Wednesday, September 05, 2007

United Kingdom v China

In Japan v China I asked "Any guesses which will be the next country to reveal its fight against Chinese intelligence services?" Thanks to China targets UK with high-tech spy ring and China v the West: an ongoing digital struggle we have the answer. From the first article:

Several recent attempts to hack into British Government computer networks have been traced to China, Whitehall sources said today.

The attacks are part of a pattern in which China and Russia are switching from “old-fashioned espionage” techniques to electronic hacking into government computers to gain Britain’s military secrets, the sources added.

The growing theat from hacking was underlined yesterday when President Bush said he might raise the sensitive issue with Beijing when he meets President Hu Jintao, the Chinese leader, in Sydney tomorrow for an Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) summit.

Asked to respond to allegations that China’s People’s Liberation Army had hacked into a computer system in the office of Robert Gates, the US Defence Secretary, Mr Bush said: “I’m very aware that a lot of our systems are vulnerable to cyber attack from a variety of places.”

He acknowleged he did not have the intelligence “at my fingertips” on the latest hacking allegations, but he said: “In terms of whether or not I’ll bring this up to countries ... from which there may have been an attack, I may.”


From the second article:

Mr Preatoni, who founded Zone-h.org, which monitors digital attacks, said that he was told three years ago of an attack on the European Parliament’s computer network that originated from hackers based in the Jiangsu Province of China. The attack appeared too sophisticated to be the work of script kiddies and cyber gangsters. To Mr Preatoni’s thinking, it was the first clear indication of a state-sponsored Chinese hack.

Like those who attacked the Pentagon, the hackers who targeted the European Parliament picked as their weapon of choice a Trojan – a program, often attached to an e-mail, that attempts to take control of part of a computer network after being downloaded. This particular Trojan was programmed to look for Microsoft Excel and PowerPoint files, along with e-mails and “.doc” files on the Parliament web servers, Mr Preatoni said...

What worries Mr Preatoni are the attacks that go undetected. “We think that governments have the most sophisticated cyber defences on the planet,” he said. “This is the wrong assumption. In my work with governments, I see they face the same problems as the business world in securing their networks. There’s a lack of expertise. The machines aren’t properly administered. There are budget cuts. They face the same problems as the corporate world. They are hit by the same vulnerabilities.”
(emphasis added)

Now who is next?

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