Dark Reading is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Attacks/Breaches

7/6/2010
03:22 PM
Connect Directly
Google+
Twitter
RSS
E-Mail
50%
50%

Report: Chinese Military Behind Google, Other Cyberattacks

Most attacks traced to Chinese island tourist attraction that also houses state-of-the-art military installation

A new report handed to Congress today concludes that the Chinese military -- the People's Liberation Army -- is behind most cyberattacks on the U.S., including the infamous Operation Aurora attacks that hit Google, Adobe, Intel, and other companies.

The "China, Cyber Espionage and U.S. National Security" white paper, authored by independent research group Medius Research and commissioned by political action organization Patriot Majority, says most cyberattacks out of China originate from Hainan Island, a tourist attraction with a massive high-tech military installation located on the South China Sea.

"Hainan Island is a pretty good showcase of military modernization. It combines several capabilities, including a space launch and a submarine [base]," says Richard Parker, lead researcher for the Medius report. And a recent study by Canadian researchers traced the IP addresses of cyberattacks to four command servers to Hainan Island, he notes.

The Medius report drew its findings from background interviews with government officials, as well as from previous research, such as the 2009 Canadian study that revealed the Hainan Island connection, and a report from the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission.

Chinese officials have denied any government ties to Google and other cyberattacks. Aside from U.S. intelligence community and security industry theories that these attacks are typically state-sponsored, there also have been reports of civilian groups in China conducting their own hacking operations. The Medius report says the line between China's indie hacker culture and the government is blurred, and civilians are "informally contracted."

"The idea that the [Chinese] government is not involved seems a little ludicrous," Medius' Parker says. "I understand that there is an independent hacking culture in China," but the military is the main mechanism for this, he says. Hainan Island has a population of 8 million people; in addition to its underground submarine base and space launch facility, it houses an air force base. These elements "make the island key not only to force projection but also to intelligence gathering and high-technology warfare that combines cyber warfare, space warfare and electronic warfare," according to the report.

The report says the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission report from last year provides key actions for Congress to take -- namely to hold hearings on the commission's recommendations and take any legislative action it can before the commission publishes its next report later this year.

Among the recommendations by the commission: that Congress assess its ability to meet the challenge of cyberattacks out of China and review the effectiveness of how law enforcement and the intelligence community trace the origins of cyberattacks.

Have a comment on this story? Please click "Discuss" below. If you'd like to contact Dark Reading's editors directly, send us a message.

Kelly Jackson Higgins is the Executive Editor of Dark Reading. She is an award-winning veteran technology and business journalist with more than two decades of experience in reporting and editing for various publications, including Network Computing, Secure Enterprise ... View Full Bio

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
Stop Defending Everything
Kevin Kurzawa, Senior Information Security Auditor,  2/12/2020
Small Business Security: 5 Tips on How and Where to Start
Mike Puglia, Chief Strategy Officer at Kaseya,  2/13/2020
5 Common Errors That Allow Attackers to Go Undetected
Matt Middleton-Leal, General Manager and Chief Security Strategist, Netwrix,  2/12/2020
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon
Current Issue
6 Emerging Cyber Threats That Enterprises Face in 2020
This Tech Digest gives an in-depth look at six emerging cyber threats that enterprises could face in 2020. Download your copy today!
Flash Poll
How Enterprises Are Developing and Maintaining Secure Applications
How Enterprises Are Developing and Maintaining Secure Applications
The concept of application security is well known, but application security testing and remediation processes remain unbalanced. Most organizations are confident in their approach to AppSec, although others seem to have no approach at all. Read this report to find out more.
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2019-20477
PUBLISHED: 2020-02-19
PyYAML 5.1 through 5.1.2 has insufficient restrictions on the load and load_all functions because of a class deserialization issue, e.g., Popen is a class in the subprocess module. NOTE: this issue exists because of an incomplete fix for CVE-2017-18342.
CVE-2019-20478
PUBLISHED: 2020-02-19
In ruamel.yaml through 0.16.7, the load method allows remote code execution if the application calls this method with an untrusted argument. In other words, this issue affects developers who are unaware of the need to use methods such as safe_load in these use cases.
CVE-2011-2054
PUBLISHED: 2020-02-19
A vulnerability in the Cisco ASA that could allow a remote attacker to successfully authenticate using the Cisco AnyConnect VPN client if the Secondary Authentication type is LDAP and the password is left blank, providing the primary credentials are correct. The vulnerabilities is due to improper in...
CVE-2015-0749
PUBLISHED: 2020-02-19
A vulnerability in Cisco Unified Communications Manager could allow an unauthenticated, remote attacker to conduct a cross-site scripting (XSS) attack on the affected software. The vulnerabilities is due to improper input validation of certain parameters passed to the affected software. An attacker ...
CVE-2015-9543
PUBLISHED: 2020-02-19
An issue was discovered in OpenStack Nova before 18.2.4, 19.x before 19.1.0, and 20.x before 20.1.0. It can leak consoleauth tokens into log files. An attacker with read access to the service's logs may obtain tokens used for console access. All Nova setups using novncproxy are affected. This is rel...