This website is no longer actively maintained
Some material and features may be unavailable

March 30, 2009
Chinese cyber spies hack into government computers

Over the weekend, a Canadian research group reported that a cyber spy network had hacked into the computers and, by extension, secret documents of governments and private organizations in 103 countries.

The network, called Ghostnet, is based mainly in China. Among the computers it targeted were those of Tibet’s spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, and Tibet’s government-in-exile in India. Scholars say the operation may have helped identify people in Tibet who talk to exiled Tibetans, putting those in Tibet at risk of reprisals from the Chinese government, which controls Tibet.

The Canadian researchers said the spying activity they found was just the tip of the iceberg.

Keith Epstein, an investigative reporter in BusinessWeek’s Washington D.C. bureau who specializes in cyber security, joins Martin Savidge to discuss Chinese cyber spying, what information is at risk and defense systems.

bookmark    print

Comments

7 comments

#7

Appeared on PBS says…[…] on “World Focus” on PBS TV discussing the risks from Chinese cyber […]…

Interesting how paradoxical this is in that I’m not really sure that the one who appeared on PBS has said anything here on this forum (is it someone else?) and am left with abiguity in what the comment is trying to say…. in the three minute clip I find it interesting how the interviewer bounces government back to personal (me thinx bringing it home to personal is important to the media in that the general public may have given off a big yawn if it doesn’t hit home on a personal level.)

I read in a newspaper overseas a long while ago 1,000,000 cell phones wiretapped in a country of about 45 million people. As with all guestimations I think this one was more than less than a moderate guestimation. Now, with the dawning of a digital era phone calls are an easy track to highly specific and detailed information— forget files– phone calls whether the cell phone is on or off.. cyber “hackers” are now well-trained communications (perhaps even employeesof “outsourcing agencies” hackers which in the long run can cripple organizations, plans, law-enforcement agencies “in motion”- or not now, and manufacturing races just as easily/simply by gathering (me thinx even more detailed information) via. phone systems whether on the hook or off, powered down or powered-up.

It’s interesting in the interview in that the interview-ee mentions China — however, doesn’t go so far out away from the shore to limit it all to China as a “primary” benifactor of information gathering via. computer/tele-communications hacking.

Today– there are several factions moving trillions of dollars across the globe year by year… all aren’t government and all don’t have any political agenda –rather–the agenda is sometimes quite simple– money. Anyone who makes a lot of money or stands in the way of the making of it illegally (law-enforcement agencies) are both targets of such attacks (again— it isn’t always politically motivated or national protectionism–$$$).

So– what? Are we back to the “Watergate” says where highly detailed information is passed along a park bench where neither friend nor foe can hear within a rocks cast? Oh— cell phones powered down and batteries out? Are we now in the day and age where perhaps burying National Security plans such as Naval locations are to be written and buried in farmer’s field to be picked up later or perhaps a piece of information left on a gum wrapper left on a tree leaf to be picked up later at some agreed upon time/poing? (Tongue-n-cheek.. not paranoia)… however, me thinx the “how-to” protect private/personal information these days is the first and the foremost question.

#6

[…] on “World Focus” on PBS TV discussing the risks from Chinese cyber […]

#5

Yes, prolific & exponential- pinging ports, dropping packets, and fragmented packets aren’t just happening once in a blue moon. Proof of who… hmmmm. Your Windows pfirewall says one address while your server says another and then another and another…. that’s why I begin my article with perhaps an advanced style of spoofing. So, who is who? Easy to see it’s a “growth industry”— yes.

#4

Kam has a point, i.e. the threat has been there for a while, however in the last year I’ve seen a phenominal increase in break-in attempts to my webserver, and while I agree with Kam’s other point that the break-ins may coming from other places by proxy a simple check on server log files will show that the attempts typically originating in Romania and Hungary are from amateur hackers, while the ones originating from China are not only far, far more numerous but better managed, indicating a more organised entity behind the efforts.
My original point was that Mr Epstein is incorrect in opining during the broadcast program that ‘evidence of break-ins is difficult to come by’. My contention is that all you have to do is set up any website server and wait. Look at the error log files later and you’ll have all the evidence you need.

#3

With spoofing, phishing, out-sourcing (perhaps our deepest national security risk in communications services), satellites you can rent for a day/an hour… announcements of the net being a multi-billion dollar ball of wax… me thinx that this threat has been here for a while and is growing- yes- including the Chinese but not excluding others for sure.

It’s convenient to blame the bulk on the Chinese– however, with new techniques/methods of spoofing and MAC shadowing, having accesses to major communication corporations in third world countries where $200 is $2000 and $20,000 and $20,000 is $200,000– well, you guess. Some of the brightest minds on the planet have full access through corporate expansion (bean counting)right in their lap re: sensitive information and denials of such.

I read a while back a CSIS report that communications, infrastructures, banking and well …. are all now vulnerable– and labeling it the Chinese– well, I know they’re just there… but so are others. Why do we keep hearing Amsterdam come up in it all? Or ….. why? Is the bulk really China?????

#2

Sorry, that should have been
“The comment by Mr Epstein that ‘evidence of the Chinese attempting to hack into servers is diffult to come by’ is contrary to my own experience.

#1

The comment by Mr Epstein that evidence of the Chinese attempting to hack into servers is contrary to my own experience. For over a year I’ve been warding off hackers into my server from mainland China, as documented here:-
http://www.ginanjohn.com:85/blog/2009/20090305.html
(One at a time please! This is a small private server!)

Produced by Creative News Group LLC     ©2018 WNET.ORG     All rights reserved

Distributed by American Public Television