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U.S. Striking Back Against Chinese Cyberattacks

By - Source: Yahoo News | B 24 comments

The Obama administration plans to fight back with fines and other non-cyber means.

The White House will reportedly issue a new report that lists "aggressive" steps the United States will take in response to the Chinese government "cyberstealing" information from Washington, numerous businesses and organizations around the globe. The initial steps will include fines and other trade actions, not a (public) cyber-based retaliation.

The report arrives after security specialists Mandiant said that China’s 2nd Bureau of the People’s Liberation Army General Staff Department’s 3rd Department (Unit 61398) has been stealing hundreds of terabytes of data from at least 141 organizations, 115 of which reside within the United States. Twenty different industrial sectors have been targeted, spanning from energy and aerospace to transportation and financial institutions.

According to the report, this theft has been taking place since 2006. Mandiant claims to have tracked the hacking down to a 12-story office building in Shanghai, and claim that these Chinese hackers break into a network and then periodically revisits over several months or years to steal broad categories of intellectual property. This info includes technology blueprints, proprietary manufacturing processes, emails, contact lists and more.

Mandiant said it made the report public to help send a message to both the Chinese and North American governments, to open a dialogue between the two countries about a serious problem. The report made public a load of information that officials have kept to themselves for a number of years.

Military experts claim that because Unit 61398 is part of the People's Liberation Army's cyber-command which answers to the General Staff Department, its activities are likely authorized at the highest levels of China's military. Think of the General Staff Department as a Chinese version of Obama's Joint Chiefs of Staff.

The answer to the hacking problem, according to former FBI executive assistant director Shawn Henry who now heads security firm CrowdStrike, is to deter the hackers and the nations that back them, not tell corporations to beef up their security. Now the pressure is on the government to take firmer actions against them given that the secret is out thanks to Mandiant's report.

"If the Chinese government flew planes into our airspace, our planes would escort them away. If it happened two, three or four times, the president would be on the phone and there would be threats of retaliation," Henry told the Associated Press. "This is happening thousands of times a day. There needs to be some definition of where the red line is and what the repercussions would be."

Naturally the Chinese government has dismissed the Mandiant report and claims made by other entities. Even more, the Foreign Ministry claims that it has been hacked too, some of which was traced back to the United States. A 2012 report provided the Ministry of Information Technology and Industry even claims that in 2012 alone, 1,400 computers and 38,000 websites based in China have suffered foreign attacks – most of which were conducted by the United States.

Spying on other countries is nothing new for many intelligence agencies, as they keep tabs on what's going on overseas to better fortify the nation's defenses. However cybersecurity experts believe that the U.S. government does not conduct similar hacks, and it doesn't steal from the Chinese.

Over the past few weeks, reports have surfaced that the Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, and the New York Times were infiltrated by Chinese hackers. Twitter, Facebook and Apple have also reported hacking attempts, but did not publicly accused China. There are reportedly numerous other that have been hacked but have not publicly come forth.

 

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  • 14 Hide
    freggo , February 20, 2013 6:44 PM
    Let's get tought and cut the internet connections to China.

    Oh wait, all our satuff comes from China these days; so they can cut off our iPhones, Computer parts and 90% of the Walmart inventory.

    Guess we are screwed...
Other Comments
  • 3 Hide
    one-shot , February 20, 2013 6:30 PM
    Quote:
    have also reported hacking attempts, but did not publicly *accused* China.


    Appears to be a typo there. :) 
  • 1 Hide
    house70 , February 20, 2013 6:33 PM
    So, hacking is only good when done to others (potential enemies or not), but not good when it's done to us.
    Who would have guessed it?
  • 0 Hide
    smokeybravo , February 20, 2013 6:37 PM
    Linus Trovalds is having himself a little chuckle right now I bet.
  • 2 Hide
    wannabepro , February 20, 2013 6:37 PM
    I'd rather the US offer rewards for Chinese Goverments and businesses successfully hacked.
    Fight fire with fire.
  • 14 Hide
    freggo , February 20, 2013 6:44 PM
    Let's get tought and cut the internet connections to China.

    Oh wait, all our satuff comes from China these days; so they can cut off our iPhones, Computer parts and 90% of the Walmart inventory.

    Guess we are screwed...
  • 3 Hide
    kinggraves , February 20, 2013 7:01 PM
    What is the US going to do with the most powerful corporations of their capitalist government so heavily invested in China? Trade sanctions on the country who's building and supplying the parts for those PCs they're hacking? Good luck with that.

    Really hard to even call anything secrets when we're such a codependent world economy anymore. What secrets do they even need? Are we secretly planning to attack them? The US attacking China in any way would start a World War at this point. It's not going to happen. Do they want weapons? It's China, not Iran, we'll give them weapons if they want. They aren't the enemy of the year.
  • 1 Hide
    LORD_ORION , February 20, 2013 7:08 PM
    Remember that time the US "accidentally" bombed a Chinese embassy?

    More of that please...
  • 0 Hide
    robochump , February 20, 2013 7:51 PM
    About time US Gov't!!!

    Chinese Gov't thinks they can get away with murder because they buy US debt and manufacture nearly everything (damn those are huge reasons...lol). Anyways Chinese Gov't is completely unethical and trying to catch up through stealing intellectual property and not doing their own R&D which costs US companies billions annually.

    I wouldn't be surprised if China has the secret formula for Coke!!! lol
  • 4 Hide
    dalethepcman , February 20, 2013 7:59 PM
    Quote:
    However cybersecurity experts believe that the U.S. government does not conduct similar hacks, and it doesn't steal from the Chinese.


