Feeds

Cyber B52 strikes mooted as response to Chinese infowar

PHP is our profession...

Top three mobile application threats

"I have watched this thing grow... to the incredible proportions it has reached today. I have studied the facts ... facts, and by projecting the statistics I realized the time has come to act. I realized I had to act before the entire will and vitality of the free Western world was sapped and polluted and made rancid... The absolutely fantastic thing is that the facts are all there for anyone who wants to see them."

Are they the words of some expert ranting about Chinese hackers causing blackouts in the US? Or just your author being tricky, lifting a quote from General Jack D Ripper in Peter George's script for Dr. Strangelove.

While it looks obvious here, the mixed nuts are harder to discern in the mainstream news. CNN put an "expert" named Gordon Chang on primetime on the 29th. If you were in the States and watching you learned Chinese cybermen had been having a field day, inflicting a digital Pearl Harbor on the country, not once, but twice.

CNN's Pentagon correspondent, Jamie McIntyre, was puzzled: "This term cyber warfare sounds kind of, you know amorphous, kind of hard to get your hands around it..."

Fifteen minutes later, Chang, author of an unintentionally hilariously entitled book called The Coming Collapse of China vaguely informed the news network, "Well, they say that two of those were really the Chinese caused blackouts in the United States, one in 2003 and the other..."

For Chang, "they" were a couple of chatterers from the press, more specifically, an article in the National Journal, a publication nobody but Congressional staffers and producers and editors of news organizations in Washington, DC, reads. (We'll get to it briefly in a moment.)

"We've always knows that our civilian networks, which are not protected as well as the defense ones, can be taken down, but we never really had a demonstration that it could, indeed, actually happen until a couple of years ago," continued Chang.

Pick a scare, any scare

The news story demonstrated one common feature of all stories on cyberwar. You can say anything you wish and not suffer a beatdown. The most remarkable, even ludicrous, things can be claimed. Once on paper, it's fair to discuss such things as if they had the reality of a piece of granite.

Since the Chinese had been causing blackouts, Chang reasoned the US government ought to show some backbone and give them a talking to. Angela Merkel of Germany had shown it. She had told off the Chinese premier, it was claimed. But Defense Secretary Bob Gates was not so bold. Gates had even had his e-mail hacked by the Chinese, claimed Chang.

SANS - Survey on application security programs

More from The Register

next story
Did a date calculation bug just cost hard-up Co-op Bank £110m?
And just when Brit banking org needs £400m to stay afloat
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
Whoever you vote for, Google gets in
Report uncovers giant octopus squid of lobbying influence
Lavabit loses contempt of court appeal over protecting Snowden, customers
Judges rule complaints about government power are too little, too late
MtGox chief Karpelès refuses to come to US for g-men's grilling
Bitcoin baron says he needs another lawyer for FinCEN chat
Don't let no-hire pact suit witnesses call Steve Jobs a bullyboy, plead Apple and Google
'Irrelevant' character evidence should be excluded – lawyers
EFF: Feds plan to put 52 MILLION FACES into recognition database
System would identify faces as part of biometrics collection
Putin tells Snowden: Russia conducts no US-style mass surveillance
Gov't is too broke for that, Russian prez says
Ex-Tony Blair adviser is new top boss at UK spy-hive GCHQ
Robert Hannigan to replace Sir Iain Lobban in the autumn
Alphadex fires back at British Gas with overcharging allegation
Brit colo outfit says it paid for 347KVA, has been charged for 1940KVA
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Learn about three of the top mobile application security threats facing businesses today and recommendations on how to mitigate the risk.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
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.
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.
SANS - Survey on application security programs
In this whitepaper learn about the state of application security programs and practices of 488 surveyed respondents, and discover how mature and effective these programs are.