China Emerges As Leader In Cyberwarfare

The Christian Science Monitor looks at the recent hacks, suspected to be by Chinese hackers, that penetrated the Pentagon this summer and notes “reports downplayed the cyberattack. The hackers hit a secure Pentagon system known as NIPRNet – but it only carries unclassified information and general e-mail” according to Department of Defense officials.The article says “a central aim of the Chinese hackers may not have been top secrets, but a probe of the Pentagon network structure itself, some analysts argue.” While many countries around the world are hacking, China is regarded as a world leader and according to James Mulvenon, an expert on China’s military and director of the Center for Intelligence and Research in Washington, they “are the first to use cyberattacks for political and military goals.”One goal of the hackers could be to cripple “a Pentagon Net used to call US forces”, thereby gaining China “crucial hours and minutes in a lightning attack designed to force a Taiwan surrender.”While the source of cyberattacks are difficult to prove, CSM says “Beijing’s control showed in September 2003, when the company that administers .com and .net domain names made unilateral changes to the Internet’s functioning. System administrators around the world scrambled to make piecemeal fixes.” The DNS was broken for more than two weeks “for the rest of the world, but after a brief interruption, it got mysteriously … unbroken inside China after eight days,” says Bill Woodcock, research director at Packet Clearing House..