Overcoming the insecurity behind China's cyber forays
The China Post news staffNothing like a stay in China helps awaken the modern day traveler to the horrible inefficiencies of the Great Firewall of China. Navigating the Internet is like walking through a cyber minefield; when one clicks on a page that is deemed forbidden, the offender is greeted with an error message saying “the connection has been reset.”
February 25, 2013, 12:03 am TWN
Letting go of long-standing fears about free media and the Internet, and ceasing illegal underground cyber activities will earn China the respect of nations and truly open the pathway to developing into a modern, dynamic and strong country.
Media reports say that Lee Kai-fu, former president of Google Inc.'s China division, was blocked for three days from posting on “weibo,” China's micro-blogging service. DPP Chairman Frank Hsieh was also banned from weibo, reports said last week.
Known black lists include the Tibetan government in exile's webpage, the democracy advocacy group Freedom House's page, news organization Bloomberg's page and the social networking services Twitter and Facebook. Video sharing service Youtube is blocked. Most relevant to Taiwanese, all Web addresses ending with the suffix “.gov.tw” are inaccessible.
A common method of bypassing the firewall is routing through proxy servers. Unfortunately, the censors have responded by blocking many proxy listing sites.
The other edge of China's cyber control is its hacking offensive against foreign organizations. The Wall Street Journal, New York Times and Washington Post all reported attacks seeking to retrieve data that the Chinese government considers of interest. Bloomberg was blacklisted last year after it published reports about the wealth of future President Xi Jinping. The New York Times is inaccessible following a report about Premier Wen Jiabao's relatives amassing US$2.7 billion through business contracts.
“Exposing one of China's cyber espionage units,” a report by cybersecurity firm Mandiant Tuesday made waves again with its allegations that massive amounts of data ranging from blueprints to contact lists to corporate mergers have been compromised by a group of hackers in People's Liberation Army's Unit 61398. According to Mandiant, the unit “has systematically stolen hundreds of terabytes of data from at least 141 organizations.”
On Wednesday, the Washington Post ran a story about how China's hackers have basically penetrated just about every prominent organization in the U.S. capital that is a hall of government power, a corporation, a think tank or a human rights group. The Post quoted the president of CrowdStrike, a cyber security firm, as saying the Chinese presence is so pervasive that “I've yet to come across a network that hasn't been breached.”