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  (Source: ScreenRant)
NSA director fingers China in recent RSA intrusion and subsequent data thefts, U.S. oblivious its at war

Well, no more hemming and hawing about, it's official -- the Chinese hacked EMC Corp. (EMC) subsidiary RSA and stole the secrets of its proprietary security algorithm according to the chief of the U.S. National Security Agency.

I. A Grave Threat

U.S. Cyber Command leader and NSA director Gen. Keith Alexander made the information public on Tuesday in a briefing to the Senate Armed Services Committee, in which he testified, "I can't go into the specifics here, but we do see [thefts] from defense industrial base companies.  There are some very public [attacks], though. The most recent one was the RSA exploits."

China successfully used the information to hack into Lockheed Martin Corp. (LMT), a top U.S. defense contractor.  It is thought that China's remarkable progress in stealth fighter technology has been fueled by stolen U.S. Department of Defense Secrets.

Indeed a massive amount of intellectual property is being stolen from both the public and private sector by Chinese hackers, according to Gen. Alexander.  The U.S. has done precious little to protect its own economic prosperity, as it has been overwhelmed by the Chinese thieves.  One official in past commentary graphically described a cyberwarfare compaign of an unnamed nation state (suspected to be China) as "raping" the world.

Whether the Chinese government is perpetrating these attacks first hand, sponsoring third parties to conduct them, or merely condoning corporate interests to conduct them is almost as hazy as the sketchy financial ties the Chinese government holds to many of its private sector business (to be fair such allegations have increasingly been raised about the U.S. gov't).

But at the end of the day, the result is the same -- the destruction of the U.S. economy at the hands of the Chinese attackers.

RSA dongle
Spearphishing and an unreleased Flash exploit allowed China to hack the RSA standard and steal secrets from U.S. DOD contractors, according to NSA testimony.
[Image Source: RSA Security]

U.S. companies who speak out against the attacks are threatened by the Chinese.  The Chinese government is more than willing to ban U.S. firms that rock the boat, locking them out of the lucrative emerging market of almost 1 billion internet-active device users.

Complains Gen. Alexander, "We need to make it more difficult for the Chinese to do what they're doing.  Intellectual property isn't well protected, and we can do a better job at protecting it."

The security official shared interesting details of the attack.  He says the RSA hack used a zero-day (unreleased) exploit of Adobe System Inc.'s (ADBE) Flash player (somewhere the spirit of Steve Jobs is smirking) and used "spearphishing" (targeted phishing) to get an RSA employee to click on the offending executable, resulting on backdoors being installed on the company's servers.  Ironically, the Subcommittee hearings were livecast using Flash.

II.  Are the NSA's Cyber Command Efforts Really Helping?

Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.) criticized Gen. Alexander's commentary as just lip service.  He pointed out that a DOD pilot program to share malware signatures with defense contractors did not contribute significantly to new awareness, according to a Carnegie Mellon University study.  

Gen. Alexander responded, "Industry has a bunch of signatures, government has those too.  All of us need to work together to provide the best set of signatures."

He then countered that private sector communications efforts have been hindered by red tape.  He compares the situation to a bank robbery in which no one can tell the police.  He points to one incident in which the NSA detected 3 GB of data being stolen, stating, "I think that industry should have the ability to see these attacks and share them with us in real time.  It's like neighborhood watch. Somebody is breaking into a bank, and somebody needs to be in touch with the police to stop it."

surrender flag
Is the U.S. surrendering its future by allowing China to victimize its businesses and defenses with no response?  The hacks may go down in U.S. history as the nation's first unofficial surrender. [Image Source: Allison Nazarian]

On the upside Gen. Alexander says DOD efforts to establish a Cyber Command outpost at every major geographical and functional Combatant Command branch are coming along nicely.  He points to a major recent combat exercise at Nellis Air Force base as a sign of that progress.

Tensions between the U.S. and China are running high after the U.S. filed a World Trade Organization complaint against China for cutting off its supply of rare earth metals.  China argued the complaint was unfair and that it's all about playing by the rules.

Source: U.S. Senate

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RE: We prosecute our hackers
By EricMartello on 3/29/2012 4:55:36 PM , Rating: 2
Prisons are overcrowded because people don't fear being there enough, because we've made them into resorts better than the standard of living the convicts had outside.

Most people that know prison would probably fear it - not necessarily because they would be locked up but because of the other inmates they'd be sharing the space with.

Considering the limited options that a lot of people have, the average drug dealer or street thug is willing to risk jail time to survive within their environment.

The purpose of prisons was and should be to isolate "dangerous" people from the rest of society. Out of relative convenience they have become the defacto sentence for "crimes" ranging from having a bit too much weed on your person to violently raping and killing a houseful of children.

Many people who are being incarcerated should not even be there because they are not a threat to other people. They are overcrowded because our justice system lacks a range of punishments. They can either fine you or send you to jail - there isn't much in between.

This is similar to what you wrote, except no, prisons are overcrowded because of the factor that more people commit crimes and more are caught. Getting the word out that certain crimes won't even be punished with more than a better job than a person already had, would merely create another incentive to being a criminal.

Community service has always been a sentence that courts can pass on as a "punishment". With hackers it would be a lot like that - they would be performing a service to the country without the option to refuse. Who is the idiot who suggested they'd be getting paid a salary and have freedom to do what they want while serving out their sentence?

RE: We prosecute our hackers
By JediJeb on 3/29/2012 10:02:06 PM , Rating: 2
Community service has always been a sentence that courts can pass on as a "punishment". With hackers it would be a lot like that - they would be performing a service to the country without the option to refuse. Who is the idiot who suggested they'd be getting paid a salary and have freedom to do what they want while serving out their sentence?

Best way to do that is to sentence them to a term of military service and after basic training put them into the Cyber Command unit making minimum pay with not option for promotion until they have served the equivalent of their jail sentence. If they step out of line there, they are subject to a military justice system which would not be so easy on them.

RE: We prosecute our hackers
By mindless1 on 3/31/2012 11:49:35 AM , Rating: 2
Many white collar criminals and teens might, but your average person in prison was around the same types of people all the time - which is why their lifestyle led them to prison. Certainly there are exceptions, but can we conceded that the % of repeat offenders is higher than the % of the population that goes to prison in the first place? If so, it seems to dispute your idea that people who know prison fear it more.

Prison should certainly isolate dangerous people, but how do you classify that? Is not a drunk driver a danger? Do (hard, addictive) drug dealers not contribute to the death and decay of lives and society in general?

Is it ok to throw a small stone at 1000 people while if you threw 1000 small stones at the same person, you might kill them? I argue that if we allow this, everyone will feel they can do so and ultimately, society decays and death still results while everyone is more miserable until death.

Prison is mean to preserve peace in society, not just prevent violence and murder, thus we have laws dealing with other crimes. If you don't like that, by all means vote for someone to make change but as things stand, prison time is associated with certain crimes and it is up to each citizen whether to do the crime and spend the time.

"I mean, if you wanna break down someone's door, why don't you start with AT&T, for God sakes? They make your amazing phone unusable as a phone!" -- Jon Stewart on Apple and the iPhone

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