How China’s Enormous Fishing Fleet Is Being Used As a Surrogate Navy

But it’s not just about keeping Chinese bellies full. According to an excellent in-depth report from Reuters, Beijing is increasingly equipping fishing boats with geolocation devices, filling them up with subsidized fuel, and dispatching them to the disputed waters of the South China Sea, where they are clashing with rival fishermen from Vietnam and the Philippines. Continue reading

Guns, vandals and thieves: Data shows U.S. networks under attack

Early one morning in April last year, someone accessed an underground vault just south of San Jose, California, and cut through fiber-optic cables there. The incident blacked out phone, Internet and 911 service for thousands of people in Silicon Valley.

Such incidents, often caused by vandals, seem fairly common, but exactly how often do they occur? Since 2007, the U.S. telecom infrastructure has been targeted by more than a thousand malicious acts that resulted in severe outages, according to data obtained by IDG from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) under the Freedom of Information Act.

The reports themselves are confidential for national security and commercial reasons, but aggregate data provided by the FCC shows there were 1,248 incidents resulting in major outages over the last seven years. Continue reading

Chinese Hackers Stole Plans For Israel’s Iron Dome

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

China builds listening station in Hong Kong

 

The existence of a People’s Liberation Army (PLA) communications installation atop Hong Kong’s tallest mountain – the 957 m-high peak of Tai Mo Shan – recently came to light.

Construction began around 2010, with a geodesic dome first appearing in satellite imagery in 2011. The facility has been operational for approximately three years. Continue reading

U.S. Navy admiral says he’s open to idea of giving Chinese Navy tour of carrier

A top U.S. Navy official said he is “receptive” to idea of letting his Chinese crewmen tour a U.S. aircraft carrier based in Japan, but experts warn such access could be a risky intelligence giveaway.

Adm. Jonathan W. Greenert, chief of naval operations, told The Wall Street Journal that his Chinese counterpart mentioned the idea of a U.S. carrier crew touring its lone Liaoning carrier and a Chinese crew touring the USS George Washington.

“I’m receptive to that idea,” Greenert, who saw the Liaoning and other Chinese ships on a recent trip, told the paper.

Nan Li, an associate professor in the U.S. Naval War College’s China Maritime Studies Institute, however, said Beijing would likely benefit more from a tour than the U.S. Navy. Continue reading

DHS Anticipated 60,000 Illegal Child Border Crossers in January

ASPEN, Colo.—DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson confirmed Thursday that the Obama administration in January anticipated a surge of some 60,000 illegal children crossing the Southwest Border.

“It was apparent to me then that the Rio Grand valley sector of the Southwest border needed to be an area of particular concern,” Johnson said during remarks at the Aspen Security Forum.

“In January, in our budget process, we estimated that we were going to have 60,000 unaccompanied kids coming in,” he said, noting that resources for the influx were “ramped up.”

The border crisis grew worse during the period between March, April, and May when “unprecedented levels” of children crossed the border, he said. The surge peaked with thousands of illegals reaching the U.S. border in early June. Continue reading

Germany to ‘spy on US and UK intelligence gathering’ for the first time in 45 years

Germany has ordered surveillance of British and American intelligence gathering on its soil to begin for the first time since 1945, according to reports.
Under the decision, US and British intelligence operations in Germany will be subject to the same counter-espionage measures as those of Russia, China and Iran.

“We need to send a strong signal,” a source close to Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government told Süddeutsche Zeitung newspaper. The unprecedented move is a direct response to a series of spy scandals that have rocked British and American relations with Germany in the past year.

Mrs Merkel’s government has given the go-ahead to surveillance plans that first emerged after two suspected double agents were found allegedly spying for the Americans inside the German security establishment a few weeks ago. Continue reading

Establish Facts

KIEV/BERLIN (Own report) – After a jetliner was shot down over Eastern Ukraine, influential German foreign policy experts have begun calling for a military intervention, which may include German Bundeswehr units. “A Blue Helmet mission under the umbrella of the United Nations” should now be taken into consideration, declared Andreas Schockenhoff, Co-Chair of the CDU/CSU Group in the Bundestag. “Germany may also be asked” to contribute troops. For the Chairman of the Bundestag’s Defense Commission, Hans-Peter Bartels (SPD), a Blue Helmet mission is also “conceivable.” It is yet unclear, who bears responsibility for downing the jetliner. This is not an essential question for him, as past experience with Western interventions have shown: The EU and the USA must politically establish the facts. The war against Yugoslavia was justified with a massacre. Substantial doubts about central aspects of this massacre still persist. The sniper killings on Kiev’s Maidan Square on February 20 have never been elucidated, once they served as legitimation for overthrowing the government of President Yanukovych. Suspicions persist that sectors of today’s governing Maidan opposition may have played decisive roles in these murders; however that is of no interest to the West. On the contrary, there have never been political consequences for a US warship’s downing of an Iranian airliner in 1988. Continue reading

Vladimir Putin employs a full-time food taster to ensure his meals aren’t poisoned

If you were Vladimir Putin, you could be forgiven for feeling a little paranoid right now, as the Western world takes turns to blame, excoriate, vilify and condemn you over the Malaysian airline disaster.

