Department of Defense warns of China’s cyberweapons
By Steve Ragan May 29, 2007, 15:00 GMT
In a report issued late Friday by the United States Department of Defense (DOD), it would appear that China is the new threat to the online security of the United States infrastructure. Take that with a grain of salt. While the report outlines the growth of the Chinese military, the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) has been gearing up for some time. The fact that they are now adding expansions to its technology defenses is just a sign of the times.
The report outlined what is called “cyberwarfare units” and the fact the PLA is continuing to develop various methods to attack enemy networks and computer systems. The “cyberwarfare units” are under development as apart of the PLA’s information-warfare strategy.
“The PLA has established information warfare units to develop viruses to attack enemy computer systems and networks, and tactics and measures to protect friendly computer systems and networks. In 2005, the PLA began to incorporate offensive CNO into its exercises, primarily in first strikes against enemy networks,” the report said.
The report also noted that since 2005, the PLA has started training with more focus on computer attacks, even going so far as including them in standard military exercises.
Along with technology on the ‘military hacker’ front, the last few years have also seen an explosive growth in China’s spending regarding technological advances. “In 2005, China signed arms agreements with foreign suppliers worth almost $2.8 billion, making it the third largest arms recipient among developing countries,” one section of the report reads. Noting that advances aircraft, missile systems, and naval technologies are among its most sought after items. Each of those is provided by Russia, seconded by Israel.
The report said that the main reason for the bulking of military tech power and presence in general is Taiwan, the island nation China sees as a renegade providence. Separating in 1949 after a long civil war between Communists and Nationalists, China has maintained that if Taiwan were to declare independence they would attack the Nationalist providence. The DOD views that long standing threat as the main reason that China is increasing military spending.
“A limited military campaign could include computer network attacks against Taiwan’s political, military, and economic infrastructure to undermine the Taiwan population’s confidence in its leadership,” said the DOD.
While the report gives caution and makes one worry about the power of China’s military, the fact is the report only gives information currently known to several IT security experts. Most of the cyber crimes from China and Malware released by the criminals are related in some measure to the PLA’s efforts. Likely, it is outdated and secondary in nature, but the skills of the Chinese coders are already well known.
China said Monday that the DoD report was mostly hype, “The report to US Congress on China's military power, released on Friday, exaggerates China's military strength and expenditure with ulterior motives,” Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu said in a statement to DPA. “It disseminates the “China threat” theory, severely violates the norms of international relations and wantonly interferes with China's internal affairs.”
Jiang told the DPA that China's military build-up was to “safeguard national security and territorial integrity” and she reiterated the ruling Communist Party's claim to Taiwan as an “inalienable part of Chinese territory.”
According to the DPA report, she also urged the United States to stop selling arms to Taiwan.