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Leaks include documents which raise serious questions about China's cyber-aggression

On Sunday the U.S. Congress and White House's reasons for backing Google so heartily in its conflict with the Chinese government over cyber-attacks and internet freedoms became much clearer.

A leaked U.S. diplomatic cable states:

A global computer hacking effort: China’s Politburo directed the intrusion into Google’s computer systems in that country, a Chinese contact told the American Embassy in Beijing in January, one cable reported. The Google hacking was part of a coordinated campaign of computer sabotage carried out by government operatives, private security experts and Internet outlaws recruited by the Chinese government. They have broken into American government computers and those of Western allies, the Dalai Lama and American businesses since 2002, cables said.

Silence Under Fire:  Why Didn't the U.S. Publicly Air its Suspicions?

If the information in the cable is to be believed, the central controlling body of China's government perpetrated what was perhaps the most serious online attack on a U.S. corporation in our nation's history.   The Politburo of the Communist Party of China, commonly referred to as the Politburo, is a 24-member council that controls China's most important decisions.

The cyber-attacks in question were dubbed "Operation Aurora" in the security community and occurred from mid-2009 through December 2009.  Their highest profile target was Google, who had its "secret recipe" -- its search engine source code -- stolen.  Other victims of the assault included Adobe Systems, Juniper Networks, Rackspace, Yahoo, Symantec, Northrop Grumman and Dow Chemical.

But if the U.S. government had strong evidence to believe that the Politburo masterminded the attack, why not just come out and say it, or take action?  

The answer is likely a combination of a complex set of factors.  First, China owns much of the U.S. government's debt obligations and is one of the largest trading partners of the U.S. commercial sector.  Economic action against the nation would be virtually infeasible.  Also, the U.S. is desperately seeking China's cooperation on a number of geopolitical issues including Korean stability, terrorism in the Middle East, and global warming.

The leaked cable is somewhat embarrassing to the U.S. government, regardless, given its relative inaction.  It will doubtless increase the East-West tension that exists between the two global superpowers.

And perhaps that's precisely what the perpetrators of this leak were hoping for.

Leaks: Preventing Wrongdoing, or Espionage?

It's little secret that 
Wikileaks, masterminded by convicted cyber-criminal Julian Assange, is no fan of the U.S. government.  Mr. Assange has accused the U.S. military of "murdering" innocent Afghani and Iraqi citizens.

Over 90 percent the documents aired since 2006 by 
Wikileaks targeted the U.S. or its Middle Eastern allies.  That percentage ballooned further on Sunday with the release of 251,287 leaked U.S. documents, of which the Google-related cables were part of.

A key topic of debate is whether this new leak was truly geared at preventing wrongdoing or represented an cyber-espionage attack against the U.S. 

The newly leaked documents indeed largely deal with the Middle East, which could lend some support to 
Wikileaks' claims.  On the other hand, documents like this one, while certainly fascinating for the light they cast on the inside of U.S. foreign policy, seem to have little effect on preventing military wrongdoing and are more likely to hurt the U.S. financially and diplomatically.

Mr. Assange in his early days in the hacking community was a vocal proponent of anarchy -- the philosophy that the world would be better off if its largest governments -- including the U.S. government -- collapsed.  The recent leaks, while damaging to the U.S. gov't and its diplomatic relationships, aren't likely damaging enough to achieve such a goal.  However, they are arguably Mr. Assange's most successful attack on the stability U.S. government yet.  And unlike past damage he inflicted on the U.S. government's credibility, this one seems to have a great deal of meat that has little to do with the war on terrorism.

Adrian Lamo -- the convicted ex-hacker who turned in Bradley Manning, the young soldier who leaked these documents -- condemned 
Wikileaks actions and called for the U.S. government to be more vigorous in pursuing charges against the leaks' masterminds, including Mr. Assange.

He writes in a press release:

Known co-conspirators reside in districts competent to arrest, prosecute, and punish these people for their involvement in one of the greatest breaches of trust in the history of our intelligence community.  [I]t would be irresponsible in the extreme for us to not use all the tools available to us in bringing them to justice.

