Risk

8/23/2011
01:55 PM
Connect Directly
Google+
LinkedIn
Twitter
RSS
E-Mail
50%
50%

Chinese Military Documentary Reveals Alleged Attack Software

Government-run TV channel program accidentally reveals what appears to be software designed for cyber warfare.

Strategic Security Survey: Global Threat, LocalPain
Strategic Security Survey: Global Threat, Local Pain
(click image for larger view and for full slideshow)
A military documentary broadcast in China last month on a government-run TV channel has revealed what appears to be software designed for cyber warfare.

The documentary, titled "Military Technology: Internet Storm is Coming," has been posted to YouTube and was available on the CCTV website at the time this article was filed.

The existence of the software was first reported by The Epoch Times, a publication founded by members of the Falun Gong, a religious organization that's banned in China. The cyber war software--it has a button labeled "Attack" and a menu labeled "Select Attack Destinations" -- lists Falun Gong websites as preset targets.

"The screenshots show the name of the software and the Chinese university that built it, the Electrical Engineering University of China's People's Liberation Army--direct evidence that the PLA is involved in coding cyber-attack software directed against a Chinese dissident group," the Epoch Times report states.

The distinction between this attack software and penetration testing software used by security researchers around the globe to identify vulnerabilities is probably relatively minor, apart from the aggressive wording of menus and buttons.

In a blog post, Mikko H. Hypponen, chief research officer at F-Secure, notes that the Chinese documentary initially appears to be fairly standard fare about the risks of cyber warfare. "However, while they are speaking about theory, they actually show camera footage of Chinese government systems launching attacks against a U.S. target," he wrote. "This is highly unusual. The most likely explanation is that this footage ended up in the final cut because the editor did not understand the significance of it."

The documentary shows someone choosing the IP address 138.26.72.17 to attack. This address is associated with the University of Alabama in Birmingham, Ala.

A person answering the phone at the domain contact phone number declined to be identified but said that the address has been inactive for several years and had been associated with a website run by a university student involved in Falun Gong.

For years, there have been accusations that the Chinese government has endorsed or sponsored cyberattacks against the U.S. and U.S. companies, most notably the cyberattack from China that Google reported in early 2010. That attack was said to have affected at least 30 companies and organizations. More recently, security company McAfee reported on a series of related attacks that it refers to in aggregate as "Operation Shady Rat."

The U.S. Department of State did not immediately respond to a request for comment. In a speech last year following the attack reported by Google, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said, "Countries or individuals that engage in cyber-attacks should face consequences and international condemnation."

The Chinese government has consistently denied that it is involved in cyberattacks and has claimed that it is the biggest victim of cyberattacks.

While the Chinese government has not produced evidence of this, it's clear that China is not the only nation-state conducting cyber warfare operations. The sophisticated Stuxnet cyberattack on Iran's nuclear infrastructure, for example, is widely believed to have come from the U.S. and/or Israel.

At a full-day virtual event, InformationWeek and Dark Reading editors will talk with security experts about the causes and mistakes that lead to security breaches, both from the technology perspective and from the people perspective. It happens Aug. 25. Register now.

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
1.9 Billion Data Records Exposed in First Half of 2017
Kelly Jackson Higgins, Executive Editor at Dark Reading,  9/20/2017
Get Serious about IoT Security
Derek Manky, Global Security Strategist, Fortinet,  9/20/2017
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon Contest
Write a Caption, Win a Starbucks Card! Click Here
Latest Comment: This comment is waiting for review by our moderators.
Current Issue
Security Vulnerabilities: The Next Wave
Just when you thought it was safe, researchers have unveiled a new round of IT security flaws. Is your enterprise ready?
Flash Poll
[Strategic Security Report] How Enterprises Are Attacking the IT Security Problem
[Strategic Security Report] How Enterprises Are Attacking the IT Security Problem
Enterprises are spending more of their IT budgets on cybersecurity technology. How do your organization's security plans and strategies compare to what others are doing? Here's an in-depth look.
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2017-0290
Published: 2017-05-09
NScript in mpengine in Microsoft Malware Protection Engine with Engine Version before 1.1.13704.0, as used in Windows Defender and other products, allows remote attackers to execute arbitrary code or cause a denial of service (type confusion and application crash) via crafted JavaScript code within ...

CVE-2016-10369
Published: 2017-05-08
unixsocket.c in lxterminal through 0.3.0 insecurely uses /tmp for a socket file, allowing a local user to cause a denial of service (preventing terminal launch), or possibly have other impact (bypassing terminal access control).

CVE-2016-8202
Published: 2017-05-08
A privilege escalation vulnerability in Brocade Fibre Channel SAN products running Brocade Fabric OS (FOS) releases earlier than v7.4.1d and v8.0.1b could allow an authenticated attacker to elevate the privileges of user accounts accessing the system via command line interface. With affected version...

CVE-2016-8209
Published: 2017-05-08
Improper checks for unusual or exceptional conditions in Brocade NetIron 05.8.00 and later releases up to and including 06.1.00, when the Management Module is continuously scanned on port 22, may allow attackers to cause a denial of service (crash and reload) of the management module.

CVE-2017-0890
Published: 2017-05-08
Nextcloud Server before 11.0.3 is vulnerable to an inadequate escaping leading to a XSS vulnerability in the search module. To be exploitable a user has to write or paste malicious content into the search dialogue.