffered greatly for it. Thousands, if not millions have lost their homes to what amounts to eminent domain to make way for new development. People have gone off to work only to return to find their homes demolished. Supposedly the government has passed property rights laws but they don't seem to have amounted to much of anything. And let's not forget how they control free speech, although people seem to have largely forgotten about that in the midst of this economic boom.

And they may be right in a few regards. There is already the big issue of low-quality goods coming out of the country. Just recently a number of people in Japan died from having eaten tainted food from China. Sales of Chinese foods have dropped dramatically. Quality clearly isn't improving but it's getting more expensive to manufacture in China. As infrastructure improves in places like India, Vietnam and elsewhere American, European and Japanese companies are going to look to those nations for their manufacturing needs.

From personal experience, a few years ago in Taiwan everyone and their grandmother was chomping at the bit to do business in China. Many gave it a try and most failed. Nowadays, there's still a good deal of interest, but people have are a lot more tentative. China's market is over-saturated with competition and business is too cutthroat. And that's to say nothing of all the corruption.

I'm not saying there aren't problems with the American economy, because there are. But the fundamentals are still good and we're on a somewhat more stable ground. This current downturn is due to speculation more than anything. Gasoline prices are high because of the weak dollar, and more importantly because of speculators. Some economists are saying that oil's value should be at about $70 per barrel, not $100+. Demand has actually dipped in the US. The problem is who the hell knows when a correction is coming. Speculation has led the housing and stock market to the situation we find ourselves today. Look at all the people who overpaid for homes because they expected to continue seeing these absurd increases in values. And that was despite the fact that we were being warned of the housing bubble.

Now, on to the topic at hand, some people have this tendency to criticize the US for it's supposed double-standards regarding this sort of thing. How can the US government complain about China doing the very thing they themselves are engaged in?

Well, here's my thinking, I live in the United States, not China. China is free to do whatever they like, of course, but I want my nation to have the upper-hand economically and militarily. I'm not saying the US should go around pushing everyone around with impunity, nor do I think the US should be invading every second country who looks at them the wrong way.

One thing China does have is a lot of nationalistic pride. Even when they're critical of the government they still manage to have a lot of ambition. When they set their minds to doing something they get it done and don't get mired in all kinds of nonsense like is so often the case here. I think that's admirable and something sorely lacking in the US.

Re:China ... is evil ... (1)

inviolet (797804) | more than 6 years ago | (#22744296)

[...] And let's not forget how they control free speech, although people seem to have largely forgotten about that in the midst of this economic boom.

[...]

One thing China does have is a lot of nationalistic pride. [...]

How would you know if they didn't?

I guarantee you this: lower the firewall, end all censorship and crackdowns, set up livejournal.cn, and then you'll see what they really think of their country and how it is run.

Re:China ... is evil ... (2, Interesting)

grumpyman (849537) | more than 6 years ago | (#22744326)

And they may be right in a few regards. There is already the big issue of low-quality goods coming out of the country. Just recently a number of people in Japan died from having eaten tainted food from China.


Wiki tells a different story - about the Chinese Dumpling poison thing in Japan check this out:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Food_safety_in_the_People's_Republic_of_China#Tainted_Chinese_dumpling [wikipedia.org]

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chinese_cardboard_bun_hoax [wikipedia.org]

Re:China ... is evil ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22747460)

The 'crazy inflation' was largely situational, due to greed and the recent snowstorms. Part of it was just market correction - too much demand for wheat, not enough supply.

I don't see it being as bad as you make out.

