Aug 08 2009

China: Cyber warfare, weapon of mass destruction?

Published by at 8:28 am under Uncategorized

CCTV excerpt from Defense Review Week interview with network specialists Major General Hu Xiaofeng (Deputy Director for the National Defense University Department of Information Warfare and Training Command) and Professor Meng Xiangqing (National Defense University Institute for Strategic Studies):

Program introduction:  Hackers suddenly break into the US Atlantic Fleet’s command system, they instantaneously take control of the US fleet and fighter aircraft, turning missiles fired moments ago 180 degrees back at itself.  The entire country is thrown into chaos.  Is this description of a US military cyber warfare exercise truly capable of producing such formidable power?

Washington D.C., traffic lights completely fail, cars moving in opposite directions inside the tunnels collide, the stock market collapses, communications are cut off, all television stations are broadcasting the same thing – fragments of the US president’s televised speech patched together to produce a terrorist’s “hacker manifesto”.   This is a scene from the movie “Die Hard 4,” in which several hackers repeatedly turn the United States upside down.  Could this type of scenario actually happen in real life?

Well then, what is cyber warfare really? How does it enhance combat capability? In high-profile speeches, the US and South Korea announced the establishment of cyber warfare command centers, what is being hidden behind them?  Will this cause an arms race in the cyber domain or become the new contest between nations for strategic control?   Why does the United States equate the threat from cyberspace to nuclear, chemical and biological weapons?  Is future cyber warfare a weak defense and strong offense, or a strong defense and weak offense?   How should we respond?

This month, “Defense New Review” has invited top-level network specialists, Major General Hu Xiaofeng and Professor Meng Xiangqing to decipher it for you.

Host:  Cyber warfare takes place in virtual space but I feel that it seems to strike at the enemy’s morale.  Can these types of virtual encounters cause casualties to the enemy’s effective strength?

MG Hu Xiaofeng:  As an example, I take control of your high-speed railroad network and after I seize control of your system, I send you a message.  Will you agree to my blackmail or not?  If you agree, then there isn’t a problem.  If you don’t agree, then I crash two of your trains together.  Is it your decision to let people die?  I’ll give you another example.  For instance, I launch a missile and you call it back on itself.  It is all possible.

Host:  Are these types of things all covered under the scope of cyber warfare?

Prof Meng Xingqing:  Yes, however the goal is not to destroy the enemy’s effective strength, or to say I’ve destroyed this number of enemy troops or specific military targets.  It’s not like that, the goal is to achieve a strategic objective.  What is the stragetic objective?  It is what Professor Hu just mentioned, you have to meet my political conditions or your government will be toppled, or you promise to meet some of my political conditions.  In this type of conflict, killing a certain number of people is a secondary consideration.  In general, there are only a few major differences in the considerations between cyber and traditional warfare.   One is in tangible space and the other intangible space.  One is in virtual space and the other on the battlefield.  Overall, it is bloodless.

Host: Then is it possible that with cyber wafare we won’t have to rely on traditional methods of warfare, can we attain military victory purely through the means of cyber warfare, is that possible?

MG Hu Xiaofeng: … …

Prof Meng Xingqing: … …

End excerpt from broadcast.

I woud really like to have the rest of this if any one runs across it.  The transcript just ends right there, bastards.

9 responses so far

9 Responses to “China: Cyber warfare, weapon of mass destruction?”

  1. nealon 11 Aug 2009 at 10:37 am

    Very interesting…. who are the guys interviewed? Do they carry weight in the PLA?

  2. CBRP1R8on 11 Aug 2009 at 2:00 pm

    I call FIRESALE!!!!!!!

  3. Heikeon 11 Aug 2009 at 2:28 pm


    Don’t know how much weight they carry but if they are at the NDU working on strategy, it should be somewhat significant.

    The interview was interesting to me because they didn’t seem to view cyber warfare tactically, only as a strategic concept. Hard to tell from a few snipets but they dismiss out of hand using it for hard targets except for coercive power.

  4. nealon 12 Aug 2009 at 10:18 am

    Heike… thanks for the response. I would think that NDU would carry some weight as well. If you hear anymore, definitely update. These guys fascinate me.

  5. CBRP1R8on 12 Aug 2009 at 11:47 am

    Reading you’alls comments got me thinking about something I read earlier today about strategic thinking and I think this has some definite merit to it based on the same topic above and the way these guys are looking at cyber warfare.

    If we want to compete on even turf…somethings gotta give…

  6. Heikeon 12 Aug 2009 at 1:30 pm

    China has been looking at “non-contact” warfare as a means to leap-frog the US. I think they got it from the Russians. Vladimir Slipchenko gives a great lecture on it that can be found in the book Future War.

  7. gao yulongon 13 Aug 2009 at 5:46 am

    I think the contents of this story is prime time material, wish other media outlets would follow your lead…
    have your hear any thing about
    Police in China’s Guangdong Province have been selling anti-Internet censorship software for profit, opening yet another, though unexpected, channel to promote Internet freedom to the Chinese people….????

  8. Heikeon 13 Aug 2009 at 12:10 pm

    No, I hadn’t heard. Do you have a source for that?

  9. gao yulongon 13 Aug 2009 at 4:46 pm
    first posting I read was presented here….
    by Xin Fei ET staff wouldn’t be hard to track them down