You might well wonder whether a bullet, a Jiffy bag full of ricin or a lunchtime polonium sandwich were most likely to be the means of your imminent dispatch from this life. So it’s no surprise to learn that the Russian president employs a professional food taster on his full-time staff. Continue reading

9/11 Commission Warns US Unprepared For A Possible ‘Cyber-Pearl Harbor’

A decade after releasing its report on U.S. unpreparedness ahead of the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks, the 9/11 Commission has released a new assessment on the growing threat of cyber-terrorism.

“One lesson of the 9/11 story is that, as a nation, Americans did not awaken to the gravity of the terrorist threat until it was too late,” the commission wrote in a new report on the 10th anniversary of the original, which revealed the intelligence failures that led to the hijacking of four planes by Osama bin Laden’s al Qaeda terrorist organization. Continue reading

600 million Apple devices contain secret backdoors, researcher claims

A security researcher considered to be among the foremost experts in his field says that more than a half-billion mobile devices running Apple’s latest iOS operating system contain secret backdoors.

Jonathan Zdziarski, also known by his online alias “NerveGas,” told the audience attending his Friday morning presentation at the Hackers on Planet Earth conference in New York City that around 600 million Apple devices, including iPhones and tablets, contain hidden features that allow data to be surreptitiously slurped from those devices.

During Zdziarski’s HOPE presentation, “Identifying Backdoors, Attack Points and Surveillance Mechanisms in iOS Devices,” the researcher revealed that several undocumented forensic services are installed on every new iPhone and iPad, making it easier that ever for a third-party to pull data from those devices in order to compromise a target and take hold of their personal information, including pictures, text messages, voice recordings and more.

Among the hidden functions running on iOS devices, Zdziarski said, are programs called “pcapd,” “file_relay” and “file_relay.” If used properly, he added, those programs can allow anyone with the right means and methodology to pull staggering amounts of data from a targeted phone, even when the rightful owner suspects the device is sufficiently locked. Continue reading

Air Force launching satellites to spy on other satellites

Too little, too late.

America’s adversaries have deployed satellites that will physically dismantle US satellites and laser weapons that will pluck targets out of space. In reality and worst-case scenario, it doesn’t do much good to focus on satellites that merely ‘spot’ other satellites when the enemy has the means of destroying yours.

America abandoned the Star Wars system long ago because it cost too much and was deemed an impossible science fiction fantasy to develop and deploy. You can call it mothballing or sabotage. Meanwhile, America’s enemies have built theirs — namely Russia and China. Although they haven’t knocked yet, the barbarians are already at the gate.

But hey, no problem. As long as people can still go shopping and still watch the latest NBA game distraction it means threats can be whitewashed, right?

WASHINGTON — The Air Force is about to put a new advanced satellite into space to spy on other countries’ satellites.

On Wednesday, a Delta IV rocket will launch from Cape Canaveral Air Station, Fla., and place two Geosynchronous Space Situational Awareness Program satellites into orbit. They will be the first GSSAP satellites ever launched.

“This neighborhood watch twosome … will be on the lookout for nefarious capability other nations might try to place in that critical orbital regime,” Gen. William Shelton, the head of Air Force Space Command, told reporters at the Pentagon. Continue reading

Chinese spy ship arrives at giant U.S.-led naval exercise off the coast of Hawaii

A giant U.S.-led naval exercise with 22 nations from around the world got an unexpected visitor on Sunday — a Chinese spy ship perched in international waters.

The 24th Rim of the Pacific exercises (RIMPAC) in and around the Hawaiian Islands features more than 200 aircraft and 25,000 personnel. China is part of a host of nations taking part, which also includes Australia, Canada, France, Japan, the Republic of Korea, the Republic of the Philippines, the United Kingdom and others. Continue reading

As China Stalks Satellites, U.S. and Japan Prepare to Defend Them

 

 

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

Highway to the danger zone? Non-pilot given command of Air Force in Pacific

The White House has picked the first female general to head the Air Force in the Pacific, which will make her the first non-pilot to command air power in such a large theater of operation.

The Pentagon announced this week that Air Force Lt. Gen. Lori J. Robinson has been nominated for promotion to four-star general and as commander of Pacific Air Forces, the Air Force component of U.S. Pacific Command. It is a major combatant command whose air, ground and naval forces have broad responsibility for security in the Asia-Pacific region. Her nomination was sent to the Senate for confirmation.

Gen. Robinson is not a career pilot. Her military profession is air battle manager. She has served aboard the Air Force’s surveillance aircraft, the E-3 AWACs and E-8 JSTARS, and she was nominated for a promotion amid a drive for more diversity in the Pentagon.

A retired pilot said there is a reason the Air Force historically has put a pilot in charge of large combatant command Air Forces.

It is because you make operational decisions that require the understanding of what you are going to ask pilots to execute in combat where the wrong decisions mean the difference between life and death,” the retired pilot said. “Now her vice commander and director of operations will be rated fighter pilots, but still she makes the decisions.” Continue reading