Cyber Warfare

Taipei Times
Date: May 21, 2019
By: Reuters, NEW YORK

Alphabet’s Google has suspended business with Huawei Technologies Co (華為) that requires the

A Huawei Technologies Co logo is displayed at a shop in Beijing yesterday.  Photo: AFP

transfer of hardware, software and technical services except those publicly available via open source licensing, a source familiar with the matter told Reuters on Sunday, in a blow to the Chinese technology company that the US government has sought to blacklist around the world.

However, holders of current Huawei smartphones with Google apps would continue to be able to use and download app updates provided by Google, a Google spokesperson said, confirming earlier reporting by Reuters.

“We are complying with the order and reviewing the implications,” the Google spokesperson said.

“For users of our services, Google Play and the security protections from Google Play Protect will continue to function on existing Huawei devices,” the spokesperson said, without giving further details.    [FULL   STORY]

Xi Jinping’s foresight that the future is digital helped China push ahead in the race to harness the power of the internet, much of it in covert operations, to sharpen its military edge and economic competitiveness

South China Morning Post 
By: Daniel Wagner  
Date: 7 Mar, 2019

Illustration: Craig Stephens

From the time he assumed power in 2012, President Xi Jinping made it clear how important a role he believed the internet would play in China’s future.

To his credit, he recognised that the future is digital, and that those countries that can get ahead and stay ahead in the race for digital supremacy would hold a natural advantage in global economic competition. He set China on a path that would help ensure its future economic competitiveness by harnessing the power of the internet.

Based on the manner in which he has unleashed China’s participation in that race, the Xi era will be remembered for putting an end to the West’s naive optimism about the potential of the internet to liberalise global polities.

Chinese military doctrine has long articulated the use of a wide spectrum of warfare against its adversaries. Much of what is known outside of China about its approach to asymmetric warfare is contained in a book first published in Chinese in 1999 and translated
10 years later with the title Unrestricted Warfare.    [FULL  STORY]

Since President Xi took power in 2012, China has launched an unprecedented crackdown on online freedom.

Aljazeera
Date: 25 Apr 2019
By: Madeline Roache

Thirty years ago, Beijing’s Tiananmen Square became a symbol of pro-democracy protests the

Under President Xi, China has blocked around 26,000 Google search terms and 880 Wikipedia pages [Getty Images]
world over as the site of several important events in Chinese history witnessed a deadly military crackdown. It crushed the protests led by students, eventually costing more than 10,000 lives.

The crackdown became one of the most censored topics on the Chinese internet. Around this time of the year, certain websites, including Wikipedia, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and some Google services, are either fully blocked or temporarily “blacked out”.

The government aims to prevent discussion of the crackdown and also to erase the event from Chinese history, particularly among the younger generation, according to journalist and author James Griffiths.

“Chinese authorities are afraid of collective action against the government,” said Griffiths, the author of The Great Firewall of China: How to Build and Control an Alternate Version of the Internet.

Since President Xi Jinping took power in 2012, China has launched an unprecedented crackdown on online freedom, submerging the internet in propaganda and punishing journalists who post the “wrong” content.

Under Xi, China has blocked about 26,000 Google search terms and 880 Wikipedia pages.
[FULL  STORY]

Washington Examiner
Date: April 26, 2019
By: Joel Gehrke

Chinese surveillance tactics “pose an existential threat” to the nations of the Western Hemisphere, a senior State Department official warned Friday.

“Citizens living in democracies in the Western Hemisphere could potentially have their entire digital identity under the control and surveillance of an authoritarian government,” Kimberly Breier, the State Department’s top diplomat for the region, told the Council of the Americas.

Breier was chiefly addressing Latin America, with a focus on how China distributes surveillance technology and wireless internet services that leave Westerners exposed to Beijing’s prying eyes. China has been selling its high-tech authoritarianism to dictators such as Venezuela’s Nicolás Maduro, and even countries friendlier to the United States have been opening their telecommunications networks to Chinese tech companies.

FBI Director Christopher Wray, speaking separately at the Council on Foreign Relations, emphasized the same day that the Communist power is targeting the United States as aggressively as any regional neighbor.

“China has pioneered a societal approach to stealing innovation any way it can, from a wide array of businesses, universities, and organizations,” Wray said. “They’re doing this through Chinese intelligence services, through state-owned enterprises, through ostensibly private companies, through graduate students and researchers, and through a variety of actors working on behalf of China.”

