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posted by martyb on Tuesday May 20 2014, @12:42PM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the behind-the-scenes dept.

The Huffington Post has a story of what must be seen as the height of absurdity. As part of the fallout from the recent indictments of 5 PLA cyber-spies, China is threatening to suspend cooperation on joint US-Chinese cyber-security efforts. What can the world's two biggest players in industrial espionage possibly be cooperating on?

The linked story notes that efforts so far have been largely ineffective. Is there anything the US could realistically do? An IP block sounds tempting, but VPNs render that largely ineffective. Fund open-source firewalls or "advanced persistent threat" filters or ...?

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  • (Score: 5, Insightful) by Fluffeh on Tuesday May 20 2014, @12:48PM

    by Fluffeh (954) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday May 20 2014, @12:48PM (#45581) Journal

    What can the world's two biggest players in industrial espionage possibly be cooperating on?

    Controlling their citizens and ensuring their government/agency continues to grow in power and authority. Making the rick richer and keeping the average citizen in obedience and if possible enjoying the security the aforementioned state/government/agency brings them and even thanking them for it.

    • (Score: 5, Funny) by DMS on Tuesday May 20 2014, @12:55PM

      by DMS (4349) on Tuesday May 20 2014, @12:55PM (#45582)

      Well, when you put it like that, it's easy to see why they prefer the shorthand "fighting the terrorists".

    • (Score: 4, Interesting) by Thexalon on Tuesday May 20 2014, @02:10PM

      by Thexalon (636) on Tuesday May 20 2014, @02:10PM (#45607)

      That, and trying to spy on their mutual frenemy Russia. As much as I don't like what Vladimir Putin is up to, he's right to think that the US, EU, and China all have it in for him: We've been doing our best to remove his allies in Syria, Ukraine, and Iran.

      --
      Alcohol makes the world go round ... and round and round.
      • (Score: 4, Insightful) by frojack on Tuesday May 20 2014, @05:14PM

        by frojack (1554) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday May 20 2014, @05:14PM (#45658) Journal

        Well, Russia was pretty much on the path to acceptance prior to Putin's rampage to recover the lost empire. Tourism was up, living standards were way up, exports were strong.

        If I was his neighbor I'd be nervous too. Especially if I had a significant population of russian speaking speaking people in my country. That seems to be his criteria.

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  • (Score: 3, Insightful) by frojack on Tuesday May 20 2014, @05:32PM

    by frojack (1554) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday May 20 2014, @05:32PM (#45662) Journal

    The US seems to stage these grand standing moves at precisely the time they need to suppress some other news.

    So days after Cisco's blistering letter to Obama [soylentnews.org] about intercepting and compromising routers shipped overseas, the US make a big deal about indicting people they will never get their hands on. (And who will probably be given medals for their accomplishments).

    But the letter to Obama seems hardly enough to justify this kind of silliness. I suspect, somewhere in the dark, another shoe is dropping, and the CIA/NSA has something going on, or is in trouble, and needs a diversion.

    Previously, they made a big deal about blocking Hauwei networking equipment [wikipedia.org] sales to the west, due to military ties and spying. Then In 2014 the New York Times reported, based upon documents leaked by Edward Snowden, that the U.S. National Security Agency has since 2007 been operating a covert program against Huawei, and is alledged to have compromised Huawei's router software.

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    • (Score: 2) by Yog-Yogguth on Thursday May 22 2014, @04:41PM

      by Yog-Yogguth (1862) Subscriber Badge on Thursday May 22 2014, @04:41PM (#46439) Journal

      Yup they're stuck in a nice chaotic feedback loop that won't end any time soon. So they do something, and then they have to start backtracking and modifying and responding while they stonewall it publicly. Meanwhile not everyone gets the multiple conflicting memos because whatever is happening is not public official government business or anything close to legal or ethical and then another mess is complete which will never be resolved in their favor. Hit repeat and increase the speed.

      Let's see what happens when the "72 hours" thing is up, maybe they'll launch a nuke now that they have it on paper that they can't retake their own nuclear silos. Hey maybe they'll target Bahamas in order to remove some evidence :D

      And since they're promising violence the bets would be it's a muslim nation like Iraq or anywhere with money like Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, or the Emirates. Because wouldn't money be the main reason to keep every conversation in Bahamas? Wikileaks flicked the racism card in Oblamma's face so whatever country it is it's not predominately inhabited by white-colored people... maybe it's Sweden?