Re:China ... is evil ... (2, Informative)

qazsedcft (911254) | more than 6 years ago | (#22749026)

Nice speech, but please look at the facts first. Reality check:
  • The US debt is currently almost 9.4 TRILLION dollars. The biggest debt of any government in the history of the world, adjusted for inflation. Even the Romans had a better financial situation and historians agree that the Roman empire fell largely because it went broke.
  • It's not like the trend is reversing either. The US government has declared a deficit of 175.6 billion dollars just for the month of February. The largest single month deficit ever.
  • Even with the cheap dollar, the trade deficit continues to increase (0.6% larger in January).
  • Just looking at inflation rates is silly and ignoring the other side of the equation. Looking at REAL growth rate (growth minus inflation) we see that the US has a growth rate of about 3% per year, while China has a growth rate of over 10% per year. This means that EVEN AFTER INFLATION the Chinese still grow richer every year.
  • The US economy is already highly developed so that growth can only be achieved through technological advances. China is still developing so it can achieve substantially larger growth than the US by investing in infrastructure. China is only catching up to the rest of the world and still has plenty of growth potential left. The Chinese government knows this very well and that's exactly what they are doing.
  • Rural people loosing their homes is not a concern for the Chinese government. Those people will just move to the cities and that's exactly what the government wants. The rate of rural-urban migration is so high that the urban population is predicted to surpass the rural population within the next 5 years.
  • Unemployment is mostly a problem in rural areas. Bring those people to the cities so they can work and the problem is solved!
There are many, many more points that I could bring up (Chinese trade, investments, the real value of the yuan, etc) but I don't have the time to find all the data at this moment.

It's nice to find comfort in thinking that the situation is just temporary, but let's face it - the golden age of the USA has ended. The US is on the decline while other parts of the world are raising to prominence.

Re:China ... is evil ... (1)

anaesthetica (596507) | more than 6 years ago | (#22753340)

Regarding the U.S. debt, you are absolutely correct that it is the largest debt in the history of the world. However, what you ignore is its relative size. The size of the U.S. debt relative to US. GDP is not terribly large when compared to the historic debts racked up by other great powers. Historically, other great powers would survive debts of up to 200% of their GDP. The U.S. debt is not yet even 100% of GDP. Thus, while I too am troubled by the size of the U.S. debt, the level of alarmism in your post I consider unwarranted.

Please see this chart of U.S. debt [cedarcomm.com] . The red bars indicate the absolute numbers, which are indeed climbing to unparalleled heights. However, the blue line shows the debt as a percentage of GDP. As you can plainly see, our current amount of debt is not the worst we've ever faced, in fact we've faced debt burdens almost twice as bad in our recent history.

This does not, of course, alter the fact that U.S. real growth per year is the usual 3% that mature economies face, while China's has been about 10% per year for the last 30 years, and they still have quite a lot of potential growth left in them. Still, scare-mongering about the state of the U.S. economy does not help the pursuit of a rational, long-term national interest.

Re:China ... is evil ... (1)

Deanalator (806515) | more than 6 years ago | (#22742878)

It is my opinion that while we were wasting time and money in Iraq, China became the first country to hit that critical milestone in the cyber race. They were the first nation to have a large, well trained, offensive military network attack unit. Sure, the US has pulled contractors together in the past, and probably run some pretty sophisticated network attack operations, but I doubt those were anything more than one night stands with greatness.

Not that it's bad that they were first to get there. I think the US can catch up eventually, but there are some major economic hurdles we need to get past. In the US (and most countries around the world) it is far more profitable to work in the private sector. Even the NSA has been losing top researchers to RSA, and various private security firms. In some countries, it is more profitable to work in organized crime. China, however, is in a unique position. Even mentioning "network security" over email (in any language) is enough to get you some jail time in china, which is why china does not have nearly as many (I can't name any) private contractors. The only career path for skilled hackers is government or military.

I do know from personal experience that there is an underground in China, but I have never known anyone over the age of 18 that was involved. They always seem to either move away, or disappear by that age. Someone please correct me if I am wrong. Maybe there is a deeper underground that I don't know about, or maybe I just don't hang out with enough old people, but this has been my experience.

Re:China ... is evil ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22743848)

They're underground because you don't know about them. If you knew about them they wouldn't be underground, now would they?