Breier and Wray made their warnings as China is trying to allay international worries about the Belt and Road Initiative, an overseas investment plan that U.S. officials regard as a “predatory” lending scheme to purchase influence over impoverished nations. China is hosting an international summit in Beijing on Friday, convening Russia and other partner nations to tout the initiative.    [FULL  STORY]

The focus isn’t on the company, but the legal system that governs it

The Verge
Date: Apr 7, 2019
By: Russell Brandom  

For months, telecom companies across the world have been struggling with what to do with Huawei. The US has effectively locked the company out of American telecom networks, citing national security concerns — but as the rest of the world faces the same choice, not everyone is convinced Huawei is a threat. Most US experts see Huawei’s exposure to the Chinese government as dangerous in itself, but as time has gone on, the national split is getting harder to ignore.

This week saw two more prominent figures taking sides, for reasons that seemed more political than technological. On Friday in Geneva, ITU chief Houlin Zhao spoke out publicly against the ban. “If you find anything wrong, then you can charge [Huawei] and accuse them,” Zhao said. “But if we don’t have anything then to put them on the blacklist – I think this is not fair.” Zhao was born in China and worked at the government’s Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications before moving to the UN’s telecom union, so it’s not surprising that he would be concerned over the lack of evidence against the company.

At the same time, US officials are increasingly insistent that all Chinese companies are potentially suspect. At a cybersecurity forum on Thursday, DHS’s cybersecurity and infrastructure chief Chris Krebs said the primary concern was the legal regime of the origin country, rather than the specific product being shipped.

“Our focus is not on the country of origin, or the company, but it’s about what is the rule of law under which that product is potentially subject to,” Krebs said. That same logic could apply to other Chinese companies or Russian exports like Kaspersky Lab’s antivirus software. As Krebs put it, “it’s the rise of authoritarian states and how they’re operationalizing their tech sectors.”    [FULL  STORY]

CNN
Date: February 20, 2019
By Jethro Mullen, CNN Business

Hong Kong (CNN Business)Hackers in China have significantly stepped up attacks on US companies as the two countries have clashed over trade and technology.

Top cybersecurity firm CrowdStrike saw “a big resurgence” last year in efforts by China-based groups to break into the systems of American businesses for commercial gain — a trend that “shows no sign of stopping,” said Michael Sentonas, the company’s vice president of security technology.

The spike in attacks on US targets — which include telecom operators, pharmaceutical firms and hotel chains — is “likely tied to increased tensions between the two countries,” CrowdStrike said in a report published Tuesday.

Chinese attacks on US companies had fallen away in recent years after the two governments agreed in 2015 not to conduct cybertheft of trade secrets and intellectual property against one another for commercial gain. That drop-off now “appears to have been reversed,” CrowdStrike said.    [FULL  STORY]

BBC News
Date: 20 February 2019
By Gordon CoreraSecurity correspondent

Image copyrightREUTERS
Huawei has said it is independent and gives nothing to Beijing, aside from taxes

The UK is vulnerable to Chinese influence and interference, according to a defence and security think tank.

A report from the Royal United Services Institute (Rusi) said it would be “naive” and “irresponsible” to allow Chinese tech giant Huawei to access the UK’s telecommunications system.

The UK is currently reviewing whether to allow the company to build new 5G phone networks.

A spokesperson for the Chinese embassy said the claims were “scaremongering”.

The report, written by Charles Parton, a former British diplomat who spent most of his 30 year career working on China, said that if Huawei was allowed to participate in the rollout of the new 5G mobile networks it could install a “hidden backdoor”, giving the Chinese government access to the system.

It also warned of the risk of interference in other areas including academia, politics and technology.    [FULL  STORY]

Chinese hackers allegedly grabbed missile defense plans.

The National Interest
Date: February 17, 2019
By: War Is Boring

A cybersecurity firm reports that Chinese hackers have stolen technical data for the Iron Dome rocket-defense system from Israeli computers.

Maryland-based Cyber Engineering Services detected the cyber burglary, according to cybersecurity writer Brian Krebs.

“Between Oct. 10, 2011 and Aug. 13, 2012, attackers thought to be operating out of China hacked into the corporate networks of three top Israeli defense technology companies, including Elisra Group, Israel Aerospace Industries, and Rafael Advanced Defense Systems,” Krebs writes.

