Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
China The Military IT

Chinese Military Admits Existence of Cyberwarfare Unit 153

Posted by timothy
from the and-thanks-for-asking dept.
InfiniteZero writes "China has admitted for the first time that it had poured massive investment into the formation of a 30-strong commando unit of cyberwarriors — a team supposedly trained to protect the People's Liberation Army from outside assault on its networks."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Chinese Military Admits Existence of Cyberwarfare Unit

Comments Filter:
  • by haruchai (17472) on Sunday May 29, 2011 @08:43PM (#36283332)

    and I'm positive their cyber-commandos have been very, very offensive for a long time. It wouldn't surprise me if they haven't been working hand-in-glove with the North Korean counterparts as well.

    • The only part I don't believe is the number 30. Maybe add a couple 0's.
      • I'm sure something was "lost" in translation. Probably those missing zero's, among other things.

        Various articles over the past few years have pointed fingers at China, regarding cyber attacks. Some people have tried to claim that the odd rogue "hacker" was responsible. While that might be possible in some minor cases, the persistence of the attacks indicates the concerted efforts of many people - ie, military involvement.

        • by wisty (1335733) on Sunday May 29, 2011 @11:39PM (#36284020)

          Spoken Chinese is "highly contextual". (Which is a linguist's euphemism for "vague").

          "30" means "30 of whatever the logical unit is". 30 people. 30 platoons. 30 wan (= 30 * 10,000).

          Whatever.

          Point of interest, a very common Chinese phrase is "weishemenibugaosouwo" (I think that's spelled right). It means "Why didn't you tell me?"

          • Very interesting! shame I've got no mod points at the moment. Thanks for sharing.
            • We .gov, .mil, .com... offense is that smart for many C*Os is one platform, one OS, one application (email, web-browser, office...) ... one-way-to-do-all makes IT politically safe, career secure, and flaw-generating to the agile and flexible CrackerCyberCorps moto of "AttackAttackAttack...".

              Curious question: Do all web-browsers provide a default global list of PKI Certificate Authorities (CN, RU...)? Is there a global certificate authority or CA role hierarchy to be trusted for China, Iran, North Korea...?

          • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

            by Anonymous Coward

            It's customary to use the space bar when using pinyin romanization: "wei shenme ni bu gaosu wo?" does not looklikesuchamouthfull.

          • by kubitus (927806)
            here should be the Chinese but slashdot does not support the font! ( maybe they should!)

            -

            Wèishénme ni bù gàosu wo and also ommitts the character with the little v on top!

            Even countries like Austria recruit now Cyber-Warriors!

          • by russotto (537200)

            Point of interest, a very common Chinese phrase is "weishemenibugaosouwo" (I think that's spelled right). It means "Why didn't you tell me?"

            What's Chinese for "You didn't ask." And "The Premier likes surprises."?

        • by breser (16790)

          Some people have tried to claim that the odd rogue "hacker" was responsible. While that might be possible in some minor cases, the persistence of the attacks indicates the concerted efforts of many people - ie, military involvement.

          What a load of bull. Persistant bank robberies doesn't imply an organized military operation is behind them. There are bad people, they do bad things. Hacking is even easier to rationalize than robbing a bank, especially if you're not doing anything other than "stealing" information.

          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by icebike (68054)

            Continuing to see things as simply a police matter, like robbery of a Bodega, leaves you looking very foolish when airplanes fly into your buildings.

            The Chinese have finally admitted what was suspected all along, and yet you arrive hand waiving it away as the act of misbehaving children.

            Bank robberies usually net some cash, which is easily spendable, locally, and quickly. You can rest assured there will be money in any given bank.

            Hackers breaking into NASA, the Army, Lockheed, General Dynamics, Northrup, R

            • Hackers breaking into NASA, the Army, Lockheed, General Dynamics, Northrup, Raytheon, and Boeing can never be sure they will get anything at all, or that what they do get will be marketable.

