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Shhh, Don’t Tell Anyone! Mandiant Credits Anonymous with Helping Uncover China Hacking

3:42 pm in Uncategorized by Phoenix Woman

Chinese FlagEarlier today, the NYT posted this:

An unusually detailed 60-page study, to be released Tuesday by Mandiant, an American computer security firm, tracks for the first time individual members of the most sophisticated of the Chinese hacking groups — known to many of its victims in the United States as “Comment Crew” or “Shanghai Group” — to the doorstep of the military unit’s headquarters. The firm was not able to place the hackers inside the 12-story building, but makes a case there is no other plausible explanation for why so many attacks come out of one comparatively small area.

“Either they are coming from inside Unit 61398,” said Kevin Mandia, the founder and chief executive of Mandiant, in an interview last week, “or the people who run the most-controlled, most-monitored Internet networks in the world are clueless about thousands of people generating attacks from this one neighborhood.”

What the NYT won’t tell you, Huffington Post will — namely, that Mandiant’s researchers credit Anonymous with providing the big break needed to crack the case:

Security researchers and government officials have long claimed that China is behind a growing number of cyber attacks against American computer networks, a charge that China has repeatedly denied. But Mandiant’s 73-page report was unusual in its level of detail, going so far as to profile the identities of three hackers who are believed to be working for the Chinese military. Mandiant said it was able to find connections between two of those hackers and China’s People’s Liberation Army by relying on public data first revealed by the hacker group Anonymous.

In February 2011, Anonymous gained access to the website rootkit.com — an online forum where hackers and researchers share information about hacking techniques — and published personal data of more than 40,000 registered users online. The data included email and IP addresses.

The breach was one of dozens by Anonymous over the past two years and gained relatively little media attention. But now, two years later, security researchers say the data was valuable in helping them find links between hackers and the Chinese military.

“We are fortunate to have access to the accounts disclosed from rootkit.com,” the Mandiant report said.

You can read the Mandiant report here. Read the rest of this entry →

Mandiant: China’s Army Hacking US, Canadian Utility Infrastructure

8:48 pm in Uncategorized by Phoenix Woman

Chinese Flag

Submitted without (much) comment:

On the outskirts of Shanghai, in a run-down neighborhood dominated by a 12-story white office tower, sits a People’s Liberation Army base for China’s growing corps of cyberwarriors.

The building off Datong Road, surrounded by restaurants, massage parlors and a wine importer, is the headquarters of P.L.A. Unit 61398. A growing body of digital forensic evidence — confirmed by American intelligence officials who say they have tapped into the activity of the army unit for years — leaves little doubt that an overwhelming percentage of the attacks on American corporations, organizations and government agencies originate in and around the white tower.

An unusually detailed 60-page study, to be released Tuesday by Mandiant, an American computer security firm, tracks for the first time individual members of the most sophisticated of the Chinese hacking groups — known to many of its victims in the United States as “Comment Crew” or “Shanghai Group” — to the doorstep of the military unit’s headquarters. The firm was not able to place the hackers inside the 12-story building, but makes a case there is no other plausible explanation for why so many attacks come out of one comparatively small area.

“Either they are coming from inside Unit 61398,” said Kevin Mandia, the founder and chief executive of Mandiant, in an interview last week, “or the people who run the most-controlled, most-monitored Internet networks in the world are clueless about thousands of people generating attacks from this one neighborhood.”

Remember when Obama alluded to foreign countries “swiping” our domestic secrets during his State of the Union speech? This is what he was talking about.

This probably could have been nipped in the bud years ago, but that would have pissed off the US titans of industry so eagerly shipping our jobs overseas to Shanghai — and whose largesse funds the election campaigns of our politicians. Even now, I wonder if it could be stopped or even reined in.

And Stuxnet comes home to roost.

Read the rest of this entry →

News Alert for Robert Samuelson: China’s Moving Off Coal and Oil a Lot Faster Than We Are

12:20 pm in Energy by Phoenix Woman

Even as the Tar Sands Action protests at the White House are continuing, the big dogs of the Washington Post — apparently feeling that since the Sulzbergers of the New York Times have taken an anti-Athabascan-Tar-Sands position, they must do the exact opposite — sends forth one of their useful idiots, Robert Samuelson, to try and make the Keystone XL protesters go away:

If Obama rejects the pipeline, he would — perversely — increase greenhouse gas emissions. Canada has made clear that it will proceed with oil sands development regardless of the American decision. If the United States doesn’t want the oil, China and other Asian countries do. Pipelines would be built to the West Coast. Transporting the oil by tanker to Asia would almost certainly create more emissions than moving it by pipeline to closer U.S. markets.

I have two words for that: “Bull” and “Shit”.