    Lol at us not stealing from them, but notice the significant wording in that quote "Does not conduct similar attacks" No denying that we hack them in any way, just stating that we have different methods to do so.
  • 4 Hide
    TeraMedia , February 20, 2013 8:14 PM
    This might sound a lot like conspiracy theory. If so, ignore the summary and just read the strategies listed below it. Then go back and read the summary.

    Summary
    The US is in a war with China. Right now. The only reason we don't realize it is that we're used to wars being fought with guns and bombs, while the Chinese are also willing and able to take other approaches. Why expend life defeating an enemy when you can achieve a better result by economically crippling the enemy?

    If your enemy makes money by creating and selling technology, then steal their technology, market a cheaper copy short-term and a better product long-term, and defeat them at their own capitalist game. Once their technology corporations can no longer compete with you, your enemy will be forced to get their technology from you and will be under your economic and military control.

    If your enemy is strong because they can grow a lot of food cheaply, then soften the market for food, cheaply buy the land they use to grow food, and make the capability yours. Let your enemy spend money on infrastructure, legislation, regulation, etc. Just keep the land, and when your enemy is too weak to fight back, it won't matter that the land resides inside their borders. You will control your enemy's food supply, and through it their economy and military.

    If your enemy depends on a resource that they need to import (oil), corner the market on that import. Make friends with countries that have large quantities of the resource. Build things for them. Offer them trading concessions. Support them at the UN. Then slowly turn off the resource spigot for your enemy. Your enemy will be at your mercy to acquire their precious imported resource.

    Technology: China has stated an intention of manufacturing CPUs by 2020. Combine the fact that they can dump billions of R&D into this with the possibility (fact?) that they have already stolen key IP from Intel, AMD, and countless american universities, and this becomes a very realistic possibility.

    Food: Chinese are buying plots of agricultural land across the primary growing regions in the US. Whether it is individual corporations or China doesn't matter, because in China, all corporations ARE China.

    Oil: China has been busy building bridges - literally - with as many resource-laden countries as possible. They have been buying up export contracts from oil-producing countries to the point that some other countries are no longer able to get the resource quantities they used to get - or need.

    As far as the article is concerned, there is ultimately a question of respect here. China is stealing IP wholesale from the US, because China believes that any resulting consequences are going to be outweighed by the benefits. China does not respect demands from the US to respect and enforce intellectual property rights. Why not? Is it because they do not believe we will eventually retaliate? Or is it because they believe that by the time we decide we want to do something to retaliate in a way that would hurt China, we will no longer be able to do so?

    /end conspiracy theory
  • 0 Hide
    TheMadFapper , February 20, 2013 8:22 PM
    If I were the government I'd hire a mercenary team anonymously, detonate the city block(s) where these attacks are coming from, and then step back and say "We didn't do it. Must be US radicals."
  • 0 Hide
    A Bad Day , February 20, 2013 10:37 PM
    TheMadFapperIf I were the government I'd hire a mercenary team anonymously, detonate the city block(s) where these attacks are coming from, and then step back and say "We didn't do it. Must be US radicals."


    *Initiating self-destruction of US's coal fired power plants and the entire national electrical grid in 3... 2... 1..."
  • 0 Hide
    IndignantSkeptic , February 20, 2013 10:51 PM
    Why do Chinese feel entitled to conduct industrial espionage against foreigners, disrespect scientists, and try to benefit from others research and development without contributing anything? I don't understand where they get this mentality from. I suppose they might be doing it because they feel threatened but they are being threatened because they keep being idea thieves. So it's a vicious circle I suppose, but is there something in their culture or philosophy that makes them disrespect intellectuals and the work of people's minds? Do they only respect muscle work and not brain work? Do they only value physical manual labour and consider thinkers as lazy asses or something?
  • 2 Hide
    Darkk , February 20, 2013 11:11 PM
    Block all connection from China within US borders.. Problem solved.
  • -4 Hide
    AndrewMD , February 21, 2013 1:04 AM
    I am okay with this since US companies do not know how to keep and retain good quality workers. Of course Chinese companies will move forward and acquire them. As for hacking, it is no different than what the US does to other countries.
  • 0 Hide
    fnh , February 21, 2013 1:22 AM
    Has anyone heard of the Trading with the Enemy Act?

    The only nation currently restricted with that act is Cuba. Maybe the Americans should re-consider what an 'enemy' is?
  • 1 Hide
    Mottamort , February 21, 2013 5:09 AM
    What good will imposing fines do besides slightly reduce the debt they already OWE to China.
    America: China has you by the balls. Man up and own up to it (for ONCE).
  • 0 Hide
    thecolorblue , February 21, 2013 9:55 AM
    robochumpAbout time US Gov't!!!Chinese Gov't thinks they can get away with murder because they buy US debt and manufacture nearly everything (damn those are huge reasons...lol). Anyways Chinese Gov't is completely unethical and trying to catch up through stealing intellectual property and not doing their own R&D which costs US companies billions annually. I wouldn't be surprised if China has the secret formula for Coke!!! lol

    hmm... US flying robot murdering civilians...

    try rethinking your post
  • 0 Hide
    thecolorblue , February 21, 2013 9:57 AM
    TheMadFapperIf I were the government I'd hire a mercenary team anonymously, detonate the city block(s) where these attacks are coming from, and then step back and say "We didn't do it. Must be US radicals."

    sounds like you'd fit right in
  • -1 Hide
    spp85 , February 21, 2013 10:03 AM
    These Chinese bastards should learn a lesson.....................
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