Archive for the ‘hacking’ Category

Day One Obama faces Cold War threat, a warning from Israel

November 7, 2008

With barely time to savour his triumph, Barack Obama has been confronted with various international crises to test his mettle.

The U.S. President-elect faces threats from Russia, Israel and Afghanistan as it emerged his election team’s computers were hacked by a ‘foreign entity’ during the election.

Officials at the FBI and the White House believe the hackers sought to gather information on the evolution of both his and Senator John McCain’s policy positions with the idea of using that information in negotiations with the next administration.

Obama technical experts later speculated the hackers were Russian or Chinese, and security ended the intrusion, Newsweek reported.

By David Gardner
The Mail (UK)

The first of the challenges thrown at the President-elect, who received his first national security intelligence briefing yesterday, came from the Russian President Dmitry Medvedev.

He threatened to base warheads along the Polish border if Obama goes ahead with a Bush administration plan to create a missile shield in Eastern Europe.

Then Israel warned Obama last night that his claim that he was ready to open talks with Iran could be seen in the Middle East as a sign of weakness.

Furthermore, Afghanistan’s president Hamid Karzai demanded that Obama ‘put an end to civilian casualties’ by changing U.S. military tactics to avoid airstrikes in the war on the Taliban. He spoke out after seven wedding party guests were accidentally killed by an American airstrike.

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Secret Service takes the President Elect to the gym


Military to boost cyber-protections

March 19, 2008
By Lolita C. Baldor, Associated Press Writer

WASHINGTON – The military is beefing up efforts to gather intelligence, fend off cyber-attacks and improve relations with other nations as part of a strategy for keeping the U.S. safe while fighting two wars, according to a Pentagon document.

The four-page plan acknowledges there is still a significant risk that the military cannot quickly and fully respond to another outbreak in the world and outlines what must be done to counter that threat.

This undated photo released by the Walter Arts Museum shows ...
This undated photo released by the Walter Arts Museum shows a 1982 schematic of the first Internet, which then consisted of only 88 computers, linked as shown in this diagram-like map titled ‘Joyce Reynolds, ARPANET, the  First Internet.’  
(AP Photo/Private Collection, Virginia)

Sent to Congress by Defense Secretary Robert Gates and obtained by The Associated Press, the plan relies heavily on building partnerships with other countries. It accompanied a classified risk assessment compiled by Adm. Michael Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

US Chairman of Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mike Mullen, seen ...
Admiral Mike Mullen

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SKorea’s military on alert against overseas hackers

January 3, 2008

SEOUL (AFP) – South Korea‘s military has been put on alert against overseas hackers who have gained access to some soldiers’ personal computers, the defence ministry said Thursday.

It did not identify the country where the hackers are based but Chosun Ilbo newspaper said it was China.

The Defence Security Command, which handles counter-intelligence, this week warned all military units to be on the alert against hacking, a ministry spokesman said.

“The alert was issued after the counter-intelligence command found ‘third-nation’ hackers had successfully broken into some soldiers’ computers via e-mails to steal private data,” the spokesman told AFP.

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North Korean border guards in Panmunjon.  The US State Department ... 


China repeats denial of military hacking

China denies hacking Pentagon

Part I: U.S. Secretary of Defense in China — U.S. Objectives

French government falls prey to cyber-attacks “involving China”

War By Every Possible Means

China’s Golden Cyber-Shield

China taps into U.S. spy operations

December 21, 2007

By Bill Gertz
The Washington Times
December 21, 2007

China’s intelligence service gained access to a secret National Security Agency listening post in Hawaii through a Chinese-language translation service, according to U.S. intelligence officials.

The spy penetration was discovered several years ago as part of a major counterintelligence probe by the Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS) that revealed an extensive program by China’s spy service to steal codes and other electronic intelligence secrets, and to recruit military and civilian personnel with access to them.
According to officials who spoke on the condition of anonymity, China’s Ministry of State Security, the main civilian spy service, carried out the operations by setting up a Chinese translation service in Hawaii that represented itself as a U.S.-origin company.

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Part II: U.S. Secretary of Defense in China — What China May Be Thinking

November 5, 2007

By John E. Carey
Peace and Freedom
November 6, 2007

China will have the most trouble swallowing the American idea that “transparency” is in its own national interest.

But to lower tensions in the western Pacific, the United States, Japan, South Korea and Australia have all made strong statements indicating that China has to embrace a less secretive approach.

On Monday, U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, standing alongside General Cao Gangchuan, China’s defense minister, also said he had raised “the uncertainty over China’s military modernization, and the need for greater transparency to allay international concerns.”

On Tuesday Mr. Gates will meet with China’s President Hu Jintao.

Chinese experts say China will not be able to adopt a more “transparent” approach very soon.

