Google's Eric Schmidt calls China 'most sophisticated hacker'

Discussion in 'China' started by Ray, Feb 2, 2013.

  1. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

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    Google's Eric Schmidt calls China 'most sophisticated hacker' in new book

    Executive chairman warns US companies of consequences of 'not taking the same path of digital corporate espionage'


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    Eric Schmidt of Google has criticised China in his new book, The New Digital Age.

    Eric Schmidt the executive chairman of Google, has criticised China in his new book, describing the country as the world's "most sophisticated and prolific hacker".

    According to extracts quoted by the Wall Street Journal, Schmidt's new book, The New Digital Age, paints a picture of a dangerous superpower using "illicit competition" to see off rivals.

    "The disparity between American and Chinese firms and their tactics will put both the government and the companies of the United States at a distinct disadvantage," Schmidt writes, because "the United States will not take the same path of digital corporate espionage, as its laws are much stricter (and better enforced) and because illicit competition violates the American sense of fair play. This is a difference in values as much as a legal one."

    Google has clashed repeatedly with the Chinese authorities. Beijing reacted furiously to the company's claims that Chinese authorities were hacking Gmail accounts; last year Google's service was blocked as the Communist Party appointed its first new leader in a decade.

    Smith and co-author Jared Cohen call China "the world's most active and enthusiastic filterer of information" as well as "the most sophisticated and prolific" hacker of foreign companies.

    But the technology China uses so effectively may well come back to haunt it, the authors believe. "This mix of active citizens armed with technological devices and tight government control is exceptionally volatile," they write, suggesting that that such a situation could lead to "widespread instability". China, they predict, will see "some kind of revolution in the coming decades."

    Schmidt's comments come a day after the New York Times and Wall Street Journal revealed they had been the victim of Chinese hackers.

    The book is likely to inflame the already tense relationship between Google and China. Last year, in an interview with the Guardian, co-founder Sergey Brin warned against China's attempts to censor the internet.

    Last month Schmidt told an audience at Cambridge University that the internet would win out in the end. "There's no country where the situation has worsened with the arrival of the internet," he said. "Citizens can use their mobile phones to raise the cost of corruption. And even in China, the regime can be shamed – when there was a train crash recently the government tried to hush it up, but people began posting pictures on [the Twitter-like chat service] Weibo, and the story got out.

    "The strike by journalists at Southern Weekly over censorship – the fact that they could do that and then go back without trouble shows that the government, even that autocracy, is sensitive to the fact that it can be shamed online."

    Google's Eric Schmidt calls China 'most sophisticated hacker' in new book | Technology | guardian.co.uk

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    News of 01 Feb.

    We have read on this Forum of many spats between the Chinese Govt and Google and how Google is hamstrung in China and not elsewhere..

    We have also seen Fox news report being appended to indicate how some Indian hackers have hacked US Govt sites and how the Indian spilled the beans out of sheer love for the US or words to that effect.

    But here is what the Google boss has to say.

    I am being logical and indicating the facts as is being reported.

    What is interesting is this aspect

    :
     
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  3. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

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    What the New York Times Chinese hack tells us about the layer cake of hacking

    The infiltration of the American newspaper by hackers reckoned to be working for the Chinese government is a demonstration of the layered model of hacking: from noisy to silent, amateur to professional



    The hack of the New York Times, almost certainly by Chinese hackers working for the military and/or Chinese government, provides a number of important lessons about the modern world of hacking.

    They are: antivirus won't help if you are being targeted by top-level hackers: the New York Times was using Symantec's offering; but out of 45 pieces of custom malware, Symantec's software identified just one.

    And: universities and other academic locations are prime stepping stones for hackers looking to get into bigger, better protected systems: the Chinese hackers used systems at the universities of North Carolina, Arizona, Wisconsin and Nex Mexico, as well as a number of smaller companies.

    (By the way, "hackers" here is used as "people who break into systems without the owners' permission". The older use, of "someone who plays around with what computers can do", has long since been subsumed into the newer one.)

    The full story of the attack - in its four-month full detail - is hair-raising reading.

    But the reality is that while everyone might have heard of Anonymous, the hackers you really need to worry about are the ones you haven't heard of.

    In fact it's very easy to understand the world of hacking. It splits into three layers, each almost hermetically sealed off from the other, and each almost indifferent to the other.

