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Cyber Attacks On US Military Jump Sharply In 2009 76

Posted by Soulskill
from the proportional-with-gold-farming dept.
angry tapir writes "Cyber attacks on the US Department of Defense — many of them coming from China — have jumped sharply in 2009, a US congressional committee has reported. Citing data provided by the US Strategic Command, the US-China Economic and Security Review Commission said that there were 43,785 malicious cyber incidents targeting Defense systems in the first half of the year. That's a big jump. In all of 2008, there were 54,640 such incidents. If cyber attacks maintain this pace, the yearly increase will be around 60 percent. The full report (PDF) is available online."
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Cyber Attacks On US Military Jump Sharply In 2009

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  • targeted attacks? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by sopssa (1498795) *

    What would be interesting to know is that if these are targeted attacks specifically against US military networks, or just random scanning for vulnerabilities by every day botnets? I think it's the later case, because if they were targeted attacks they would be stupid not to hide their origins and you wouldn't know they are from china or similar country. Or maybe they're just playing with people's image of bad china and north korea.

    And since when North Korean's have had internet?

    • by AHuxley (892839)
      Think of all the contractors with the right clearances that have to come back in after Windows gets owned.
      A few years ago they where on base housing just making ends meet, now they are contractors doing the same work for 2x 4x ?x times the wage.
      So any MS box and inflated attack numbers do have their supporters.
      From mega corps selling US wide 'protective' upgrades to small merc units doing clean up.
      MS is really their best friend ever in this.
      The NSA, DIA and other dept are safe, but its cheaper to keep
      • by gtall (79522)

        Taking random words out of a dictionary and stringing them together do not really contribute anything to this discussion. Might I suggest you attempt to think first, and then attempt to translate that into paragraphs and English sentences, I find it helps me a lot.

    • by h4rm0ny (722443)

      I think it's also the case that these figures probably largely include general, rather than targeted. Remember - it's in the Pentagon's best interest for America to be under threat. It means more money, more respect and more, er, money. ;)

      The fact that the source of these attacks isn't concealed might also mean that... However, it doesn't need to mean that. After all, the US military might be run by a bunch of short-sighted politicians that don't listen to what their military advisors tell them, and the
      • Doing it fairly openly is classic Chinese psychology

        What is the classic Chinese psychology ? What do you really know about the Chinese and their psychology ?

    • start>run>cmd

      C:\Users\User>ping defense.gov -t

  • chicken feed (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward

    "The cost of such attacks is significant," the report notes. Citing data from the Joint Task Force-Global Network Operations, the report says that the military spent $100 million to fend off these attacks between September 2008 and March 2009

    That's a lot of money... That's almost 8 full hours of what is being spent on Iraq.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by 1s44c (552956)

      "The cost of such attacks is significant," the report notes. Citing data from the Joint Task Force-Global Network Operations, the report says that the military spent $100 million to fend off these attacks between September 2008 and March 2009

      That's a lot of money... That's almost 8 full hours of what is being spent on Iraq.

      Yes but they don't get any oil out of this.

      The phrase 'fend off' network attacks is moronic. You don't 'fend off' cyber attacks you set things up right the first time around. They should be setting things up right before they get attacked not as some afterthought.

      Of course if they run windows on any networked machine they will always have some risk.

  • by hwyhobo (1420503) on Saturday November 21, 2009 @03:25AM (#30182594)

    And here I was, thinking that the Presidential Apology Tour would make it all better.

    On a serious note, by moving our high tech industry offshore we have helped to make it happen. Now, with a broken economy, we appear weak, and we invite ridicule and attack. Clever bandaids added to firewalls will make little difference long term. We need to regain strength and respect. This is not just a technical problem. Our recent administrations (Republicrats and Demopublican alike) through suicidal short-sighted policies aimed only to benefit a few fat cats have made us an easy target. Such is the fate of a fallen giant. Everyone wants to kick him. After all, what are we going to do about it?

    • Truly, as long as people hide behind anonymity when moderating, no one can take the scoring seriously. It damages Slashdot.

      Not everything is just a technical glitch. Some roots go much deeper. Just because you do not understand it, or do not agree with it, it doesn't make it trolling.

