Information Warfare: China Must Be Punished

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March 7,2008: The U.S. Department of Defense has come right out and said they believe a series of Internet based network attacks, on their computer networks last year, came from China. These attacks were quite specific, often directed at named individuals in the Department of Defense, and succeeded in stealing large quantities of secret material. The Department of Defense report also cited similar attacks on European defense and commercial organizations. In Britain, MI-5 (the domestic intelligence agency) sent warning to major corporations warning them of similar attacks and advising increased security of their data. The Department of Defense believes that China has the most powerful Cyber War capabilities on the planet. That means the Chinese can shut down just about any site they target, and penetrate most as well. Currently, Department of Defense computers are subjected to 70,000 Internet based attacks a day. Nearly all are repulsed, but only a few have to get through to do damage.

The Department of Defense is again asking for the authority to respond to these attacks. Not just with more robust defenses, but with offensive action. China insists that this is already going on, although they don't provide any details. It's believed that Chinese commercial and government networks, which tend to have weaker defenses than those in the West, are getting hammered by criminal hacking gangs.

The Department of Defense has been asking for permission to act more aggressively against these Cyber War attacks, but there is a reluctance to risk legal and diplomatic blowback from such operations. That is not to say that such permission will not be given, just that if it is granted, it will be a secret directive. Such an operation would eventually be revealed, but by then there might be some good news to offset the inevitable criticism.

 


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