Friday, April 26, 2013

Chinese Cyber Army | Shivang Desai

Hey folks,
The days of simple hacking are fading off and hacking has taken the route of Cyber-Warfare.
Earlier we used to see the news saying ‘xyz’ website got hacked or was defaced by some ‘abc’ hacker.
No matter this is still the scenario but now government has also taking part in hacking and this has given rise to cyber-warfare.

China’s Cyber Army
Nowadays China is drastically growing in fishy hacking stuffs. 
The Indian govt. faced an attack recently. The attack vector was a simple email which was received to senior govt. officials. As soon as they clicked the email, the data that resided on the computer’s ‘C:/ProgramFiles’ was sent somewhere. 
After deep research by Rahul Sasi and his team (Garage for hackers) at nullCon, found that the command and control centre of this malware was located in China.

This was the first scenario and the second reason that forced me to write this blog is the penetration of Chinese Army in India. They penetrated 10 km inside the Indian boundary and Chinese govt. denies on it…. Oh C’mon man! Grow up.

Looking at these scenarios, I thought to write a blog on Chinese Cyber-Army .
Unlike US, China keeps its Cyber activities into secrecy.

First question that would come in mind is “what is Chinese Cyber Army”?
It’s simple. It could be termed as a group of hackers in China who basically performs Cyber-Espionage.
The fact lies here is that China is itself involved in it but denies and states that they are totally unaware about these groups.

Let China deny on it but at the same time, there are some de-facto data which can prove that China is involved in cyber-espionage.

Have you ever heard about “PLA”? It stands for People’s Liberation Army.
The PLA is the world's largest military force, with strength of approximately 2,250,000 personnel.
The PLA comprises five main service branches, consisting of :
PLA Ground Force, 
PLA Navy (PLAN), 
PLA Air Force (PLAAF), 
Second Artillery Corps (strategic missile force), and
the PLA Reserve Force.

Yeah, you guessed correctly. This white building is the image of 12-storied headquarter of PLA. It’s also considered as Unit-61398.

According to the strong proofs by American Intelligence, it has been proved that 90% of the attacks on U.S organizations, corporations and government agencies originate in and around this white building.
The detailed report( provided by well-known information security firm, Mandiant, talks about Chinese hacking groups named “Comment Crew” and “Shanghai Group”. The firm was not able to place the hackers inside the 12-story building, but makes a case there is no other plausible explanation for why so many attacks come out of one comparatively small area.
Kevin Mandia, the founder and chief executive of Mandiant, says that “Either the attacks are coming from the Unit 61398 or the people who run the most-controlled, most-monitored Internet networks in the world are clueless about thousands of people generating attacks from this one neighborhood.
Other Security firms also tracked the “Comment Crew” and reached at the result that this group was state-sponsored.
When this report was officially published in New-York Times, the officials at the Chinese embassy in Washington again insisted that their government does not engage in computer hacking, and that such activity is illegal. LOL..

You must be thinking that how can someone directly point on a country and say that it is directly involved in cybercriminal activities. But let me tell you that this is not the first time that China has showed its smartness.
Let’s see some example :

Larry Wu-Tai Chin worked in the U.S. intelligence community for close to 35 years, all the while providing the PRC (People’s Republic of China) with sensitive classified information. Chin was recruited as a spy by a Chinese Communist Official in 1948, while he was employed as an interpreter at the U.S. Consulate in Shanghai.

Peter Lee
Lee was a Chinese born physicist who worked at Los Alamos nuclear weapons laboratory, and later for TRW, a major California defense contractor. Lee pleaded guilty to lying on Security Clearance forms, and to passing classified national defense information to Chinese scientists on business trips to Beijing.

Chi Mak

Chi Mak is a Chinese-born engineer who worked for L-3 Communications, a California based defense contractor. Chi worked as a support engineer on Navy quiet drive propulsion technology. According to recovered documents, Chi was instructed by his Chinese contacts to join "more professional associations and participate in more seminars with 'special subject matters' and to compile special conference materials on disk
There are many of such examples which insignificantly state that it’s better to be aware of China.

Despite of many evidences, still it is being hard to prove the exact meaning of Chinese Cyber Army. It can’t be exactly said that China is surely involved into it but I will be waiting for the same to be proved.
That’s all for today but will be posting more evidences on Chinese Cyber Army.

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