    The three levels, in increasing order of ability and decreasing order of visibility, is:

    • the amateurs. The prime example of these is Anonymous, the loose collective of hackers who are roughly organised around a few ideas - that anyone can be a member, that anyone can speak for them, and that if enough of you (even if not most or all) can agree on a target, then they'll go after it. Some of them aren't particularly great hackers; to quote Judge Peter Testar, who was in charge of the trial of three British members of Anonymous recently, "The defendants were actually rather arrogant," Testar said. "They thought they were far too clever to be caught and used various methods to try to cloak and preserve their anonymity. It seems to me that the police were a little bit more clever than the conspirators."

    Sometimes it's hard to know whether the claims are correct: in September 2012 some Anonymous members claimed to have hacked an FBI agent's laptop and stolen a million user details stored on it. Instead, they'd been taken from a web publisher, BlueToad.

    Some Anonymous members are, howeer, pretty accomplished; "Sabu" - real name Hector Monsegur - certainly showed aptitude, and led the LulzSec crew during what we might call the Summer of Lulz in 2011. They were able to cover their tracks and carry out various incursions against small and large sites, and it may have only been Monsegur's complicity (he had been caught by the FBI, and was in effect a double agent) that led to their early arrest.

    But the point about Anonymous, and pretty much any amateur, is that they're doing it to get noticed, for whatever reason. Even though Gary McKinnon wasn't trying to deface sites, he was looking for "hidden" evidence about UFOs - and you can be that if he'd found it, he would have made it public.

    Next up are
    • the commercial hackers. These are the people who steal and trade credit card details, write (or tweak) the software that infects machines to create spambots, do browser hijacks, and so on. They're very much focussed on the commercial side; making money is the name of the game. To them, Anonymous are those annoying kids who go around bringing too much attention onto the weaknesses of computers. There's a definite tension between the commercial hackers and Anonymous; although they're both aware of each other, Anonymous can't take down the commercial hackers - it's risky to take on people who might resort to real violence.

    Commercial hacking is a gigantic business; the estimates vary, but in terms of the cost to companies, they're always in the billions. The trading of stolen data is common on hidden web forums; you have to know someone to get to them.

    But the commercial hackers aren't necessarily the most capable. That prize goes to the next group, who are barely ever glimpsed - except at times like this:

    • government and military hackers. These are the people working for the National Security Agency (NSA) or MI6 or Israel's Mossad or whichever country's secret service you'd like to focus on. These are the people who write software such as Stuxnet, which is so stealthy that it was deployed in 2008 but wasn't detected until 2010, having wreaked havoc on Iran's uranium processing systems. As a strategy, you have to say it was brilliant: a bomb attack on the facility would have caused a gigantic political row, and might not have succeeded (because the facility is deep underground). But as long as its computers are connected, the right piece of malware can get in.

    These are the people behind attacks like that on the New York Times, for while there might be some angry keyboard warriors in China about the fact that the NYT sometimes isn't totally supportive of the Party line, the fact that the attacks began ahead of the publication of the first story, and continued for four months using zero-day hacks (which is why Symantec's AV couldn't detect them) tells you that these were not angry amateurs. Instead they were professional - to the extent, the investigators at Mandiant said, that they would start at 8am Beijing time, and work normal hours, with the occasional burst going through to midnight in Beijing - equivalent to 11am in New York. In effect, the Chinese hackers were starting at 7pm New York time, and rooting through the systems as fewer and fewer people were in the office. For a hacker, that's ideal.

    Government also have access to those sorts of zero-day exploits - and the best reason to deploy them: they're trying to attack well-defended cyber-targets. There's actually a thriving market in zero-day exploits, with a number of companies selling them to the highest bidder.

    In fact Charlie Miller - an ex-NSA staffer who has demonstrated remarkable and previously-unseen hacks at a number of conferences - says that he once sold a zero-day exploit to the US government. As he put it to the Washington Times: "Do I do the thing that's good for the most people and not going to get me money at all, or do I sell it to the U.S. government and make $50,000?"

    For the government hackers, anonymity - the real sort, rather than the mask-wearing, visible Anonymous sort - is an essential currency. They have to remain invisible both in their daily life, and their online life. Miller was pretty much unknown before he emerged from the NSA; in a revealing interview a couple of years ago, he explained that "I've liked tinkering around with computers since I was a kid, but got a degree in Mathematics. After that, it was five years of on-the-job training at the NSA."