First off, it’s very, very expensive to extract oil from tar sands, especially the increasingly-costly Athabascan Tar Sands, so much so that exploiting the Athabascan sands is only economically worthwhile if the oil is pumped through a pipeline (which is itself only possible if the molasses-consistency “oil” is first diluted with lighter oils or even water), and only if oil goes and stays above $4 a gallon at the pump throughout the US, the Keystone XL pipeline’s target market. This is not exactly a safe assumption as $4-a-gallon gas curtails economic production sufficiently to cause a slackening of demand for oil; remember how the price of gas flirted with $4 a gallon in July of 2008, only to start dropping precipitously once the 2008 crash kicked into high gear? In short, taking away the pipeline takes away the developers’ ability to make a profit off of this boondoggle.

Second off, China is, if anything, trying to get the hell off of both coal and oil as fast as it can, because it’s been made crystal-clear what’s going to happen if it keeps kicking out carbon emissions at high rates. China is also determined to use more of its own oil rather than relying on imports; its known reserves of oil and natural gas have increased markedly in recent years. Read the rest of this entry →

Debt Limit Follies: China Learns Not to Trust Republicans

1:08 am in Uncategorized by Phoenix Woman

"Few Dare Call What I Did Treason"

Buried at the very bottom of this story about China’s reading the Riot Act to Boehner and Company over the debt limit (as in: Stop it already, morons!), we find this:

Yuan Gangming, a researcher with the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, a government think tank, smelled some political wrangling behind the U.S. debt debate as the 2012 presidential election draws nearer and said Republicans “want to make things difficult for Obama.”

But with time running short before the U.S. Treasury exhausts its borrowing room, Yuan said default was a real risk.

“The possibility is quite high to see a default of the U.S. debt, which would harm many countries in the world, and China in particular,” he said.

Remember when Republicans like Mark Kirk (see photo above) were working to hamstring Obama on a bigger stimulus package by essentially telling the Chinese leadership not to loan the US any more money now that Obama was president because his budget numbers couldn’t be trusted? Even some conservatives reamed Kirk out for that move.

Have the Republicans totally forgotten that Kirk did this — and most of them approved? Do they think the Chinese are stupid? Now the Chinese are learning that it’s the Republicans whose word they shouldn’t be trusting when it comes to money.

By the way, why aren’t there any quotes in here from the anti-debt bond vigilantes and the Pete Peterson crowd talking about how a brief default will be totally worth it if it leads to less debt in the long run? I mean, isn’t that who the Republicans are doing this for?

(Crossposted at Renaissance Post and Mercury Rising.)

China Rigged Copenhagen to Fail So the US Would Get Blamed for It

9:30 am in Uncategorized by Phoenix Woman

This doesn’t surprise me one bit, really:

Copenhagen was a disaster. That much is agreed. But the truth about what actually happened is in danger of being lost amid the spin and inevitable mutual recriminations. The truth is this: China wrecked the talks, intentionally humiliated Barack Obama, and insisted on an awful “deal” so western leaders would walk away carrying the blame. How do I know this? Because I was in the room and saw it happen.

China’s strategy was simple: block the open negotiations for two weeks, and then ensure that the closed-door deal made it look as if the west had failed the world’s poor once again. And sure enough, the aid agencies, civil society movements and environmental groups all took the bait…

…. Even George Monbiot, writing in yesterday’s Guardian, made the mistake of singly blaming Obama. But I saw Obama fighting desperately to salvage a deal, and the Chinese delegate saying “no”, over and over again. Monbiot even approvingly quoted the Sudanese delegate Lumumba Di-Aping, who denounced the Copenhagen accord as “a suicide pact, an incineration pact, in order to maintain the economic dominance of a few countries”.

Sudan behaves at the talks as a puppet of China; one of a number of countries that relieves the Chinese delegation of having to fight its battles in open sessions. It was a perfect stitch-up. China gutted the deal behind the scenes, and then left its proxies to savage it in public.

And they did it pretty much because they could — and because even with their glaciers melting, the glaciers that supply their rivers, scoring points off the US is far, far more important than making sure the world as a whole survives.

The one thing, besides Lynas’ presence, that kept the Chinese from getting clean away with it: Obama’s breaking into one of the secret meetings the Chinese were holding; the cat started to get out of the bag at that point.

(Crossposted at Mercury Rising.)

UPDATE: I for one should have known something was up when a bunch of nations that turned out to be China’s proxies started hollering over draft documents that were months old and no longer part of the discussion.

While The Legacy Media Republicans Babbled about Bowing, Obama Rescued Copenhagen from the Dumpster

10:31 am in Uncategorized by Phoenix Woman

While the GOP/Media clowns were babbling about bowing, US President Barack Obama and Chinese President Hu Jintao were hammering out a climate-change deal in advance of the great Copenhagen climate summit.

Because of this deal, President Obama is now able to go to Copenhagen with the following good news:

The news that President Obama will seek a emissions target at global talks in Copenhagen has animated a once-moribund meeting and given hope to environmentalists that something tangible can come from them.