“By tapping into the secret communications infrastructure set up by the hackers, CyberESI determined that the attackers exfiltrated large amounts of data from the three companies,” he continues.

“Most of the information was intellectual property pertaining to Arrow III missiles, Unmanned Aerial Vehicles, ballistic rockets and other technical documents in the same fields of study.”    [FULL  STORY]

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CyberESI believes the culprits were the “Comment Crew,” a hacking group sponsored by the Chinese military. Mandiant, a Virgina-based cybersecurity firm, has further identified this group as “the 2nd Bureau of the People’s Liberation Army General Staff Department’s 3rd Department, which is most commonly known by its Military Unit Cover Designator as Unit 61398.”

New Zealand academic says Chinese intimidation tactics she has studied are now being used against her

The Guardian
Date: 22 Jan 2019
By: Eleanor Ainge Royin

China academic Anne-Marie Brady says the harassment has put a strain on her family life. Photograph: Kevin Frayer/Getty Images

It’s just gone midday at Canterbury University and Professor Anne-Marie Brady is rock-hopping across a crystal clear stream.

The life-long academic takes an overgrown bush track to reach the Okeover community gardens, her eyes scanning the sky for native birds. It’s the height of summer in Christchurch and the garden is filled with rhubarb plants, clumps of chewy spinach and spring onions whose tips have turned white in the sun.

“I used to spend a lot of time here,” says Brady, 52, examining the beds, ploughed by academic staff and students wanting to unwind. “I don’t any more.”

Brady has spent more than 25 years researching the Chinese Communist party (CCP), using her base in New Zealand as a refuge to work on her books, cook elaborate meals for her family and tend her vegetable and flower gardens.

Anne-Marie Brady, a professor at the University of Canterbury. Photograph: Supplied
But since the publication of her 2017 paper Magic Weapons, which details the extent of Chinese influence in New Zealand, Brady’s life has been turned upside down, becoming the target of a campaign of intimidation and “psy-ops” she believes is directed by Beijing towards her and her family. The Chinese government has not responded to requests for comment.

Beginning in late 2017, Brady has had her home burgled and her office broken into twice. Her family car has been tampered with, she has received a threatening letter (“You are the next”) and answered numerous, anonymous phone calls in the middle of the night, despite having an unlisted number. The latest came at 3am on the day her family returned home after a Christmas break. “I’m being watched”, she says.

A self-described “stoic”, Brady has had to draw on her experience of PTSD after the 2010 Christchurch earthquakes to help her handle the harassment.

“I have already protected myself in terms of all my information, and the rest is a mind game. It is meant to scare me… to cause mental illness or inhibit the kinds of things I write on – to silence me,” says Brady, her voice quavering slightly. “So I win by not being afraid.”

Close associates of Brady’s have also been visited by the Ministry of State Security in China.

Brady’s employer, Canterbury University, recently hired a security consultant to protect her office. New locks were fitted, CCTV introduced, and encryption software installed.
[FULL  STORY]

December 28, 20183:51 PM ET
By: Greg Myre

A Justice Department poster shows two Chinese citizens suspected of carrying out an extensive hacking campaign directed at dozens of U.S. tech companies. U.S. law enforcement says such cases are on the rise as China seeks to become a world leader in advanced technologies by 2025.
Manuel Balce Ceneta/AP

To understand China’s espionage goals, U.S. officials say, just look at the ambitious aims the country set out in the plan “Made in China 2025.”

By that date, China wants to be a world leader in artificial intelligence, computing power, military technology, as well as energy and transportation systems. And that’s just a partial list.

“It’s guidance to the rest of government and the rest of their companies and to their people, that this is what we want to be the best in class at, and therefore you should organize your activities, whether they’re legal or illegal, to achieve that,” John Demers, assistant attorney general for the the National Security Division at the Justice Department, said in recent testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee.

He said the recent legal cases against China show the country is aggressively trying to steal technology directly related to its stated goals.

NATIONAL SECURITY
Justice Department Charges Chinese Hackers In Bid To Curtail Cyber-Theft
“We don’t begrudge them their efforts to develop technologically, but you cannot use theft as a means to develop yourself technologically, and that’s what they’re doing in a number of areas,” said Demers.

This battle has been been going on for years and is heating up again, according to U.S. officials and analysts. It’s playing out across a broad landscape that involves most every tech industry.    [FULL  STORY]