Friday, May 30, 2008

China's Perfidy

Inspector Clouseau, in the Pink Panther movies, referred affectionately to Kato, his Chinese sidekick and servant, as his "little yellow friend". Part of the humor of course was that Kato was more competent and knew more than his famously inept boss. Uncle Sam, in both his corporate and government roles, is playing the part of Inspector Clouseau to China's Kato, who continues to attack us--even when, as with the original Clouseau, we know it is coming.

The National Journal has a breathtaking piece about the depth and breadth of Chinese treachery, and the absolutely...what's the word I'm looking for? lame? limp? pathetic?... response we have so far managed to their cyber intrusions. Perhaps you recall back in August of 2003, a major power outage across the Midwest and into Canada--a mysterious cascading failure of power plants that drew fire from Congress, the press, and consumer groups. No one had an adequate explanation. Until now. It seems Chinese hackers, with government approval and sponsorship, have been beavering away at their keyboards, and have gotten very sophisticated at hacking into whatever they fancy, including our power grid. It's a wonder they don't own us already.

An excerpt from the article:

Stephen Spoonamore, CEO of Cybrinth, a cyber-security firm that works for government and corporate clients, said that Chinese hackers attempt to map the IT networks of his clients on a daily basis. He said that executives from three Fortune 500 companies, all clients, had document-stealing code planted in their computers while traveling in China, the same fate that befell [US Commerce Secretary] Gutierrez.

Spoonamore challenged U.S. officials to be more forthcoming about the breaches that have occurred on their systems. “By not talking openly about this, they are making a truly dangerous national security problem worse,” Spoonamore said. “Secrecy in this matter benefits no one. Our nation’s intellectual capital, industrial secrets, and economic security are under daily and withering attack. The oceans that surround us are no protection from sophisticated hackers, working at the speed of light on behalf of nation-states and mafias. We must cease denying the scope, scale, and risks of the issue. I, and a growing number of my peers believe our nation is in grave and growing danger.”

But our government and our major corporations are no more likely to come clean on this than on the actual scope and severity of counterfeiting of US currency, or than US retail chains will about the actual losses they sustain from theft. Makes them all look like Inspector Clouseau.

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