    • by pHus10n (1443071)
      1) What's your suggestion to fix the problem? I see a lot of complaints, but so few solutions. You may have suggested something like.... hardening systems thru more secure software (abandon Windows -- whether you like it or not, it's the best target due to being used by everyone). Or, maybe beefing up a cyber attack strategy? No... instead, you complained only to complain.

      2) It's not a Presidential Apology Tour. You could have made a good point, but instead you put your bias at the forefront of y
      • by 1s44c (552956) on Saturday November 21, 2009 @06:55AM (#30183250)

        hardening systems thru more secure software (abandon Windows -- whether you like it or not, it's the best target due to being used by everyone).

        Not quite. Windows is the best target due to its low coding standards, the huge number of security holes it suffers from, and it's unmanageably.

        The fact it is used heavily doesn't make it any more or less secure.

        • hardening systems thru more secure software (abandon Windows -- whether you like it or not, it's the best target due to being used by everyone).

          Not quite. Windows is the best target due to its low coding standards, the huge number of security holes it suffers from, and it's unmanageably.

          The fact it is used heavily doesn't make it any more or less secure.

          Despite the fact that sounds like trolling on Windows...I'll bite. The fact that Windows is the most used desktop OS does increase its surface of attack. Perhaps that is what GP meant?

  • define "attack" (Score:5, Interesting)

    by zkrige (1654085) on Saturday November 21, 2009 @03:29AM (#30182610)
    I have linux boxes all over the place and there are literally thousands of ssh/sft/etc attempts on each box each day. None of them are successful though. Can I claim that my boxes have more attacks than the US Military?
  • The traditional approach toward dealing with Chinese hackers is to fortify all the computers in a company or institute. Fortification takes time and money.

    A better approach may be to rig some computers so that they are easy to hack. We install some deliberately malicious software on those fake computers. Then, we disperse those fake computers among the real computers.

    Here is the ideal scenario. A typical Chinese hacker will probe all the computers at the Department of Defense. The probe will easily

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      You're assuming that the software controlling nuclear warheads is exposed to the network. The US certainly isn't stupid enough to do that, and I doubt China is either.

      • by sopssa (1498795) *

        You seem to overestimate wise thinking when it comes to military and wars. Even Russians had a system that would launch nuclear weapons by a single push of a button [slashdot.org] if connectivity to Moscow was lost (so that even if nuclear weapon was dropped to Moscow, Russia could still hit back - but of course nothing can go wrong by allowing launch of your nuclear weapons when connectivity is lost!)

        • OP wasn't talking about the launch systems, he was talking about the controllers in the warheads themselves -- causing the warheads to melt themselves down (which I'm reasonably sure isn't something they're designed to do under any circumstances) rather than a missile launch. I spent long enough in uniform to know that military intelligence is an oxymoron and all that, but that's not the kind of stupidity militaries go in for.

    • by _merlin (160982)

      So you think killing thousands of citizens is an "ideal scenario"?

    • by Jaro (4361)

      If I remember correctly this is what Clifford Stoll [wikipedia.org] did back in the 80s. Nothing new here.

    • by couchslug (175151)

      Everyone who modded this "Interesting", please obtain a clue about missiles, launch systems, and warheads.

      This is a geek forum, not 4chan.

  • Not surprised (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday November 21, 2009 @03:29AM (#30182616)
    China is in a cold war with the west. These attacks are also going after European and Oceania countries. The question is, when will the west realize that the same means that was used to stop USSR is being quietly used against the West.
  • by Daniel Dvorkin (106857) * on Saturday November 21, 2009 @03:31AM (#30182618) Homepage Journal

    Are there actually that many more attacks, or are they just detecting more of them? I wouldn't be at all surprised if in years past, a lot of military computers have been pwned without anyone knowing it happened ... especially given the DoD's ongoing love affair with Windows.

    • Neither! This data is statistically useless -- what we need to know is how many attacks occurred in the first half of 2008, otherwise the comparison is completely useless. Look at it this way: what if (due to some outside factor) the vast majority of cyber attacks occur in the first half of the year? We know nothing about the distribution of attacks over time, and so we can draw no conclusions from this report!

      I hate it when people misuse statistics...