              Yes but because the average US citizen is brainwashed into hating China or anything that remotely resists MacDonalds and Starbucks means that despite the fact that every major nation in the world (including the US) very likely has a cyber 'defence' department of the military, the said brainwashing means that suddenly every cyber attack, twitchy printer and malware infected porn is the direct result of Chinese cyber warfare.

              • > or anything that remotely resists MacDonalds and Starbucks
                Actually, MacDonalds and Starbucks could be found almost everywhere in major cities in China. No resistance there.

                Though, FYI, they seem to be more fixated on KFC. For some reason the KFC knockoffs (or simply using the name in an unrelated business, eg. "KFC Motors"), is ubiquitous.

            • by nagnamer (1046654)

              Hackers breaking into NASA, the Army, Lockheed, General Dynamics, Northrup, Raytheon, and Boeing can never be sure they will get anything at all, or that what they do get will be marketable. Its fairly difficult for your average college hacker to market the plans for an F22 or the communications system of a Predator drone.

              I remember a long time ago. Since when do you need 30 trained people to do such things? [ojr.org]

      • It would seem to me that it is in their best interest to make people believe they are not as strong as they really are.

    • by couchslug (175151) on Sunday May 29, 2011 @09:39PM (#36283586)

      If the US and China compete militarily, many people in BOTH Military-Industrial Complexes benefit.

      Keep it from being a shooting war and it's one fine welfare program for the beneficiaries.

      • Re:Cold War (Score:3, Insightful)

        by hoboroadie (1726896)

        I was telling everyone who didn't run away fast enough back in the seventies that the only logical explanation for Nuclear Weapons (I lived in Livermore) was to scam the taxpayer, and when we got into the next war we'd have to start from scratch supplying our boys with tools that they could actually use. Also I said that the Russians were desperately behind, and truly fearful of our imperialist intentions, and the people to watch out for were those inscrutable Chinese. I'm pretty sure we should shut down ou

        • by elucido (870205) *

          I don't think it's that simple. China isn't going to go broke. They have more than enough people willing to work for peanuts.

          • That wasn't a deliberate troll, but rather a heinous oversimplification. Too many hours past my bedtime.... I don't expect we'll break them, ha-ha, but it's getting pretty old, subsidizing enemies. Again an oversimplification, but when I look at the gestalt, it sure resembles a conspiracy.

        • I'm pretty sure we should shut down our offshore military and let the Chinese secure the "stability" of the Mideast.

          I don't claim to be an expert on global military strategy, but in the past, every time we've done this and pursued an isolationist policy, the world has come right back knocking on our door with a war that can't be refused. Starting from the war of 1812 (we tried to be neutral, but the British kept capturing our ships), up until WW2.

          Add to that, in the lead up to WW2, if someone had put a little expense into stopping Germany right when they were starting out, it would have been nothing. Instead everyone p

          • The US has not been perusing "an isolationist policy", but an imperialist/for profit one. It certainly has never been keeping to itself militarily, if that is what you were implying. Don't take my word for it, one of the most highly decorated Marines (Major General) of his day spelled it out pretty clearly [wikimedia.org]:

            "I spent 33 years and four months in active military service and during that period I spent most of my time as a high class muscle man for Big Business, for Wall Street and the bankers. In short, I was a racketeer, a gangster for capitalism. I helped make Mexico and especially Tampico safe for American oil interests in 1914. I helped make Haiti and Cuba a decent place for the National City Bank boys to collect revenues in. I helped in the raping of half a dozen Central American republics for the benefit of Wall Street. I helped purify Nicaragua for the International Banking House of Brown Brothers in 1902-1912. I brought light to the Dominican Republic for the American sugar interests in 1916. I helped make Honduras right for the American fruit companies in 1903. In China in 1927 I helped see to it that Standard Oil went on its way unmolested. Looking back on it, I might have given Al Capone a few hints. The best he could do was to operate his racket in three districts. I operated on three continents."

            On WW2:

            The book is also interesting historically as Butler points out in 1935 that the US is engaging in military war games in the Pacific that are bound to provoke the Japanese.

