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    2.Officially Sanctioned Crime in China, He Qinglian
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    Losing the New China, Ethan Gutmann
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    Nine Commentaries on The Communist Party, the Epochtimes
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    Reporters Without Borders said in it’s 2005 special report titled “Xinhua: the world’s biggest propaganda agency”, that “Xinhua remains the voice of the sole party”, “particularly during the SARS epidemic, Xinhua has for last few months been putting out news reports embarrassing to the government, but they are designed to fool the international community, since they are not published in Chinese.”
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Archive for the ‘Computer’ Category

Chinese Hackers Attacked Washington Post’s Computers

Posted by Author on February 2, 2013


A sophisticated cyberattack targeted The Washington Post in an operation that resembled intrusions against other major American news organizations and that company officials suspect was the work of Chinese hackers, people familiar with the incident said.

Post company officials confirmed the broad outlines of the infiltration, which was discovered in 2011 and first reported by an independent cybersecurity blog on Friday. But they did not elaborate on the circumstances, the duration of the intrusion or its apparent origin. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in China, Computer, cyber attack, hacking, Internet, Media, Politics, Technology, World | Comments Off on Chinese Hackers Attacked Washington Post’s Computers

Google ditches Windows on security concerns after China hack

Posted by Author on June 1, 2010


By David Gelles and Richard Waters in San Francisco, The Financial Times, May 31 2010 –

Google is phasing out the internal use of Microsoft’s ubiquitous Windows operating system because of security concerns, according to several Google employees.

The directive to move to other operating systems began in earnest in January, after Google’s Chinese operations were hacked, and could effectively end the use of Windows at Google, which employs more than 10,000 workers internationally.

“We’re not doing any more Windows. It is a security effort,” said one Google employee.

“Many people have been moved away from [Windows] PCs, mostly towards Mac OS, following the China hacking attacks,” said another.

New hires are now given the option of using Apple’s Mac computers or PCs running the Linux operating system. “Linux is open source and we feel good about it,” said one employee. “Microsoft we don’t feel so good about.”

In early January, some new hires were still being allowed to install Windows on their laptops, but it was not an option for their desktop computers. Google would not comment on its current policy.

Windows is known for being more vulnerable to attacks by hackers and more susceptible to computer viruses than other operating systems. The greater number of attacks on Windows has much to do with its prevalence, which has made it a bigger target for attackers.

Employees wanting to stay on Windows required clearance from “quite senior levels”, one employee said. “Getting a new Windows machine now requires CIO approval,” said another employee.

In addition to being a semi-formal policy, employees themselves have grown more concerned about security since the China attacks. “Particularly since the China scare, a lot of people here are using Macs for security,” said one employee……. (mor details from The Financial Times)

Posted in Company, Computer, Economy, Google, News, Software, Technology, World | 1 Comment »

Millions in China Have No Antivirus Software, Survey Shows

Posted by Author on March 31, 2010


By Owen Fletcher, IDG News Service, via PC World, Mar. 31, 2010-

The massive number of Chinese Internet users running no antivirus software increased last year, a survey showed, even though online security risks continued to multiply in the country.

The percentage of Internet users in China with no security software was 4.4 percent last year, up from 3.9 percent the previous year, according to survey results released late Tuesday by the China Internet Network Information Center (CNNIC) and China’s National Computer Network Emergency Response Technical Team (CNCERT).

CNNIC estimates that 384 million people in China used the Internet in the second half of last year. By that calculation, the number of people in the country surfing the Internet with no antivirus software was nearly 17 million, representing a huge pool of PCs that attackers could easily infect and use for malicious ends.

Other results from the survey also showed the size of online security problems in China. For instance, nearly half of Chinese Internet users own virtual property, such as items in an online game or virtual coins for use on a social-networking site, according to the survey. Among those people, 14.6 percent said they had experienced some loss of that property due to theft of login credentials……. (more details from The PC World)

Posted in China, Computer, Firewall, Internet, Internet User, Life, News, People, Software, Technology, World | Comments Off on Millions in China Have No Antivirus Software, Survey Shows

The High-Tech Persecution of Falun Gong in China (2)

Posted by Author on February 25, 2010


Global Internet Freedom Consortium – (cont’d)

<< previous

According to author E. Guttmann, the technology used in China to construct the Golden Shield Project “provide[s] a secure connection to provincial security databases, allowing for thorough cross-checking and movement tracing.”[4] These databases and secure connections allow for an unprecedented level of government intrusion:

A Chinese policeman or [Public Security Bureau] agent…could remotely access the suspect’s danwei or work unit, thereby accessing reports on the individual’s political behavior and family history. Even fingerprints, photographs and other imaging information would be available with a tap on the screen…[T]he Chinese police could even check remotely whether the suspect had built or contributed to a Web site in the last three months, access the suspect’s surfing history and read his e-mail.[5]

Thus, Michael Robinson, an American computer engineer hired in 1996 to help build the first public-access network in China, was asked by the Chinese government for assurances that it would be able to “build an Internet firewall to keep the world out and conduct surveillance on their own citizens” before he could continue his work.[6]

In her examination of China’s surveillance industry published in Rolling Stone, Naomi Kline describes the surveillance capabilities of the Golden Shield network as follows:

Chinese citizens will be watched around the clock through networked CCTV cameras and remote monitoring of computers. They will be listened to on their phone calls, monitored by digital voice-recognition technologies. Their Internet access will be aggressively limited through the country’s notorious system of online controls known as the Great Firewall. Their movements will be tracked through national ID cards with scanable computer chips and photos, that are instantly uploaded to police databases and linked to their holders personal data. This is the most important element of all: linking all these tools together in a massive, searchable database of names, photos, residency information, work history and biometric data. When Golden Shield is finished, there will be a photo in those databases for every person in China: 1.3 billion faces. [7]…… (to be cont’d)

From Global Internet Freedom Consortium

Related:
The High-Tech Persecution of Falun Gong in China (1)

Posted in China, Computer, Human Rights, Internet, News, People, Politics, Social, Software, Technology, World | Comments Off on The High-Tech Persecution of Falun Gong in China (2)

US senator asks companies about China rights practices

Posted by Author on February 2, 2010


AFP, Feb. 2, 2010-

WASHINGTON — A US senator on Tuesday asked 30 leading companies, including Amazon, Apple, Facebook, IBM, Nokia and Twitter, for information about their human rights practices in China after Google’s threat to leave the country over cyberattacks and Web censorship.

