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Old 02-19-2013, 10:41 AM   #1
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Chinese Military linked to hacking group attacking US infrastructure

I've been following these attacks for a bit. Read this a while back in the NYT:

Quote:
The mounting number of attacks that have been traced back to China suggest that hackers there are behind a far-reaching spying campaign aimed at an expanding set of targets including corporations, government agencies, activist groups and media organizations inside the United States. The intelligence-gathering campaign, foreign policy experts and computer security researchers say, is as much about trying to control China’s public image, domestically and abroad, as it is about stealing trade secrets.
http://www.nytimes.com/2013/01/31/te...ref=technology

It's a good article. Four pages, including info on other similar cyber attacks, such as the US and Israel against Iran in 2011.

Anyway, it had been suspected the hackers were funded by the government, but now it's all but confirmed:

Quote:
On the outskirts of Shanghai, in a run-down neighborhood dominated by a 12-story white office tower, sits a People’s Liberation Army base for China’s growing corps of cyberwarriors.

The building off Datong Road, surrounded by restaurants, massage parlors and a wine importer, is the headquarters of P.L.A. Unit 61398. A growing body of digital forensic evidence — confirmed by American intelligence officials who say they have tapped into the activity of the army unit for years — leaves little doubt that an overwhelming percentage of the attacks on American corporations, organizations and government agencies originate in and around the white tower.

An unusually detailed 60-page study, to be released Tuesday by Mandiant, an American computer security firm, tracks for the first time individual members of the most sophisticated of the Chinese hacking groups — known to many of its victims in the United States as “Comment Crew” or “Shanghai Group” — to the doorstep of the military unit’s headquarters. The firm was not able to place the hackers inside the 12-story building, but makes a case there is no other plausible explanation for why so many attacks come out of one comparatively small area.

“Either they are coming from inside Unit 61398,” said Kevin Mandia, the founder and chief executive of Mandiant, in an interview last week, “or the people who run the most-controlled, most-monitored Internet networks in the world are clueless about thousands of people generating attacks from this one neighborhood.”

Other security firms that have tracked “Comment Crew” say they also believe the group is state-sponsored, and a recent classified National Intelligence Estimate, issued as a consensus document for all 16 of the United States intelligence agencies, makes a strong case that many of these hacking groups are either run by army officers or are contractors working for commands like Unit 61398, according to officials with knowledge of its classified content.

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/02/19/te...t-us.html?_r=0

Of course the Chinese government is denying it. But the evidence against them is pretty compelling. More about why this specific attack campaign is so concerning:


Quote:
Mandriant also traced attacks from the Comment Group to Digitial Bond (a company that has access to a major power plant and a mining company), the Chertoff Group (former Department of Homeland head Michael Chertoff's company, which has run simulations of cyber attacks against the U.S.) as well as contractors for the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency. But the main concern expressed by experts was about Telvent, the company with access to 60% of North America's gas and oil pipelines. According to the report, Telvent was attacked in September of last year and project files were stolen before the hackers' access was cut off, preventing them from gaining control of of the company's systems.

"This is terrifying because - forget about the country - if someone hired me and told me they wanted to have the offensive capability to take out as many critical systems as possible, I would be going after the vendors and do things like what happened to Telvent," Mr. Peterson of Digital Bond said. "It's the holy grail."
As to the US government response:

Quote:
But other government officials noted a reluctance by the U.S. to connect the hacking attacks to the Chinese government. "There are huge diplomatic sensitivities here," one official told the Times. Another government official, a high ranking member of the Defense Department, said the hacking attacks created a tension not seen since the existence of the Soviet Union.

"In the cold war, we were focused every day on the nuclear command centers around Moscow," one senior defense official said recently. "Today, it's fair to say that we worry as much about the computer servers in Shanghai."
http://gawker.com/5985233/chinese-mi...infrastructure

This is also apparently unprecedented in its scope. I can't find it now, but the list of companies includes coca-cola o_O.

Nice view into one of the less noticeable ways wars are being fought while we go about our day-to-day lives. Before computers this would have required spies, actual bodies, and on our soil. Now it only takes some talent, an Internet connection and maybe an ergonomic chair.

If major corporations and US government agencies can't secure their information, the idea that the average person has any security seems like an illusion, doesn't it?

Sorry for any typos. This is brought to you by my iPhone.

Last edited by missesdash; 02-19-2013 at 02:08 PM.
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Old 02-19-2013, 11:16 AM   #2
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Old 02-19-2013, 01:43 PM   #3
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Old 02-19-2013, 01:52 PM   #4
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I get the feeling that it's not likely to be a one-sided war.
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Old 02-19-2013, 03:04 PM   #5
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I get the feeling that it's not likely to be a one-sided war.

True.