Really, there's tons of underground groups just like in Canada and the United States. However, things like 2600 are not tolerated there in public.

Re:China ... is evil ... (1)

lstellar (1047264) | more than 6 years ago | (#22743398)

I am sorry- insightful? How is this modded so high? The first paragraph literally says nothing, and is just as guilty for heresay and bullshit as who he is pointing his finger at. And as for the NAFTA comment? WHAT? There is an extremely large contingent in the United States (like HALF) that think we should keep NAFTA and that its great for the United States, and vice versa. This is almost mirrored in Canada and Mexico. Which begs the question, WHAT is your point?

I love /. for it's readers' intelligence and wit, but bashing for bashings sake is worthless and detrimental.

Re:China ... is evil ... (1)

Intelista (1187985) | more than 6 years ago | (#22743490)

Skewed in favor of American-based MNCs, perhaps, but not in favor of America, per se., I think.

Re:China ... is evil ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22747868)

is a fucking jew.

And the US is of course totally innocent (4, Insightful)

pembo13 (770295) | more than 6 years ago | (#22742308)

And engages in no similar practices.

Now you're INTENTIONALLY duping? (3, Insightful)

beer_maker (263112) | more than 6 years ago | (#22742310)

WTF, Batman?! If we've done this one already, and you know that well enough to put it in the initial summary, then what's the frackin point? Since when did "piling-on" become "News That Matters?"

I'm thinking... (3, Insightful)

Otter (3800) | more than 6 years ago | (#22742398)

My guess is:
  • Script kiddie idiots carrying out the attacks
  • Self-promoting "security experts" making up far-fetched theories about "cyberwarfare" to get press coverage

Re:I'm thinking... (1)

blueg3 (192743) | more than 6 years ago | (#22743732)

There have been a few very well-organized, very successful attacks on U.S. military organizations (though the only ones there are any details about are commercial members of the military-industrial complex) from unidentified outside sources. Far from idiots using well-published exploits.

Re:I'm thinking... (2, Informative)

Bagheera (71311) | more than 6 years ago | (#22743816)

  • Script kiddie idiots carrying out the attacks
  • Self-promoting "security experts" making up far-fetched theories about "cyberwarfare" to get press coverage


Being in InfoSec where I deal with this stuff a lot, I'd say you're over 99% right on the first part. And about 80% right on the second.

The organization I work for sees a huge number of simple scans and lame intrusion attempts on a daily basis. A handful appear to be more sophisticated, and are sourced from a number of interesting locations: Mostly compromised machines acting as proxies.

As for the self promotion, you're right for many of them. They have a Publish or Perish attitude, especially if they're consultants. Which means we see papers and interviews that often blow things way out of proportion. Though it doesn't mean there isn't at least a grain of truth in the warnings.

Are the Chinese attacking the US over the Internet? Yeah, so? Stay tuned, Film at 11.

Cheers

Re:I'm thinking... (1)

priandoyo (1247048) | more than 6 years ago | (#22749154)

I agree, i think its more script kiddie doing this kind of attack. Perhaps IT security consultant also could be suspect, who get the opportunity over this kind of news
http://securityprocedure.com/ [securityprocedure.com]

To China: +1 Classified (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22742502)


The primary suspect in hacking your machines is WAR CRIMINAL [whitehouse.org] .

Please feel free to extraordinarily render him to your mainland.

Sincerely,
K. Trout

Reason Behind the Attacks (4, Funny)

christoofar (451967) | more than 6 years ago | (#22742520)

They are looking for weaknesses in our defenses against melamine-free wheat gluten, procedures for testing toys for lead paint, and new marketing strategies to get more teenage girls mesmerized by Hello Kitty.

Re:Reason Behind the Attacks (2, Insightful)

RazorBlade99 (69657) | more than 6 years ago | (#22742914)

And why would they help the Japenese sell more Hello Kitty junk?