The emissions target is expected to correspond to numbers that have been discussed on Capitol Hill, namely a reduction of 17 to 20% below 2005 emissions levels by the year 2020.

This is a direct result of the meeting with China’s Hu Jintao and was expected by those news outlets that were actually paying attention instead of freaking out over bows. As I mentioned last week, both the US and China have now agreed to stop playing climate-change chicken.

And it’s not just China that’s agreed to join the US in working to curb emissions. Obama has met with the leaders of India as well, and got commitments from them on this.

This may be the most significant news of the last decade.

[UPDATE: And no, it's not too late. The economic downturn has bought us an extra 21 months in which to retool our economies to lower emissions. That's 21 extra months for China to retool the older, grossly inefficient and polluting steel factories it has idled because of the downturn. That's 21 extra months for India to do similar upgrades to its factories. That's 21 extra months for the US to do the same thing with its factories. Considering that these three nations account for 56% of the world's CO2 emissions, that's not a small thing.]

(Crossposted at Mercury Rising.)

Good News from Beijing, But It Won’t Be on Your TV

1:00 pm in Uncategorized by Phoenix Woman

Did you hear about the climate-change agreement President Obama just made with his Chinese counterpart Hu Jintao? The one that the noted magazine Scientific American just touted as "More Important than Copenhagen"?

Unless you read SciAm on a regular basis, you probably didn’t. And that’s not your fault. The places where most Americans get most of their news — drive-time radio and the evening TV news — haven’t mentioned it.

Nor are they likely to mention another salient fact: That the Kyoto agreement, the one to which most other major industrialized nations subscribe (we didn’t because Bush wouldn’t, and China didn’t because we didn’t), is working quite well and cutting emissions right on schedule — and without hurting the economies of the signatories:

And note what hasn’t happened: the economies of the Kyoto signatory countries haven’t been hobbled by soaring energy prices. The trading mechanism hasn’t been fatally compromised by market manipulators. Industry hasn’t fled en masse to countries like China that lack binding emissions limits.

We can do better than Kyoto, and ultimately any effort to combat climate change will only be successful if it encompasses all the major emitting countries, including China, India, and Brazil. But the message from Europe’s experience couldn’t be simpler: cap-and-trade works.

Well, now that the US and China are finally ending their game of climate-change chicken, it looks like we will soon be able to do better than Kyoto. And a friendly and ongoing relationship with the nation that, along with us, is responsible for the lion’s share of the world’s current emissions is key to making this happen.

Pity to see all of this flushed down the GOP/Media Complex’s memory hole so they can yammer about the best way to greet foreign heads of state.

[UPDATE: Watch as Jane Hamsher goes toe-to-toe with John McCormack of Rupert Murdoch's Weekly Standard about the effectiveness of Obama's Asian trip.]

Liz Cheney Wants Us To Bow To China

5:41 pm in Uncategorized by Phoenix Woman

Betcha dollars to doughnuts you won’t hear Dan "OMG EEEEK Obama was polite to an Asian dude" Riehl gumming Dick Cheney’s ankle over this.

After all the nonsense emanating from the right-wing bloggers — nonsense slavishly repeated by a corporate media that doesn’t bother to notice that Republican Richard Nixon greeted Chairman Mao with a polite bow without conservative commentators rushing to their fainting couches over it — we find that Liz Cheney, the daughter of their hero, their icon, Dick Cheney, wants us all to bow to China — big time.

Never mind that the alleged "concern" expressed by China, and referenced by Liz Cheney and her partner in sliming, FOX’s Neil Cauvto, is not exactly well sourced. Never mind that, as T.R. Reid notes in The Healing of America, they dropped their extremely successful "barefoot doctors" system in their rush to become capitalists — and so now have the dubious distinction of being the one major industrial nation whose residents have worse access to health care than we do. Never mind that Cheney’s friends at FOX spent a good chunk of yesterday freaking out about "bowing" done for form’s sake, as opposed to the truly submissive grovelling Liz Cheney is now urging on us here in America.

None of that matters. What matters is that once again, FOX tells us that anything, even bowing to China, is OK if a Republican does it.

Revenge of the Dragon: China cancels military contacts with US

4:50 pm in Uncategorized by Phoenix Woman

Last week, in the midst of the unfolding global "credit crunch" meltdown, the Bush people thought it would be a smashing good time to sell a few billion worth of arms to the mortal enemy of the country that’s propping up much of our debt load. Now that country is fighting back:

China has abruptly canceled a series of military and diplomatic contacts with the United States to protest a planned $6.5 billion package of U.S. arms sales to Taiwan, American officials told The Associated Press on Monday.Beijing has notified the U.S. that it will not go forward with several senior level visits and other cooperative military-to-military plans because of the sale, which was announced last week, Pentagon and State Department officials said.

Gee, nobody could have predicted that. Nobody that didn’t have an IQ over 80, that is.