Meanwhile, the amount of money we owe China is setting us up for either a confrontation with them, or a foreclosure by them on whatever tangible assets they would be willing to take from us in lieu of actual cash. Such as ... maybe they might like to be compensated with huge chunks of US real estate to forgive us out debt. (All of Hawaii, perhaps?? The Grand Canyon? Half of Las Vegas? All of Yellow Stone National Park? All of Suffolk County, New York --and to hell the Shinecock Native American Tribe, right?? Seven ocean port cities of their choice? Silicon Valley? All of the Great Lakes?) Or maybe they might like it if we start giving away 30 million metric tons of grain per year to them completely for free for ten years straight. Or maybe they'd like a nifty combination of both the real estate and the grain --and toss in the Hope Diamond as well as every last American-owned Rodin artwork for good measure.

Regardless of how they might bring the debt hammer down upon us, I'm certain you are correct and that mutual spying and even malicious hacking is happening at both ends of this bizarre relationship.
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Old 02-19-2013, 04:32 PM   #6
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True.

Meanwhile, the amount of money we owe China is setting us up for either a confrontation with them, or a foreclosure by them on whatever tangible assets they would be willing to take from us in lieu of actual cash. Such as ... maybe they might like to be compensated with huge chunks of US real estate to forgive us out debt. (All of Hawaii, perhaps?? The Grand Canyon? Half of Las Vegas? All of Yellow Stone National Park? All of Suffolk County, New York --and to hell the Shinecock Native American Tribe, right?? Seven ocean port cities of their choice? Silicon Valley? All of the Great Lakes?) Or maybe they might like it if we start giving away 30 million metric tons of grain per year to them completely for free for ten years straight. Or maybe they'd like a nifty combination of both the real estate and the grain --and toss in the Hope Diamond as well as every last American-owned Rodin artwork for good measure.

Regardless of how they might bring the debt hammer down upon us, I'm certain you are correct and that mutual spying and even malicious hacking is happening at both ends of this bizarre relationship.
Let's give 'em D.C. and call it even. All the loan paperwork was signed by somebody from there, I'm guessing.
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Old 02-19-2013, 04:37 PM   #7
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I'm also fairly sure that China wants America to have enough money to keep spending on their exports to drive their growth. Calling in debts would be counter to that.
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Old 02-19-2013, 05:09 PM   #8
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I'm also fairly sure that China wants America to have enough money to keep spending on their exports to drive their growth. Calling in debts would be counter to that.

Well ... if they leave our money alone and just take the Family Jewels (Hope Diamond, Central Park, all of Upper Idaho, etc) we'd still be able to keep on buying their plastic and polyester offerings.

At the same time, China itself is facinng its own massive debt problem. So I'm thinking they want to start cashng in at some point. (How soon, I'm not sure.)
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Old 02-19-2013, 05:10 PM   #9
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Let's give 'em D.C. and call it even. All the loan paperwork was signed by somebody from there, I'm guessing.

The contents of just the Smithsonian should be enough to square things up quite nicely.
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Old 02-19-2013, 05:57 PM   #10
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US bonds don't work like that.

You can't buy a bunch of bonds and then show up to a post office and demand the deed. The terms of the bond are clearly stated on them, and that is that. The biggest holder of US bonds is the US government, especially the social security administration. The idea that the fact that China holds a certain amount of our bonds gives them power over us is foolish. Actually, it gives us power over them.

Remember the old saying: If you owe the bank a million dollars, the bank owns you. If you owe the bank a billion dollars, you own the bank. If China wants to get any return on the bonds they hold, they better maintain good relations. If they declare war, we simply won't pay them. Sure, they can sell them to someone else, but they won't be getting the same rate of return.

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Old 02-19-2013, 07:29 PM   #11
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It astonishes me that the myth that China can call in the debt persists. They can't, legally, as long as payments are being made, and they wouldn't even if they could. And furthermore, it would never be in China's interest to do so.

Now it's true they could use the money to buy up stuff (the Japanese did before them), but that's a different issue.
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Old 02-19-2013, 07:55 PM   #12
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Even if they buy land in the USA (and many foreign entities do) it does not become part of China. When land changes hands in most cases all that happens is the rights to use the land are transferred. Sovereignty, which is the right to 'rule' over a land, pass laws, govern etc, is only transferred by treaty.
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Old 02-19-2013, 11:29 PM   #13
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Even if they buy land in the USA (and many foreign entities do) it does not become part of China. When land changes hands in most cases all that happens is the rights to use the land are transferred. Sovereignty, which is the right to 'rule' over a land, pass laws, govern etc, is only transferred by treaty.
If the Chinese build a self-sustaining factory in Idaho (see link below), they might very well attempt to negotiate some measures of sovereignty inside of such an enclosed factory town.

http://www.examiner.com/article/chin...state-of-idaho

For example ...

