Wednesday, February 20, 2013

61398

That's not a ZIP code... it's something a LOT more nefarious.  The big story on Tuesday was the revelation...  to some... that the Chinese gubmint and more specifically the Peoples Liberation Army have long been involved in a huge and highly sophisticated cyber-spying activity.  That "61398" number is the unit designation of the PLA unit leading the cyber charge, and more about that in a moment.  But first... Chinese cyber spying was the lead item on last night's edition of the McNeil-Lehrer Newshour (yeah, I KNOW that ain't the show's name any longer, but I've been watching the show since 1983 and old habits die hard.).  Take a couple of' minutes and watch this, if'n yer interested:




That's just for starters.  As for PLA unit 61398... just do a Google search on "61398" and be amazed; you get 13 pages of news articles from around the world on this search term.  Here's an excerpt from one such item, from the El-Eh Times:
WASHINGTON — A clandestine Chinese military unit has conducted sophisticated cyber espionage operations against dozens of American and Canadian companies, according to a private report that provides unusual new details about China's involvement in cyber theft of economic and trade secrets.

[...]

Mandiant said it traced computer penetrations to Unit 61398 by telltale digital signatures left in malware, the use of Shanghai phone numbers and social networking information posted by some of the hackers. The report profiles three operatives associated with the unit, including one known by the moniker "Ugly Gorilla."

The report said Unit 61398 has stolen "technology blueprints, proprietary manufacturing processes, test results, business plans, pricing documents, partnership agreements and emails and contact lists."
It said it's impossible to inventory the losses since hackers often copy, rather than remove, digital data and erase all but traces of the theft.

Mandiant, which signs confidentiality agreements with its clients, did not name the companies targeted. The New York Times first disclosed details from the report Tuesday.
We... speaking of the US gub'mint... have known about these activities for years.  The BIG question is what are we (the gub'mint) gonna do about it?  What CAN we do about it?

6 comments:

  1. Heya Buck. Yeah, I saw that yesterday... I'm thinking it ought to be time to pull all our outsourced work outta there.

    I have to wonder if we're not doing it right back to them already.

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    1. I have NO doubt we're cyber-spying on them militarily, but I'm pretty sure we're not hacking their industrial/manufacturing secrets, assuming they actually have any they haven't stolen from elsewhere.

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  2. First thing is to STOP the buildout of a national "smart grid" which only seeks to digitally manage/tweek a "steady state" electrical grid because the watermellons don't want to add any more capacity, i.e., they want to better "manage" scarcity. This may make the grid "smarter" but it also makes it FAR more brittle and subject to attack. Disconnect from the internet and run it all locally/regionally via the old-fashioned electro-mechanical way--with much of it done by manual mechanical switches, as with the Panama Canal. Back to the future! Stovepipe EVERYTHING. It may be less "efficient" for daily ops, but it will be FAR more "effective" come a cyber-attack.

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    1. That's a damned good idea, Virgil, and one I hadn't thought about. You could "stovepipe" the actual operation of those critical pieces of infrastructure, yet still network the operators through communications. That would work for the electric grid and pipelines, as well. Other pieces of critical infrastructure won't be as easy, though... and I'm thinkin' about our financial systems.

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