Re:Reason Behind the Attacks (1)

Isaac-Lew (623) | more than 6 years ago | (#22743954)

Because that junk is actually made in China, maybe?

I'm tired... (3, Funny)

Sheen (1180801) | more than 6 years ago | (#22742666)

I'm tired of the US govt. spying on me, i constantly get scanned by US IP's.

Well ... (4, Funny)

BigBlueOx (1201587) | more than 6 years ago | (#22742748)

1) Of course there is a hacking war going on! And this is news?

2) Blaming "China" is like blaming "America". I mean. How stupid is ...
oh
they do?
on Slashdot??

never mind

Lax security... (0, Flamebait)

Unlikely_Hero (900172) | more than 6 years ago | (#22742964)

If said networks were better defended/defended at all I get the feeling this wouldn't be as much of a problem.

The US Government, the most incompetent show on earth!

Possible innocent Chinese (1)

chrishillman (852550) | more than 6 years ago | (#22742972)

So, let's see.. we are getting attacks from China (some definitions of "attack" include a simple Ping), but since their networks are such a mess it ~might~ not be them? Silly...

Where there is smoke there is fire (or at least hot things). These attacks and actual break-ins by Chinese are actually coupled with proof they are using the information they collect. This should come as no surprise because they have NO respect for Intellectual Property, including military/government "Intellectual Property" aka "secrets". If they pirate DVDs, copy hardware/clothes/etc then they can do the same with military "stuff" - this should come as no surprise. No, no all people who copy an MP3 are capable of espionage.. unless it is a systematic and widespread market tolerated and encouraged by the host government.

Anyhow I think their network "noise" is a little too convenient. Russian organized crime operates servers in China, maybe they are in cahoots to form botnets to steal financial information as well as commercial/military Intellectual Property (the former more important to the Russian criminals and the latter more important to the Chinese Government).

That kid threw a snowball at my car! Kids throw a lot of things, what makes you think it was that kid?

Re:Possible innocent Chinese (1)

Darfeld (1147131) | more than 6 years ago | (#22743342)

some definitions of "attack" include a simple Ping
"I want 10 000$ or I will ping you to death! Mouahahahaha!!!"

Sounds like somethings Dr Evil would say.

Re:Possible innocent Chinese (1)

chrishillman (852550) | more than 6 years ago | (#22744400)

Up there with "Tie him to the comfy chair"..

No one expects a Spanish Ping!

this is bad for everyone (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22742976)

i dont like their cyberwar, they need to take it to the battle field and fight it out the old fashioned way with guns & bombs, some of us are want to download pr0n in peace...

yep (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22743072)

Nothing interesting here, back when I had a private FTP server up, it got hit people trying to brute force into the administrator account, funny thing is there wasn't one, and it was in French.

Russian attacks? (2, Informative)

matt4077 (581118) | more than 6 years ago | (#22743126)

It should be noted (search for it if you don't believe me) that these so-called russian attacks on estonia were actually done by an estonian teenager. Kind of makes me doubt that expert's expertness.

If you are dumb enough... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22743176)

to have military sites linked to the public internet then you get what you deserve.

china weakness: limited external links (1)

peter303 (12292) | more than 6 years ago | (#22743288)

To censor its internal internet, China has built a "Great Wall" around it internet with relatively few portal links. Thta makes it quite vulnerable to attack.

Re:china weakness: limited external links (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22749152)

You can also proxy damn near about anything through China that you want, so what?

Secret or Ignored? (4, Insightful)

DynaSoar (714234) | more than 6 years ago | (#22743318)

Attacks by the Chinese are known to have occurred for at least 10 years. The first amateurish and easily traced attacks were against a particular US based "free Tibet" web site owned by a Brit, and followed by attacks on other sites of a similar nature. Within weeks the same IP range (clearly within the Chinese ministry of defense) was used to breach a mail relay at a US naval installation in Virginia. (To be fair to the Navy, the system was a relic with the then still common non-closed relay, and was a purely administrative system, not part of anything security or defense-sensitive). The reports were publicly released and largely ignored, as have been some that followed. The little public attention waned as rapidly as it tends to for larger events that fall out of the news over time. I suspect escalation, probably by both sides, occurred after attention fell off, taking advantage of that and adding expert spoofing to insure that most would not be able to consider further reports reliable.