Democratic Senator Dick Durbin of Illinois, chairman of the Judiciary Subcommittee on Human Rights and the Law, also announced plans to hold a hearing in February on global Internet freedom.

He said the hearing would feature testimony from Barack Obama administration officials and from Google and other firms about their business practices in Internet-restricting countries.

“I commend Google for coming to the conclusion that cooperating with the ‘Great Firewall’ of China is inconsistent with their human rights responsibilities,” Durbin said in a statement.

“Google sets a strong example in standing up to the Chinese government’s continued failure to respect the fundamental human rights of free expression and privacy.

“I look forward to learning more about whether other American companies are willing to follow Google’s lead,” he said.

Durbin, the assistant Senate majority leader, said the letters seeking information about human rights practices in China had been sent to 30 information and communications technology companies.

Durbin’s letter asked each company for details of its business in China and to outline its “future plans for protecting human rights, including freedom of expression and privacy, in China.”

Companies were also asked to describe specific measures being taken to “ensure that your products/services do not facilitate human rights abuses by the Chinese government.”

The letters were sent to Acer, Amazon, Apple, AT&T, Cisco, Dell, eBay, Facebook, Fortinet, Hewlett-Packard, IAC, IBM, Juniper, Lenovo, McAfee, Motorola, News Corp., Nokia, Nokia Siemens, Oracle, Research in Motion, SAP, Siemens, Skype, Sprint Nextel, Toshiba, Twitter, Verizon, Vodafone and Websense.

Google said last month that following cyberattacks on the Gmail accounts of Chinese human rights activists it was no longer willing to censor Web search results in China even it that means it has to leave the country.

Google has not yet stopped censoring search results on google.cn, but Google chief executive Eric Schmidt has said it would happen soon.

– AFP

Posted in Business, China, Company, Computer, Google, Human Rights, Internet, News, Technology, USA, World | 1 Comment »

China Authorities Behind Google Attack, Researcher Claims

Posted by Author on January 15, 2010


By Gregg Keizer, Computer World, January 15, 2010 –

Computerworld –  The malware used to hack Google is so sophisticated that researchers brought in by the company to investigate believe the attack code was designed and launched with support from Chinese authorities.

According to Carlos Carrillo, a principal consultant for Mandiant, a Washington D.C.-based security incident response and forensics firm, the attack against Google last month was “definitely one of the most sophisticated attacks I’ve seen in the last few years.”

Mandiant was called in by Google to look into the attack, and Carrillo was the project manager for the Google investigation. During an interview Friday, he frequently chose his words carefully, saying that there was much he couldn’t discuss because the work was ongoing.

“The malware was unique,” Carrillo said. “It had unique characteristics … it was … let’s just say it was unique.”

Other researchers who have examined the malware have also come away impressed. Thursday, Dmitri Alperovitch, vice president of threat research at McAfee, called the attack code “very sophisticated” and added, “We’ve never seen anything this good in the commercial space. In [attacks on] government, yes, but not commercial.”

But what does that kind of expertise mean?

Carrillo is convinced that, given the sophistication of the code, it was produced with support from Chinese authorities. “This wasn’t on the level of Metasploit,” Carrillo said, referring to the open-source penetration testing framework whose exploits are often used by hackers to craft malware. “This wasn’t something that a 16-year-old came up in his spare time.”

When asked if the code quality pointed toward Chinese state support, Carrillo answered, “I would say so.” He declined to elaborate.

Mandiant was called in to investigate the attack on Google “early in the process,” said Carrillo, who refused to get more specific. McAfee’s Alperovitch said that time stamps in the malware’s command-and-control log files indicated the attacks began in mid-December and ended Jan. 4, when the hackers’ servers were shut down.

In the announcement Tuesday that its corporate network had been hacked and intellectual property stolen, Google said the attacks had been discovered in mid-December. Google also said the attacker tried to access the Gmail accounts of Chinese human rights activists, a move that — along with increasing censorship of the Web by China’s government — has prompted it to reevaluate its business in the country.

Carrillo also provided additional information to the still-sketchy framework of the attack, saying that the exploit of a vulnerability in Microsoft’s Internet Explorer was not the only vector used by the hackers. That seemed to back up Microsoft’s assertion that the IE bug wasn’t the sole cause of the break-ins…… (more details from Computerworld)

Posted in Business, China, Company, Computer, email, Google, Human Rights, Internet, News, Politics, Software, Spyware, Technology, website, World | 1 Comment »

China Faces U.S. Piracy Suit for Web-Filter Software

Posted by Author on January 6, 2010


By Edvard Pettersson and Mark Lee, Bloomberg via businessweek, Jan 6, 2010 –

Jan. 6 (Bloomberg) — China was accused of piracy in a lawsuit filed by a California software maker, which said the Green Dam Youth Escort filtering program installed on personal computers in the country infringes its copyright.

Cybersitter LLC, a closely held company, seeks $2.2 billion in damages in a complaint filed yesterday in federal court in Los Angeles. The company accuses China and computer makers, including Lenovo Group Ltd. and Acer Inc. whose products have included the Green Dam program, of stealing its trade secrets, unfair competition, copyright infringement and civil conspiracy.

“This lawsuit aims to strike a blow against the all-too- common practices of foreign software manufacturers and distributors who believe that they can violate the intellectual property rights of small American companies with impunity without being brought to justice in U.S. courts,” Greg Fayer, a lawyer representing Cybersitter, said in a statement.

Cybersitter said Green Dam, which the Chinese government is promoting on computers sold in the country, illegally copies 3,000 lines of code from its program that was designed to prevent children from viewing pornography and violent Web content. Human rights groups accuse the Chinese government of using Green Dam to curb access to sites it considers politically unacceptable.