            "The Japanese, a proud people, of course will be pleased beyond expression to see the United States fleet so close to Nippon's shores. Even as pleased as would be the residents of California were they to dimly discern through the morning mist, the Japanese fleet playing at war games off Los Angeles."

            "Butler's particular contribution was his recantation, denouncing war on moral grounds after having been a warrior hero and spending most of his life as a military insider. The theme remained vig

            • See my previous comment [slashdot.org], although I do not apply the first sentence to you.

              If you look at the list of wars that the US has engaged in since its inception, that vast majority have been minor operations where some crappy little dictatorship got overthrown by a new dictator, and american people and interests needed protection. That was certainly a violation of sovereignty, but it's hard to respect the authority of a two-bit dictatorship that will just be overthrown in another five years.
              • A few of us Americans are getting rather tired of backing filibusters around the globe; And when I hear about "promoting stability and prosperity" I figure we're about to invest a few more billion in yet another "two-bit dictator".

            • "The Japanese, a proud people, of course will be pleased beyond expression to see the United States fleet so close to Nippon's shores. Even as pleased as would be the residents of California were they to dimly discern through the morning mist, the Japanese fleet playing at war games off Los Angeles."

              Of course, what this quote doesn't actually show is that the wargames in question were held east of Midway Island (A US possession), which is rather more than 2500 miles from Japan.

              A better comparison might be

          • by mjwalshe (1680392)
            well 1812 was fought for a number of reasons the impression of the sailors was the excuse used for an expansionist policy - trying to invade Canada whilst the Brits where busy with Napoleon.
          • It's funny you say we tried to be neutral until WW2. Were we neutral when we invaded and annexed half of Mexico over a border dispute in Texas? How about when we conquered several Spanish colonies? How about the bazillion interventions in Latin America? The "America was isolationist" myth is just that, a myth. American soldiers have been all over the place. IIRC our troops had been present on every continent but Europe prior to WWI.

            • "America was an isolationist" was very real, you are showing your ignorance by only focusing on events you are aware of. There was serious opposition to the Philippine annexation, and also the Hawaiian annexation for that matter.

              Much as we have today, throughout history there has been an isolationist segment of society and a colonialist, interventionist segment. Sometimes the isolationists won, sometimes the interventionists won. There have always been people like William Walker, but they were not always
            • There has always been a strong current of Isolationism in the US. Many people have held a strong dislike to seeing the US involved in conflicts overseas since the WWI.
              However, the US has throughout its history pretty much, been involved in invading other countries to protect the interests of its major corporations. The US has been the most belligerent nation in the world for most of its history. There have been a variety of reasons given to justify the military activities the US has engaged in, but in the e

              • Typical butthurt Eurotrash viewing things through rosy goggles. Just keep on ignoring the fact that Europe is a fucking hateful shithole that prior to its current "enlightenment" (which is really just blaming the US) lived on the plunder of other countries.

                Go ahead, let's see how you can blame shit like the Opium Wars, the World Wars, the several empires fighting for territory all the time, colonialism, and all that other shit on the US. Oh right, you just blatantly ignore your own history, but the US

                has been the most belligerent nation in the world for most of its history

                beca

      • Only it looks like suicide, accidents or random.

        Just because it's a cold war or not a typical shooting war it doesn't mean it's not a war and that people don't get killed.

    • by PopeRatzo (965947) *

      and I'm positive their cyber-commandos have been very, very offensive for a long time. It wouldn't surprise me if they haven't been working hand-in-glove with the North Korean counterparts as well.

      Yes, but have they reached level 80 in Wrath of the Lich King?

    • by Luckyo (1726890)

      It would be quite surprising to see defensive and offensive units being rolled into a one unit, considering the massive difference in their tasks in this case. Defensive people have to work with infrastructure people to make sure it's hack-proof, while offensive guys have to assault infrastructure of other countries and test their own.

      It would make sense to make two "units" who compete with one another, one being focused on defense and other on offense. At the same time, force information sharing on methods

    • by oztiks (921504)

      When the Chinese do it, its called a special ops team of "cyber warriors" ready to take over the world and reap havoc on the suspecting western world.

