Intelligence: China Hunts X-37 Secrets


January 3, 2012: For the last five months there has been a large scale effort to obtain information about American jet powered and space based (X-37) UAVs via Internet hacking. The methods, and source of the attack, have been traced back to China. The attacks were done via Internet based attacks against specific civilian, military, and government individuals. This sort of thing is often carried out in the form of official looking email, with a file attached, sent to people at a specific military or government organization. It is usually an email they weren't expecting. This is known in the trade as "spear fishing" (or "phishing"), which is a Cyber War technique that sends official looking email to specific individuals with an attachment which, if opened, secretly installs a program that sends files from the email recipient's PC to the spear fisher's computer. In the last year, an increasing number of military, government, and contractor personnel have received these official-looking emails with a PDF document attached, and asking for prompt attention.

This comes a year after the discovery of a China-based espionage group, called the Shadow Network, which had hacked into PCs used by military and civilian personnel working for the Indian armed forces, made off with huge quantities of data.

Examination of the viruses and related bits of computer code indicate that most of this stuff was created by Chinese speaking programmers, and all movement of command and stolen data led back to servers in China.