Archive for May 27th, 2011

Friday, May 27, 2011

It’s just Network Security Training

China’s military has set up an elite Internet security task force tasked with fending off cyberattacks, state media reported on Friday, denying that the initiative is intended to create a “hacker army”,

reports AFP, via Channel Asia (Singapore).

If this information, given by China’s defense ministry spokesman Geng Yansheng, will indeed ring alarm bells around the world among governments and businesses wary of Beijing’s intentions is a different question. Geng actually confirmed what has been common wisdom for several years, even if Beijing now added an official story to it.

Foreign expertise would be welcome, too, People’s Daily‘s English edition quotes Geng.

According to Guy-Philippe Goldstein, a novelist and a strategy consultant, cyber war will amount to destabilizing innovation in warfare. Goldstein offered some history of such innovation, too, in an article for the Süddeutsche Zeitung (Munich), in 2009. He also named the – few – countries that in his view have the potential to get in on cyber warfare.

Singapore’s Morning News (联合早报) special correspondent Zhang Xiaozhong wrote an article on hacker schools in China, also in 2009. Zhang suggested that while there was a variety of motivations to become a skilled hacker, it wasn’t every Chinese hacker’s goal to pursue a military career, or to use hacking as a toll in political activism. On the other hand, Zhang’s description of the scene in China would indeed suggest that the military forces had an exceptionally deep talent pool to draw from at its disposal, when it built the team whose existence Geng confirmed on Friday.

The Chinese hacking “industry” is highly ambivalent in the way it presents itself, and in the way it wants to be seen.

In general, hacking schools don’t like to be referred to as hacking schools,

Zhang wrote.

A hackers base security adviser, Wang Xianbing (王献冰), had previously told a paper quoted by Zhang that “we are a network security training school”.

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