Posts Tagged espionage

Chinese Hack Government Networks

From ZDNet:

According to the New York Times, senior American officials said hackers gained access to the system in March before the infiltration was detected and blocked.

The hackers appeared to be targeting files “on tens of thousands of employees who have applied for top-secret security clearances,” and data including employment records, personal information — such as drug use — and the foreign contacts of security applicants may have been placed at risk.

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Chinese Hackers Breached Google’s Surveillance Database

From: Threat Level

Hackers Who Breached Google in 2010 Accessed Company’s Surveillance Database

…The database contained years’ worth of information on law enforcement surveillance surveillance orders issued by judges around the country. The hackers were hoping to discover if law enforcement agents were investigating undercover Chinese intelligence operatives who were working out of the U.S.

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Navy Sailor Indicted With Espionage

Robert P Hoffman II, a former U.S. Navy sailor has been charged with attempted espionage after he tried to deliver classified documents to what he believed were individuals working for the Russian Federation. Details

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Syrian Agent Senteced to 18 Months

Virginia Man Sentenced to 18 Months in Prison for Acting as Unregistered Agent for Syrian Government

July 20, 2012
– Washington

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Stuxnet Virus Linked To Flame Virus and U.S.

From Wired’s Threat Level:

Researchers at Russia-based Kaspersky Lab discovered that a part of the module that allows Flame to spread via USB sticks using the autorun function on a Windows machine contains the same code that was used in a version of Stuxnet that was unleashed on computers in Iran in 2009, reportedly in a joint operation between the United States and Israel. The module, which was known as Resource 207 in Stuxnet, was removed from subsequent versions of Stuxnet, but it served as a platform for what would later develop into the full-fledged Flame malware that is known today.

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“Defective” Chips could have caused U.S. military shut down by secret ‘back door’

“Sources have confirmed that the U.S. Department of Defense over recent months purchased 59,000 microchips to use in Navy equipment that control everything from missiles to transponders.

But all of the chips turned out to be cheap knock-offs from China, and they ultimately were not installed, according to sources.

Besides being subject to failure, the chips also were designed with a “back door” which would have allowed the chip, and the device it controlled, to be shut down remotely at any time, sources report.

Had the flaw not been detected, the chips could have shut down U.S. warships, aircraft, advanced weapons systems and encoded transponders that distinguish friendly aircraft from hostile attackers.”

http://www.wnd.com/?pageId=321477#ixzz1S0AZSZT8

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Chinese Espionage and French Trade Secrets

Chinese Espionage and French Trade Secrets is republished with permission of STRATFOR.

By Sean Noonan

Paris prosecutor Jean-Claude Marin on Jan. 14 began an inquiry into allegations of commercial espionage carried out against French carmaker Renault. The allegations first became public when Renault suspended three of its employees on Jan. 3 after an internal investigation that began in August 2010. Within days, citing an anonymous French government source, Reuters reported that French intelligence services were looking into the possibility that China played a role in the Renault espionage case. While the French government refused to officially confirm this accusation, speculation has run wild that Chinese state-sponsored spies were stealing electric-vehicle technology from Renault.

The Chinese are well-known perpetrators of industrial espionage and have been caught before in France, but the details that have emerged so far about the Renault operation differ from the usual Chinese method of operation. And much has been learned about this MO just in the last two years across the Atlantic, where the United States has been increasingly aggressive in investigating and prosecuting cases of Chinese espionage. If Chinese intelligence services were indeed responsible for espionage at Renault it would be one of only a few known cases involving non-Chinese nationals and would have involved the largest amount of money since the case of the legendary Larry Wu-Tai Chin, China’s most successful spy.

STRATFOR has previously detailed the Chinese intelligence services and the workings of espionage with Chinese characteristics. A look back at Chinese espionage activities uncovered in the United States in 2010, since our latest report was compiled, can provide more context and detail about current Chinese intelligence operations.

Chinese Espionage in the U.S.

We chose to focus on operations in the United States for two reasons. First, the United States is a major target for Chinese industrial espionage. This is because it is a leader in technology development, particularly in military hardware desired by China’s expanding military, and a potential adversary at the forefront of Chinese defense thinking. Second, while it is not the only country developing major new technologies in which China would be interested, the United States has been the most aggressive in prosecuting espionage cases against Chinese agents, thereby producing available data for us to work with. Since 2008, at least seven cases have been prosecuted each year in the United States against individuals spying for China. Five were prosecuted in 2007. Going back to about 2000, from one to three cases were prosecuted annually, and before that, less than one was prosecuted per year.

Most of the cases involved charges of violating export restrictions or stealing trade secrets rather than the capital crime of stealing state secrets. As the premier agency leading such investigations, the FBI has clearly made a policy decision to refocus on counterintelligence after an overwhelming focus on counterterrorism following 9/11, and its capability to conduct such investigations has grown. In 2010, 11 Chinese espionage cases were prosecuted in the United States, the highest number yet, and they featured a wide range of espionage targets. Read the rest of this entry »

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