Chinese hacking reaches new heights

14 Dec

Here is an interesting report from Bloomberg highlighting the extent to which China is hacking into the rest of the world’s companies.

“What has been happening over the course of the last five years is that China — let’s call it for what it is — has been hacking its way into every corporation it can find listed in Dun & Bradstreet,” said Richard Clarke, former special adviser on cybersecurity to U.S. President George W. Bush, at an October conference on network security. “Every corporation in the U.S., every corporation in Asia, every corporation in Germany. And using a vacuum cleaner to suck data out in terabytes and petabytes. I don’t think you can overstate the damage to this country that has already been done.”

Chinese hackers have undoubted military connections

Whilst hacked companies have included ‘logical’ targets like Google and Research in Motion, makers of Blackerries, Chinese hackers are now looking at more oblique companies.

iBahn,  a provider of broadband business and entertainment access
to guests of Marriott International Inc. and other hotel chains,
including multinational companies that hold meetings on site.
Breaking into iBahn’s networks, according to a senior U.S.
intelligence official familiar with the matter, may have let
hackers see millions of confidential e-mails, even encrypted
ones, as executives from Dubai to New York reported back on
everything from new product development to merger negotiations.

There has been quite some concern in Western capitals in recent years about the damage that is being wrought by China, as well as other hacking nations like Russia. Estimates for intellectual property theft rate in the area of hundreds of billions of dollars.

While a precise dollar figure for damage is elusive, the overall magnitude of the attacks is not,  said Scott Borg, an economist and director of the U.S. Cyber Consequences Unit, a non-profit research institute.

“We’re talking about stealing entire industries,” he said. “This may be the biggest transfer of wealth in a short period of time that the world has ever seen.”

The question is, how long until the West says enough is enough? Or are there moves already afoot that are being simply unreported? It is highly likely we are only seeing the beginning of cyber crime and cyber war – watch this space.

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