News / USA

US Works to Head Off Cyber Threat

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

US Gives Malaysia Questionable Upgrade in Human Trafficking Ranks

Malaysia’s upgrade seen as removing barrier to country’s participation in the US-led 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership More

Turkey, US Try to Establish Buffer Despite Differences

Coalition airstrikes in proposed zone would aim to drive out Islamic extremists, allowing targeted area to come under sway of anti-Assad rebels More

Video US: Millions Exploited by Vast Fortunes of Human Trafficking

State Department's annual report calls exploitation 'modern slavery,' brutalizing girls, women into prostitution and forcing men, women and children into low-wage jobs across the globe 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.
US Calls Fight Against Human Trafficking a Must Wini
X
July 28, 2015 12:21 AM
The United States is promising not to give up its fight against what Secretary of State John Kerry calls the “scourge” of modern slavery. Officials released the country’s annual human trafficking report Monday – a report that’s being met with some criticism. VOA’s National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more from the State Department.
Video

Video US Calls Fight Against Human Trafficking a Must Win

The United States is promising not to give up its fight against what Secretary of State John Kerry calls the “scourge” of modern slavery. Officials released the country’s annual human trafficking report Monday – a report that’s being met with some criticism. VOA’s National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more from the State Department.
Video

Video Iran Nuclear Pact Wins Few New US Congressional Backers

Later this week, President Barack Obama returns from a trip to Africa to confront a U.S. Congress roiled by the nuclear accord with Iran, an agreement that has received the blessing of the U.N. Security Council. Days of intensive lobbying and testimony by top administration officials have won few new congressional supporters of the pact. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports.
Video

Video Washington DC Underground Streetcar Station to Become Arts Venue

Abandoned more than 50 years ago, the underground streetcar station in Washington D.C.’s historic DuPont Circle district is about to be reborn. The plan calls for turning the spacious underground platforms - once meant to be a transportation hub, - into a unique space for art exhibitions, presentations, concerts and even a film set. Roman Mamonov has more from beneath the streets of the U.S. capital. Joy Wagner narrates his report.
Video

Video Obama Encourages Kenya to Fix Cultures of Corruption, Discrimination

President Barack Obama bid farewell to Kenya Sunday with a major speech at as stadium outside the capital Nairobi where he called on Kenyans to change the cultures of corruption and discrimination that can hold society back. VOA East Africa Correspondent Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Europe’s Twin Crises Collide in Greece as Migrant Numbers Soar

Greece has replaced Italy as the main gateway for migrants into Europe, with more than 100,000 arrivals in the first six months of 2015. Many want to move further into Europe and escape Greece’s economic crisis, but they face widespread dangers on the journey overland through the Balkans. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Stink Intensifies as Lebanon’s Trash Crisis Continues

After the closure of a major rubbish dump a week ago, the streets of Beirut are filling up with trash. Having failed to draw up a plan B, politicians are struggling to deal with the problem. John Owens has more for VOA from Beirut.
Video

Video Paris Rolls Out Blueprint to Fight Climate Change

A U.N. climate conference in December aims to produce an ambitious agreement to fight heat-trapping greenhouse gases. But many local governments are not waiting, and have drafted their own climate action plans. That’s the case with Paris — which is getting special attention, since it’s hosting the climate summit. Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at the transformation of the French capital into an eco-city.
Video

Video Racially Diverse Spider-Man Takes Center Stage

Whether it’s in a comic book or on the big screen, fans have always known the man behind the Spider-Man mask as Peter Parker. But that is changing, at least in the comic book world. Marvel Comics announced that a character called Miles Morales will replace Peter Parker as Spider-Man in a new comic book series. He is half Latino, half African American, and he is quite popular among comic book fans. Correspondent Elizabeth Lee reports from Los Angeles.
Video

Video California Towns Welcome Special Olympics Athletes

Cities and towns in Southern California are greeting thousands of athletes who are arriving for Special Olympics, a competition for people with intellectual disabilities. The games will run from July 25th through August 2nd. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports from Pasadena, California, where athletes from Namibia, Singapore and Tanzania got a rousing welcome from local residents.
Video

Video Critics of Japan Defense Policy Focus on Okinawa

In Okinawa, many locals have long complained that Tokyo places an unfair burden on the tiny island by locating most of Japan's U.S. military bases there. As Japan's government moves toward strengthening and expanding the country's defense policies, opponents of those plans are joining local protesters in Okinawa, voicing concern about where the country is headed. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from Okinawa.
Video

Video IS Uses Chemical Weapons in Syrian Attack

Islamic State militants have added a new weapon in their arsenal of fear: chemical weapons. VOA Kurdish service reporter Zana Omer was on the scene within hours of a recent attack in Hasakah, Syria, and has details of the subsequent investigation, in this report narrated by Miguel Amaya.
Video

Video Historic Symbol Is Theme of Vibrant New Show

A new exhibit in Washington is paying tribute to the American flag with a wide and eclectic selection of artwork that uses the historic symbol as its central theme. VOA’s Julie Taboh was at the DC Chamber of Commerce for the show’s opening.
Video

Video Hoverbike Flying Toward Reality

Another long-standing dream of many technological inventors is quickly approaching reality: U.S.- and British-based firms are cooperating in the development of an individual flying platform they call a hoverbike. They say it may revolutionize the concept of flying, including in the U.S. military. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video As Japan Expands Defense Role, Protests Follow

The Japanese government is moving forward with a controversial security bill that would authorize the military to fight abroad for the first time since World War II. Leaders say it is critical to defend against rising threats from China and North Korea. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from Japan on the big changes ahead, and the opposition they are drawing.
Video

Video Replacing Poppies with Coffee in Myanmar

The remote mountains of Myanmar’s Shan state are home to the second-largest opium-producing region in the world. After a drop during the 2000s, production surged in the past eight years to feed an increasing demand for heroin in China. But farmers are now making less on the crop, and the U.N. is hoping many will make the switch to growing coffee. Daniel de Carteret reports for VOA from Taunggyi.

VOA Blogs