The Chinese Hack Attack

June 24, 2015

Tags: Chinese Hack, Cyber-Espionage, OPM Hack, Cyber-security, Mandiant Report, Chinese Industrial Espionage


This analysis was originally written for ChinaFile at the Asia Society in October, 2014.

It was written because of the New York Times and Sony hacks, when the cybersecurity firm Mandiant was called in to trace the breaches. Mandiant issued a report presenting the forensic evidence that the Chinese were behind the break-in. Mandiant felt the evidence was important enough to issue a report that was available to private companies, government agencies and the general public.

For various reasons, the size of the shop and the need for technical expertise to do the fact-checking, my piece went unpublished by China file.

In the wake of the recent cyber-attack on the United States government agency, the Office of Personnel Management (OPM), this piece became relevant. I thought it was important enough to post this on my blog. I will follow up this piece with more on China's accession to ICANN and its recent call for imposing a "code of conduct" on the internet (Washington Examiner). Given China's track record of censorship on the internet, I feel this deserves reporting.

The world of technology moves very fast. This piece is meant to be a snapshot.

THE BREACH

In January of 2013, the New York Times went public with the story that it had been the victim of a hack attack that had been traced to the Chinese. They were the first of U. S. media company to go public. The victim list would later include the Washington Post and the Wall Street Journal.

The Chinese dismissed the accusations.

In February of 2013, the Mandiant Company released the “APT 1 Report: Exposing One of China’s Espionage Units."

(The acronym APT stands for Advanced Persistent Threat and refers to cyber attacks by a nation-state actor, the most advanced level of threat category. APT 1 is considered a Tier One threat, higher than a non-state player, a criminal entity or an individual player.)

Mandiant, a computer security firm headquartered in the greater Washington, D. C. area, had a track record of investigating security breaches of all types and at all levels of threat at hundreds of organizations around the world.

Mandiant had been following breaches of more than 20 groups with origins in China and APT 1 was one of them, “a single organization that had conducted cyber espionage against victims since at least 2006.” (Mandiant Report, 2)

The groundbreaking element of the report was that for the first time, the forensic evidence tracked back to a specific location and to specific hackers. There was no doubt that the advanced persistent threat came from the People’s Liberation Army (PLA). The report included photographs of the real world buildings and gave their street addresses.

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If you are considering ordering "Tibet Unconquered" from Amazon

June 23, 2015

In my work of history, "Tibet Unconquered", I explore the status of the religion of Tibetan Buddhism in Chinese history. I also offer a roadmap that I believe to be a win-win plan for the Chinese and their minority policy in Tibet.

I discuss the origins of the current minority policy as coming from the USSR, and from the policies developed by Josef Stalin. I detail this in an article published in the Tibetan Review entitled "The Loose Reins Model: Why the Chinese Should Rethink Their Minorities Policy." The article is available on the web on the Tibetan Review website.

If you are ordering this book from Amazon, please note that two of the customer reviews are personal attacks upon me. I believe them to have been written by Chinese plants who believe that any discussion of Tibet is forbidden.

I ask you to ignore these two attacks and to order the book and read it. If you like it, I encourage you to post a positive review.

These comments purport to be analyses of the work, but they are an attempt to suppress readership of the work through character assassination. It is an assault upon freedom of speech. I urge you to ignore these false evaluations and read the book on its merits.

Batu, Khan of the Golden Horde: The Mongol Khans Conquer Russia

June 18, 2015

In the thirteenth century, the West had mastered its own barbarians and was now pushing forward the frontiers of Christendom against Islam, which was the only enemy that it still feared.

The Mongols appeared like a bolt from out of the blue. Suddenly without warning, an army of unknown barbarians appeared on the southeastern Russian border. A bishop of the Orthodox Church called them Tatars, after the Latin word for hell, tartarus.

The Russian princes went to the aid of their own barbarian neighbors, the Kipchak Turks, and there was a great battle on the River Kalka on the Russian steppe close to the Sea of Azov.

The Russian princes were utterly defeated. The Prince of Kiev and other princes who surrendered were laid under boards and suffocated while the Mongols feasted on top.

This is the beginning of the campaign that put Russia under the Mongol yoke for a period of 200 years until the coming of the Romanov czars in the person of Ivan the Terrible. It is a fascinating backdrop to the historical events of today, for it explains why there are Tatars in the Crimea. They are the descendants of Chinggis Khan's armies. For the story of the Russian campaign as a backdrop to current events, this is a very lively read with characters concerned with the same subjects as the characters in Shakespeare's Histories: power, wealth, pride, war, love and sex, betrayal, intrigue and skulduggery in high places.