Chinese Prediction for Cyberspace in 2014

Some experts are predicting intense competition and national conflict.

By Adam Segal
December 22, 2013
The U.S.-China cybersecurity working group recently met for the second time during the first week in December. There have been no public reports of what was discussed or what progress, if any, was made. As with many of these dialogues, one of the main goals is not concrete deliverables, but reducing mistrust between the two sides. Yet some recent articles suggest that mutual understanding is going to be hard to find, and that some in China see cyberspace as increasingly antagonistic and dangerous.

CCID Think Tank, a consulting company that has its roots in the former Ministry of Electronics Industry, released its forecast [Chinese] for the new year, and it describes five broad, bleak trends:

  1. Risk of global conflict is rising: The hacking war between Malaysia and the Philippines, attacks by the Syrian Electronic Army, expansion of U.S. Cyber Command, and NSA revelations are all evidence of greater friction in cyberspace.
  2. Trade barriers will impact the entire information technology (IT) sector: The United States is only the most prominent case of using national security “to suppress China’s entire IT industry.” Australia, UK, India, and Canada have also used security concerns to block Chinese products.
  3. Western countries will increase their Internet containment of China: Countries are able to use the Internet to contain China through public reporting of alleged Chinese attacks on U.S. technology companies and mediathe “China network threat theory”as well as through diplomatic efforts with friends and alliesU.S.-Korea dialogue on cyber, U.S.-Japan defense consultations, and ASEAN-Japan cooperation.
  4. Impact of cybersecurity events will grow: Losses caused by cybercrime will increase and affect more people, there will be more attacks on the media, and the scale of organized criminal groups is growing.
  5. New technologies mean new threats: The most prominent are cloud computing, the Internet of things, mobile, and big data.

In an interview, Major General Wu Jiangxing [Chinese], the president of the PLA Information Engineering University [Chinese], argued that with China’s technological backwardness, “transparency has become a grim reality for our country. Not transparency that we want, but in that we are transparent.” The CCID report also spends a great deal of time on the technological gap between China and the West, and introduces another critical fissure, between “offensive and defensive capabilities in cyberspace.” Echoing this, Major General Wu claims, “The gap is that China does not have a cyber army, whereas the United States has established a Cyber Command, certainly with cyber warfare units.”

The CCID report and Major General Wu’s interview share some similar suggestions for how China must respond. Innovation and technological development are critical. For Wu, only revolutionary game-changing technology can reverse China’s transparency. Within China, the institutional, legal, and policy frameworks must be developed. The CCID report mentions the development of active defense and offensive capabilities. Major General Wu speaks of the need for “implementing a proactive defense that has counter-measures,” but later in the interview is more oblique: “We must continue an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth, to deal with this system.” The CCID report also wants China to step up its international efforts to promote the concept of national sovereignty in cyberspace within the UN framework.

These are, of course, only two voices, and there are others who stress the transnational nature of cybersecurity and the need for international cooperation. Hopefully, these views will gain traction in Beijing and Washington; otherwise, Major General Wu may have the last word: “Cyberspace has become a field of intense struggle, and the state, government, and army must take extraordinary measures to enhance its security.”

Adam Segal is a Maurice R. Greenberg Senior Fellow for China Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations. This piece was previously published on CFR.org’s Asia Unbound blog.

Original Article: http://thediplomat.com/2013/12/chinese-predictions-for-cyberspace-in-2014/

Significant Cyber Attacks:

http://csis.org/publication/cyber-events-2006

 

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A few key points from this article:

Tone:

1). China still trying to win the PR war on who the true hacker culprit is – America or China – not only to gain ground in global media, but also to gain national support behind the ruling party.
2).Claims that America, the true culprit of world-wide hacking, is carrying out nefarious cyber warfare which is harming Internet peace and security

Interesting points:
1).China counters Mandiant report and accusations of China government sponsored hacking by stating this behavior runs counter to Chinese law, “ Chinese law prohibits hacking and any behavior that harms Internet security”. Now to define harmful behavior to Internet security and how this intersects with national security.

2). China Denies validity of U.S. accusations stating that there is no concrete support and that these types of accusations are entirely groundless and irresponsible.