Wang Lijian, spokesman for China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, said he couldn’t immediately comment as he hadn’t seen the lawsuit. The agency, which oversees regulation of the country’s technology industry, said in May that all new computers sold in the country must include the Green Dam software, before postponing the order in June……. (more details from Businessweek)

Posted in Business, censorship, China, Computer, Human Rights, Law, News, Politics, Software, Technology, USA, World | 1 Comment »

Apple iPhone apps about Dalai Lama blocked in China

Posted by Author on January 1, 2010


Reporters Without Borders, Jan. 1, 2009-

Reporters Without Borders urges the US consumer electronics company Apple to explain the alleged censorship of the iPhone applications which, according to IDG News Service, it has implemented in its App Store in China. IDG publishes such specialist magazines as Macworld, PC World and Computerworld.

“China’s iPhone users have a right to know what they cannot access,” Reporters Without Borders said. “For the sake of transparency, Apple should release a complete list of the censored apps – if any are being censored – and the selection criteria used. If Apple has agreed to withdraw some of the App Store products under pressure from the authorities, it will have joined the club of companies that are accomplices to the censorship of news and information in China.”

The press freedom organisation continued: “This would be great disappointment coming from a company known for its creativity. Despite its “Think differently” motto, Apple seems to be unable to think differently from the Chinese authorities. The need to comply with local laws is not a plausible excuse. Censoring content about the Dalai Lama would be indefensible and would be a clear violation of international standards governing free expression.”

According to IDG News Service, iPhone apps about the Dalai Lama and Uyghur activist Rebiya Kadeer, which are available in other countries, cannot be downloaded in China.

The blocked apps include Dalai Quotes, Dalai Lama Quotes, Dalai Lama Prayerwheel, Paging Dalai Lama, Nobel Laureates (which includes references to the Dalai Lama) and 10 Conditions, an app referring to Rebiya Kadeer.

US Internet companies Yahoo! and Google have been censoring the Chinese versions of their search engines for years. Yahoo! even provided the Chinese authorities with information that enabled them to identify journalist Shi Tao as the author of an email on a very sensitive political issue. As a result, he was given a 10-year jail sentence in 2005 and is still in prison.

Reporters Without Borders added: “The US Congress should lose no time in adopting the Global Online Freedom Act, a bill introduced by Republican Congressman Chris Smith that would prevent US Internet companies from being forced to collaborate with Internet censors in repressive countries.”

Reporters Without Borders

Posted in censorship, China, Computer, News, Politics, Software, Technology, Trade, USA, World | 1 Comment »

Expert: China’s Green Dam software is unsafe

Posted by Author on June 25, 2009


by  Elinor Mills, Cnet News, June 25, 2009 –

The content-filtering software the Chinese government wants installed on all PCs sold in that country beginning next week was poorly developed and puts users at risk of having their computers compromised, a security expert who examined the code said on Thursday.

The Chinese government is requiring that all PCs include the Green Dam-Youth Escort software to block pornography, but it also blocks access to content related to violent computer games, illegal drugs and political speech, said Ben Feinstein, director of research at SecureWorks, a managed security service provider.

Critics are worried that the Chinese government could use Green Dam, a free download, to block all kinds of content and monitor online activities of users, as well as worried that the software could allow for a massive botnet to be created, either by cybercriminals or the Chinese government itself.

Feinstein and colleagues at SecureWorks’ Counter Threat Unit examined the Green Dam code earlier this month and found that it uses a variety of unsafe programming practices that have been banned at Microsoft and other U.S. companies, he said.

An example is the use of Strcpy, or string copy, a library function in the C programming language that copies memory from one buffer to another, according to Feinstein. If the copied string doesn’t fit in the destination buffer, it will overwrite memory and can be used in a buffer overflow attack.

“This software appears to be of low quality and to have not been developed with a secure methodology,” Feinstein said. “It likely suffers from a whole host of problems.”

The way Green Dam is designed to inspect all Internet traffic coming into and going out of a PC means more parts of the code are exposed to potential attack compared with programs that are more limited in scope and process less data, he said.

In addition, having the software on all PCs in China, as mandated, would create a huge install base and be an attractive target for attackers who could attack millions of computers by targeting just this one program, Feinstein said.

China historically has censored the Internet using filters on the network, blocking access to pages that deal with politically sensitive subjects like Tiananman Square, Falun Gong, and Tibet. Installing filtering software on the end-user computers will make it easier to block content than doing it in the network, according to Feinstein.

“You get efficiencies of scale if you push the filtering down to the end point rather than inspect huge Trans-Pacific pipes entering and leaving your country,” he said. Green Dam was published by Jinhui Computer Systems Engineering, which is run by a former officer of the Peoples’ Liberation Army, he added.

Researchers at the University of Michigan issued a report two weeks ago that found two major security vulnerabilities in Green Dam that could allow someone to remotely take over a computer running the software. The software was later updated and patched, according to an update to the report issued a week ago, however the researchers said they had discovered an additional security hole that remained unfixed.

Separately, a security researcher said he had released on a public Web site an exploit for a buffer overflow that remained unpatched in the Green Dam update.

Cnet News

Posted in censorship, China, Computer, Internet, News, Politics, Software, Technology, World | Comments Off on Expert: China’s Green Dam software is unsafe

Taiwan legislator warns of China spyware in military hardware

Posted by Author on January 13, 2009


Taiwan News, Staff Writer, 2009-01-13 –

The military could be leaking secrets if using computers made in China, an opposition lawmaker said yesterday.

The Ministry of National Defense recently bought notebook computers from China which could compromise state secrets if they had been infected by viruses and spy software programs, said Lawrence Kao, a legislator for the Democratic Progressive Party.

The army headquarters had recently awarded bids for 51 computers to a supplier who did not buy the notebooks from Taiwanese manufacturers, but from suppliers in China, Kao said. At a news conference at the Legislative Yuan yesterday, he also accused the supplier of contracting out repair work to China.

Chinese intelligence services could plant software programs inside the computers which could then be used to collect military secrets from their Taiwanese users, Kao said.

The DPP lawmaker accused the military of being too lax about supervising its key suppliers and the sources of its equipment. It was high time for the ministry to review its procurement procedures and the origin of the products it was using, Kao said.