If I were going to conduct surgical attacks against a government from within a large IP block, I'd allow others with less ambitious nasty plans to use it, and hide my activities within the flood from them, like hiding an artillery attack within a thunderstorm. I have little doubt that there are "Nigerian spammers" and such using Chinese machines. That doesn't preclude their government doing it -- to my mind it indicates the probability.

And they wouldn't want reports to be entirely absent either. Taking over or subverting the infrastructure that carries content is as much a part of psychological warfare as is the content itself. Subversion of the medium is also the message, and that must become known to the system's owners and their allies. It causes mistrust in the system, its owners, and any messages to come from them. The general public wouldn't care or pay attention, but those who did care would get the intended message. And you have.

This is the war that the General who recently answered /. questions was recruiting for. It's already in progress. I'd enjoy the hell out of serving again, and being able to do so without having to put on a uniform. I'd especially enjoy it when I found that the majority of "combatants" were somewhere below my own level of expertise, though somewhat higher than script kiddies -- interesting but not too frustrating.

Re:Secret or Ignored? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22744262)

I'd especially enjoy it when I found that the majority of "combatants" were somewhere below my own level of expertise, though somewhat higher than script kiddies
No offense, but it sounds like you're applying for the B squad.

If you remember Titan Rain [wikipedia.org] , you'd know that the Chinese are fielding some high level talent.

-- interesting but not too frustrating.
Do you ever try playing computer/video games on the 'hard' settings?
Me either, it's frustrating as hell.[/sarcasm]

Re:Secret or Ignored? (1)

DynaSoar (714234) | more than 6 years ago | (#22745692)

AC sez:

>> I'd especially enjoy it when I found that the majority of "combatants" were somewhere below my own level of expertise, though somewhat higher than script kiddies

> No offense, but it sounds like you're applying for the B squad.

I'm not applying for anything. I put in my time.

> If you remember Titan Rain, you'd know that the Chinese are fielding some high level talent.

Yes, as I said, I put in my time. Some. Fairly high level. There's a lot more talent with generally more experience available. Hence the comment first quoted.

>> -- interesting but not too frustrating.

> Do you ever try playing computer/video games on the 'hard' settings?
> Me either, it's frustrating as hell.[/sarcasm]

I don't play games. Feel free to generalize that comment to this discourse. And I'm not being sarcastic. I would consider that beneath me. But I don't consider responding directly to an AC to be beneath me. Weird, huh?

Is? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22743392)

This a subject.

Sorry, I didn't mean to start a cyberwar... (1)

v3xt0r (799856) | more than 6 years ago | (#22743452)

...for 'hacking' into the redflag-linux.com mysql database (which had no root passwd, btw), and defacing their site to say "Hacked by America". It's just been tit-for-tat [macosx.com] ever since. =/

Here's a link (1)

jafiwam (310805) | more than 6 years ago | (#22743774)

To a good portion of the Chinese netblocks:

http://www.apnic.net/apnic-bin/ipv4-by-country.pl?country=cn [apnic.net]

Just stick them in your firewall to drop all packets and go on with life.

Re:Here's a link (1)

drpimp (900837) | more than 6 years ago | (#22744840)

That only will stop/detour threats coming directly from China's IP block you listed. If they are using a proxy or through some already compromised machine, perhaps even in your own public IP block, then you might as well drop ALL packets entirely because you'd never be able to tell. Better yet, you might as well disconnect the ethernet since that is the only way to guarantee any REMOTE access. Now if someone breaches your data center, or where ever your system is stored, all bets are off. We all know if you need something to be on the internet, then there is NEVER 100% guaranteed free of security breaches. There are only marginally SAFER ways to house your system, for example not attached to internet with armed guards (and I am not joking), and even then, still not 100% secure from other physical threats.

