The United States has key infrastructure to protect, including such mundane hi-tech functioning areas as water, power, natural gas, road systems, etc., If these basic areas were shut down, then chaos would ensue. And our enemies are keenly aware of this potential vulnerability.
The Communist People's Republic of China has developed a signfiicant department within its military structure to attack the U.S. (and presumably our allies) through cyberattacks. This tactics works with Sun Tzu's adage: "“Let your plans be dark and as impenetratable as night, and when you move, fall like a thunderbolt.” This is an appropriate quote because the Chinese efforts are massive, hidden and effective:
In "The Top 10 Chinese Cyberattacks (that we know of)",we highlight one example:
According to SANS Institute research director Alan Paller, “The problem is 1,000 times worse than what we see.” But the tip of the iceberg is still large. Here are some of the most damaging attacks on the U.S. government that have been attributed to Chinese government sponsorship or endorsement over the past few years:
1) Titan Rain - In 2004, an analyst named Shawn Carpenter at Sandia National Laboratories traced the origins of a massive cyber espionage ring back to a team of government sponsored researchers in Guangdong Province in China. The hackers, code named by the FBI “Titan Rain,” stole massive amounts of information from military labs, NASA, the World Bank, and others. Rather than being rewarded, Carpenter was fired and investigated after revealing his findings to the FBI, because hacking foreign computers is illegal under U.S. law. He later sued and was awarded more than $3 million. The FBI renamed Titan Rain and classified the new name. The group is still assumed to be operating.
6) Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez and the 2003 blackout? - A National Journal article revealed that spying software meant to clandestinely steal personal data was found on the devices of then Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez and several other officials following a trade mission to China in December 2007. That same article reported that intelligence officials traced the causes of the massive 2003 northeast blackout back to the PLA, but some analysts question the connection.
9) Ghostnet - In March, 2009, researchers inToronto concluded a 10-month investigation that revealed a massive cyber espionage ring they called Ghostnet that had penetrated more than 1,200 systems in 103 countries. The victims were foreign embassies, NGOs, news media institutions, foreign affairs ministries, and international organizations. Almost all Tibet-related organizations had been compromised, including the offices of the Dalai Lama. The attacks used Chinese malware and came from Beijing.
Counterattack By American Cybersecurity specialists:
Cyberstorm III Attacks Itself
Welcome to Cyber Storm III.
This is the third time that the Department of Homeland Security, in conjunction with other federal agencies, is holding this global cybersecurity exercise. Previous Cyber Storm exercises were conducted in 2006, and again in 2008. For the first time, DHS will manage its response to Cyber Storm III from its new National Cybersecurity and Communications and Integration Center.