There has been concern for some time that in the event of a cross-straits conflict, China would not try for the long-feared tactic of a costly all-out invasion of the island, but would instead wage electronic warfare to try and paralyze the Taiwanese military’s communications and information systems.

eTaiwan News

Posted in Asia, Business, China, Company, Computer, Economy, Law, military, News, Politics, products, Software, Spyware, Taiwan, Technology, World | Comments Off on Taiwan legislator warns of China spyware in military hardware

China Hackers Penetrate The White House Computer Network

Posted by Author on November 10, 2008


Financial Times, UK, 7 Nov 2008-

Chinese hackers have penetrated the White House computer network on multiple occasions and obtained e-mails between government officials, a senior US official told the Financial Times.

On each occasion, the attackers accessed the White House computer system for brief periods, allowing them enough time to steal information before US computer experts patched the system.

US government cyber intelligence experts suspect the attacks were sponsored by the Chinese government because of their targeted nature. But they concede that it is extremely difficult to trace the exact source of an attack beyond a server in a particular country.

“We are getting very targeted Chinese attacks so it stretches credulity that these are not directed by government-related organisations,” said the official.

The official said the Chinese cyber attacks had the characteristics of the “grain of sands” approach taken by Chinese intelligence, which involves obtaining and pouring over lots of – often low-level – information to find a few nuggets.

Some US defence companies have privately warned about attacks on their systems that they believe are attempts to learn about future weapons systems.

The National Cyber Investigative Joint Task Force, a new unit established in 2007 to tackle cyber security, detected the attacks on the White House. But the official stressed that the hackers had accessed only the unclassified computer network, not the more secure classified network.

“For a short period of time they successfully breach a wall and then you rebuild the wall . . . It is not as if they have continued access,” said the official. “It is constant cat and mouse.”

Dana Perino, the White House press secretary, declined to comment. The Chinese embassy also did not comment but in the past China has said similar allegations reflect “cold war thinking”. The US has increased efforts to tackle cyber security, particularly since Chinese hackers believed to be associated with the Peoples’ Liberation Army perpetrated an attack on the Pentagon last year.

US military computer experts battled for weeks against a sustained attack that eventually overcame the Pentagon’s defences. The attackers managed to obtain information and e-mail traffic from the unclassified computer system that supports Robert Gates, the defence secretary. Pentagon IT technicians were forced to take the network down for days to conduct repairs……. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in China, Computer, Hacker, Internet, military, News, Politics, Technology, USA, World | Comments Off on China Hackers Penetrate The White House Computer Network

Microsoft’s Anti-piracy tool angers China Internet users

Posted by Author on October 25, 2008


Tania Branigan in Beijing, The Guardian,Thursday October 23 2008-

Chinese internet users have reacted with fury after Microsoft launched an anti-piracy tool to combat the widespread sale of fake software. People have flooded blogs and bulletin boards to complain it violates their right to privacy – with one lawyer even reporting the firm to security officials for “hacking”.

Microsoft dominates the Chinese market, and even the president, Hu Jintao, has said he uses its products. But with software piracy estimated at more than 90%, the firm’s profits fail to reflect its popularity.

The new version of its “Windows Genuine Advantage” program turns the background black every hour if the installed software fails a validation test.

But the software giant’s attempt to protect its intellectual property sparked angry denunciations. ” The computer is mine!” one angry blogger wrote on the web portal Sina.com. “Microsoft has no right to control my hardware without my agreement.”

Dong Zhengwei, 35, a Beijing lawyer, has complained to the public security ministry, describing the software giant as the “biggest hacker in China, with its intrusion into users’ computer systems without their agreement or any judicial authority”. He told the official China Daily newspaper he believed the measure breached China’s criminal law.

The China Software Industry Association said it also planned to take action against Microsoft.

Critics said Microsoft was putting their information at risk by accessing their computers. But the software giant argues that counterfeit programs pose a far greater risk to information security.

The Guardian

Posted in China, Company, Computer, Internet, Internet User, Law, Microsoft, News, People, Software, Technology, USA, World | 1 Comment »

China: Part of Beijing Olympic Fireworks Display Digitally Faked

Posted by Author on August 12, 2008


By Samuel Spencer, Epoch Times Staff Aug 11, 2008 –

One of the key parts of the Beijing Olympics opening ceremony, watched by over an estimated 3 billion people around the world, was faked, a report in a Chinese newspaper has revealed.

A part of the ceremony broadcast on TV, which seemed to display giant footprints in the sky lit up by fireworks, were a computer animation that had been prepared for over a year.

The setup was so elaborate and well planned that even giant television screens inside the stadium broadcast the fake images.

The faked animation was revealed in The Beijing Times, in an interview with the head of the ceremony’s visual effects, Gao Xiaolong. Despite the subterferge, Gao said he was pleased with the results. “Most of the audience thought it was being shown live, so that was mission accomplished,” he said in the interview.

Gao said it had taken his team a year to create the 55-second sequence.

Gao revealed that it would have been impossible to film the footage live, given the smog and the weather, and would have involved carefully manoeuvering a helicopter to see all 29 footsteps in a row.

The team talked to the Beijing meteorological office so as to recreate the haze from Beijing’s night sky, and also inserted a camera-shake effect to make it appear as if it was filmed from a helicopter.

The dupe was made possible by the fact that it was done under the aegis of the Beijing Olympic Broadcasting, which controls and provides the main video feeds of all Olympics events to other channels, which in turn feed the video to all around the world. This includes NBC, which has the U.S. broadcasting contract.

– Original: The Epochtimes

Posted in Beijing, Beijing Olympics, China, Computer, Event, News, Sports, Technology, World | 5 Comments »

3,500 China Made Counterfeit Network Devices Sold to U.S. Government, FBI Investigating

Posted by Author on May 12, 2008


By PIERRE THOMAS and JASON RYAN, ABC News, USA, May 9, 2008 –

The FBI is investigating whether counterfeit routers and computer hardware from China installed in U.S. government computer networks might provide a secret gateway for hackers to tap into secure government databases.

Sources told ABC News the counterfeit hardware could represent a major breach to national security. An FBI PowerPoint presentation, which somehow ended up on a Web site, lays out the concerns and the breadth of what has been a far-reaching investigation.