I used to assist with a very large corpoarte account dealing with the company called Saudi Aramco. Saudi Aramco is the American arm of the mega-monster oil company from Saudi Arabia. And there is an isolated compound in Arabia where several hundred American emplyees of Saudi Aramco right now live and work. And when I say it is an isolated compound -- it is EXACTLY that. It is like a fully enclosed space station in the middle of the Arabian desert, and only Americans live there, and those Americans are sternly warned NEVER to stray away from the compound to go a visit in one of the local Arabian towns or cities, especially the American women who live there. That compound has a movie theatre, a baseball diamond, a general store, a couple of houses of worship, a hair salon, a town square, etc. It's like a modern version of a walled Medieval city.

I used to handle in-bound phone calls for Saudi Aramco. And while most Saudi Aramco phone calls came from the stateside offices down in Texas, some came from Arabia. The Americans stationed at the Arabian compound told me what it was like lvimg there, what the compound entailed, and how they NEVER left the compound.


The Chinese want to build a prototype factory town here in the USA out in the countryside of Idaho. They want to make it enclosed and isolated. They want to import Chinese workers to live and work there. And they want to treat their factory workers there in that factory town however the hell they feel like treating them. Which means the Chinese will need a measure of sovereignty over their proposed factory town never before granted to any foreign entity seeking to build a non-embassy facility on US soil.
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Old 02-19-2013, 11:46 PM   #14
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Yeah, and we'd have to agree to it. I doubt we would, because we don't need the Chinese like the Saudis need us. While this might have been possible during the heyday of Chinese US relations, but with growing hostility, I don't think it will happen now. If I were an Idahoan(?) I'd be talking to my rep and senators about that.
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Old 02-20-2013, 12:11 AM   #15
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Yeah, and we'd have to agree to it. I doubt we would, because we don't need the Chinese like the Saudis need us. While this might have been possible during the heyday of Chinese US relations, but with growing hostility, I don't think it will happen now. If I were an Idahoan(?) I'd be talking to my rep and senators about that.
I don't know, seems like a convenient way to collect long term house guest, if the need arose.
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Old 02-20-2013, 12:52 AM   #16
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Anything the Chinese do in the US comes under the conditions of the US constitution, not Chinese law or company demands. It is still American property owned by the foreign country. About the worst thing that can happen is the Chinese get tired of NOT having power and walking away from the factory. I've seen it done by the Japanese and the Taiwanese already in the semi-conductor industry.

As to the OP, they are serious threat in line with what that is about. Their goal of, of course, is to help us self destruct in any number of ways. We seem to be working on that slowly
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Old 02-20-2013, 02:56 AM   #17
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Old 02-20-2013, 03:57 AM   #18
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Even if they buy land in the USA (and many foreign entities do) it does not become part of China. When land changes hands in most cases all that happens is the rights to use the land are transferred. Sovereignty, which is the right to 'rule' over a land, pass laws, govern etc, is only transferred by treaty.
It would be too much of a derail, with far too little pay-off, to explore the question deeply, but I'm not entirely comfortable with the idea that private land ownership is merely about "use." There are, after all, lesser estates in land (the license, easement or life estate, each permitting "use") than fee simple ownership. The ability to direct the disposition of property at one's death is but one example (though you may say that is merely the question of who gets to use property next). John Locke is quoted enough here with respect to his conception of natural law, so perhaps it's best not to walk through his theory of private ownership.

Still and all, I do wholly agree that acquiring private property does not effect any attendant sovereignty. Yet, while the sovereign does have certain power over my person (conscription comes to mind) I do not consider that my person is owned, and that I possess merely the right to use my body.
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Old 02-20-2013, 06:05 PM   #19
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Yes, I was simplifying. I am not a lawyer, so my whole concept of land ownership is 'I can do whatever within the boundaries of land use laws.' Defacto, even land you 'own,' you cannot use as you wish, I don't see how Locke's theories apply to the situation on the ground at this time.

I think that the distinction between right to 'use' and the right to 'rule' is a good enough generalization for the concept of ownership vs sovereignty, even if it doesn't take in all the legal subtleties.
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Old 02-20-2013, 08:59 PM   #20
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I'm confused.

Some part of me says this whole story sounds like; okay, it's 1941, American spies have found out the Japanese are planning the attack on Pearl Harbor, their fleet has been spotted playing wargames and American officials are like, "Yeah you know, we know there's a fleet out at sea, but we don't really care and who knows who they are anyway, and...."

Kinda lukewarm?
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Old 02-20-2013, 09:47 PM   #21
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Originally Posted by Cramp View Post
I get the feeling that it's not likely to be a one-sided war.
I have a feeling it hasn't been one for a while, and that the Chinese likely didn't launch the first strike.
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