News / USA

US Works to Head Off Cyber Threat

Kate Pound DawsonJim Randle
While a U.S. computer security company links China’s government to scores of cyber attacks in the United States, there are fears in Washington that the U.S. risks losing a cyber-war. Analysts say computer hackers are attacking more often, and in more sophisticated ways.

President Barack Obama has ordered government agencies to share information about cyber-threats with private companies, and Congress is considering new laws to increase protection for vulnerable firms.

Officials have been investigating and prosecuting computer hackers around the world for years.

On Tuesday, Mandiant, a U.S. cyber-security company, linked scores of attacks to a specific Shanghai building, the headquarters of a Chinese military unit blamed for cyber-spying. Mandiant says the group it calls APT1 has hundreds of hackers working within a few blocks of one another.

Taking action

Map of the APT1 hacking headquarters in Shanghai, China.Map of the APT1 hacking headquarters in Shanghai, China.
x
Map of the APT1 hacking headquarters in Shanghai, China.
Map of the APT1 hacking headquarters in Shanghai, China.
Even before the latest revelations, U.S. Congressman Mike Rogers, chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, said it’s time to get tough.

“We are in a cyber-war. Most Americans don’t know it. Most folks in the world probably don’t know it. And, at this point, we are losing,” said Rogers.

The U.S. government warns that hackers could cause chaos by damaging the electrical grid, disrupting air traffic, fouling up the financial system or stealing trade secrets. Mandiant says that over the past few years, APT1 hackers increasingly have been probing those systems.

China’s Foreign Ministry rejects the accusations.

“We have stressed many times that hacking attacks are transnational and anonymous. Determining their origins is extremely difficult. We don't know how the evidence in this so-called report can be tenable,'' said Hong Lei, China's foreign ministry spokesman.

Congressman Rogers is sponsoring a bill to help U.S. companies protect their computer systems by cutting barriers to sharing information among companies and with the government.  


Key findings of Mandiant's report:

  • Links hacker group APT1 to secretive unit of the People's Liberation Army (PLA)
  • Says group is responsible for stealing data from at least 141 global organizations since 2006
  • Tracks dozens of cyber attacks to neighborhood surrounding PLA building in Shanghai
  • Says attackers commonly used emails containing malicious attachments to inflitrate networks
Privacy concerns

But Michelle Richardson of the American Civil Liberties Union said this could allow companies to collect information that has nothing to do with security.

"Right now, [it] would eviscerate all the current privacy laws on the books, and allow companies that collect our very sensitive and personal information share with each other and with the government, without making any efforts to protect privacy or limitations on how it could be used,” said Richardson.

Charles Renert, vice president of the security company Websense, told VOA via Skype that it's possible to balance privacy and security.

“We have to scan the attacks. We have to understand the nature of the attacks, and those rarely compromise the privacy of the individual if properly executed," said Renert.

While Rogers’ bill failed to pass a previous Congress, there is growing concern in Washington about the threat of cyber attacks - both military and economic. So pressure may be building for action.


Key findings of Mandiant's report:

  • Links hacker group APT1 to secretive unit of the People's Liberation Army (PLA)
  • Says group is responsible for stealing data from at least 141 global organizations since 2006
  • Tracks dozens of cyber attacks to neighborhood surrounding PLA building in Shanghai
  • Says attackers commonly used emails containing malicious attachments to inflitrate networks

You May Like

Video Analysts: Beijing Parade a 'Bazaar' of Stolen Technology

Show commemorating victory over Japan in World War II involved long, medium and short range missiles, a range of tanks and 200 fighter aircraft More

Bernie Sanders Surge Reflects US Shift on Socialism

Although most analysts say it is unlikely he will get the Democratic nomination, Sanders' campaign opens up questions and issues that are otherwise marginalized More

Video On IS Frontline, Kurdish Fighters Ready for Offensive

Peshmerga soldiers say although they need more heavy artillery, they are poised to take the fight to the Islamic State extremists on their turf More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Terrence Healy from: California
February 20, 2013 1:59 AM
The sleeping Giant, China has awoke. They are Hungry and stealing everything in sight and the Government is using Plausable Deniability. The US needs to fight back and do it now.
The Chinese Government Redirected all traffic going to the pentagon through China for 20 minutes and claimed it was an accident. I have to stop and wonder about the fact that China has let North Korea develop a Nuclear Weapon and the Soviet Union has Helped Iran develop Nuclear Weapons. America needs to wake up to the threat coming and should have 20 years ago. We should enlist an Agency of thousands of our best and brightest to deal with the Computer hacking problem and do it now. We have the technology, is someone in the Whitehouse ever going to wake up before a 911 happens due to lack of the will to block them through the Internet.
In Response

by: dan from: Vancouver
February 20, 2013 8:51 AM
"Over the past few years, China has been one of the biggest offenders. China alone has stolen information from American companies equivalent to 50 times the current print collection of the U.S. Library of Congress. In fact, the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission highlights an incident from April 2010, when for 18 minutes nearly 15 percent of the world’s Internet traffic was redirected through computer servers in China. Emails and Internet traffic to and from such vital government sites as the U.S. Senate, the Department of Commerce, NASA, the Office of the Secretary of Defense, and the Departments of the Army, Navy, and the Air Force as well as commercial sites such as Dell, Yahoo, Microsoft and IBM were hijacked and manipulated by China Telecom, a state-controlled Internet carrier."

http://goodlatte.house.gov/columns/protecting-our-economic-and-national-security

by: dan from: Vancouver
February 20, 2013 1:29 AM
Ask yourself:

When was the last time you remember China, their computer science academics, enterprise, whatever, contributing to uncovering vulnerabilities, uncovering potential exploits, zero-days, flaws, and the like?