Friday afternoon a somewhat miffed FBI released a statement that read: “At the request of another federal government agency, on Jan. 11, 2008, the FBI’s Cyber Division provided an unclassified PowerPoint presentation and briefing on efforts to counter the production and distribution of counterfeit network hardware,” said FBI Cyber Division Assistant Director James Finch. “This unclassified briefing was never intended for broad distribution or posting to the Internet.”

Finch goes on to talk about Operation Cisco Raider, which “targeted illegal distributors of counterfeit network hardware manufactured in China and included 15 investigations across nine FBI field offices and the execution of 39 search warrants.”

According to Finch, the FBI “disrupted a large distribution network and recovered approximately 3,500 counterfeit network components with an estimated retail value of over $3.5 million.”

In total, authorities around the world, including in the United States, Canada and China, made more than 400 seizures with an estimated value of $76 million. In one instance, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police seized 1,600 pieces of counterfeit Cisco routers.

In other words, government officials, defense contractors and universities thought they were getting top-notch products from Cisco, a well-regarded American company. Instead, they were buying counterfeit equipment that originated in China, which traveled a circuitous route to its final destination.

Those phony Chinese routers, switches, converters and interface cards were sold to the U.S. Naval Academy, U.S. Naval Air Warfare Center, U.S. Naval Undersea Warfare Center, the General Services Administration, the U.S. air base in Spangdahlem, Germany — which is home to the Air Force’s 52nd Fighter Wing — and defense contractor Raytheon.

Some parts ended up in networks serving the Marine Corps, Air Force, Federal Aviation Administration and the FBI.

The cheap, lower-quality equipment led to some system failures and other problems. The real concern, though, is whether this computer hardware represents some sort of Trojan horse that can be manipulated by hackers to steal sensitive information.

Cisco spokesman John Noh told ABC News via e-mail that the company has extensively tested counterfeit equipment purporting to be made by the company, and though not “technically inconceivable,” the company’s tests “have not found a single instance of software or hardware that was modified to make them more vulnerable to security threats.”

Noh acknowledged that counterfeiting of computer technology is “an industrywide issue,” but that Cisco has an internal team dedicated to preventing damage from counterfeiting and that the company works with law enforcement in its investigations.

According to the FBI PowerPoint, Cisco controls 80 percent of the computer router technology market.

The FBI and a number of government agencies are now examining the hardware trying to determine if there has been a massive security breach.

The People’s Republic of China has not been accused of orchestrating the counterfeit sales, but for several years, U.S. officials have been investigating a wave of government computer breaches thought to have originated in China.

Cisco has been working with U.S. investigators and representatives from China’s Technical Service and Public Security bureaus since 2003 to combat the counterfeiting of its routers.

– Original from ABC News: Counterfeit Chinese Technology: Gateway for Hackers?

Posted in Business, China, Company, Computer, Counterfeit, Economy, Internet, Law, Made in China, military, News, Politics, products, Technology, USA, World | 1 Comment »

Mocmex, An Insidious Computer Virus Made in China, Have Larger Targets

Posted by Author on February 25, 2008


Deborah Gage, San Francisco Chronicle Staff Writer, Friday, February 15, 2008-

An insidious computer virus recently discovered on digital photo frames has been identified as a powerful new Trojan Horse from China that collects passwords for online games – and its designers might have larger targets in mind.

“It is a nasty worm that has a great deal of intelligence,” said Brian Grayek, who heads product development at Computer Associates, a security vendor that analyzed the Trojan Horse.

The virus, which Computer Associates calls Mocmex, recognizes and blocks antivirus protection from more than 100 security vendors, as well as the security and firewall built into Microsoft Windows. It downloads files from remote locations and hides files, which it names randomly, on any PC it infects, making itself very difficult to remove. It spreads by hiding itself on photo frames and any other portable storage device that happens to be plugged into an infected PC.

The authors of the new Trojan Horse are well-funded professionals whose malware has “specific designs to capture something and not leave traces,” Grayek said. “This would be a nuclear bomb” of malware.

By studying how the code is constructed and how it’s propagated, Computer Associates has traced the Trojan to a specific group in China, Grayek said. He would not name the group.

The strength of the malware shows how skilled hackers have become and how serious they are about targeting digital devices, which provide a new frontier for stealing information from vast numbers of unwary PC owners. More than 2.26 million digital frames were sold in 2007, according to the Consumer Electronics Association, and it expects sales to grow to 3.26 million in 2008.

The new Trojan also has been spotted in Singapore and the Russian Federation and has 67,500 variants, according to Prevx, a security vendor headquartered in England.

Grayek said Mocmex might be a test for some bigger attack, because it’s designed to capture any personal, private or financial information, yet so far it’s only stealing passwords for online games.

“If I send you a package but it doesn’t explode, why did I send it?” he said. “Maybe I want to see if I can get it out to you and how you open it.”

The initial reports of infected frames came from people who had bought them over the holidays from Sam’s Club and Best Buy. New reports involve frames sold at Target and Costco, according to SANS, a group of security researchers in Bethesda, Md., who began asking for accounts of infected devices on Christmas Day. So far the group has collected more than a dozen complaints from people across the country.

The new Trojan isn’t the only piece of malware involved. Deborah Hale of Sans said the researchers also found four other, older Trojans on each frame, which may serve as markers for botnets – networks of infected PCs that are remotely controlled by hackers.

There is W32.Rajump, which deposits the same piece of malware that infected some of Apple’s video iPods during manufacturing in October 2006. It gathers Internet Protocol addresses and port numbers from infected PCs and ships them out, according to Symantec. One destination is registered to a service in China that allows people to conceal their own IP addresses.

Then there is a generic Trojan; a Trojan that opens a back door on PCs and displays pop-up ads; and a Trojan that spreads itself through portable devices like Mocmex does.

How all this malware got onto the photo frames and what it’s doing there is unclear. Trojans can download other Trojans, which is part of how botnets are controlled.

While SANS is investigating the infections, the retailers are saying little.

Sam’s Club said it has found no infected frames, and its distributor, Advanced Design Systems, did not return calls seeking comment.