      When the Yanks do it, its called the NSA.

      Sorry but who cares? next story?

      • by haruchai (17472)

        Erm, the existence of the NSA has been KNOWN for a long time. not merely suspected. Well I hope that the Cyberchinks put out something cool or useful as a show of good faith, like the NSA did with SELinux

        • by nagnamer (1046654)

          Erm, the existence of the NSA has been KNOWN for a long time. not merely suspected. Well I hope that the Cyberchinks put out something cool or useful as a show of good faith, like the NSA did with SELinux

          Yes, like the "Great Worm of China"

  • by terbo (307578)

    30 units of units..

  • by Anonymous Coward

    "The internet has no boundaries, so we can't say which country or organisation will be our enemy and who will attack us. The Blue Army's main target is self-defence. We won't initiate an attack on anyone[.]"

    Well, I'm glad to hear that! Nothing to worry about.

    [side note: Haha, spelling mistakes]

    • by c0lo (1497653)

      "The internet has no boundaries, so we can't say which country or organisation will be our enemy and who will attack us. The Blue Army's main target is self-defence. We won't initiate an attack on anyone[.]"

      This commando needs constant training... thus some tactical war-games are OK, I s'pose... they aren't destroying real targets, are they? Just penetrating and make some benign copies of the information they found, but... nobody is hurt... Not like a real attack.

  • 2002 called, they want their news back.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      2002 called, they want their news back.

      Did you warn them about Hurricane Katrina, the tsunami in Indonesia, Haiti, and Japan? [xkcd.com]You asshole!

  • Gain funding by selling virtual game currencies to the online public through farming/hacking game accounts and the like.
    • by physburn (1095481)
      I think the threat is bit bigger than just world of warcraft. Much as the world would be much happier if all the war was inside computer games. There is a lot of real war out there, and also lot of espionage. I hope they not doing any hacking in to American networks, or businesses.

      ---

      Network Security [feeddistiller.com] Feed @ Feed Distiller [feeddistiller.com]

      • by c0lo (1497653)

        I hope they not doing any hacking in to American networks, or businesses.

        'Course not, who do you think they are?

  • Why not? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by tgeek (941867) on Sunday May 29, 2011 @08:51PM (#36283360)
    An adversary's Command & Control has always been a prime military target. Why should it be any different in an information age? The only thing that surprises me is the relatively small number of 30 (admitted) members in the unit. I'd bet even money that every single major government in the world has such a cyber unit and probably much larger (*cough* US *cough*) in scale.
    • Only 30 you say??? For your informaton sir each has a special power, Unit 1 Can Fly Unit 2 Can see thru walls Unit 3 Can ear you toughts , yep now i got ya you didnt believe right ...... .... ..... Unit 30 Has a large blue penis The Blue Command present sir!!!
    • by couchslug (175151)

      What surprises me is anyone who puts Command and Control functions in the internet.

      Anyone who orders that be done should get the Chinese-style penalty of being shot in public.

      • What surprises me is anyone who puts Command and Control functions in the internet.

        facepalm.
        Do you really think this type of intrusion/espionage/hacking is limited to 'the internet'?
      • double facepalm.

        Why do you think the Internet was built in the first place?
        • by drinkypoo (153816)

          Why do you think the Internet was built in the first place?

          As a research project into military networks, which proved to be unsuitable for actual military use, but from which we can assume many valuable lessons were learned.

    • by sco08y (615665)

      An adversary's Command & Control has always been a prime military target. Why should it be any different in an information age? The only thing that surprises me is the relatively small number of 30 (admitted) members in the unit. I'd bet even money that every single major government in the world has such a cyber unit and probably much larger (*cough* US *cough*) in scale.

      They're not exactly a secret. I visited one when I got done with active duty to talk about signing up with them as a reservist.

