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China’s Cyber Warfare, A Growing Threat

In the beginning of November 2006, an employee of the Financial Services Information Sharing and Analysis Center discovered multiple scans against the organization's network. Following a warning by FS-ISAC to its other employees, there were five more banks that came under similar attacks. Soon it was clear the attack was a brute-force kind originating from a single point. The attack attempted to make 300,000 connections to the banks' FTP servers.

Pretty soon the source was located in China, said Dan Dewaal, VP and chief security officer at The Options Clearing Corporation and also a member of the FS-ISAC board. Banktechnews published this in news, May 1, 2007.

The cyber warfare capabilities of China are closely related to the prevailing condition of Taiwan. Whenever conflict over Taiwan arises, a common assumption by other countries, the United States government can assume launch of specific attacks on specific government and military sites. The attacks could also choose economic targets, said Rick Fisher, VP at the International Assessment and Strategy Center, a think tank engaged in defense and security issues.

In a recent report Eugene Kaspersky said China would rise further as a threat in 2007. China will have more Internet users than the U.S. While China will be first in making technology it will also be first in crimeware.

China's growing threat has been under detection by information security specialists mainly because the end game that Chinese hackers play is far subtler than that of a cyber thief in Eastern Europe.

He described how the criminals apply techniques to escape detection, how they use "human proxies" referring to people simply receiving and passing money to cyber criminals by launching Internet crime.

On Chinese territory, cyber crime is comparatively less. The most prevalent crimes are use of keyloggers to steal online gamers' usernames and passwords to hijack their game money. In general Chinese online criminals don't break into domestic sites believing that the government tacitly approves their foreign operations.

China's government hasn't expressed much concern about hacking in foreign countries, rather only for internal hacking, said Jim Melnick, director of threat intelligence at iDefense Labs of Verisign.

Related article: China’s Best Initiatives To Deal With Spam

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