“Revealing more about its budgets, intentions and weapons development programs would seem like giving away a key national advantage to China,” said M.K. Hsu, a military analyst in Beijing.  “The communist leaders will reveal what they want, when they want, just as they did with the anti-satellite system,” he told us by phone.

China’s surprise anti-satellite test early this year and the continued cyber attacks and probes from China are near the top of the U.S. agenda in the discussions with China.

“There has been significant discussion and activity to assess the impact of [the anti-satellite test] and other [Chinese] space developments, and how to protect our extraordinarily important space capability,” U.S. Air Force Lt. Gen. Daniel Leaf, deputy commander of the U.S. Pacific Command told the Washington Times last week.

But the fact that China’s first ASAT test was conducted without prior announcement shows that China’s penchant for secrecy is deeply rooted and will not be easily neutralized.

As we at Peace and Freedom have assessed before, secrecy and surprise are considered valuable tools to a nation not yet on a par militarily with the United States.  Without causing too many alarms to go off, China wants to develop more advanced capabilities and  larger, better organized forces with the finest in command and control.  This will take time and an incredible investment. And, in China’s view, a slow and secrative approach.

China is a nation of distrust.  In our experience, one of the Chinese cultural traits is the steady goal to get the best of others in all business dealing and a tremendous distrust of everyone — especially outsiders.  This is often true on the personal and national level.  Therefore, secrecy has become a mainstay of Chinese life.  Communist China has magnified this cultural tendency.  In China, “Mind your own business” is an important cautionary red-flag.

If we could read the minds of the Chinese the U.S. Secretary of Defense met on Monday, we’d guess that the military men in the Chinese delegation were sending the “Mind your own business” warning.  The more enlightened communist party civilian leadership was probably somewhat more accomodating.

China’s rapidly expanding economy and the huge balance of trade with the U.S. is more than sufficient to turn China into a U.S. rival within a decade.  Maybe mush sooner — at least in sophisticated equipment.  It might take longer to train a more professional military.  In one sense, the United States is funding China’s military advancement and expansion by allowing so many dollars to flow toward Beijing and Shanghai.

When Secretary of Defense Robert Gates met with his counterpart and other Chinese military leaders on Monday, he offered several ways that the two nations might lessen tensions and concerns; including those of Australia, South Korea and Japan.  But China only agreed to one critical tension reducing measure: the establishment of a “hot line” between the two nations.  And China was not shy in informing reporters that the Chinese military establishment did not want this new initiative adopted (the “none of your business” group).  The civilian leadership directed agreement (the more accomodating group).

The other agreements made Monday will make less news. 

China agreed to allow U.S. personnel to evaluate some of its Korean War documents and files to assist in accounting for U.S. personnel still unaccounted for from that war.  And Mr. Gates and his counterparts agreed to organize a new joint naval exercise larger and more complex than previously held exercises “at a proper time,”  and made a deal to plan to exchange military students at academies and war colleges in the future.

Gates acknowledged that he had made little headway in getting answers from the Chinese on the larger issues of his mission including space and cyber security measures.

But maybe the biggest issue is this: China and Russia have embraced each other.  They have teamed to oppose the U.S. on U.N. sanctions over Iran’s nuclear program.  And they conducted the largest combined military exercise ever between the two nations this year.

We do not yet know how Mr. Gates approached this issue but we do know this: China will listen with its “deaf ear.”

The level of cooperation initiated by Monday’s meetings has to be considered a reflection of a military relationship still in its infancy.

Part I: U.S. Secretary of Defense in China —
U.S. Objectives

Chinese military boosts hacking

November 2, 2007

By Bill Gertz
The Washington Times
November 2, 2007

HONOLULU — Senior military commanders at the U.S. Pacific Command here said China’s recent test of an anti-satellite weapon and increased computer-hacking activities prompted increased defenses for U.S. forces in the region and in space.

“U.S. space capabilities are an asymmetric advantage that we have to maintain,” said Air Force Lt. Gen. Daniel Leaf, deputy commander of the U.S. Pacific Command.

“There has been significant discussion and activity to assess the impact of [the anti-satellite test] and other [Chinese] space developments, and how to protect our extraordinarily important space capability,” he said in an interview at the command’s headquarters at Camp H.M. Smith.

Pentagon officials have said Chinese military hackers in recent months carried out computer-based attacks on Pentagon and U.S. military and civilian government computer networks, as well as on foreign government networks.

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French government falls prey to cyber-attacks “involving China”

September 9, 2007

PARIS (AFP) – French information systems fell prey to cyber attacks “involving China“, similar to those reported by the US, British and German governments, a top French security offical told AFP on Saturday.

“We have indications that our information systems were the object of attacks, like in the other countries,” the Secretary-General of National Defence (SGDN) Francis Delon said, confirming a report published in French newspaper Le Monde.