A few Target customers complained about frames distributed by Uniek, a store spokesman confirmed. Target is no longer selling those frames, but that’s because the frames didn’t sell well over the holidays, he said. Target has found no infections, he said, but is watching for them.

Best Buy said one line of its Insignia frames – also now discontinued – was infected during manufacturing but would not provide details.

Costco did not return calls seeking comment.
How to avoid problems

Protecting against these new computer viruses, which so far are aimed at PCs running Windows, is hard – and sometimes impossible.

Updated antivirus software works unless the malware writers get ahead of the antivirus vendors, which is what happened with the new Trojan. Computer Associates, for example, just began protecting against it last week.

While some advise disabling Autorun in Windows, which allows devices to run automatically when they’re plugged into a USB port, it’s not a failsafe. Doing so requires some computer expertise, and this Trojan re-enables Autorun if it’s turned off, according to Brian Grayek of Computer Associates. “If you plug in (the frame), you’re already infected,” he said.

Deborah Hale at SANS suggested that PC users find friends with Macintosh or Linux machines and have them check for malware before plugging any device into a PC.

She also recommended backing up data with an online service such as Mozy.com that offers free backup for home users with less than 2 gigabytes of data. But it does not back up the operating system, she warned. If you’re attacked and your PC fails, you’ll have to reformat and reload all of the programs.

If you think bought an infected device, call your retailer.

— Best Buy: (877) 467-4289

— Sam’s Club: (888) 746-7726

— Target: (800) 591-3869

— Costco: (800) 955-2292

– Original report from San Francisco Chronicle: Virus from China the gift that keeps on giving

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UK MI5 Warns 300 Business Leaders of China State-sponsored Spying

Posted by Author on December 4, 2007


AFP, Dec. 1, 2007-

LONDON (AFP) — The head of Britain’s domestic security service has warned business leaders that China has been carrying out state-sponsored espionage against vital parts of the economy.

The director-general of MI5, Jonathan Evans, wrote to 300 chief executives and security heads at banks, accountancy and legal firms, warning them they were under attack from “Chinese state organisations” via the Internet, The Times said Saturday.

It is thought to be the first time London has directly accused Beijing of involvement in web-based espionage, the daily said.

Britain’s Prime Minister Gordon Brown said last weekend he is due to visit China in January next year. The Times said Evans’s warning, which it had seen, threatened to cast a diplomatic shadow over the trip.

In particular, Evans warns companies doing business in China to be on their guard against the Chinese Army, because they were using the Internet to steal sensitive commercial data.

The newspaper quoted a security expert as saying that among the techniques used by Chinese groups were “custom trojans” — software that hacks into a firm’s network and feeds back confidential information.

The MI5 letter, on which the Home Office (interior ministry) refused to comment, includes a list of so-called “signatures” that can be used to identify such trojans, plus Internet addresses used to launch them, it added.

– Original report from AFP : Spy chief warns of China web threat

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Scary: Trojan Horse Hidden in New Maxtor Hard Drive Transfers Datas Automatically to China

Posted by Author on November 12, 2007


By Yang Kuo-wen, Lin Ching-chuan and Rich Chang, Taipei Times, Sunday, Nov 11, 2007-

Portable hard discs sold locally and produced by US disk-drive manufacturer Seagate Technology have been found to carry Trojan horse viruses that automatically upload to Beijing Web sites anything the computer user saves on the hard disc, the Investigation Bureau said.

Around 1,800 of the portable Maxtor hard discs, produced in Thailand, carried two Trojan horse viruses: autorun.inf and ghost.pif, the bureau under the Ministry of Justice said.

The tainted portable hard disc uploads any information saved on the computer automatically and without the owner’s knowledge to http://www.nice8.org and http://www.we168.org, the bureau said.

The affected hard discs are Maxtor Basics 500G discs.

The bureau said that hard discs with such a large capacity are usually used by government agencies to store databases and other information.

Sensitive information may have already been intercepted by Beijing through the two Web sites, the bureau said.

The bureau said that the method of attack was unusual, adding that it suspected Chinese authorities were involved.

In recent years, the Chinese government has run an aggressive spying program relying on information technology and the Internet, the bureau said.

The bureau said this was the first time it had found that Trojan horse viruses had been placed on hard discs before they even reach the market.

The bureau said that it had instructed the product’s Taiwanese distributor, Xander International, to remove the products from shelves immediately.

The bureau said that it first received complaints from consumers last month, saying they had detected Trojan horse viruses on brand new hard discs purchased in Taiwan.

Agents began examining hard discs on the market and found the viruses linked to the two Web sites.

Anyone who has purchased this kind of hard disc should return it to the place of purchase, the bureau said.

The distributor told the Chinese-language Liberty Times (the Taipei Times’ sister newspaper) that the company had sold 1,800 tainted discs to stores last month.

It said it had pulled 1,500 discs from shelves, while the remaining 300 had been sold by the stores to consumers.

Seagate’s Asian Pacific branch said it was looking into the matter.

– Original report from Taipei Times : Bureau warns on tainted discs

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Germany says China state is behind cyber spying

Posted by Author on October 23, 2007


By Louis Charbonneau, Reuters, Mon Oct 22, 2007-

BERLIN (Reuters) – The Chinese state is behind almost daily Internet espionage attacks on German companies and government bodies, a top German intelligence official said on Monday.

“In our view, state Chinese interests stand behind these digital attacks,” said Hans Elmar Remberg, vice president of the German Office for the Protection of the Constitution, the country’s domestic intelligence agency.

“Supporting this view is the intensity, structure and scope of the attacks, and above all the targets, which include (German) authorities and companies,” he told a conference on industrial espionage in Berlin.

In August German media reported that computer hackers believed to be linked to the Chinese army had infected German government ministries with spying programs. Beijing denied the allegation and said all “hacking” behavior was prohibited.

“Some people call this the Chinese cyber war,” Remberg said, adding that a new concept for protection against such cyber attacks was needed.

He added it was important to differentiate between legitimate attempts to gather information on competitors by Chinese companies and state-led industrial espionage.

Driving China’s interest in industrial and government secrets is its desire to become a top global economic power, he said. To catch up with the West, China needed “a massive transfer of high technology”.

