Thursday, December 15, 2005

China refutes hacking charges

I mentioned Titan Rain several months ago, but it's back in the press again, mostly because Allan Paller is using it to flog the new SANS Technology Institute.

No matter. It's news again, and this time China is coming out with a stunning defense. From The Standard:

"We have clear stipulations against hacking. No one can use the Internet to engage in illegal activities," foreign ministry spokesman Qin Gang told a regular briefing Tuesday.

"The Chinese police will deal with hacking and other activities disturbing social order in accordance with law."

I also enjoyed this quote:

"I'm not sure about the American accusations," Qin said.

"If they have proof, they should tell us."

Now, I'm not saying that I think the Chinese government is sponsoring this. I'm also not saying that I think they're innocent. The fact is, we don't know. Despite Paller's ludicrous assertion that these attacks could only have been executed by a military organization, the fact is that their origin is still a mystery, at least in the open press.

So what is my point? Simply that, while we don't know for sure, I do find it very plausible that the Chinese government is behind these attacks, either directly or indirectly. China has a long history of espionage. There's a very thorough book, The Tao of Spycraft: Intelligence Theory and Practice in Traditional China that documents this in detail.

Denials count for nothing. If the Chinese government wants us to believe they're not behind the attacks, they should help us investigate and find the attackers. Until that happens, we have to assume that China could in fact be behind the attacks.

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