    His training and work is being repeated around the world by hundreds - perhaps thousands - of full-time professional hackers. Yet we don't know their names; they don't have an organisation, don't parade, don't seek any attention at all. Though the people in the other two layers know that these elite hackers must exist, they'll hardly ever come across a trace of them. Quite what state-sponsored hackers think of the amateurs or the commercial hackers isn't clear; not enough of them have ever been interviewed to make that clear. But the difference between them and the amateurs is like that between any professional and an amateur; the gap is vast.

    The doesn't ease the challenge for the New York Times (nor, indeed, the Wall Street Journal, which says that it too was attacked to find out about its China coverage). Knowing that you might be the target of top-level hackers is only helpful if you know what to watch for. The New York Times was able to ask AT&T to monitor its networks for "suspicious behaviour", but that's not available to everyone - and some networks might not show it up.

    Is there an answer? Unfortunately, no. All you can say is that the more visible the hacker, the less - generally - you have to worry about. Being hacked by Anonymous and having company data (usually usernames and hashed passwords) sprayed around the web is uncomfortable, but it won't usually destroy your business. The risk from state hackers is far greater - because they can effectively be standing over your shoulder (or under your keyboard), watching everything without you having the least idea it's happening.

    What the New York Times Chinese hack tells us about the layer cake of hacking | Technology | guardian.co.uk
     
  4. nimo_cn

    nimo_cn Senior Member Senior Member

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    Google has been acting like a spoiled boy since it was defeated in Chinese market.

    Kind of desperate to blame others for one's own failures, have no clue where Google picked up that bad habit, from Indians?
     
  5. cir

    cir Senior Member Senior Member

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  6. cir

    cir Senior Member Senior Member

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    whining and whinging old ladies。。。:rofl:
     
  7. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

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    No, it is from the Chinese.

    Always complaining about the US and how it is encircling China - as if China was the Centre of the Universe!

    To be frank, what is China so afraid of Google?

    No one else is.

    And they are as bad or as good to others as to China.

    Only those who have something to hide and keep their people with blinkers are always afraid!

    Logically speaking, a T_co wants all to adhere to - what is the issue with Google?

    What is that makes China afraid of Google?
     
    Last edited: Feb 2, 2013
  8. nimo_cn

    nimo_cn Senior Member Senior Member

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    I have no idea where does that question come from. The right question should be what makes you think China is afraid of Google? What is Google's issue with China?

    Google is still operating in China as of now, I thought Google were determined to pull out of China.
     
    Ray likes this.
  9. Tolaha

    Tolaha Senior Member Senior Member

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    It's not China that is afraid of Google, it's the CCP that is! When Google looses in its battle with CCP, China looses as well. One more avenue for the Chinese to look at what's happening in their country beyond the censorship. Ensures that CCP can only show to the Chinese people what they have let the Chinese companies show them.
     
  10. nimo_cn

    nimo_cn Senior Member Senior Member

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    Huh, imagination!

    Who allowed Google to operate in China in the first place? CPC did. CPC could just shut Google out of China instead of letting it in, but CPC didn't. CPC never asked Google to leave, Google threatened CPC that it would leave, but failed to fulfill that promise.

    If what is happening here is a battle, then CPC is fighting on the behalf of China, while Google is on the behalf of US. In a war It is in Chinese interest that Google is loosing it.

    We don't need to rely on a foreign company to understand what is happening in China or outside China, Google like all other companies, only cares about profits. Money drives it to China, and money drives it to orchestrate this drama.

    Trust me, if it was Google that is dominating Chinese internet searching market instead of Chinese Baidu, we don't see this show.

    Business is everything, nothing more, nothing less.
     
  11. Tolaha

    Tolaha Senior Member Senior Member

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    CCP assumed that Google would consider "profit above everything else". Google wasnt ready to dance for the tune and was forced to hide legitimate content. CCP wants to ensure that the Chinese are a part of "The Truman Show" and as Google didn't want to be a part of it, it threatened to leave. So now the question is, will Google consider profit or will it allow the CCP to lie to the Chinese.

    Google need not dominate. Just a presence of an avenue, however tiny, that would allow the CCP's deeds to be exposed is a good enough reason to make Google's life unbearable.
     