“Across the world the People’s Republic of China is intensively gathering political, military, corporate-strategic and scientific information in order to bridge their technological gaps as quickly as possible,” Remberg said.

The attacks often rely on “Trojan horse” email programs or the hacking of Web sites, he said.

“ASTONISHING INTENSITY”

The attacks on German ministries and authorities had an “astonishing intensity” and the perpetrators appeared unconcerned that the attacks were being discovered.

“Every one or two days new attacks are detected,” he said.

China is also using classic espionage methods.

“The diplomatic representative offices and Chinese media agencies in Germany enable the hidden deployment of intelligence agents,” Remberg said.

Firms in joint ventures with Chinese firms were also at risk, he added……. ( more details from Reuters: Germany says Chinese state is behind cyber spying)

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China Suspected In New Zealand Government Computer Systems Hacking

Posted by Author on September 11, 2007


By HANK SCHOUTEN, The Dominion Post, Via http://www.stuff.co.nz/, New Zea;and, 11 September 2007-

Government computer systems have been hacked into by foreign governments, the country’s chief spymaster says.

Government departments’ websites have been attacked, information has been stolen and hard-to-detect software has been installed that could be used to take control of computer systems, Security Intelligence Service director Warren Tucker said.

In his first interview since taking up the post in November, Mr Tucker said there was evidence that foreign governments were responsible for the attacks.

He would not discuss what country was responsible but referred to comments by Canada’s security service about Chinese spying activities.

Russia and China have been implicated in attacks on the British parliament’s computer system.

Mr Tucker also noted the bungled attempt by Mossad agents from Israel to secure New Zealand passports in 2004.

China was accused last week of hacking into German Government systems and the Pentagon’s computer systems in the United States.

Mr Tucker said the SIS and its kindred agency, the Government Communications Security Bureau, had responded to the cyber attacks by stepping up a security awareness campaign.

In some cases, departments did not even realise their computer systems had been breached.

Sensitive information had been stolen and attempts had been made to gain access to classified information.

In one attack, a department had been penetrated and a programme had been inserted to generate bogus but genuine looking e-mails. Mr Tucker would not name the department or elaborate.

But he said the SIS was stepping up its foreign intelligence gathering operations as part of a realignment of the service, which had just 166 staff when he took over but now has over 200.

“As we’ve stepped up our activities we’ve become more concerned about what we have found,” said Mr Tucker, who consented to the interview on condition that he would not be questioned about Algerian refugee Ahmed Zaoui.

Mr Tucker said the terrorist threat to New Zealand was low but rising – a reflection of overseas concerns about Islamic extremists and the radicalisation of some communities.

The service was engaged on issues of real concern to New Zealand. “The relatively small number of people we monitor are the sort of people you would want us to monitor and would be surprised if we didn’t.”

The SIS had also moved to boost its security vetting of people entering New Zealand and to speed up security clearance processes for people handling sensitive Government information.

The scandal last year when a Beehive messenger leaked a Cabinet paper about the Government’s plan to open Telecom to competition had had a bearing on the initiative.

Mr Tucker, a former director of the Government Communications Security Bureau, told The Dominion Post he believed there was a need for the service to be more open, accessible and more closely aligned to the core values of New Zealand, which were integrity, trustworthiness, being upfront and a willingness to admit mistakes.

It was important for the SIS to be seen as an integral part of the machinery of government, and that its work was seen as necessary and important and that the service was trusted.

– Original report from stuff.co.nz : NZ spies uncover cyber attacks

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China’s Cyber Army Is Preparing To March on America, says Pentagon

Posted by Author on September 8, 2007


Tim Reid in Washington, The Times, UK, September 8, 2007-

Chinese military hackers have prepared a detailed plan to disable America’s aircraft battle carrier fleet with a devastating cyber attack, according to a Pentagon report obtained by The Times.

The blueprint for such an assault, drawn up by two hackers working for the People’s Liberation Army (PLA), is part of an aggressive push by Beijing to achieve “electronic dominance” over each of its global rivals by 2050, particularly the US, Britain, Russia and South Korea.

China’s ambitions extend to crippling an enemy’s financial, military and communications capabilities early in a conflict, according to military documents and generals’ speeches that are being analysed by US intelligence officials. Describing what is in effect a new arms race, a Pentagon assessment states that China’s military regards offensive computer operations as “critical to seize the initiative” in the first stage of a war.

The plan to cripple the US aircraft carrier battle groups was authored by two PLA air force officials, Sun Yiming and Yang Liping. It also emerged this week that the Chinese military hacked into the US Defence Secretary’s computer system in June; have regularly penetrated computers in at least 10 Whitehall departments, including military files, and infiltrated German government systems this year.

Cyber attacks by China have become so frequent and aggressive that President Bush, without referring directly to Beijing, said this week that “a lot of our systems are vulnerable to attack”. He indicated that he would raise the subject with Hu Jintao, the Chinese President, when they met in Sydney at the Apec summit. Mr Hu denied that China was responsible for the attack on Robert Gates, the US Defence Secretary.

Larry M. Wortzel, the author of the US Army War College report, said: “The thing that should give us pause is that in many Chinese military manuals they identify the US as the country they are most likely to go to war with. They are moving very rapidly to master this new form of warfare.” The two PLA hackers produced a “virtual guidebook for electronic warfare and jamming” after studying dozens of US and Nato manuals on military tactics, according to the document.

The Pentagon logged more than 79,000 attempted intrusions in 2005. About 1,300 were successful, including the penetration of computers linked to the Army’s 101st and 82nd Airborne Divisions and the 4th Infantry Division. In August and September of that year Chinese hackers penetrated US State Department computers in several parts of the world. Hundreds of computers had to be replaced or taken offline for months. Chinese hackers also disrupted the US Naval War College’s network in November, forcing the college to shut down its computer systems for several weeks. The Pentagon uses more than 5 million computers on 100,000 networks in 65 countries.

Jim Melnick, a recently retired Pentagon computer network analyst, told The Times that the Chinese military holds hacking competitions to identify and recruit talented members for its cyber army.

