Archive for April, 2009

Apr 30 2009

Mr. Tim Thomas at Dartmouth

Published by under Uncategorized,US attacks

UPDATE:  The author of this article makes a slight mistake on the title of Tim’s book calling it, Fighting the Virtual Dragon.  The title is Decoding the Virtual Dragon.

Mr. Thomas has done extensive research into PLA cyber warfare and is the best in the business on PRC strategy.

Understanding China’s strategic approach to cyber warfare is essential to defending the United States from hackers, Timothy Thomas, an analyst at the Foreign Military Studies Office at Fort Leavenworth in Kansas, said in a lecture on Tuesday in the Haldeman Center. The anonymous nature of cyber attacks often complicates cyber defense, Thomas said in the lecture.

Dartmouth lecture on cyber warfare

18 responses so far

Apr 26 2009

PRC Hacker Street Tax

Some Chinese hackers have been arrested for performing DDoS extortion attacks.  The hackers launched a successful denial of service attack on a well-known website and then send an SMS text message asking for 30,000RMB (about 4,400 USD).  At least one of the hackers was arrested on April 7th in Changsha City, Hunan Province.

See the rest here.

3 responses so far

Apr 24 2009

Hackers: the China Syndrome by Mara Hvistendahl

Best hobby in the world.

It was absolutely my privilege to  spend a few days talking with Mara Hvistendahl on the subject of Chinese hackers.  She is such a fantastic lady and I couldn’t have enjoyed our time more.

While linking to our interview may seem a bit of shameless self-promotion, I mainly wanted it on record that Mara called me, “a trim 46-year-old.”  I pushed for other words like swashbuckling, ruggedly handsome and athletic until Mara started mentioning other adjectives such as weird, strange and goofy.


Hackers: the China Syndrome by Mara Hvistendahl

4 responses so far

Apr 24 2009

He could have just sent an e-mail

Published by under Uncategorized

H/T our friend: Wipe that smile off your face.

Very funny article on 10 easy steps to writing the scariest cyberwarfare article ever, hits way too close to home.

With daily reports of severe breaches in national cybersecurity and devastating cyber-attacks on government infrastructure, many journalists are in dire need of a manual to enlighten their writing on the subject. Here are my ten(rather cynical) tips to make your cyberwarfare story succeed.

I just call it writing style…sigh.

2 responses so far

Apr 13 2009

Nart Villeneuve drops the hammer

Published by under Other attacks,US attacks

Nart Villeneuve reminds me once again why I shouldn’t post articles that seem too hyped.   Responding to the recent story from the WSJ on Chinese and Russian hacker attacking critical infrastructure, Nart gives them a full blast:

Articles like this are very irritating. They are short of detail and long on hype. And when that hype focuses on the wrong threat, it becomes the threat itself.

This WSJ article is a typical case. These stories are not new and the pop up from time to time usually focused on Russian or Chinese hackers — and in this case some unholy alliance of both (I’m surprised that Al Qaeda wasn’t thrown in to this “Haxis of Evil” :) ) Some have suggested that the article was planted for political purposes but, regardless, the hype seems to focus on the wrong threat.

Read Nart’s full reply, When hype is the threat.  Remind me not to get on his bad side, ouch.

5 responses so far

Apr 13 2009

Lead, steel and digits

Published by under Uncategorized


On July 6th, 1776, the local New York press announced independence.  Three days later George Washington read the document to his soldiers.  In a rush of patriotic exuberance, militiamen and civilians rushed down Broadway and at Bowling Green, mobbed a gilded equestrian statue of George III.  Underneath the gilded gold statue, lay 4,000 pounds of solid lead that produced 42,088 musket bullets.  It was said that the king’s soliders would probably have melted majesty fired at them.


One of my favorite mentors provided a bit of historical context for me while discussing history, economics, trade and warfare.  He said, “prior to the start of WWII, the US was kind enough to send steel to Japan.  During the war, the Japanese were kind enough to send it back.”


In 1963, Licklider proposed networked computing, leading to the birth of the World Wide Web in 1989.

In ????, the digits were kindly returned.

Currently reading Alexander Hamilton by Chernow, where I found the first passage.  That made me recall the second, leading to third.  Just random Monday night thoughts.

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Apr 09 2009

Withered Rose…law done come and got him


I’m originally from down south and a local expression suddenly came back to me tonight.  We had this crazy guy named George, lived a couple of houses down the road, always doing really strange things.  I remember my uncle stopped by the house one day and said, “You know Ole George…law done come and got him.”  Not a word, just nods.  We all figured it was just a matter of time.

We’ve reported on Withered Rose here and hereTime Magazine has more on him here.

Well, for some reason, Withered Rose decided to start DDoS attacks on his fellow Chinese hackers at Hackbase, HackerXFiles and 3800hk.  Speculation points toward website blackmail, which Rose and his gang have been notorious for in the past.  Needless to say, the victims didn’t take very kindly to this sort of hacker-on-hacker violence.

What is kind of surprising, is that the hacker organizations he decided to attack turned over all of their evidence to the Public Security Department.  According to the report from Hackbase, Withered Rose’s website has been shut down by authorities and he faces 7 1/2 years in jail…

withered rose shut down

Withered Rose’s website closed

Yep, law done come and got him.

9 responses so far

Apr 08 2009

CasperNet meets Warcraft III

Published by under Uncategorized

Found this on D0mber’s Basecamp and I think they are right:

Lost33′s logo on his blog:

And a character from Warcraft III, called footman:

Now all of the links are complete.

4 responses so far

Apr 08 2009

Chinese hackers inside S. Korean Finance Ministry

Published by under Uncategorized

Busy couple of months for Chinese hackers.  Using e-mail to target potential victims might not be sophisticated but it is effective:

SEOUL, Apr 08, 2009 (AsiaPulse via COMTEX) — Chinese hackers targeting South Korean government computers gained access to classified information and financial policies, officials here said Wednesday.

The compromised computers, located at the finance ministry headquarters in Gwacheon, south of Seoul, were attacked in early February. Intelligence authorities are conducting a probe, the officials said.

One response so far

Apr 08 2009

Chinese hackers: You guys got candles? You’re going to need them.

Published by under US attacks

In the past, I’ve avoided posting articles on potential damage to US infrastructure from Chinese hackers and others because they seemed too hyped in my opinion.   However, this report on critical infrastructure from this WSJ is a tad bit better, even though they don’t name all of their sources…understand why but I still don’t like it:

Cyberspies have penetrated the U.S. electrical grid and left behind software programs that could be used to disrupt the system, according to current and former national-security officials.

The spies came from China, Russia and other countries, these officials said, and were believed to be on a mission to navigate the U.S. electrical system and its controls. The intruders haven’t sought to damage the power grid or other key infrastructure, but officials warned they could try during a crisis or war.

UPDATE: Ned Moran, from the Cuckoo’s Egg, agrees that these types of articles get too much hype.  He makes a better case than I did.

13 responses so far

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