  12. nimo_cn

    nimo_cn Senior Member Senior Member

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    Like every other company, Google did consider profit above everything else, that is why it came to China and accepted censorship in exchange for permission to operate in China 7 years ago.

    Google had already censored its searching results as requested by CPC for 6 years before it find its "consciousness" and decided to defy. So yes, Google had been part of it for quite a long time. What irked Google is Google failed to conquer Chinese market as it wished, like a prostitute lost its first time, but wasn't paid as much as she expected, Google got mad.
     
  13. Tolaha

    Tolaha Senior Member Senior Member

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    Other than arranging a few expletives, do you have a point?
     
  14. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

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    Well, how does one interpret this?

    Web monitor: China takes extraordinary step of blocking Google

    Google and many of its most popular subdomains, including Google e-mail, have been blocked by a “DNS poison” in China, according to Chinese Web monitoring site GreatFire.org, an extraordinary step in Web censorship even for the Chinese government.
    Attempting to access the Google services in China leads to a vacant IP address. Users with special VPN (virtual private network) services, which are used by expats and some others in China to reach banned sites such as Facebook, can still access Google.

    This is the second major outage for Google in China. The first, in 2010, had the site down for about 10 hours. It’s still not clear why or whether this was deliberate on China’s part. Google had very publicly relocated search servers from mainland China to Hong Kong just a week earlier. Still, this block appears to be unique as it includes Google sub-domains, which handle such services as e-mail and document storage, in addition to search.

    GreatFire.org explains why this could be such a big deal:

    We’ve argued before that the authorities didn’t dare to fully block GMail since it has too many users already. Fully blocking Google goes much further. … According to Alexa, it’s the Top 5 most used website in China. Never before have so many people been affected by a decision to block a website. If Google stays blocked, many more people in
    China will become aware of the extent of censorship. How will they react? Will there be protests?

    On Twitter, GreatFire.org called the move “one step closer to fully separating the Chinanet from the Internet.”

    Is this Web freedom in the Xi Jinping era, which begins this week as the vice president starts a 10-year term leading China? The state has been clamping down all week for the once-in-a-decade Party Congress, so it’s not clear if this is a temporary move or a permanent one. But, either way, China has made clear that, if it ever considered Google beyond blocking, it doesn’t anymore.

    The degree of Web freedom vs. censorship is a significant issue for China’s leaders, who must balance the economic development that is enabled by Web access vs. the impulse to control discussion and information. We should be careful not to read too much into just Friday’s block – it’s entirely possible that the ban will lift once the Party Congress ends and never come again – but it doesn’t suggest a high degree of Communist Party confidence that more Web freedom would be good for China.

    Web monitor: China takes extraordinary step of blocking Google
     
  15. nimo_cn

    nimo_cn Senior Member Senior Member

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    As I am checking it now, Google.com.hk is still accessible in China. If you wish to believe Google is blocked in China as it is reported in this article, your choice.
     
  16. LETHALFORCE

    LETHALFORCE Moderator Moderator

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  17. satish007

    satish007 Senior Member Senior Member

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    Scale of cyber-attacks on Iran further unveiled with Flame Stuxnet link - Telegraph
    Stuxnet - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    OS found by US ,Internet Found by US,Chinese hackers just like naughty kids compare to US who is few country able to destroy or delay others countries nuke devices. Chinese hackers most targets are horn movies download account,DOS attack DFI website or login and post stupid pro-chini threads in dfi using armand2rep account. Chinese also provide ok and free anti-virus tools. 360
     
    Last edited: Feb 3, 2013
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  18. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

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    I have no options as to who to believe.

    Today's papers too is carrying news many western news channels have been hacked and they are connecting it with the Wen story having embarrassed China and are worried that more of such things will emerge on the other Chinese leaders and princelings!
     
  19. t_co

    t_co Senior Member Senior Member

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    Censorship in China is a business model, nothing more and nothing less. It's not there solely because the central government believes it leads to social harmony; it's essentially a form of protectionism for Chinese internet companies. Recent moves have included selected liberalization of censorship in some areas (what you can say on Sina Weibo, for example, as well as support for Apple's trademark in China against counterfeiters and gradual introduction of Amazon to the Chinese internet) with crackdowns on other areas (critiques of the censors themselves, critiques of top leaders). When viewed through the context of industrial policy as opposed to social policy, this starts to make sense.