  • by Anonymous Coward

    "Attacker":
    bt3# ping spacecommand.mil

    DOD:
    ubermaliciouscyberincidents++

  • Garbage (Score:4, Informative)

    by kestasjk (933987) * on Saturday November 21, 2009 @03:38AM (#30182638) Homepage

    The PRC is also recruiting from its growing population of technically skilled people, including those from the private sector, to increase its cyber capabilities. It is recruiting skilled cyber operators from information technology firms and computer science programs into the ranks of numerous Information Warfare Militia units.

    "cyber operators".. "Information Warfare Militia".. What?
    Try actually reading the linked PDF and see if you can take it seriously. All this stuff about increased "cyber attack incidences" and I can find absolutely nothing explicitly linking any incident with the Chinese government or anything even making explicit what a "cyber attack incident" is. (Also "cyber warfare" is a pretty small part of the report itself; the report isn't about "cyber-warfare", but US-China relations.)

    cyber-space (the electro-magnetic spectrum)

    I think that quote just about sums it up. I am stunned that people here on slashdot are taking this seriously, this is the sort of thing I'd expect to see on Fox News.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Hurricane78 (562437)

      The PRC is also recruiting from its growing population of technically skilled people, including those from the private sector, to increase its network capabilities. It is recruiting skilled network operators from information technology firms and computer science programs into the ranks of numerous Information Warfare Militia units.

      “network operators”.. “Information Warfare Militia”.. What?
      Try actually reading the linked PDF and see if you can take it seriously. All this stuff about increased “network attack incidences” and I can find absolutely nothing explicitly linking any incident with the Chinese government or anything even making explicit what a “network attack incident” is. (Also “network warfare” is a pretty small part of the report itself; the report isn’t about “network-warfare”, but US-China relations.)

      What’s wrong with that?

      Oooohhh... I seee... Well, there’s a “app“ for that [userscripts.org]! :D

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by DNS-and-BIND (461968)
      Excuse me sir, are you a member of the 50 cent gang [wikipedia.org]? This isn't anything to do with the rapper, but rather refers to pro-China internet commenters. For the three of you out there who have never heard of this, allow me to introduce:

      50 Cent Party is the name for paid[1] astroturfing bloggers operating since 2005 from People's Republic of China, whose role is posting comments favorable towards the government policies to skew the public opinion on various Internet message boards. They are named by the 50 Chin

      • Re: (Score:1, Offtopic)

        by DNS-and-BIND (461968)
        Troll? Who the F modded me as troll? From the FAQ:

        Concentrate more on promoting than on demoting. The real goal here is to find the juicy good stuff and let others read it. Do not promote personal agendas. Do not let your opinions factor in. Try to be impartial about this. Simply disagreeing with a comment is not a valid reason to mark it down. Likewise, agreeing with a comment is not a valid reason to mark it up. The goal here is to share ideas. To sift through the haystack and find needles.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by JohnBailey (1092697)

          Troll? Who the F modded me as troll? From the FAQ:

          At a guess, someone who couldn't find the self righteous twat moderation. So troll it is.

          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by DNS-and-BIND (461968)
            The 50-cent gang really exists. Chinese militia hackers really exist. Misusing a system and name-calling won't change that.
      • Re:Garbage (Score:4, Insightful)

        by justinlee37 (993373) on Saturday November 21, 2009 @08:07AM (#30183462)
        Who knows, maybe you are the one spreading propaganda. Someone could have faked the evidence of this "50 cent gang" in order to make China look bad. Basically both sides have the motivation to do this sort of thing and it can be hard to figure out who is who sometimes.
        • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward

          Who knows, maybe you are the one spreading propaganda. Someone could have faked the evidence of this "50 cent gang" in order to make China look bad. Basically both sides have the motivation to do this sort of thing and it can be hard to figure out who is who sometimes.

          I would be surprised if China doesn't do this. Corporations and politicians and other organisations in the West do it all the time. I doubt that the Chinese are less adept at propaganda than westerners. Whether this particular "50 cent gang" exists wouldn't make much difference.

        • Both sides? What's the other side? What, you need to fake evidence to find something wrong with the Chinese government?

          I suppose you missed the links to the BBC and Wikipedia articles in my post. I tried to use what typical Westerners would consider the most authoritative sources available, and still I get outright rejection and disbelief. Just because something doesn't fit your value or belief system is no reason to reject hard cold facts.

