China-based hackers stole plans for Israel’s Iron Dome missile defense system in 2011 and 2012, according to an investigation by a Maryland-based cyber security firm first reported by independent journalist Brian Krebs.
The hackers also stole plans related to other missile interceptors, including the Arrow 3, which was designed by Boeing and other U.S.-based companies.
According to Krebs, “the attacks bore all of the hallmarks of the ‘Comment Crew,’ a prolific and state-sponsored hacking group associated with the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) and credited with stealing terabytes of data from defense contractors and U.S. corporations.” The hackers gained access to the systems of three Israeli companies working on missile defense. Maryland-based Cyber Engineering Services could prove that 700 documents were stolen in the breach although it’s likely that the actual number is higher. Continue reading
In May 2013 the Chinese government conducted what it called a science space mission from the Xichang Satellite Launch Center in southwest China. Half a world away, Brian Weeden, a former U.S. Air Force officer, wasn’t buying it. The liftoff took place at night and employed a powerful rocket as well as a truck-based launch vehicle—all quite unusual for a science project, he says.
In a subsequent report for the Secure World Foundation, the space policy think tank where he works, Weeden concluded that the Chinese launch was more likely a test of a mobile rocket booster for an antisatellite (ASAT) weapon that could reach targets in geostationary orbit about 22,236 miles above the equator. That’s the stomping grounds of expensive U.S. spacecraft that monitor battlefield movements, detect heat from the early stages of missile launches, and help orchestrate drone fleets. “This is the stuff the U.S. really cares about,” Weeden says.
The Pentagon never commented in detail on last year’s launch—and the Chinese have stuck to their story. U.S. and Japanese analysts say China has the most aggressive satellite attack program in the world. It has staged at least six ASAT missile tests over the past nine years, including the destruction of a defunct Chinese weather satellite in 2007. “It’s part of a Chinese bid for hegemony, which is not just about controlling the oceans but airspace and, as an extension of that, outer space,” says Minoru Terada, deputy secretary-general of Japan’s ruling Liberal Democratic Party. Continue reading
In October 2010, a Federal Bureau of Investigation system monitoring U.S. Internet traffic picked up an alert. The signal was coming from Nasdaq (NDAQ). It looked like malware had snuck into the company’s central servers. There were indications that the intruder was not a kid somewhere, but the intelligence agency of another country. More troubling still: When the U.S. experts got a better look at the malware, they realized it was attack code, designed to cause damage.
As much as hacking has become a daily irritant, much more of it crosses watch-center monitors out of sight from the public. The Chinese, the French, the Israelis—and many less well known or understood players—all hack in one way or another. They steal missile plans, chemical formulas, power-plant pipeline schematics, and economic data. That’s espionage; attack code is a military strike. There are only a few recorded deployments, the most famous being the Stuxnet worm. Widely believed to be a joint project of the U.S. and Israel, Stuxnet temporarily disabled Iran’s uranium-processing facility at Natanz in 2010. It switched off safety mechanisms, causing the centrifuges at the heart of a refinery to spin out of control. Two years later, Iran destroyed two-thirds of Saudi Aramco’s computer network with a relatively unsophisticated but fast-spreading “wiper” virus. One veteran U.S. official says that when it came to a digital weapon planted in a critical system inside the U.S., he’s seen it only once—in Nasdaq.
The October alert prompted the involvement of the National Security Agency, and just into 2011, the NSA concluded there was a significant danger. A crisis action team convened via secure videoconference in a briefing room in an 11-story office building in the Washington suburbs. Besides a fondue restaurant and a CrossFit gym, the building is home to the National Cybersecurity and Communications Integration Center (NCCIC), whose mission is to spot and coordinate the government’s response to digital attacks on the U.S. They reviewed the FBI data and additional information from the NSA, and quickly concluded they needed to escalate. Continue reading
A Chinese hacker allegedly broke into the network of world’s largest aerospace company and other defense contractors to steal sensitive information on the United States’ F-22 and F-35 fighter jets, as well as Boeing’s C-17 cargo plane.
The FBI believes that Su Bin, formerly of the Chinese aviation firm Lode Technologies, and two Chinese-based co-conspirators accessed a gold mine of information from Boeing and other contractors in Europe. The plan was to gather enough information so that the communist nation might “stand easily on the giant’s shoulders,” The Register reported Monday. Continue reading
The Australian Army has begun planning for high-tech combat in Asia’s mega-cities, including hotly contested cyber warfare, scientifically enhanced soldiers and killer robots, according to a new Defence Department study.
The Australian Army’s Directorate of Future Land Warfare has published a report that warns Australia’s future land wars will be very different from recent conflicts in the rural and remote terrain of Afghanistan and Iraq.
With the world’s population expected to reach 8 billion by 2030, the directorate sees Asia’s mega-cities as key potential future battlegrounds. Continue reading
Middle East experts at major U.S. think tanks were hacked by Chinese cyberspies in recent weeks as events in Iraq began to escalate, according to a cybersecurity firm that works with the institutions.