America Accuses Chinese Military of Continued Hacking People’s Liberation Army Responds

11/08/2013 Origin: China Daily Editor: Zhou Yang Reporter: Zhou Wa Source:Global Times

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Picture: A Picture from within the U.S. Air Force Cyber Command

Regarding America’s groundless accusation against China’s Cyber Security [apparatuses], the Ministry of National Defense while responding to a question raised by a China Daily reporter stated that America on one level is misusing technological advantages to seek its own secret goals, while on the other level is making groundless accusations against other countries. This double standard does not benefit cyber-space peace or security.

According to a report by Reuters, on November 6, the American U.S.-China Economic and Security Commission submitted a draft report stating that there are no indications that Chinese military hackers have ceased cyber attacks.

In response the Ministry of Defense, having purveyed related reports, pointed out that released statements by related American institutions and specialists due to not have any conclusive proof, are entirely groundless and irresponsible. Chinese law prohibits hacking and any behavior that harms Internet security, the Chinese military has never supported any hacking activities.

Previously, a network security company, Mandiant, published a report in February of this year claiming that a Shanghai based unit of the China People’s Liberation Army is likely to have been involved in cyber attacks on many American companies. A fact that the Ministry of Defense adamantly denies.

Original Chinese language article: http://mil.huanqiu.com/china/2013-11/4543417.html

Link to Mandiant report indicated in this article:http://intelreport.mandiant.com/Mandiant_APT1_Report.pdf

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Some key points from this article:

Tone:
1). Trying to change the dialogue (Sunnylands just ended/using Snowden revelation steam to counter US’s major China Hacker Threat message) – China is not hacker enemy #1, America is actually the main worldwide culprit.
2). The Pacific Pivot combined with America being a “hacker empire” with proven defense run/sponsored groups hitting all sectors, both military and civilian, means that America’s cyber attack threat very serious for China and those weapons/techniques developed by America will, in the end, be used on China
3). Undertones pushing for more spending on Chinese cyber defenses and indigenous networking and other computer related products/industry

Interesting Points:
1)Article stated number of US staff involved in Cyber Warfare – over 100,000. Factual?
2)Who is Dan Walton? Information spill on JFCCNW, but still in the dark on JFCCNW over all
3)Claim of US DoD creation of a cyber media warfare force comprised of tech savvy journalists
4)In 2012, China’s 1,400 Domestic based host computer networks suffered 73,000 attacks with foreign IPs, 32,000 of which used embedded backdoors. 38,000 domestic websites attacked

 

