First thing I think of (being of a certain age) when someone asks why: Why ask why? Answer: Try Bud Dry!(Silly old Budweiser commercial)
So why do we need to ask why? Because it would be good to know why we are consistently being attacked by this region of the world. It is always good to know your opponent.
In this case _we are the people_ with computers, financial information, Intellectual property, health information, and really anything that can make money (Credit Cards, information that can be used against competitors).
So money is one motivator, but hackers have other motivations, just like Anonymous like Jeremy Hammond hacktivist received a 10 year sentence. As noted in this NYpost story.
“Some breaches in Hammond’s life had been a challenge. He’d search the code on websites he wanted to target, combing through the symbols and letters of computing languages for security flaws to exploit. He’d create user accounts on the sites, and then test for ways in. It could take months of trying, and sometimes he gave up.”
“He considered hacking a means of social justice, and he did it in secret while pursuing civil disobedience and protest in public, as well.”
So hacking can be a social justice act or even a kind of civil disobedience.
Now what if you had a state apparatus with the massive resources?
Hacker News article from 2015
There are some very interesting points in this article:
CHINESE CYBER WARFARE UNITS
According to McReynolds, China has three types of operational military units:
- Specialized military forces to fight the network — The unit designed to carry out defensive and offensive network attacks.
- Groups of experts from civil society organizations — The unit has number of specialists from civilian organizations – including the Ministry of State Security (its like China’s CIA), and the Ministry of Public Security (its like FBI) – who are authorized to conduct military leadership network operations.
- External entities — The unit sounds a lot like hacking-for-hire mercenaries and contains non-government entities (state-sponsored hackers) that can be organized and mobilized for network warfare operations.
According to experts, all the above units are utilized in civil cyber operations, including industrial espionage against US private companies to steal their secrets.
“It means that the Chinese have discarded their fig leaf of quasi-plausible deniability,” McReynolds said. “As recently as 2013, official PLA [People’s Liberation Army] publications have issued blanket denials such as, ‘The Chinese military has never supported any hacker attack or hacking activities.’ They can’t make that claim anymore.“
The hackernews article got the information from “The Science of Military Strategy”(SMS) 2013 PLA document.
So the strategy of the Chinese is bare for all to see – they have hundreds or thousands of people in cyber warfare units.
The SMS authors also focus heavily on the central role of peacetime “network reconnaissance”—that is, the technical penetration and monitoring of an adversary’s networks—in developing the PLA’s ability to engage in wartime network operations. As the SMS puts it, since the technical principles underlying successful penetrations of an adversary’s systems are essentially the same whether the objective is reconnaissance or active disruption, at the appropriate moment “one need only press a button” to switch from reconnaissance to attack.
So now we have a stated goal of Chinese Cyber warfare units to run constant surveillance and prepare for eventual war or otherwise goals that will steal or destroy information.
This SMS ‘plan’ is in line with what China thinks of itself as New English Review article by Brandon Weichert mentions: The concept of Tianxia the “All under the heavan”. boils down to
The choice made by all peoples to have only one political system that is the top of the world. they believe that just like in the Warring States Period the weaker competitor will give way to the more ideological and correct with the Chinese belief that the Chinese emperors possessed the mandate of heaven concept, all of the world had to pay tribute to the emperor as a symbol of his supremacy. Thus, going back to antiquity, the borders of China were fungible; always waiting for China to gain the strength needed to push to those farthest edges of the world map and bring barbarianism and chaos to civilized order.
In the narrative, China is the growing power and the US is in decline (status quo) , so the Chinese political and ideological purpose of reconnaissance of the networks of the world. Until the systems are ready to be attacked in the time of conflict (whenever it actually occurs). The key with analyzing Chinese actions is to look at them from the eyes of an Asian viewpoint – not Western history examples( like Thucydides trap).
So the reason China is doing everything it can to steal our stuff is to become a bigger power than us so that they can order us around. And because it was always meant to be that way. All old Chinese competitors were assimilated and folded into the Chinese ‘heaven umbrella’.
Remember the mongols(Kublai Khan)? They actually conquered the Chinese 1279. But it ended in 1368:
“The Chinese always resented the foreigners and in the end revolted and drove them out. A Chinese orphan Hongwu, a peasant soldier who gave up banditry to become a Buddhist monk, led the revolt and founded the Ming dynasty in 1368.”
After that the results of the Mongol invasion has almost completely disappeared inside today’s China.
but the Mongols were always foreigners in Chinese eyes.”
Have you also noticed that all the previous kingdoms in the warring states period are all forgotten (except maybe in some movies).
there is a definite arrogance to the Chinese. As if the new upstart (USA) which only started in 1776 is such a young country and really does not belong in the top spot. I.e. it is the impudent upstart which needs to be brought a peg or two down. And any method will do (stealing is ok).
If you think about it the “all under Heaven” is a great motivator for young hackers in China trying to hack and steal all our IP (Intellectual Property).
Another point: The CCP (Chinese Communist Party) has complete control over major aspects of the country. There is no rule of law in China, only rule of CCP. I.e. if CCP wants to take your property then it does. As Drake Long discusses in his post on the power and control of China. The CCP of which the general secretary runs the party and the President (Xi Jinping) runs China, and Xi Jinping has complete control over China.
“China has no rule of law” says Drake.
Whatever the true Party leader says goes.
“Those observing the anti-corruption campaign could liken it to whack-a-mole: there is little changing of bureaucratic rules, instead it is a targeted campaign against high-profile politicians. This illustrates the absurdity of it all. China’s corruption is systemic, owing to the lack of legal constraints and judicial independence in its government.”
There is no accountability, all that has happened with Xi’s anti-corruption campaign is he has solidified his dictatorship. So what happens in a dictatorship? There are mostly yes men (no women). Everyone else gets ‘dealt’ with.
What happens to foreign companies?
With little rule of law, they will be gobbled up inside China: “Now we are beginning to see the fruits of that relationship, which is an increasingly worrisome one. With little rule of law, foreign companies will see more of their partners unexpectedly gobbled up by Xi’s Communist Party.”
You can see where this is heading, since there is no rule of law inside China, each minister/bureaucrat can do anything they want as long as it is under the aegis of Xi’s goals. This means stealing money and information is a go. In fact it is a state-sponsored activity.
We better learn to prepare ourselves and our companies to defend against the cyberwar already being fought on the Internet.