Feeds

Pentagon: Chinese military hacked us

We'll need a whole bunch of expensive stuff

High performance access to file storage

Sources in Washington have indicated that the cyber attack last June which targeted the office of US Defence Secretary Robert Gates was conducted by the Chinese military.

According to a report in the London Financial Times, "senior US officials" and "persons familiar with the event" have briefed that there is a “very high level of confidence...trending towards total certainty” within the Pentagon that the People's Liberation Army (PLA) carried out the June attack. That was seen as a particularly significant event, apparently, as it involved disruption of networks as well as passive snooping.

The FT quoted a former official as saying that:

“The PLA has demonstrated the ability to conduct attacks that disable our system...and the ability in a conflict situation to re-enter and disrupt on a very large scale.”

The US military has long warned of a rising cyber-warfare capability in the PLA, releasing a report earlier this year that China "is expanding from the traditional land, air, and sea dimensions of the modern battlefield to include space and cyber-space".

The document said that the inscrutable commies are also developing an "information warfare" force capable of "computer network attack," to achieve "electromagnetic dominance".

America has been far from idle in rising to meet this challenge; indeed there has been something of a scramble among the US military to gets its cyber boots on. The US Air Force has been particularly active, forming up a Cyber Command that may, in the future, be manned up at least in part by career net-combat specialists.

Quite apart from cyberspace, confrontation with China is one of the few justifications for much of America's huge panoply of ultra-high-tech air, maritime and perhaps space weaponry. This is stuff that many in the Pentagon love and believe in passionately, but which is occasionally threatened by the basic counter-insurgency wars the US is currently fighting. Huge amounts of money are being spent on things including armoured trucks, which could have gone on satellite-busters or energy weapons or something.

So leaks out of the Pentagon that big up China as a threat always need to be taken with a pinch of salt. It's a certainty that the PLA probes US networks, just as the US does Chinese ones. It's very likely that China is prepping some naughty network tricks for use in the event of a serious scuffle with America - and again, this will not be a one-sided effort.

But China doesn't want to fight the US - who would pay for all the iPods? And America doesn't really want to fight China - where would they get all the damn iPods made?

If the PLA really did shut down Robert Gates's unclassified email, it was a schoolboy error to show their hands so early. All they have achieved - if it was them - is give their adversaries ammo to use in demanding more resources to fight them with. And it seems exceptionally sloppy to get traced back, when it would be simplicity itself for government hats* to operate out of third countries.

But nobody's saying the PLA are all that clever, so it may well have been them. If it was, though, they evidently aren't as fiendishly cunning as all that.

FT writeup here

*Whitehat if you're Chinese, blackhat if American. Govhats? Redstarhats? Milhats? Spookhats?

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
Obama allows NSA to exploit 0-days: report
If the spooks say they need it, they get it
Parent gabfest Mumsnet hit by SSL bug: My heart bleeds, grins hacker
Natter-board tells middle-class Britain to purée its passwords
Web data BLEEDOUT: Users to feel the pain as Heartbleed bug revealed
Vendors and ISPs have work to do updating firmware - if it's possible to fix this
OpenSSL Heartbleed: Bloody nose for open-source bleeding hearts
Bloke behind the cockup says not enough people are helping crucial crypto project
One year on: diplomatic fail as Chinese APT gangs get back to work
Mandiant says past 12 months shows Beijing won't call off its hackers
Call of Duty 'fragged using OpenSSL's Heartbleed exploit'
So it begins ... or maybe not, says one analyst
German space centre endures cyber attack
Chinese code retrieved but NSA hack not ruled out
Experian subsidiary faces MEGA-PROBE for 'selling consumer data to fraudster'
US attorneys general roll up sleeves, snap on gloves
prev story

Whitepapers

Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
HP ArcSight ESM solution helps Finansbank
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Mobile application security study
Download this report to see the alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, as well as the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.