For the third time in five months, Chinese based hackers attacked a
Department of Defense computer network. In mid-November, the U.S. Navy's War
College had to shut down it's computer network because, as one instructor
explained to his class, Chinese hackers had gotten in, and the Naval War
College servers had to be scrutinized to see what was taken, changed or left
behind. The is the latest of several attacks on Department of Defense computers,
that could be traced back to China.
Department of Defense has a lot to worry about, because they have more
computers (about five million) than people (about three million). These PCs are
operating on some 12,000 different networks, and most of these are in turn
connected with the Internet.
attack the Navy War College? Mainly because that's where the navy does a lot of
its planning for future wars. The strategy for the Pacific war during World War
II was worked out at the Navy War College, and that planning tradition
continues. Plus, the Chinese may have also found the War College networks to be
month earlier, Chinese hackers were caught trying to burrow their way into
Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) systems. BIS is a section of the Commerce
Department that has been fighting Chinese efforts to illegally obtain U.S.
military technology and American trade secrets in general. Some BIS computers
were so thoroughly infiltrated, that their hard drives had to be wiped clean
and reloaded as if they were new machines. More worrisome is that this
penetration effort, which went on for several days, may have gotten into places
where its presence could not be detected. Or at least not detected yet.
Naturally, there was no announcement of details that could give the hackers
information on how they were detected, traced or otherwise deceived.
Chinese government denies any involvement with any of these attacks. It is
believed that U.S. government or military hackers make similar attacks on
Chinese targets. That is not discussed much at all. Chinese computer networks
are more vulnerable than U.S. ones, because of less well trained Internet
staff, and less protective software and hardware. To deal with this, many
Chinese government systems are not connected to the Internet at all. Their
users must turn to another PC, that does have Internet access, but is not
connected to the key government systems. Some U.S. government networks operate
the same way, but most government networks, containing secret data, are
accessible via the Internet. Chinese hackers were caught hacking into U.S.
State Department networks last July.