The group behind the breaches, called “DEEP PANDA” by security researchers, appears to be affiliated with the Chinese government, says Dmitri Alperovitch, chief technology officer of the firm CrowdStrike. The company, which works with a number of think tanks on a pro bono basis, declined to name which ones have been breached.
Alperovitch said the firm noticed a “radical” shift in DEEP PANDA’s focus on June 18, the same day witnesses reported that Sunni extremists seized Iraq’s largest oil refinery. The Chinese group has typically focused on senior individuals at think tanks who follow Asia, said Alperovitch. But last month, it suddenly began targeting people with ties to Iraq and Middle East issues. Continue reading
WASHINGTON – U.S. and European energy companies have become the target of a “Dragonfly” virus out of Eastern Europe that goes after energy grids, major electricity generation firms, petroleum pipelines operators and energy industrial equipment providers.
Unearthed by the cyber security firm Symantec, Dragonfly has been in operation since at least 2011. Its malware software allows its operators to not only monitor in real time, but also disrupt and even sabotage wind turbines, gas pipelines and power plants – all with the click of a computer mouse.
The attacks have disrupted industrial control system equipment providers by installing the malware during downloaded updates for computers running the ICS equipment. Continue reading
China is deploying what is referred to as its “double seven” strategy in an attempt to take more control in the global governance of the internet, reports Duowei News, an outlet run by overseas Chinese.
Representatives of China are currently among the 3,300 people from 130 countries in London to attend the 50th global conference of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), a nonprofit organization that coordinates the internet’s global domain name system.
The corporation established in California in 1998, helps keep internet protocols in order by ensuring that each web address is not assigned more than once. The organization also facilitates the addition of top-level domains, which are suffixes to web addresses like “.com”, “.org”, and “.gov”. Continue reading
Six years ago, during that fateful summer of 2008 when everything began to unravel, we first raised issues of financial terrorism as a risk to the stock markets, our economy, and indeed our way of life. In hindsight, it should be obvious that an attack on our markets does indeed have the potential to attack the very heart of America. Our initial research, later confirmed in a formal Pentagon report, served as the basis for the 2012 bestseller, Secret Weapon; How Economic Terrorism Brought Down the U.S. Stock Market and Why It Could Happen Again. Overall, we documented a variety of vulnerabilities that could be exploited through hidden market activity, cyber-manipulations, and other subversive efforts. As with any new concept, there was a considerable amount of skepticism. Since then, however, virtually every concept we described has been documented or validated. Continue reading
Which is likely why Snowden was seeking to join a KGB veterans group — he literally and intentionally seeked them out and applied. In this case, the KGB could very likely be covering for him and painting him as a victim of a trick.
Russian spies had whistleblower Edward Snowden in their sights SIX YEARS before he exposed US secrets, reports the Sunday People.
Moscow believed the cyber wizard working for the CIA in Geneva was ripe for defection in 2007 and opened a file on him, says a KGB defector.
But secret agents did not swoop until last year when Snowden, 30, fled to Hong Kong with 1.7 million top secret documents which he leaked to the media. Continue reading
Certainly we hear about eBay being hacked. In fact, it was just revealed that a second security flaw exists. And, we all heard about the Chinese indictments last week. Don’t assume, however, that this means we are on top of the problem. Rather, we (at best) are top of the tip, almost oblivious to the enormous iceberg underneath. This was made plain in recent reporting by Bill Gertz, perhaps America’s preeminent national security reporter. Gertz is the reporter who initially broke the story on my Pentagon findings that there was evidence of financial terrorism at work in the 2008 market collapse. Continue reading
Software is so bad because it’s so complex, and because it’s trying to talk to other programs on the same computer, or over connections to other computers. Even your computer is kind of more than one computer, boxes within boxes, and each one of those computers is full of little programs trying to coordinate their actions and talk to each other. Computers have gotten incredibly complex, while people have remained the same gray mud with pretensions of godhood. Continue reading
(Reuters) – A sophisticated hacking group recently attacked a U.S. public utility and compromised its control system network, but there was no evidence that the utility’s operations were affected, according to the Department of Homeland Security.
DHS did not identify the utility in a report that was issued this week by the agency’s Industrial Control Systems Cyber Emergency Response Team, or ICS-CERT. Continue reading
THE US has charged five members of a shadowy Chinese military unit for allegedly hacking US companies for trade secrets, infuriating Beijing which suspended cooperation on cyber issues.
Hacking has long been a major sticking point in relations between the world’s two largest economies, but Washington’s move marks a major escalation in the dispute.
In the first-ever prosecution of state actors over cyber-espionage, a federal grand jury overnight indicted the five on charges they broke into US computers to benefit Chinese state-owned companies, leading to job losses in the United States in steel, solar and other industries. Continue reading