With that said, I understand none of this is practical at all, and I am sure some people will benefit from your link.

Related story (1)

kesuki (321456) | more than 6 years ago | (#22745034)

http://it.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=08/03/10/1855201 [slashdot.org] if it's got the DOD quaking in their boots, then why aren't the Chinese already doing it? how would we know if that 'raided pirate cisco gear' wasn't loaded with mal-firmwares... hrm? anyone?

does anyone bother to backup their firmware, and do a quickie md5 sum vs it and the version that it's supposed to be on the manufacturer's site? that's how i caught a Working Bios virus that blackhats got on my machine... and two of my parents computers... there were obvious symptoms (especially on the one i changed to Linux)

I even had to Diff a clean install of windows and a 'rooted' one to find and submit virus files that normal anti-virus and anti-rootkit software can't even detect, let alone stop from being installed... (I'm not proud of my failed security, but i WAS depending on a cheap hardware firewall to protect 3 systems... along with 'free' anti-virus...and knowing that "none of us use 'bad' sites")

How do we know it's the Chinese? (4, Interesting)

element-o.p. (939033) | more than 6 years ago | (#22745822)

Not to play devil's advocate, but do we know it is the Chinese hacking the U.S.'s data networks?

One of the comments above mentioned that "just mentioning the words 'network security' in China can land you a lot of jail time." If this is correct, then it seems to me that there are probably a lot of unsecured networks and hosts in China. If that is the case, then how do we know that it is really the Chinese who are trying to hack DoD and business networks rather than some thirteen year old script kiddie in Hackensack who just happened to find a way into a computer in some backwater school in China?

Just because you are seeing hits from Chinese IP addresses doesn't mean the Chinese are behind it. The real question is "how deep does the rabbit hole go?" Unfortunately, there isn't really any way to know unless you hack the originating IP(s) yourself.

Re:How do we know it's the Chinese? (1)

Frozen Void (831218) | more than 6 years ago | (#22749344)

Since the barriers to owning networks and computers are low and the expertise to secure them is rare, this scenario plays out in every country without a strong IT base(or those which do not wish to employ any networking staff).
Same thing with wireless networks.

thus quoteth the idiot (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22746864)

"He quotes Gadi Evron"
if anything other than, "I am a media-whoring fucktard" follows that, the article can safely be ignored:

-> curl http://www.eweek.com/c/a/Security/The-Secret-ChinaUS-Hacking-War/ [eweek.com] | egrep '(whore|fucktard)'

[snip curl verbosity for junk filter]

->

yup, ignore away.

actually, the point the article makes is interesting; it's just a shame they chose to quote someone who will go out on such a limb as to state that china in a dangerous place for the internet.

Thank you for that gem, Gadi. Don't you have some important security conference to organize? Some reporter/blogger to bug?

Unsubstantiated bull (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22747450)

Again with the unfounded fear crap. Are you the same suckers that fell for the WMD of Saddam?

If anyone is spying on the USA intertubes it will be Israel. They have had a history of human assets spying on us
as well as military attacks on our spy assets (USS Liberty). A well developed tech industry.
Motive, means, a history of action.

The Chineses? Well we destroyed the life of Wen Ho Lee, oops yeah right, we made a booboo. Uhh...., oh yeah some unsourced
story in newsweek or fox news or the Washington Times or E-weak. yup. No overwhelming motive, no history, questionable means.
Those inscrutable bastards!

All the leaked info has destroyed us. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22747566)

Yes, they are spying on us and by gold farming all the games they have ruined the dollar on the world market!

It is obvious the Chinese have spied on us, they have a history of damaging leaks of all our sekret plans and money and stuff.
Oh, my bad, that is Wikileaks and those guys that put Abu Graib pics on the internet. The Chinese have done jack shit.
Show me the stuff or shut the fuck up.