Mr. Assange resides in Iceland, which has offered him protection from foreign charges.  He is currently wanted on an outstanding arrest warrant for unrelated sex crimes charges in Sweden.  

Wikileaks Taken Down

Wikleaks was coincidentally the target of a distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack over the weekend.  While it's tempting to suspect that China or the U.S. governments were responsible for this effort, that ultimately seems less likely.  As 
Wikileaks aptly pointed out, it had already passed the cables to news efforts, so attempts to take down the site would not prevent their release.

As of 10 a.m. EST on Monday the site appeared to be up and responding normally to requests. 
Wikileaks is hosted by a worldwide collection of servers and is blocked in some nations, including China.



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Much ado about nothing
By bug77 on 11/29/2010 11:05:41 AM , Rating: 4
Again, the documents don't seem to disclose anything we didn't already know.

All I've read today seems to talk more about wikileaks and its founder, than actual damaging leaked info.




RE: Much ado about nothing
By tastyratz on 11/29/10, Rating: 0
RE: Much ado about nothing
By MrBlastman on 11/29/10, Rating: -1
RE: Much ado about nothing
By sviola on 11/29/10, Rating: 0
RE: Much ado about nothing
By adiposity on 11/29/2010 1:19:39 PM , Rating: 3
quote:
Well, they might have been a setup, but then, wouldn't he need to participate in order to become a rape?


What do you mean by participate? Have sex, or commit rape? I believe he admitted having sex, but can you blame the guy?

As far as actually raping them, I'm not sure it's very easy to "set up" someone to rape someone else. So I assume the "set up" here means they had some hookers sleep with him and then paid them to claim the were raped.


RE: Much ado about nothing
By MrBlastman on 11/29/2010 1:24:27 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
As far as actually raping them, I'm not sure it's very easy to "set up" someone to rape someone else. So I assume the "set up" here means they had some hookers sleep with him and then paid them to claim the were raped.


Correct. This is what I meant. Now, I realize I'm going way out on a limb here but I've seen even more ridiculous things happen when Governments want to take care of someone.


RE: Much ado about nothing
By RedemptionAD on 11/29/2010 9:29:51 PM , Rating: 1
I was framed as the flint serial killer in Michigan, that everyone heard so much about on the news, look at what was published vs what was found. I fit the published info (the bs info) and actually had to help find the real guy. PITA.


RE: Much ado about nothing
By sviola on 11/29/2010 2:15:57 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
What do you mean by participate? Have sex, or commit rape? I believe he admitted having sex, but can you blame the guy?


Well, I never said he committed rape. When I said he had to participate, I meant he had to have sex with the women in case. But then, he is a well know person and knows he could be a target for these kind of situations. He should be wiser and know better before putting himself in these situations.


RE: Much ado about nothing
By tim851 on 11/29/2010 1:50:19 PM , Rating: 5
quote:
Julian is a terrorist and as such, should be dealt with like a terrorist.


He is NOT a terrorist. He MIGHT be a criminal.

This is exactly the kind of bullsh*t people with brains are afraid of. That sooner or later everybody unpopular with the powers that be is just labeled a terrorist, so he can be dealt with according to these brave new rules of the war on terror, thereby bypassing the pesky little code of law, that has made subjugating people so difficult.


RE: Much ado about nothing
By MrBlastman on 11/29/10, Rating: -1
RE: Much ado about nothing
By sviola on 11/29/2010 2:30:10 PM , Rating: 5
I think calling him a terrorist is a stretch. If he is a terrorist for publicizing these documents, so are all the journalists and newspapers around the world that have printed excerpts of them as well.

About the war on terror, I think the government and us media makes it bigger than it really is. The number of terrorist attacks today happens less than it did in the 70s and 80s.


RE: Much ado about nothing
By rcc on 11/29/2010 3:27:24 PM , Rating: 2
That begs the question of: perhaps anti-terrorist efforts are working?


RE: Much ado about nothing
By Samus on 11/29/10, Rating: 0
RE: Much ado about nothing
By Reclaimer77 on 11/29/2010 6:06:48 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
The number of terrorist attacks today happens less than it did in the 70s and 80s.