“We have proof that there is involvement with China. But I am prudent. When I say China, this does not mean the Chinese government. We don’t have any indication now that it was done by the Chinese People’s Liberation Army,” he added.

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China’s Golden Cyber-Shield

China repeats denial of military hacking
(Plus three more links)

Hu Jintao
Hu Jintao

Bush Again Proves Soft on China

September 7, 2007

By John E. Carey
Peace and Freedom
September 7, 2007

President Bush again showed himself to be soft on China at this week’s Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit in Australia.

For good or bad, this American administration is following a conciliatory, pro-business policy line toward China.  Some believe this leaves human rights issues at best marginalized and perhaps totally forgotten.

During this week, western newspapers were alive with reports of Chinese government computer hacking — including into private Pentagon files.

President Bush was asked if he intended to discuss China’s hacking with president Hu Jintao of China.  The president said, “I may.”

In fact, he did not.  The president emerged from the meeting with the Chinese President to say, “He’s an easy man to talk to. I’m very comfortable in my discussions with President Hu.”

This strikes us as reminiscent of the president’s first term reflection on Russia’s President Vladimir Putin: “I looked into Putin’s soul and saw a man I could do business with.”

Since late last year, a Chinese ship-attack submarine surfaced within sight of a U.S. aircraft carrier before being detected for the first time in history, China demonstrated an anti-satellite missile capability the first time in history, China has continued to verbally bully Taiwan, and Human Rights Watch and other advocacy groups have given China their lowest ratings for lawful behavior in the international community.

American allies including Japan, South Korea, Taiwan and Australia have expressed concern over China’s military investment and build up.  Prime Minister Howard of Australia has called China’s build up “destabilizing.”

China teamed with Russia a few weeks ago to conduct their largest combined military exercises ever.  And China, along with Russia, has blocked almost all U.S. initiatives in the U.N., including sanctions against Iran for its nuclear program.

China has joined Russia in denouncing U.S. and NATO plans for missile defense in Europe.

U.S. military leaders believe China is supplying arms to the insurgents in Iraq and to Hezbollah in Lebanon, among other places.

China has been complicit in genocide in Darfur, Sudan.

China has failed to meet U.N. environmental goals and China lied repeatedly about poisoned food and other unsafe products it exports around the world.

China has the highest rate of death by execution in the world.

President Bush has looked the other way.

When President Hu invited President Bush to the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, Bush immediately agree — then said he was only interested in the sports at the Olympics and not the politics.  Yet we have historic precedent that leaders like Adolph Hitler worked hard to get the Olympics in their homeland because the political facet of this showcase cannot be discounted.

Washington Times analyst Bill Gertz reported in today’s editions that, “The president repeatedly has called relations with China ‘complex’ but has avoided all criticism of China’s military activities, including the provocative anti-satellite missile test in January, and growing Chinese information warfare capabilities. He has limited criticism of China’s repressive political system to its lack of religious freedom.”

“It’s the Goldman Sachs China policy,” said one defense official, referring to former Goldman Sachs executives Henry M. Paulson Jr., now Treasury secretary, and Joshua B. Bolten, White House chief of staff.

The bottom line: America has put money and deals before human rights.


Bill Gertz, “Inside the Ring”

China sees ‘danger’ in Taiwan’s U.N. intent

China repeats denial of military hacking

China: ‘Trust but verify’ needed

As China Roars, Pollution Reaches Deadly Extremes

Permanent President Putin?

Cold War Redux?

Distrustful of China’s Government at Almost Every Turn

If China Has Nothing to Hide, Why Do They Hide So Much So Often?

Japan Worried By North Korea, China

Australia PM: China military rise risks instability

China repeats denial of military hacking

September 6, 2007

BEIJING (AP) – A Chinese official on Thursday repeated China‘s denial that it has hacked into other countries’ government and military computer networks.

Reports in British and German newspapers this summer have cited unidentified intelligence and other officials saying government and military networks in Germany, the United States and Britain had been broken into by hackers backed by the Chinese army.

Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu said the government “has all along been opposed to and forbidden any cyber crimes.”

Read the rest at:

Cyber officials: Chinese hackers attack ‘anything and everything’

China denies hacking Pentagon

Chinese hackers targeted British government too – report

China denies hacking Pentagon

September 5, 2007

BEIJING, China (AP) — China on Tuesday denied a report that its military had hacked into Pentagon computers, saying the allegations were “groundless” and that Beijing was opposed to cybercrime.

The Financial Times, citing unnamed officials, reported Monday that the People’s Liberation Army hacked into a computer system in the office of Defense Secretary Robert Gates in June. The attack forced officials to take down the network for more than a week, the report said.

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