He described a competition held two years ago in Sichuan province, southwest China. The winner now uses a cyber nom de guerre, Wicked Rose. He went on to set up a hacking business that penetrated computers at a defence contractor for US aerospace. Mr Melnick said that the PLA probably outsourced its hacking efforts to such individuals. “These guys are very good,” he said. “We don’t know for sure that Wicked Rose and people like him work for the PLA. But it seems logical. And it also allows the Chinese leadership to have plausible deniability.”

In February a massive cyber attack on Estonia by Russian hackers demonstrated how potentially catastrophic a preemptive strike could be on a developed nation. Pro-Russian hackers attacked numerous sites to protest against the controversial removal in Estonia of a Russian memorial to victims of the Second World War. The attacks brought down government websites, a major bank and telephone networks.

Linton Wells, the chief computer networks official at the Pentagon, said that the Estonia attacks “may well turn out to be a watershed in terms of widespread awareness of the vulnerability of modern society”.

After the attacks, computer security experts from Nato, the EU, US and Israel arrived in the capital, Tallinn, to study its effects.

Sami Saydjari, who has been working on cyber defence systems for the Pentagon since the 1980s, told Congress in testimony on April 25 that a mass cyber attack could leave 70 per cent of the US without electrical power for six months.

He told The Times that all major nations – including China – were scrambling to defend against, and working out ways to cause, “maximum strategic damage” by taking out banking systems, power grids and communications networks. He said that there were at least a thousand attempted attacks every hour on American computers. “China is aggressive in this,” he said.

Original report from The Times 

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China Hosts 44.8% of The World’s Malware-infected Websites

Posted by Author on September 5, 2007


According to a report released Monday by antivirus company Sophos, China– including Hong Kong– hosted 44.8 percent of the world’s infected sites in August. The U.S. ranked a distant second, hosting 20.8 percent of sites that contain malicious code, reported by CNET News.com

Some new spam tricks revealed by Sophos on its website:

Spammers continue to find new and more devious ways to evade detection. Recent tricks include using attachments such as PDFs. These can contain clickable links, which makes this file format particularly attractive to spammers as links to malicious URLs can be included.

The links in spam email lure users to compromised webpages, where spyware and other malware is automatically installed on the users’ computers.

Once infected, compromised computers can be used to steal confidential data and trade secrets or to spam out millions of emails. In June, SophosLabs™ identified nearly 30,000 new malicious webpages daily.

“Sophos security threat report: Update July 2007” can be downloaded from this page: Trends in malware threats

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China Hackers Have Been Attacking UK Government Departments for 4 Years

Posted by Author on September 5, 2007


Richard Norton-Taylor, The Guardian, Wednesday September 5, 2007-

Chinese hackers, some believed to be from the People’s Liberation Army, have been attacking the computer networks of British government departments, the Guardian has learned.

The attackers have hit the network at the Foreign Office as well as those in other key departments, according to Whitehall officials.

The Ministry of Defence declined yesterday to say whether it had been hit. An incident last year that shut down part of the House of Commons computer system, initially believed to be by an individual, was discovered to be the work of an organised Chinese hacking group, officials said.

Security and defence officials are coy about what they know of specific attacks. However, they say several Whitehall departments have fallen victim to China’s cyberwarriors. One expert described it as a “constant ongoing problem”.

The disclosures came after reports that the Chinese military had hacked into a Pentagon military computer network in June. The Financial Times said American officials called it the most successful cyber attack on the US defence department.

Defence department officials confirmed that there had been a “detected penetration” of elements of the email system used by the network serving the office of Robert Gates, the US defence secretary. US officials were reported to have said that an investigation had discovered that the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) was responsible.

The US gave the codename “Titan Rain” to the growing number of Chinese attacks, notably directed at the Pentagon but also hitting other US government departments, over the past few years.

The latest attack caused some minor administrative disruptions, but there had been no adverse impact on operations, an official said.

Angela Merkel, Germany’s chancellor, is reported to have raised the issue of Chinese attacks on her government’s computers during a visit to Beijing. Officials here declined to say whether the British government had raised the issue with the Chinese authorities.

Alex Neill, China expert and head of the Asia Security Programme at the Royal United Services Institute, Rusi, said cyber attacks by the Chinese had been going on for at least four years. He described the reported attack on the Pentagon as the “most flagrant and brazen to date”.

He said such attacks reflected a new doctrine of the PLA described as “pressure point warfare” – the attacking of specific nodes to leave the adversary paralysed.

The incidents should be seen against the background of the forthcoming 17th Chinese Communist party congress, which could determine the next generation of leaders, and the PLA keen to flex its muscles, Mr Neill suggested.

The attacks on the Pentagon’s computer system were described by Dr Sandra Bell, head of Rusi’s homeland security department, as “very much a wake-up call”. She added: “The Chinese see no difference between asymmetric warfare and conventional warfare”.

Analysts have argued over the seriousness of the attacks, and China has officially denied responsibility. However, the latest attack was said by officials and analysts yesterday to be the most serious discovered so far.

Responsibility for advising government departments on how to protect their networks rests with MI5, GCHQ, and the Centre for the Protection of the National Infrastructure in the Cabinet Office.

– Original report from The Guardian : Titan Rain – how Chinese hackers targeted Whitehall

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China Military Hacked Into Pentagon

Posted by Author on September 3, 2007


By Demetri Sevastopulo in Washington and Richard McGregor in Beijing, the Financial Times, September 3 2007-

The Chinese military hacked into a Pentagon computer network in June in the most successful cyber attack on the US defence department, say American ­officials.

The Pentagon acknowledged shutting down part of a computer system serving the office of Robert Gates, defence secretary, but declined to say who it believed was behind the attack.

Current and former officials have told the Financial Times an internal investigation has revealed that the incursion came from the People’s Liberation Army.

One senior US official said the Pentagon had pinpointed the exact origins of the attack. Another person familiar with the event said there was a “very high level of confidence…trending towards total certainty” that the PLA was responsible. The defence ministry in Beijing declined to comment on Monday.

Angela Merkel, Germany’s chancellor, raised reports of Chinese infiltration of German government computers with Wen Jiabao, China’s premier, in a visit to Beijing, after which the Chinese foreign ministry said the government opposed and forbade “any criminal acts undermining computer systems, including hacking”. …… ( more details from the Financial Times’ report)

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