All this sharing to make computing more secure comes from places OUTSIDE of China. The computing community in China is huge. Their programmers are second to none. Their budgets are mind-boggling. Yet they add nothing. Why do you think that is?

Because vulnerabilities are capital to be used, not exposed.

So please ask yourself next time there's a White Hat or Black Hat conference and everyone is talking about security: Where is China?

It is a question that never gets asked.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Drowned Migrant Toddler Photo Triggers European Outragei
X
Henry Ridgwell
September 04, 2015 11:36 AM
The harrowing picture of a drowned three-year-old Syrian boy washed up on a Turkish beach appears to have galvanized Europe’s leaders into doing more to address the refugee crisis. France, Germany and Italy issued a joint call Thursday for compulsory quotas of refugees for all EU states. But there were chaotic scenes in Hungary as police tried to force migrants off a train heading for Austria. Henry Ridgwell has more. And a caution, some of the images in this report may be disturbing.
Video

Video Drowned Migrant Toddler Photo Triggers European Outrage

The harrowing picture of a drowned three-year-old Syrian boy washed up on a Turkish beach appears to have galvanized Europe’s leaders into doing more to address the refugee crisis. France, Germany and Italy issued a joint call Thursday for compulsory quotas of refugees for all EU states. But there were chaotic scenes in Hungary as police tried to force migrants off a train heading for Austria. Henry Ridgwell has more. And a caution, some of the images in this report may be disturbing.
Video

Video Russians Observe 11th Anniversary of Beslan School Attack

This week, Russians have been observing the 11th anniversary of the attack by Islamic militants on a school in Russia's North Caucasus region that killed more than 330 hostages, including 186 children. The three-day siege and massacre that started on September 1, 2004 took place in Beslan, a town in the republic of North Ossetia, and is one of the bloodiest terrorist acts ever in Russia. VOA's Mike Richman reports.
Video

Video Native Americans Debate: Father Serra, Saint or Sinner?

Pope Francis will canonize an 18th century missionary to Spanish California during a papal visit to the United States this month.  But some Native Americans have criticized the elevation to sainthood of the missionary priest, Junipero Serra. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan has more from Los Angeles.
Video

Video Calais School Offers Another Face of Europe’s Migrant Crisis

Europe is facing mounting criticism over how it’s handling its biggest migration crisis since World War II. But not all Europeans believe building walls or passing repressive policies are the answer. A school for migrants in the French port city of Calais, is opening doors and building bonds across nationalities. VOA's Lisa Bryant reports.
Video

Video Kurdish Fighters on IS Frontline Ready for Offensive

Finger on the trigger, the Kurdish Peshmerga soldier stared across the dust at a village taken over by Islamic State extremists. The Kurdistan’s Khazir frontline, just 45 minutes from the Islamic State stronghold of Mosul. And at this point, the militants were less than two kilometers away. VOA's Sharon Behn reports.
Video

Video China Announces Troop Cuts at WWII Parade

Chinese President Xi Jinping Thursday announced plans to cut the world’s largest military force by 300,000 troops. The announcement was made during a massive military parade to commemorate victory over Japan in World War II. The event was shunned by most Western leaders and for some is raising fresh concerns about China’s military ambitions. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video Russia-Japan Relations Cool as Putin Visits China for WWII Anniversary

Russian President Vladimir Putin is in Beijing for commemorations of the 70th anniversary of China's WWII victory over Japan. Putin is expected to visit Japan later this year, but tensions between Tokyo and Moscow over islands disputed since the war, and sanctions over Ukraine, could pour cold water on the plan. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Yemen ‘on Brink of Disaster’ as Medical Shortages Soar

Aid agencies warn Yemen is on the brink of humanitarian disaster – with up to half a million children facing severe malnutrition, and hospitals running out of basic medicines. There are fears Yemen's civil war could escalate as the coalition led by Saudi Arabia tries to drive back Houthi rebels, who seized control of much of the country earlier this year. Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Apps Helping Kenyan Businesses Stay Ahead of Counterfeiters

Counterfeit goods in Kenya cost the government as much as $1 billion each year in lost tax revenues. The fake goods also hurt entrepreneurs who find it hard to carve out a niche in the market and retain customers. But as Lenny Ruvaga reports from Nairobi, information technology is being used to try to beat the problem.
Video

Video Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOA

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Iraq's southern wetlands are in crisis. These areas are the spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, and source of livelihood for fishermen and herders. Faith Lapidus has more.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Rebuilding New Orleans' Music Scene

Ten years after Hurricane Katrina inundated New Orleans, threatening to wash away its vibrant musical heritage along with its neighborhoods, the beat goes on. As Bronwyn Benito and Faith Lapidus report, a Musicians' Village is preserving the city's unique sound.
Video

Video In Russia, Auto Industry in Tailspin

Industry insiders say country relies too heavily on imports as inflation cuts too many consumers out of the market. Daniel Schearf has more from Moscow.
Video

Video Scientist Calls Use of Fetal Tissue in Medical Research Essential

An anti-abortion group responsible for secret recordings of workers at a women's health care organization claims the workers shown are offering baby parts for sale, a charge the organization strongly denies. While the selling of fetal tissue is against the law in the United States, abortion and the use of donated fetal tissue for medical research are both legal. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.

VOA Blogs