          The real tragedy of the 50-cent gang is that nowadays, it has so

          • You're assuming that because I have an inquiring and skeptical mind that somehow something doesn't fit my "value or belief system." No, you don't need to fake evidence to find something wrong with the Chinese government. I think it's very oppressive and likely corrupt, and the reports of torture and censorship are very disturbing. However, just because they're bad doesn't necessarily mean that the other "side" (The United States) won't slander them even further with propaganda. "Cyber attacks" could be the

            • Uh....I am very truly, in my heart, pro-China. Anti-PRC bias? Where the F did that come from? This has nothing to do with the Chinese government. I have personally witnessed more than one genuine act of kindness on the part of the Chinese people. This is when no cameras are running, nobody is watching, and people can really be who they truly are. I say to you sir, I have seen it, repeatedly, with my own fucking eyes. It has, more than once, moved me to tears. People who have nothing, FUCKING NOTHING
              • You don't like the People's Republic because of their actions. It's okay. Nobody does. I never suggested that you disliked the Chinese people themselves and you're an idiot for thinking that's what I was saying. But you've lost your ability to be skeptical. You're the one who is acting ignorant. I'm merely keeping an open mind. Why don't you try re-reading the original post you responded to and think about whether or not the poster's criticism was valid, instead of having this childish knee-jerk reaction.
              • Indeed, this is the mission of the 50-cent gang

                You misread my statement. I was saying that you feel like you need to criticize anyone who criticizes an argument which criticizes China. Re-read my sentence, you fucking dolt.

      • by kestasjk (933987) *
        Oh alright, you got me, I'm in the 50 cent gang. But now that I've told you I'm afraid I have to kill you.
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by pspahn (1175617)
      Keep in mind that attitudes like this create the same complacency that makes us vulnerable.

      Don't dismiss something at face value because you "feel" there is a political motive behind it. It might hurt, but try to remain objective.
      • by kestasjk (933987) *
        I thought I was being objective.. I laid out my problems with the report and "feeling a political motive behind it" wasn't among them.
        Why are you telling me to remain objective and not be dismissive, and at the same time dismissing my reasoning because it supposedly creates complacency?
    • by Dan541 (1032000)

      Try actually reading the linked PDF and see if you can take it seriously

      381 pages, most people don't even read the summary let alone the article, let alone a massive pdf.

  • Cyber attacks on US as a news topic jumped the shark in 2009
  • RX35 Switch (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward
    I work in IT support for the military, so if you read any further I will have to kill you.

    A few years ago I was stationed on a large warship.

    Now, you might expect IT security on the shipwide control system to be pretty tight, and indeed the firewalls to prevent external attacks are very secure (you don't really want some geek with a wireless laptop hacking in and controlling the ship lol), but if someone can actually get onto the ship, there are network ports all over which they can plug into and gain
  • by Jaro (4361) on Saturday November 21, 2009 @07:58AM (#30183440)

    Does this really tell me anything? Not really? What kind of "cyber attacks" are that? SSH break-in attempts? Bots looking for known holes? Script kiddies? Mail relay attempts? Or targeted attempts specifically designed to get access to their system? If I go for the script kiddie/SSH category I get around 25.000 attempts a year on one server alone, according to ossec.
    This could also just mean that the number of attacks has risen generally and not specifically against the DoD.

    So many unanswered questions ...

    • What it tells you, of course, is that the military wants you to keep China Is The Bad Guy And A Growing Threat in the back of your mind, in case this current Terrerist thing backfires or grows old or, who knows, is won some how... the meaningless string of words is typed up by the Pentagon and printed on a piece of letterhead that says For Immediate Release. The "independent" media takes it and parrots it across the infosphere without thought, investigation, criticism, or question... you know, those thing

      • The Chinese government considers the United States to be The Main Enemy. Go ahead and laugh, and then go do some google searches on the term in Chinese. Oh, you're an ignorant monolingual Westerner...surely this excuses you from any kind of informed opinion.
  • cyber attacks of mass destruction ? Sorry, but this sounds toi familiar. Somebody get the pentagon a frickin firewall and a new AUP.
  • ... why are we not doing anything real about it to stop them? why do we permit these attacks?

    Let me guess... tit for tat. The whole world is full of lies and deception. It doesn't talk about us doing it to China, but how is that not obvious?

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