Yesterday Lockheed today Google

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I really don’t have anything to add to what I wrote yesterday about hacking or cyber-terrorism; but there was an update today from Google.  It would seem that someone, somewhere in China hacked into Google’s Gmail.  What exactly they want or how they plan to use it is of course a subject of speculation – but no one knows for sure.

Google said Wednesday that it had discovered that a number of its Gmail account user names and passwords of personal accounts belonging to senior government officials, activists, and journalists, had been compromised.”Hundreds of accounts” were affected, Google said. Google said that the usernames and passwords were obtained likely through phishing, a hack that uses social engineering to induce the victim to turn over the personal information without any penetration of the email system. [,2817,2386287,00.asp]

Apparently this is a continuation of an effort that began 18 months and maybe be connected to a technical school.  A school boy prank or a school assignment?

In January 2010, Google reported that it had uncovered “a highly sophisticated and targeted attack on our corporate infrastructure originating from China.” Google said at the time that it had reason to believe that one of the main goals of the attackers was to compromise the Gmail accounts of Chinese human rights activists.  In that respect, the attack was not very successful: While Google acknowledged that the attackers had stolen unspecified intellectual property, it stressed that only two Gmail accounts appeared to have been accessed.  Jinan, capital of Shandong Province in Eastern China, happens to be the location of the Lanxiang Vocational School, one of the two Chinese schools linked to the 2010 attack against Google. []

In 2009 a report by a defense contractor listed six locations in China where other efforts were said to be originating.  Each time an incident is uncovered, there is some media coverage and more speculation about the source and reason for the hacking.  But as nothing appears to have resulted from the hacking we are left with only the speculation.  If I were to speculate, I would wonder if were just an exercise?  The kind of exercise military units do.  The army, navy, air force and marines regularly go to “the field” and practice fighting, they also practice gathering intelligence, treating the wounded and all of the other component parts of battle.   If this were to be an effort by the Chinese government, or just the Chinese army, it could be a good time to practice the skill need for that cyber battle.  There is no immediate threat and no immediate need to use the skills, but the weapons and skills are new and untested, so testing would be a good thing. And China could use some practical internships for the 1.5 million new technicians and scientists it graduates from its universities every year – interesting number – ONE MILLION, FIVE HUNDRED THOUSAND NEW SCIENTISTS EVERY YEAR!

China cannot be the only country playing this game; China is certainly not responsible for the attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities.  And Iran is not the only country with more than one adversary, declared or undeclared.  After all,  don’t both India and Pakistan want more information and influence inside the other.  Every country has at least one country about which it would like to know more and maybe even to have the capability to meddle a little.  I know I am very late in realizing that a dramatic shift in the frontiers of war has taken place, but I still haven’t seen any serious discussion of the subject; have you?

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