Again with the Anti-China? (1)

Lovat (1248352) | more than 6 years ago | (#22748306)

Honestly, what the hell? I live in the United States and I have to tell you most of the people I deal with don't seem to give a damn about any other country. There are still some who think invading Iraq was the right thing to do (even though it was most definately not for the reasons we were given) but aside from that handful people are worried about paying the bills and just getting on with life. I'm sorry, but from my personal experience most Americans just don't really care about the rest of the world. We have our own problems. We recognise there are issues that need to be dealt with in other countries at times, but most of us seem to prefer it if we weren't the damn aggressor. I really wish Congress would keep a firmer leash on the military. I tend to be a military favoring kind of guy, but unless we work out some sort of agreement for aid or we are attacked we should keep our troops out of other people's business. Should note that I also think military aid should be a "one time" thing (eg stop helping pay for Israel's military might when we have domestic issues that need more funding) and that some things need to be stopped no matter the cost (such as genocide like the Holocaust). I've also noticed, at least on freenet, that the perception of America depends widley on where you sit. Every country seems to have a different opinion, some are grossly misinformed (including some Americans) on what actually goes on in the US and countries where it uses its power. I just think its interesting how 90% of people's perceptions are completely colored by outside sources. Their belief in what they see is unflappable usually, which is one reason war is a common trait to human history. All of these "China is attacking us" stories tend to involve computers and the Internet. They also seem to not realise that just under 20% of the population OF THE WORLD is in China. Just from random script kiddies, most of the 'attacks' should be from China, followed by India (16%) depending on the level of Internet access. Considering those two countries, I think several people at least have the capability to steal some bandwidth. So Slashdot, why do you and Something Awful seem to think China is an aggressor? If these attacks could at all be linked back to the Government of China there would be some global consequences. If China really wanted to hurt the US, they'd just have to stop doing business with us. Rare is the product that is not made in China.

A few observations (1)

jandersen (462034) | more than 6 years ago | (#22748448)

Firstly, espionage happens - get over it. It may be immoral, but funnily it is not immoral enough to stop anybody from doing it. The Chinese do it, no doubt, and they get away with a lot of things, but then, so do we, whoever 'we' are.

Secondly, I think espionage is less of a national venture these days and more of an international business. The nationality of a spy may matter less - an Iraeli spy, say, might spy on America and sell to whoever bids the most; China, Russia, UK, whatever. Or perhaps even the US. There isn't a lot of pride and glamour in the spying business.

My vote is for the Nigerian Spammers (1)

blanchae (965013) | more than 6 years ago | (#22748454)

Dear friend

I am Mr. Daniel kankan, one of about hundred talented American IT professionals, who at any time are working overseas in secret. Please don't treat this mail as spam but rather give it the priority it deserves because I only resorted to mailing you when my attempt to reach you on ___________ failed due to poor network. I have just returned from the remote deserts of Oman where I swapped the swamps of the Niger Delta eighteen months ago, working for the Software Development Oman Company in temperatures above fourty degrees centigrade. I have fasted and prayed for 3 days before accosting you.

Our path narrowly missed in 2002 when a friend Mr. Brian Sheehan of Fortress Firewalls Florida recommended your company ____________ for our patronage. We were then sourcing for _____________ for our off-shore secret accounts. Mr Sheehan's company supplies us the hi-tensile aluminium server cases until the death of Mr. Sheehan in a ghastly motor accident in Florida in year 2003.

As a highly esteemed auditor with this corporation, I have been working selflessly and tirelessly in every facet and my imprints can be found in all over the company. Year in year out, in smooth or unpleasant economic and climatic environment, I had always stood my ground working to ensure that my promise to succeed and my spirit of enterprise is not shaken. I faced my job with a quiet mind, a firm courage, and an entire reliance on God. Courage belongs to the immortal soul and is the red badge of our immortal spirit. who lives and grows by sacrifice and faith and love. With this astute profile I became famous, highly connected with a reputation that cut across.