Well yeah in the 70's and 80's we weren't killing them by the thousands either lol.


RE: Much ado about nothing
By SunTzu on 11/29/2010 6:59:35 PM , Rating: 5
No, you just paid them alot of money to go kill someone else.


RE: Much ado about nothing
By ninus3d on 12/4/2010 4:08:54 PM , Rating: 2
I love you, SunTzu <3


RE: Much ado about nothing
By 91TTZ on 11/29/2010 2:54:11 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
We can't call him a criminal. We can though, being a foreign citizen who is threatening us and then actually releasing private information from US agencies with the only apparent intent to harm our country--surmise him to be a terrorist.


That's some really wacky logic there. Releasing information is not terrorism. We're the ones that made this information, it's not like he concocted it about us.

He is not a terrorist. Let's not stretch that term to fit anyone you don't like.


RE: Much ado about nothing
By YashBudini on 11/29/2010 6:29:04 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
He is not a terrorist. Let's not stretch that term to fit anyone you don't like.

The term is now the 21st century branding tool of choice. One of the first in the US was to call someone a witch, and in the 50's they were called card carrying communists. Just watch, anybody that causes government any kind of embarrassment or harassment is labeled this way. This technique is widely used but such greats as Limbaugh, O'Reilly, Hannity, and the rest of the fair and balanced crowd.


RE: Much ado about nothing
By KingofFah on 11/29/2010 3:23:41 PM , Rating: 4
Your viewpoint is exactly the reason why I doubt there's much hope for the US: because I believe there is a significant amount who agree with your view and are typically more likely to vote. While there may very well be individuals or small groups of people who would indeed want to kill all US citizens (psychopaths perhaps), it is more accurate to say there are terrorist groups that want to take down the US government or at least stop them from interfering in other people's matters.

What did the average Russian citizen have against the average US citizen during the cold war, and vice versa, that wasn't borne out of government propaganda? There is a war on terror simply because the US was putting its nose where it didn't belong, yet again, and the violent groups in those areas retaliated. How dare they!? And they had the gall to attack US citizens with planes instead of the civilised, long-range-missile way!

You may say that there were terrorist attacks before, but the US was doing things before then which instigated those actions. Besides, there will always be people who try to take down what is perceived as morally wrong; they will be labeled as terrorists by one side, and righteous by the other.

It would kill most people to look at things from different perspectives. Under today's definition of terrorists, the founding fathers of the US could have been labeled as terrorists against Britain. To the victors go the spin of historical data. I'll add that, and this is purely my opinion, the founding fathers of the US would be appalled and shamed at the state of the US today: run by an oppressive, border-line totalitarian government, creating a surveillance state and eating away civil liberties on almost a daily basis. It exists to serve itself and its interests, not its citizens.

I have respect for the honour and courage it does take to be a soldier, don't get me wrong. However, the higher up in rank you go, the more corruption you find -- it's one of the universal laws of power when in the hands of any human.

Anyway, I'm not going into the concepts of human morality, power, greed, governments, idealism, etc. I rarely posted here in the past, and the rarity becomes greater as time goes on.

Pigheadedness, complacency, and ignorance will most likely be the harbingers of the end of the US as it is today, not intelligence, leadership, fortitude, or valour -- the latter list of things usually happens after the former has brought an irreconcilable state.

One final note: I used to believe that people who say "if you don't like it, then leave" were wrong simply because that's against the original American ideal. However, I've thought more and realised that perhaps they are right. Maybe people who don't share that patriotic, "the federal government is good and just", and "question everyone else before questioning our government" view should indeed leave as they truly are no longer American since what it is to be American has changed so much since its beginning.


RE: Much ado about nothing
By Dr of crap on 11/30/2010 8:34:59 AM , Rating: 2
A fine writen point!
If only more had this view.
Thanks, and post more when the points given on here are crap, like they can be.


RE: Much ado about nothing
By Skywalker123 on 12/1/2010 1:01:09 AM , Rating: 1
"Our Government is not subjugating us by calling him a terrorist, they are only speaking the truth (if only they would do such a thing).

Also, wake up! There IS a war on terror. There ARE people out there trying to kill us all".

bet you can't say that with a straight face!


