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08 | October | 2011 | Certified Ethical Hackers Security Analyst Malware Hacking Information
From the daily archives: Saturday, October 8, 2011

Thanks to a source who wishes to remain anonymous, I read Chinese spy mania sweeps the world, an article not from a Western publication. Rather, it’s from Voice of Russia. Does any of this sound familiar?

[T]his is the most powerful secret service based on the principle of attracting all ethnic Chinese, wherever they may live. An adherent of the “total espionage” strategy, Beijing even encourages emigration in the hope that its citizens will remain loyal to and useful for their historical homeland after moving to another country…

“The history of China’s espionage activities on Russian armaments is not only limited to one precedent or one type of weapons. One of the top Chinese priorities is to produce complete replicas of Russia’s best machines and weapons, from the Sukhoi Su-33 fighter jet to missiles, aircraft carriers and so on.

This is a truly purpose-oriented strategy of a large country – snatch anything you can and reproduce it domestically,” ["IT expert"] Andrei Masalovich points out.

Cynics will point out that perhaps this article is trying to deflect attention from Russia’s own espionage activities. However, you can’t deny that even the Russians have issues with Chinese operations.

For an example of the sorts of problems Russia is having, see this ABC News story China Still Spies the Old Fashioned Way, Russia Says:

Russia’s secretive spy agency, the Federal Security Service (FSB), issued a rare statement Wednesday claiming the state had arrested a Chinese citizen who, posing as a translator for official delegations, was working under the direction of the Chinese government in an attempt to buy state secrets from Russians about Russia’s S-300 missile system.

Article source: http://taosecurity.blogspot.com/2011/10/russia-v-china-sound-familiar.html

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Tony Sager from the NSA is one of my Three Wise Men. (Dan Geer and Ross Anderson are the other two.) Eric Parizo from SearchSecurity.com interviewed Tony this week and posted the video online.

Tony notes that the escalation in threat activity during the last few years is real. He is in a position to know, given he has worked at NSA since the 1970s. Tony says the threat activity is getting people’s attention now, especially at more senior levels of the government and industry. Now targeted organizations are thinking beyond the question “does this affect my company” to “does this affect my industry?”

Tony explains that a generational effect may account for the change in awareness. More senior leaders grew up with technology, so they know how to think about it. There is also more public reporting on serious security incidents today.

My favorite quote was:

“If you’re not a little concerned, you haven’t been paying attention.”

Since Tony is Mr Reasonable, I think that’s a significant statement!

Eric asked Tony for his opinion on APT, and he replied that APT isn’t that useful a concept for his line of work. That’s possibly because his agency uses the original intrusion set names to manage threat intelligence, rather than an unclassified, “umbrella” term for discussing threat actors in private industry. Tony did explain that the “advanced” aspect for him means conducting operations in multiple “domains,” e.g., escalating to physical, non-digital attacks when necessary.

Article source: http://taosecurity.blogspot.com/2011/10/interview-with-one-of-my-three-wise-men.html

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