I have decided to contact you on an issue at hand that Mr Brian Sheehan could have quickly executed if he had been alive. Today the price of patience beckons as the dawn dares when it breaks. A big time opportunity gave rise to my urgent quest for a trustworthy across-the-continent friend that can handle a quick transaction and be trusted to deliver fast with intergrity and not tell stories. I have reasons to confide in you based on the impression I received of you and your company. This is purely personal and confidential to bring us a highly anticipated glory at the end and make us giants among equals. I got involved because for 23 years I have served him well and it is now time to serve myself. To live intelligently, man must have that buoyancy of spirit and willingness to embrace issues that will make him live without burdens forever more. I will expect you to use your intuition to understand what was going on here.

An American federal government initiative was introduced to encourage and empower local contractors in America's multi billion dallar information technology industry. This dream was applauded, but like other dreams and initiatives, was later transmuted to a well orchestrated plan by indigenous operators and top corrupt executives of the American National Programming Corporation (ANPC) to suck the economy dry. In the hollowed chambers of the ANPC is a powerful syndicate, an extensive network of top management staff engaged in mind bugging swindles with unimaginable brazenness. While highly placed officials subvert due process and award illegal contracts, unscrupulous local IT operators and dubious foreign contractors serve as conduit to fleece the nation of it's vast programming skills.

The huge amount of money often involved in the looting spree and the seeming helplessness of government or security agencies to check the menace is their own headache. All that matters now is that in my vault I have two dud (ghost) contract files which I discovered myself and had kept it all to myself.

All you need to do is to front yourself as the executor and the deed is done. I have already employed the services of an attorney for drafting and notarization of probate/administration. With due respect and regards, my concerns are: Can you handle this project, can I give you this trust and what will be your commission? If you can sponsor this transfer, consider this and get back to me asap. I will facilitate the remittance of this fund to you as the beneficiary of these unpaid contracts for our mutual sharing fast. I shall efax you the files of this contract for your perusal as soon as I read from you.

By November of last year, a $1.8billion embezzlement scandal rocked this corporation. Only two companies were used to fleece ANPC of this amount, an amount larger than the budgets of 10 state governments put together. Top management staff of the Information Technology Regulatory Agency were indicted, but rather than prosecute them, some were quickly retired while others were arraigned before some kangaroo in-house panels of administrative enquiry. The government decision assuaged the public on all these and has not in any way stemmed the looting spree in ages.

They have become more emboldened and ingenious while it gets even better. This is my own time and with this particular one in my vault a lot of money can be earnt and there are lots of ways we could invest together when I migrate to your country. The reality of this contact will be well beyond your imgination, just get down to it and expedit action quickly!

Never measure the height of a mountain until you have reached the top, then you will see how low it was. While thanking you for your quick consideration and earliest action on this, I expectantly await your reply whether positive or negative, and remain most hopefully yours,

MR. Daniel kankan .

Or it could be the CIA...... (1)

LinuxLuver (775817) | more than 6 years ago | (#22748660)

Based on past experience, this could also be the CIA or similar working through useful idiots to help make a case for more control of the Internet by the US government. Given everything else we've seen in recent years, this IS the most likely explanation.

I'm one of the attackers from China... (1)

gzipped_tar (1151931) | more than 6 years ago | (#22748720)

Yes, I was learning Python by myself and wrote a script using the HTTPLib package. Purely for an exercise. The script just greps information from a Web server's HTTP response header. By careless misconfiguration the script started an infinite loop! And I was banned by Slashdot (yes I was connecting to Slashdot, my favorate Website). I sent an Email to expain and I'm here again.

Your missiles, please.

PS. This is really terrible to admit. In punishment to the troublemaking script I mv'ed it to /dev/null. That's cruel.

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