RE: Much ado about nothing
By ekv on 11/29/2010 1:54:27 PM , Rating: 3
quote:
XM-25 Rifle
XM-25 Counter Defilade Target Engagement System. Nice. I personally would've went for the AA-12 -- none of this 32-rd. drum business, give me a belt. However, the XM-25's ability to 'shoot' behind cover would probably be required in this case. Julian apparently hides behind dresses.

Seriously though, this does raise a moral quandry for BHO. Even Hillary's presidential run may be effected by continued leaks.


RE: Much ado about nothing
By Skywalker123 on 12/1/2010 8:31:18 PM , Rating: 2
"I suggest perhaps a field test of the new XM-25 Rifle... Such a wonderful tool if you read about it"

and you're a wonderful tool of the American Empire!


RE: Much ado about nothing
By sviola on 11/29/2010 1:16:41 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Again, the documents don't seem to disclose anything we didn't already know.


Actually, the thing on Bahrein asking for US bigger interference in Iran nuclear program was news, as it was a player in the Middle-East that was neutral and somewhat sympathetic to the Iranian right to pursue peaceful nuclear energy.


RE: Much ado about nothing
By VitalyTheUnknown on 11/29/2010 1:54:42 PM , Rating: 4
[A European's Perspective]
I would like to say that I fully support all the newspapers that published these documents, Wikileaks included. It will further help in educating all the citizens around the globe about the current problems in all regions, it will guideline us in making informed decisions and facilitate to defend our true interests. These new leaks are not anti American nor are they pro American, the information is a fact, reality that we irrevocably have to learn to boldly face and deal with without questioning each other's allegiances and patriotism. Your refusal to regularly inform public on the basis of its lack of comprehension of the complex situations is not a good foundation for any democratic society. Clandestinity, continually hiding information from the general public and unworthy professes that it's all for our own good and safety is nothing more than act of retaining your own power, being unaccountable for blunders and corruption at best and crimes against humanity at worst.

One of the more interesting bits of information that was published that I think is worth a discussion is the Iran's nuclear plans. Nobody wants to see a nuclear Iran, that's what is the most important evident conclusion we can make judging on the basis of a given information to us in these new leaks and historical context of intra Arabic relationship and should be evident to any knowing person. Maybe at last it would help people to realize it, it's time for a new wave of self hating Americans who constantly post here on DT and on other boards about how bad and morally despicable they are for some commonly ridiculously unimportant and trivial actions that they have done in the past and certain measures that needs to be taken today to secure future and for to a certain extent understandably proud for their country yet continuously abused in every societal matters Iranians to finally recognize this, there's no concord and peace in future with nuclear Iran baggage, neither for North America nor for Europe and Iran's neighboring Arab countries. Take a side and make a decision. I only hope that my home EU and Russia will eventually man up, work and act together, because we all face the same danger in spite of our troubled history, minor economic and social differences.

[Embassy cables]

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/nov/28/us-emb...

[citations]

"King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia has repeatedly urged the United States to attack Iran to destroy its nuclear programme."

"Officials in Jordan and Bahrain have openly called for Iran's nuclear programme to be stopped by any means, including military."

"Leaders in Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Egypt referred to Iran as "evil", an "existential threat" and a power that "is going to take us to war".

"Abu Dhabi crown prince Sheikh Mohammad bin Zayed favoured action against Iran, sooner rather than later. "I believe this guy is going to take us to war ... It's a matter of time. Personally, I cannot risk it with a guy like [President Mahmoud] Ahmadinejad. He is young and aggressive."

"King Abdullah had warned the Americans that if Iran developed nuclear weapons "everyone in the region would do the same, including Saudi Arabia".


RE: Much ado about nothing
By sviola on 11/29/2010 2:22:24 PM , Rating: 2
With the exception of Egypt, there is one common factor among these middle-easter countries: they are all Monarchies. A change in the powers would jeopardize their status quo and even move them towards other type of governments, that may or may not be better for the people, that will take their actual rulers from power.