Penetrating the “Prism”: America’s Deep Chinese Network Intrusion Methods

06/13/2013 21:02
Source: CNTV Editor: Peitong Reporter: Jiang Yiyi

American Cyber Warrior Forces: the Main Force behind Network Attacks on China

CNTV (editor PieTong reports) that while the American government and the media are strongly publicizing the “Chinese hacker threat message” that they appear to be ignoring that America itself is a hotbed for hacking. Even American network security specialists admit that the actions of America’s “cyber forces” are not confined to “military related arenas”. This type of [hacking] work probably “entered” industrial and commerce sectors, the financial services industry, and the daily life of citizens at an earlier time. These “cyber warriors” are already developing in the direction of a “hacker empire”.
Earlier in 2010, before the U.S. Cyber Command was established, the U.S. Strategic Command’s senior commander, while attending the Senate Armed Forces Committee in April 2004, admitted the existence of the organization of hackers known as, Joint Functional Component Command (JFCCNW). This organization marked the beginning of carrying out “network guerrilla warfare”, and gradually moved toward a future regular “cyber warrior” unit guiding “regular cyber warfare” evolution.
Publically, JFCCNW is responsible for defending the U.S. Department of Defense’s network security. However, this department is also responsible for secret high level computer network attacks. Thus this department has been dubbed the “joint department command”, because its hacker forces are not only made up of military staff but also hacker staff from the American Central Intelligence Agency, the National Security Administration, and the Federal Bureau of Investigations, and even hired hackers from the civilian population, and allied nations’ military advisors.
Even one word about the actions and successes of America’s JFCCNW is hard to find. The U.S. Department of Defense commonly only publishes how many network attacks were stopped at the end of each year, but does not admit its own launched network attacks, for example, its attacks on other nations’ computer networks or radar systems, etc. Former American Marine intelligence officer Dan Walton believes that JFCCNW’s “military capability” is highly confidential, but that this organization has the ability to destroy an enemy’s computer network, pass through an enemies network firewall and eavesdrop or alter key data, and can even install “worm” viruses into an enemies command and control systems causing them to lose ability to communicate with and mobilize forces and launch guided air defense missiles in time.
At the end of 2006, the U.S. Department of Defense created a completely new force – a cyber media warfare force. This force’s members not only possess relatively advanced computer skills, but also deep theoretical knowledge of media propaganda, making for expert “journalists” with expert computer knowledge. This new army is engaged in an internet battle 24 hours a day, “striving to correct incorrect information”, allowing America’s military forces to resist “incorrect” news, vastly strengthening its ability to direct self-serving reports.
At present America is the number one military power and when compared with the vast majority of nations, in land, sea, air, and space, possesses absolute superiority. However, America is still not satisfied and desires to achieve dominance in a fifth realm — cyber superiority. Obama’s administration is paying great importance on network superiority plans and implementation. After only being in office a few months he planned cyber army command and greatly expanded funds for American network warrior attack weapons.
In July of 2011, the U.S. Department of Defense published the report, “Cyberspace Action Strategy”, clearly repeated that cyberspace is part of “area operations” with land, sea, air, and space, with cyberspace serving as America’s “fifth battlefield”. According to foreign military specialists, currently, America’s “cyber warriors” has surpassed 100,000 or relatively the size of 8 101 Airborne divisions. It is worth noting that these “network warriors” are embedded by different methods into different military branches and security organizations –they carry out secretive surveillance and attacks on foreign governments, organizations, institutions, and even civilians. They even carry out secretive monitoring, evaluation, and attacks on American domestic organizations, institutions, and civilians; even American network security specialists themselves admit that the operations of America’s “cyber warriors” are not solely confined to “military arenas”, and that their work probably “entered” into the industry and commerce sector, financial service sector, and civilian life at an earlier time.
At the same time, since the 90s, the U.S. military fervently started to recruit “hackers” through different methods. The American military hosts the “Computer Hacker Conference” in Las Vegas each year to select a group of elite hackers to prepare for future network wars. In addition, the militaries of America and the West pay great importance in training elite hackers in the armed forces. The National Defense University was one of the first to research software and carry out logic attacks and defensive war games giving priority to information warfare experts, the first batch which graduated in the fall of 1995. In June of 1997, these cyber warriors joined the secret exercise, “Eligible Recipient” carried out by the National Security Agency; several “hackers” were successful in forcing their way into the U.S. Pacific Command and the regional military networks in Washington, Chicago, St. Louis, and Colorado. In addition, they gained control of America’s nationwide electric power network
According to revelations made by the American media, the U.S. Department of Defense onmultiple occasions trapped and recruited a “cyber army” from hackers who committed serious crimes and who were in custody.
According to estimations, the American military currently has of 2000 types of “cyber weapons” and is the world’s number one “cyber weapons” country. Between 2006 and 2008, America successively held two large-scale cyber warfare games code named, “network storm”. In 2010 and 2012, Iran’s nuclear facilities successively received network virus attacks; Iran asserted that the attackers behind the scenes included America. China’s National Internet Emergency Center previously reported that in 2012 alone that China’s more than 1,400 domestic host computer networks experienced 73,000 attacks with foreign IP addresses; 32,00 of these foreign IP attacks used embedded backdoors, joining in carrying out long distance remote control on close to 38,000 domestic websites.
Military experts believe that under America’s existing Pacific Pivot strategy that China has become America’s number one enemy. This means that for a part of America’s cyber force, China has inevitably become one of the most important enemies. Thus, speaking from one perspective, the network intrusion methods of America’s network forces can’t avoid being used one day to deal with China.

Original News Article:http://news.cntv.cn/2013/06/13/ARTI1371127550241428.shtml