Sunday, October 31, 2010

China Has Ability to Hijack U.S. Military Data, Report Says

From Jeff Bliss and Tony Capaccio at Bloomberg ...

China in the past year demonstrated it can direct Internet traffic, giving the nation the capability to exploit “hijacked” data from the U.S. military and other sources, according to a new report.

Recent actions raise questions that “China might seek intentionally to leverage these abilities to assert some level of control over the Internet,” according to excerpts from the final draft of an annual report by the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission. “Any attempt to do this would likely be counter to the interests of the United States and other countries.”

On April 8, China Telecom Corp., the nation’s third-largest mobile-phone company, instructed U.S. and other foreign-based Internet servers to route traffic to Chinese servers, the report said. The 18-minute re-routing included traffic from the U.S. military, the Senate and the office of Defense Secretary Robert Gates.

“Although the commission has no way to determine what, if anything, Chinese telecommunications firms did to the hijacked data, incidents of this nature could have a number of serious implications,” the report said. The re-routing showed how data could be stolen and communications with websites could be disrupted, the report said.

Read more here ...


Garrett said...

This is another interesting one for me. It's very easy to call China the bad guy here, and in a lot of ways, of course, it is, but what this really highlights to me is the US government's failure to protect US web traffic, particularly sensitive information. The US government is, as this article points out, aware that China (and other states) can and do use the internet to spy on the US with potentially disastrous consequences. Granted, we do the same thing to others, but given that we have so much more to loose by virtue of how much more connected to the internet we are than most of our strategic rivals, the US government NEEDS to do something to keep other states from using the internet against us.

Ryan said...

Although I agree that this is a failure on the US's part, and we must do something about it, this article is not all that alarming to me--I don't think China is doing anything that we (the US), or anyone else for that matter, is not already doing.

With that said, I think a clear-cut initiative of the US is to secure itself virtually. Although wars are still fought on the ground, this is transcending into the virtual world and the ability to both attack, and maybe more importantly, protect your internal systems will prove to be important in coming years. Vulnerabilities caused by attacks could be deadly to the US, and intelligence lost through hijacked data could one day make the difference in a war--the time to act is now on the US's part. All the talk is securing our physical borders but maybe more attention needs to be on securing our virtual ones.