Thought for the Day

"By three methods we may learn wisdom: First, by reflection, which is noblest; second, by imitation, which is easiest; and third by experience, which is the bitterest." - Confucius

Saturday, June 6, 2015

With a series of major hacks, China builds a database on Americans

As you read about the Chinese hack of OPM and over 4 million government employees I think it is worth reflecting on these excerpts from the 1999 book by Chinese PLA Colonels, Unrestricted Warfare.  This is from the first FBIS translation of the book that I have saved over all these years.  Of course you can also buy a commercial copy of the book from Amazon.  I wonder how many people have read these prescient words.  Please pay attention to the highlighted words.  I know many have criticized this book and those who read it and in 2004 when I was a student at the National War College I asked the visiting Chinese Defense Minister if this book was being used to inform Chinese doctrine and strategic thinking he replied that the book had bene discredited in China and for me not to believe everything I read. (though I am violating the non-attribution rule - but I will take my lumps for that when compared to what the Chinese have done to us).  So while we applaud Snowden (and he applauds himself) for defending our privacy from the NSA who is protecting not only our privacy but our national security from the Chinese?


[FBIS Editor's Note: The following selections are taken from "Unrestricted Warfare," a book published in China in February 1999 which proposes tactics for developing countries, in particular China, to compensate for their military inferiority vis-à-vis the United States during a high-tech war. The selections include the table of contents, preface, afterword, and biographical information about the authors printed on the cover. The book was written by two PLA senior colonels from the younger generation of Chinese military officers and was published by the PLA Literature and Arts Publishing House in Beijing, suggesting that its release was endorsed by at least some elements of the PLA leadership. This impression was reinforced by an interview with Qiao and laudatory review of the book carried by the party youth league's official daily Zhongguo Qingnian Bao on 28 June. Published prior to the bombing of China's embassy in Belgrade, the book has recently drawn the attention of both the Chinese and Western press for its advocacy of a multitude of means, both military and particularly non-military, to strike at the United States during times of conflict. Hacking into websites, targeting financial institutions, terrorism, using the media, and conducting urban warfare are among the methods proposed. In the Zhongguo Qingnian Bao interview, Qiao was quoted as stating that "the first rule of unrestricted warfare is that there are no rules, with nothing forbidden." Elaborating on this idea, he asserted that strong countries would not use the same approach against weak countries because "strong countries make the rules while rising ones break them and exploit loopholes . . .The United States breaks [UN rules] and makes new ones when these rules don't suit [its purposes], but it has to observe its own rules or the whole world will not trust it." (see FBIS translation of the interview, OW2807114599) [End FBIS Editor's Note]


Everyone who has lived through the last decade of the 20th century will have a profound sense of the changes in the world. We don't believe that there is anyone who would claim that there has been any decade in history in which the changes have been greater than those of this decade. Naturally, the causes behind the enormous changes are too numerous to mention, but there are only a few reasons that people bring up repeatedly. One of those is the Gulf War. One war changed the world. Linking such a conclusion to a war which occurred one time in a limited area and which only lasted 42 days seems like something of an exaggeration. However, that is indeed what the facts are, and there is no need to enumerate one by one all the new words that began to appear after 17 January 1991. It is only necessary to cite the former Soviet Union, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Kosovo, cloning, Microsoft, hackers, the Internet, the Southeast Asian financial crisis, the euro, as well as the world's final and only superpower -- the United States. These are sufficient. They pretty much constitute the main subjects on this planet for the past decade

War in the age of technological integration and globalization has eliminated the right of weapons to label war and, with regard to the new starting point, has realigned the relationship of weapons to war, while the appearance of weapons of new concepts, and particularly new concepts of weapons, has gradually blurred the face of war. Does a single "hacker" attack count as a hostile act or not? Can using financial instruments to destroy a country's economy be seen as a battle? Did CNN's broadcast of an exposed corpse of a U.S. soldier in the streets of Mogadishu shake the determination of the Americans to act as the world's policeman, thereby altering the world's strategic situation? And should an assessment of wartime actions look at the means or the results? Obviously, proceeding with the traditional definition of war in mind, there is no longer any way to answer the above questions. When we suddenly realize that all these non-war actions may be the new factors constituting future warfare, we have to come up with a new name for this new form of war: Warfare which transcends all boundaries and limits, in short: unrestricted warfare.

