CHINA CYBER ATTACKS “A BIGGER THREAT THAN AL QAEDA”

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Internet experts consider China as one of the most active leaders in Cyber espionage.  According to one Computer Security Company’s estimate, there were 128 cyber intrusions per minute from internet addresses associated with China in 2009.

Issue:

The China Cyber attacks have threatened the national security of the world power United States of America since 90’s but this time the attack is immeasurably severe than before . May be it is the consequence of recent attack on the US government data and personal financial data of several US celebrities and politicians including First lady Michelle Obama.  Social security numbers, telephone number, addresses and credit reports of prominent people such as Joe Biden, the vice president and Hillary Clinton, the former Secretary of State was published online. Others listed on the page includes FBI Director Robert Mueller, Attorney-General Eric Holder, Los Angeles Police chief Charlie Beck, and also entertainment celebrities like Beyonce, Ashton Kutcher ad Jay-Z.

The Director of National Intelligence, James Clapper in his unclassified annual threat assessment to congress stated “China cyber attacks is a big threat than Al Qaeda” and has kept these cyber attacks ahead of threat from terrorists. He said online attackers apply cyber techniques and capabilities to achieve strategic objectives by gathering sensitive information from both public and private entities, controlling the content and flow of information, and challenging perceived adversaries in cyberspace. These capabilities put all sectors of our county at risk, from government and private networks to critical infrastructures.

Mandiant, a cyber security company of the state reported that the group which has hacked 141 companies in 20 major industries, stealing “technology blueprints, proprietary manufacturing processes, test results, business plans,” and more has been traced to a single building in Shanghai that is staffed by “perhaps thousands of people” and that their activities are “likely government-sponsored”. On this the US President acknowledged that some of the cyber attacks from China are State sponsored. Cyber security experts have long known that hackers in China have been launching cyber attacks against American companies. Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA) said “China has stolen so much intellectual property that it would be considered 50 times the print collection of the United States Library of Congress”.

China’s counter:

However in response to the Mandiant report, the Chinese Foreign Ministry said that the Chinese government does not support hacking and that it’s nearly impossible for Mandiant to prove where the attacks originated from, as Hacking attacks are transnational and anonymous, determining their origins is extremely difficult. Mr. Hong added “China has been a major victim of cyber attacks and opposes all forms of such activity”. China’s National Computer Network Emergency Response Technical Team Coordination Centre, stated that 4, 93,000 cyber attacks on the websites of the Chinese government “originated from abroad, particularly the United States and India”.

India also a victim:

In this league of Cyber Attacks threat, India is also a big victim. India’s National Informatics Centre (NIC) reveals that there have been attempts from time to time to penetrate the computer networks operated by country’s government. However, unlike the United States and other countries which directly accused China, Indian authorities say it’s difficult to attribute the attacks to a particular county because the cybercriminals are using compromised computers and various techniques to hide their identities. Recently Pakistan Cyber Army (PCA) have breached and defaced 7 websites owned by the Indian government which includes, Bihar Tourism from Ministry of Tourism India (bihartourism.gov.in), Mitigating Poverty in Western Rajasthan (mpowerraj.gov.in), the Directorate of Medical Education of the Government of Kerala (nurses.kerala.gov.in), the Salary Revision Commission of Government of Kerala (src.kerala.gov.in). Other victims are the Customs, Excise & Service Tax Appellate Tribunal in New Delhi (cdrcestat.gov.in), the Works Information & Monitoring System (pwddelhi.gov.in) and the Society for Applied Microwave Electronics Engineering & Research (sameer.gov.in).

Measures taken:

The appeal of Cyberwarfare lies in asymmetric threat. A single cyber attacker can cause harm to civilian. Thus, it being one of the fastest growing lines of coverage, many U.S companies along with many other countries have purchased insurance for protection again cyber attacks damage. Apart from this the organisation under threat has become more aware and strict in case of Antivirus software and the demand for Computer Experts has been increased tremendously.

Comments:

Cyber attack is one of the real significant national security challenges the world is facing these days. It is just like that the technology “a boon” is turning into “bane”. The threat is going to continue and it’s going to grow. What we need to do and can do is to reduce the vulnerabilities and take mitigation steps and thus protect the country’s infrastructure by understanding the nature, scope and degree of threat. The only sector which can be benefited from this “difficult to track” cyber attacks is Cyber insurance sector which has observed a tremendous growth of 33% in previous years.