Mar 26 2008

PLA Cyber Warfare

Published by at 6:49 pm under Uncategorized


Reading back through The Science of Military Strategy, published by Military Science (PLA academic wing) 2005, there were a few passages that are of interest. Does this have anything to do with Chinese hackers? Yes, no, maybe. It does provide insight into the official thinking of the PRC military on cyber warfare and information operations. Could the Red Hacker Alliance, a civilian organization, be instantly inducted into a military operation? Yes, without a doubt.

Chapter 16, under strategic information operations – Cyber Warfare:

“Cyber warfare is a general name for all kinds of operational actions taken in cyber space.  Regarding computer systems and networks as the main targets, cyber warfare uses advanced information to disintergrate, damage, or destroy key computers and computer networks as well as information stored in them.  Cyber warfare is a brand new operational pattern that has developed in the context of global cyberization.Cyber warfare consists of two types: cyber attack and cyber protection.   Cyber attack includes virus attack and hacker attack.  Computer virus attack refers to operational actions that use computer virus to destroy or tamper information stored in computer systems so that the computer systems cannot work properly. In the military field, the core equipment of military information systems and cyberized weapons are all likely targets of computer virus attack. Computer hacker attack refers to those actions taken by hackers to intrude upon and destroy the opponent’s cyber systems.  For example, when NATO was launching air attacks on Yugoslavia in 1999, the computer experts of Yugoslavia intruded into the command and control system of US Roosevelt aircraft carrier and caused its temporary communication failure. With the rapid development of cyber attack means, cyber protection becomes increasingly important.  As the core equipment of modern command and control systems, computer systems must be protected so that they can effectively defend against the attacks of hackers and ensure the proper functioning of command and control systems.  As a pattern of operations, cyber warfare does not involve civilian cyber attacks that are not used for military purposes.

(all emphasis mine)

That last sentence has always puzzled me, it is either worded very badly or very well…can’t decide. It seems to imply that they won’t use cyber attacks on civilians but actually limits nothing as long as it is for military purposes. Sigh.The graphic I picked for this article…yeah. I found it in a blog that had the caption “Taiwan will lose this unprecedented information war very miserably.”

11 responses so far

11 Responses to “PLA Cyber Warfare”

  1. jumperon 27 Mar 2008 at 11:15 am


    Where can I get “The Science of Military Strategy”? It is listed as unavailable on

    Thanks for another interesting post.

  2. Heikeon 27 Mar 2008 at 12:15 pm


    Picked up my copy while in Beijing, have tried to find a place to get extra copies for some friends but so far no joy.

  3. Eastwoodon 27 Mar 2008 at 7:23 pm

    “For example, when NATO was launching air attacks on Yugoslavia in 1999, the computer experts of Yugoslavia intruded into the command and control system of US Roosevelt aircraft carrier and caused its temporary communication failure.” — wow!

  4. Heikeon 27 Mar 2008 at 8:14 pm


    Really should have added that I have not been able to find any confirmation of this breach. Doesn’t seem that probable to me. A stand-alone system is vulnerable but not with any degree of certainty by “computer experts.” Plus, a US aircraft carrier has about a zillion ways to communicate, killing off all of them is not even in the realm of possibility.

  5. Heikeon 27 Mar 2008 at 9:33 pm

    Well, short of sinking the thing or an EMP burst…very risky and did not happen during the conflict. Plus, if I remember correctly, they are somewhat protected even from EMP.

  6. Teri Bidwellon 28 Mar 2008 at 9:31 pm

    I for one would be interested in any links in support of that statement

  7. Heikeon 28 Mar 2008 at 10:33 pm


    Electronic systems can be protected against EMP, and standard protection techniques include enclosing systems or subsystems in metal boxes and adding surge arresters to power lines, cables, et cetera. Simulator testing has shown that EMP protection is effective. There are costs and practical considerations associated with implementing EMP protection. This is an area of specialty of the military services and the Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA) for military systems, and I suggest consulting them if more detail is desired.

    This is for the Aegis destroyer but might help:

    The potent offensive and defensive capabilities of Aegis destroyers are achieved with maximum survivability. Extensive topside armor is placed around vital combat systems and machinery spaces, and a wider hull significantly improves seakeeping ability. Acoustic, infrared and radar signatures have been reduced, and vital shipboard systems are hardened against electromagnetic pulse and over-pressure damage. A comprehensive Collective Protection System guards against nuclear, chemical and biological agents. State-of-the-art propulsion and damage control systems are managed by an all-new data multiplexing system.

  8. Heikeon 28 Mar 2008 at 11:12 pm


    Kitty Hawk… 1991- electromagnetic pulse platform level hardening was accomplished;…

  9. Ice-9on 12 Apr 2008 at 2:55 pm

    I have become and addict for cyber warefare strategies. I found some work by Kevin Coleman that uses a concept called unrestricted warfare as a foundation for cyber warfare strategies. This represents breakthrough thinking in the area of cyber attack strategies. You should look at his work. It explains the rational behind current attacks and suggests new strategies. Hot Hot Hot

  10. Heikeon 12 Apr 2008 at 3:57 pm


    (Ref to the same in Kurt Vonnegut? Really liked that book.)

    Thanks I will take a look at it. Kind of addicted to cyber warfare strategies myself.

  11. jumperon 13 Apr 2008 at 8:43 am

    “Cat’s Cradle” My favorite Vonnegut novel.