Mao Zedong's theory concerning "every citizen a soldier" has certainly not been in any way responsible for this tendency. The current trend does not demand extensive mobilization of the people. Quite the contrary, it merely indicates that a technological elite among the citizenry have broken down the door and barged in uninvited, making it impossible for professional soldiers with their concepts of professionalized warfare to ignore challenges that are somewhat embarrassing. Who is most likely to become the leading protagonist on the terra incognita of the next war? The first challenger to have appeared, and the most famous, is the computer "hacker." This chap, who generally has not received any military training or been engaged in any military profession, can easily impair the security of an army or a nation in a major way by simply relying on his personal technical expertise. A classic example is given in the U.S. FM100-6 Information Operations regulations. In 1994, a computer hacker in England attacked the U.S. military's Rome Air Development Center in New York State, compromising the security of 30 systems. He also hacked into more than 100 other 46 systems. The Korea Atomic Energy Research Institute (KAERI) and NASA suffered damage, among others. What astounded people was not only the scale of those affected by the attack and the magnitude of the damage, but also the fact that the hacker was actually a teenager who was merely 16 years old. Naturally, an intrusion by a teenager playing a game cannot be regarded as an act of war. The problem is, how does one know for certain which damage is the result of games and which damage is the result of warfare? Which acts are individual acts by citizens and which acts represent hostile actions by non-professional warriors, or perhaps even organized hacker warfare launched by a state? In 1994, there were 230,000 security-related intrusions into U.S. DOD networks. How many of these were organized destructive acts by non-professional warriors? Perhaps there will never be any way of knowing [see Endnote 7].

More murderous than hackers--and more of a threat in the real world--are the non-state organizations, whose very mention causes the Western world to shake in its boots. These organizations, which all have a certain military flavor to a greater or lesser degree, are generally driven by some extreme creed or cause, such as: the Islamic organizations pursuing a holy war; the Caucasian militias in the U.S.; the Japanese Aum Shinrikyo cult; and, most recently, terrorist groups like Osama bin Ladin's, which blew up the U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania. The various and sundry monstrous and virtually insane destructive acts by these kinds of groups are undoubtedly more likely to be the new breeding ground for contemporary wars than is the behavior of the lone ranger hacker. Moreover, when a nation state or national armed force, (which adheres to certain rules and will only use limited force to obtain a limited goal), faces off with one of these types of organizations, (which never observe any rules and which are not afraid to fight an unlimited war using unlimited means), it will often prove very difficult for the nation state or national armed force to gain the upper hand.



During the 1990's, and concurrent with the series of military actions launched by nonprofessional warriors and non-state organizations, we began to get an inkling of a non-military type of war which is prosecuted by yet another type of non-professional warrior. This person is not a hacker in the general sense of the term, and also is not a member of a quasi-military organization. Perhaps he or she is a systems analyst or a software engineer, or a financier with a 48 large amount of mobile capital or a stock speculator. He or she might even perhaps be a media mogul who controls a wide variety of media, a famous columnist or the host of a TV program. His or her philosophy of life is different from that of certain blind and inhuman terrorists. Frequently, he or she has a firmly held philosophy of life and his or her faith is by no means inferior to Osama bin Ladin's in terms of its fanaticism. Moreover, he or she does not lack the motivation or courage to enter a fight as necessary. Judging by this kind of standard, who can say that George Soros is not a financial terrorist? Precisely in the same way that modern technology is changing weapons and the battlefield, it is also at the same time blurring the concept of who the war participants are. From now on, soldiers no longer have a monopoly on war. Global terrorist activity is one of the by-products of the globalization trend that has been ushered in by technological integration. Non-professional warriors and non-state organizations are posing a greater and greater threat to sovereign nations, making these warriors and organizations more and more serious adversaries for every professional army. Compared to these adversaries, professional armies are like gigantic dinosaurs which lack strength commensurate to their size in this new age. Their adversaries, then, are rodents with great powers of survival, which can use their sharp teeth to torment the better part of the world.


With a series of major hacks, China builds a database on Americans


By Ellen Nakashima June 5 at 5:55 PM  
China is building massive databases of Americans’ personal information by hacking government agencies and U.S. health-care companies, using a high-tech tactic to achieve an age-old goal of espionage: recruiting spies or gaining more information on an adversary, U.S. officials and analysts say.
Groups of hackers working for the Chinese government have compromised the networks of the Office of Personnel Management, which holds data on millions of current and former federal employees, as well as the health insurance giant Anthem, among other targets, the officials and researchers said.
“They’re definitely going after quite a bit of personnel information,” said Rich Barger, chief intelligence officer of ThreatConnect, a Northern Virginia cybersecurity firm. “We suspect they’re using it to understand more about who to target [for espionage], whether electronically or via human ­recruitment.”
The targeting of large-scale data­bases is a relatively new tactic and is used by the Chinese government to further its ­intelligence-gathering, the officials and analysts say. It is government espionage, not commercial espionage, they say.
(Continued at the link below)



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