    • The US isn't as coy about its cyber warfare as you are - the Navy has a designation titled "Information Warfare," the Air Force Information Warfare Center lists "offensive and defensive counter information and information operations" as its main goal, and the US Cyber Command hopes to "recruit, train and retain highly qualified cyber-warfare combatants"

      http://www.navy.com/careers/information-and-technology/information-warfare.html [navy.com]
      http://www.fas.org/irp/agency/aia/cyberspokesman/97aug/afiwc.htm [fas.org]
      http:// [wikipedia.org]
  • ...David Lightman, so nuuh!!!
  • by MakinBacon (1476701) on Sunday May 29, 2011 @08:57PM (#36283386)
    Anybody else find it hilarious when governments try to make their "cyberwarfare" divisions sound badass with phrases like "30-strong commando unit of cyberwarriors"?
    • by Aphrika (756248)
      But only 30? They must be utterly shit hot at everything if there are so few of them. Even Bletchley Park had hundreds of geeks working for them in WWII.

      I mean seriously, if I was putting together a 'cyber warfare' team, it would be the most Badass Dirty Dozen unconventionally styled team based on experience, knowledge and skillsets. If they've done something daft like stuck these 30-odd people on a 'cyber warfarepresuming course', they've already failed.
      • The thirty they admit to are actually high ranking officers, each in command of hundreds of junior officers and senior technicians. And, that doesn't even count the support echelons associated with them.

      • But only 30? They must be utterly shit hot at everything if there are so few of them.

        Yes, yes, such as small number if they are meant to "defend" anything. It would be ludicrous to think that such a small team "trained to protect the People's Liberation Army from outside assault on its networks" could be effective. However, a small team of highly skilled hackers might be effective in a targeted attacks to penetrate the outside networks of others.

        They were already found out, it makes no sense to hide it, and so now it's public information. Now at least the Chinese people can be proud, "

        • by haruchai (17472)

          China takes a different attitude towards admittance - you can still find officials who'll say that noone died at the 1989 Tiananmen Square protests

        • Personally, I blame Sony. If only they had better security they wouldn't have made such a good training ground for these 30...

          I wouldn't exactly call that training. From what I've been reading, a four year old with an iPad could have hacked Sony.

          • You know what's funny? In shitty hacker movies, the villain would show astonishment that they were broken into "with a laptop" or something like that, as if breaking in with a supercomputer would have been easier. But these days with artificially limited computers, that logic now makes sense. Breaking in with an iPad is harder. Future generations may not fully appreciate the shittyness of those old movies.

      • I wonder if they just work 9 to 5. If they are working 24/7, thats 5 people per position, so a team of 6 always on duty. 6 people is what? The size of a rather large assessment team? This is probably the 6 guys who watch the Great Firewall of China server logs.
    • by sco08y (615665)

      Anybody else find it hilarious when governments try to make their "cyberwarfare" divisions sound badass with phrases like "30-strong commando unit of cyberwarriors"?

      If it's not something a PR flack dreamt up and is actually known by regular soldiers, it's going to turn into a term of derision instantly, much like the US Army has keyboard commandos and chairborne rangers.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    It's to distract attention from the CONNECTION RESET BY PEER

  • "Cyber Warriors" (Score:1, Interesting)

    Does this include drone pilots, like the ones the US has, dropping bombs from the basement of a Las Vegas casino? I mean, what could be more 'cyber' than that?

    • by VortexCortex (1117377) <VortexCortex@Nos ... t-retrograde.com> on Sunday May 29, 2011 @09:35PM (#36283574)

      what could be more 'cyber' than that?

      I put on my robe and wizard hat.
      I cast Lvl. 3 Eroticism. You turn into a real beautiful woman.
      I meditate to regain my mana, before casting Lvl. 8 chicken of the Infinite.

    • Yeah, I agree.

      what could be more 'cyber' than that?

      Well, soldiers with cybernetic implants, and I think we're not many years away from that.

      People waging war using the internet should be called "internet soldiers".
      People waging war using using drones should be called "drone soldiers" or "remote soldiers".
      People waging war using using cybernetic implants can/will be called "cyber(netic) soldiers".