    Think about this for a second: the "Big Five" US Web 2.0 firms (Apple, Amazon, Facebook, Twitter, Google--although Samsung is starting to nibble away at Apple) are #1 or #2 in most markets across the world--except for China where they get their asses handed to them.

    In China, Apple is popular, but its ecosystem of iTunes et. al. by no means reigns supreme in content delivery; Amazon is an afterthought compared to Alibaba/Taobao (the world's largest B2C and B2B marketplace by volume); Facebook and Twitter are flat-out blocked--instead replaced by RenRen, Kaixin, and Sina Weibo; Google is restricted in content delivery vs. Baidu (Google has to comply with the US "censor" of copyright laws, while Baidu can freely tell people where and how to download copyrighted content for free--so long as that content passes the Chinese censor).

    That is why Chinese tech companies themselves are the biggest proponents of censorship--their dominant positions would not have come about had China walled off the rest of the global internet during their infancy. Of course, now that these companies are all mature (and quite large), they can and should handle a bit of competition--which they are. No matter how hard these companies are lobbying (and believe me, they have heavyweight connections--the former CEO of Sina, Mao Daolin, is the son-in-law of President Hu Jintao) the long-term trend of taking off the training wheels and pushing them out into the world is happening. It's occuring the fastest in B2B and B2C sites, obviously, since Alibaba is quite competitive with Amazon (better turnaround times, greater product variety, higher maximum volumes--you can fill the order book for an entire 1000-person factory using just Taobao, cheaper transaction costs, etc.) This is why Amazon is getting introduced to the Chinese internet--Alibaba is confident that they can kick Amazon's ass all the way across the Pacific, they just need to watch them and learn for a while.

    Device cos will come next; the reason why China has cracked down on Apple counterfeiters is because they want Chinese companies to compete against Apple by building rival brands as opposed to simply leeching off Apple's brand. Enter Xiaomi; Xiaomi is a Chinese device manufacturer which makes top-end smartphones for about 60 or 70% of the cost of Apple and Samsung. They have a very innovative online-ordering --> personalized design --> rapid shipment model that is years ahead of the competition (Samsung and Apple make smartphones like Ford made cars or Kalashnikov made rifles), and lets them make better stuff for a cheaper price. Xiaomi's revenues are growing at about a two or three hundred percent annualized rate. When Xiaomi gets big enough (should happen in three to five years), they'll be ready, and they'll have cut their teeth against Samsung and Apple on home turf enough to take them on across the world.

    This brings us to social media, content delivery, and search. Much to my disappointment, they will remain managed for a long, long time out of Beijing, since the activities of these companies touch the most on social stability and censorship cripples these firms the most relative to Western competition. Incidentally, this where you see the emergence of the "two internets" phenomenon. You have the ChinaNet, and you have the Internet. The wall is porous, certainly, but by and large ideas and perspectives on one side of that divide will not bridge the other. This is why posters here from China and posters here from elsewhere seem to have such discordant views of the same issues--there is not enough 'bandwidth' for dialogue to bridge the perceptions gap. This side effect is quite dangerous--China needs to lift the gap, not because free speech is important, but because right now the dialogue about China in other parts of the world is predominantly said by non-Chinese actors, since all of China's voices are caged at home. The message myself and many other guys in this space have been telling the Chinese government is that if they set China's 580 million internet users loose on the rest of the world's forums and media sites, they will see a radical shift towards a more pro-China view in the global discourse. Unfortunately, neither my friends nor myself are related to the top leadership by marriage or blood :p .
     
  20. t_co

    t_co Senior Member Senior Member

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    Also, censorship itself is "big business" with a thriving gray market; for example, a mid-level Sina Weibo manager can make about two or three hundred thousand yuan on a deal to do some "PR work" for a county or city government concerned about bad news. He will keep about half for himself, and kick the rest upstairs. The net effect is that everyone in the system has no incentive to stop censoring, because it makes them money. They can keep doing this because they have a protected monopoly on social media, which means that censorship--which by and large decreases the 'network quality'--doesn't impact their bottom lines.
     
  21. desicanuk

    desicanuk Regular Member

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    It takes one to know one!!!
    And take that.Here is more: Eric Schmidt: China is an Internet menace that backs cyber-crime for economic and political gain,
     

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