RE: Much ado about nothing
By foolsgambit11 on 11/29/2010 3:55:17 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
With the exception of Egypt
And Syria, and Iraq, and Lebanon, and Yemen, and Palestine/Israel (both sides), and Iran. And if you want to include more North African Arab countries like Egypt, then Libya, Tunisia, and Algeria, too. Of course, in many of these countries (including Egypt), Democracy is fairly limited, and the President has overwhelming power with very little real accountability, and he frequently hand-picks his own successor. And Iran is a theocracy. Several are also dealing with armed militant groups operating outside the scope of the law within their countries - Palestine, Lebanon, Yemen, and of course Iraq come to mind as the most troubled by this, though most every Middle Eastern country has to deal with this issue to some degree. Also, some of the monarchies have ceded a large amount of control to democratically elected parliaments, similar to how the UK does things (though the crown retains more power in Arab states).

Of course, those in power never want to give it up, even in democratic societies like ours. On the issue of whether a change of government would be beneficial in the greater Middle East, it's difficult to say. Greater public involvement might lead to greater Islamification, like we see in Turkey - as the military has lessened its grip on power, the more conservative Muslims have been slowly rolling back Ataturk's reforms, or in Palestine, where Hamas won elections in the Gaza Strip. It probably won't improve stability or security - look to Lebanon and Yemen for examples - though perhaps in the long term things would normalize and end up for the best. The one thing that is certain is that any reforms must be undertaken carefully and methodically if they are to succeed. And they must come from within, since any attempts from outside to force change will lead to resistance and backlash.


RE: Much ado about nothing
By Reclaimer77 on 11/29/2010 4:16:16 PM , Rating: 3
quote:
With the exception of Egypt, there is one common factor among these middle-easter countries


They all live near Iran and have to face the very real possibility that insane mad-men could have their finger on the nuclear button?

I would be screaming for someone to take action against them as well.


RE: Much ado about nothing
By Skywalker123 on 12/3/2010 1:37:43 AM , Rating: 2
Why? You're not screaming about the insane madmen in America that have their finger on the nuclear button


RE: Much ado about nothing
By Shatbot on 11/29/2010 3:10:54 PM , Rating: 5
quote:
Again, the documents don't seem to disclose anything we didn't already know.


You already knew that Saudi Arabia wanted the US to strike Iran's nuclear facilities?

The US caught the Vice President of Afghanistan with $52 million dollars in the Arab Emirates, that he was allowed to keep without explaining why he was carrying it, or where he was going? (how do you carry 52 million dollars? It's like a plane full of money)

North Korea has given Iran better missiles than previously thought?

Iran's Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei has leukemia?

There was nearly a massive environmental disaster with a uranium shipment?

The US government got encryption keys for cell phones of the UN Secretary General and top UN staff?

American officials warned Germany not to arrest CIA officers involved in a bungled operation in which an innocent German citizen with the same name as a suspected militant was mistakenly kidnapped and held for months in Afghanistan?

If you already knew all this you have your finger on the pulse.


RE: Much ado about nothing
By bug77 on 11/29/2010 5:16:12 PM , Rating: 2
Iran not getting much love from the arab countries is not news.

Didn't know about the afghan VP, but I still fail to see how that's important (could be, but need more details).

North Korea selling missiles to Iran? Common knowledge.

And so on...

But What I was trying to say is, nobody talks about the actual leaked info. The present article is one of the better ones I've come across, but it still talks only about one fact - chinese cyberattacks - and only till the middle. After that it again turns into a Wikileaks PR post.


RE: Much ado about nothing
By SunTzu on 11/29/2010 7:04:25 PM , Rating: 3
...you dont think its important that one of the most powerful men in afghanistan, thats supported by the US, is openly considered to be corrupt and a drugsmuggler, to be important? You dont think its important that the US illegaly kidnapped and held an innocent man for several months in an afghani secret prison (Where he claims he was tortured), and then dumped alongside the road in a foreign country, to be important? And that the US (When Germany moved to arrest the perpetrators of this incredible crime) they threatened them? Come on, these are all BIG news, and stuff that will re-shape the political climate for years to come. Yes, there's too much talk of the private lives of Wikileak employees, but theres some really big stuff in that batch.


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