      Otherwise, when cybernetics do become part of soldiering, what are we going to call them?
      Okay, sure, we'd invent another word. But why twist words

  • An army needs supplies;
    Organizing supplies (logistics) gets very complicated, and needs IT infrastructure;
    Disabling an opposing army's supply lines is a proved war strategy;
    Enemies could damage the IT infrastructure, thereby endangering the supply lines;
    In a conflict, enemies will try to damage the army's IT infrastructure;
    An army needs people who can protect its IT infrastructure and damage the enemy's.

    • is that the US army is used to not having IT infrastructure even on a good day. our IT people are so inept and incompetent that we train as if they are not there, cause most of the time they are not. the mission goes on. we can still march and supply without IT infrastructure.

      we have our own cyber warfare unit and they probably suck as much as the people in charge of the army networks. now, the contractors the government hires are probably pretty good. but the army... not so much.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    So if they're revealing 30, that means there's at least 3x somewhere else...

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Cyberwarriors run on Clearasil, Red Bull and porn.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    I've always wondered: what, exactly, are the things that a "cyberwarfare unit" would actually *do*? I can see the need for, say, communications blocking / tampering in offensive and defensive situations (US in Afganistan blocking local communications). If there was a group of militery pen-testers, which I'm sure there are in almost any countries military, I could sort of see why they'd be called "cyberwarfare warriors". But, I'd have thought that there were already network engineers / security auditors, and

    • by Anonymous Coward

      I've always wondered: what, exactly, are the things that a "cyberwarfare unit" would actually *do*?

      Stuxnet [wikipedia.org] for one.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    It's like "The 's military admits that water can be wet." thingy. Right?

    Report of "Chinese" employee downloading entire servers worth of data oversee were already old and proven 15 years ago.

    Now corporation think of IT security as an over valued expanse that can be compensated with DRM.

    The rest is news at 11h. Barely.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    They should hire a cyber ninja instead.
    They only need to hire 1 and he will pwn the rest of the world.

  • by PPH (736903) on Sunday May 29, 2011 @10:06PM (#36283688)

    ... their regular commandos. Except they have tape wrapped around the bridge of their night vision goggles.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    In a recent test of its powers, reported the PLA Daily, the Blue Army was thrust into a simulated cyberbattle against an attacking force four times its size and left to defend China's military networks against a bombardment of virus attacks, massive barrages of junk mail and stealth missions into the inner sanctums of military planning to steal secret information on troop deployment. The Blue Army, predictably, triumphed.

    It sounds like they just connected their test network to the internet.

  • ``Warriors, come out and play yay!'' Beer bottle clinking in alternating patterns.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    30 enlisted personnel and 300,000 contractors.

  • China's population - 1.3 Billion, 30 strong commando unit = 0.000002253% of population using real pop. #'s. In America, as a CISSP working security for govt. where there are FAR more of us than that....I must say in the numbers game...we got this one in the bag, for once...just sayin.
    • by creat3d (1489345)
      Right, because there's no way they'd lie about their numbers...?
      • True...and we'd never lie about how Patriot Act usurps basic constitutional rights. Ever nation's politics has its gray areas, no denying.
  • Oh shit, they are going to upgrade all of humanity. Where is the Doctor when you need him?

  • Everytime I boot my linux box I get a fortune cookie under my desk... Was wondering.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    The attack on RSA, then Lockheed Martin was too long term and risky for any of the Organized Crime hacking groups. It was definitely a government. The only ones that can capitalize on the return are the Chinese. Well, I suppose the French might be an extremely unlikely 2nd place.

    So, they hacked Lockheed, so they could make better attack aircraft, so they could protect the PLA from outside assault on its networks. Like hell. About the same time the attack on Lockheed went down, I noticed they were scanning f

  • This is news? Isn't this the same as the US admitting the existence of Delta Force, Seal Team 6, or Area 51? I mean really?

    Rah, rah, the Chinese have a "computer commando" unit... big freaking deal. A "blue" team the same as a US "red" team? Great, so it's a pen-test team, maybe with other duties. Like the US doesn't have anything like that in the government or private sectors...

    /., it's too early to be wasting my time on this...

No man is an island if he's on at least one mailing list.

Working...