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  • (Score: 2) by starcraftsicko on Tuesday May 20 2014, @05:34PM

    by starcraftsicko (2821) on Tuesday May 20 2014, @05:34PM (#45663) Journal

    More information about the indictments here [washingtonpost.com].

    1. They weren't really cooperating anyway. If they stop pretending to cooperate, there should be no real difference.

    2. The indictments that kicked off this spat are really interesting because they name real people. Not just screennames. Not IP addresses. That means that the US prosecutors are at least theoretically prepared to explain to a court how they know who did it. Despite the flaws in the US legal system, that's no small achievement.

    3. I don't think the US would try in absentia, however if I was the Chinese (, i'd be shorter. j/k), I'd be tempted to turn over one of the named criminals for trial. Depending on how the case is structured, the legal discovery process in the US could expose enough to make it worthwhile. I wouldn't want to be the sacrificial Chinese hacker though.

    4. Finally, it is a bit hypocritical for the US to have a policy of spying on... everyone... and then to charge spies. OTOH, it's rare that a particular spy is associated with a particular operation, so there's that.

    --
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    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 20 2014, @06:27PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 20 2014, @06:27PM (#45686)

      You seem to assume that the allegations made by the US are true, I don't see any good reason for that assumption.

      • (Score: 2) by starcraftsicko on Tuesday May 20 2014, @08:40PM

        by starcraftsicko (2821) on Tuesday May 20 2014, @08:40PM (#45723) Journal

        You seem to assume that the allegations made by the US are true, I don't see any good reason for that assumption.

        Well, you are an AC. Why would I trust your analysis?

        I presume that anyone accused of a crime that I did not see for myself is innocent... but I infer a probability of their guilt by their actions when accused and am willing to deduce guilt from facts if presented. I also know that US prosecutors are able to prove most of their cases at trial and settle even more by guilty plea. I also know that a portion of those convictions (both kinds) are false, but not anywhere close to half of them... so they're mostly right.

        I believe that the prosecutors believe that the persons named are actually and provably guilty of the specific acts alleged. The domestic and international ramifications if they are completely false are substantial. Were the case(s) to go to trial, the US Government would be compelled by its own laws to disclose what they know about this and how they know it. The international press (and I'm talking European here) would swarm all over any abuse of process.

        There is also the possibility that the allegations could be true, but that the actions of the hackers are not criminal. If a member of a foreign military undertakes a (spying) mission following lawful orders, their actions might represent an 'international incident' or an 'act of war'... or even 'lawful intelligence gathering'. This would represent an affirmative defence by the individuals accused and would implicate the Chinese government in doing things it denies... which may be an acceptable outcome from the US prosecutors perspective.

        And either way it's hypocrisy. Which doesn't mean it isn't true. Or that it is.

        --
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        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 20 2014, @09:01PM

          by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 20 2014, @09:01PM (#45730)

          Yeah, the prosecutors may well believe in the guilt of the accused, but that doesn't mean that they base their assessment on accurate data. I would expect that the majority of evidence in a hacking case would be electronic data and here the problems start for me with figuring out what is going on. Would it be possible for let's say the NSA to spoof the data or even carry out an attack from compromised chinese computers? I believe that it is well within their capabilities. Do I think that the NSA or similar agency would be willing to do such a thing to fling dirt on the chinese and seemingly bring more legitimacy to their own programs? Yeah, I don't think that they for a second would consider that wrong. On the other hand, do I think that the chinese conduct industrial espionage? Well yes, I'm fairly convinced that they do such things quite routinely. My point is that in the current state of affairs it's impossible to find out the truth about such an allegation and for me agencies such as the NSA definitely brings reasonable doubt wether the accused are guilty.

          What I find more interesting is that focus seems to be shifting from Russia to China in the propaganda, I mean news, that are served to the public.

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 21 2014, @01:42AM

          by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 21 2014, @01:42AM (#45778)

          I wouldn't be so quick to trust the numbers, they are easily manipulated.

          Sure 'on average' most people are guilty. But if want to target 1 innocent person unfairly, I only have to arrest say 10 or so real criminals. And with the largest number of prisoners in the world it would be easy to sneak a few through the cracks.

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 22 2014, @04:49PM

          by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 22 2014, @04:49PM (#46441)

          There is a chance an AC is not the US government or representing the US government, thus an AC is inherently more trustworthy :)

          Today the sky is mostly white (might not apply to your location).

          P.S. posting this as AC for added impact!