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Saturday, June 8, 2013

Chinese Cyber Attacks

President Obama shakes hands with Chinese President Xi Jinping yesterday, Friday June 7 in California. 

When they get down to business, they will talk about cyber attacks. Beijing says it has plenty of evidence to show that the US is doing it too.  In the English language China Daily newspaper, there is an article that says cyber attacks from the US have been "as grave as the ones the US claims China has conducted.  We have mountains of data, if we wanted to accuse the US, but it's not helpful in solving the problem" Huang Chengqing, director of the National Computer Emergency Response Team of China said.

The US and the UK have both raised this issue with the Chinese but Australia is too afraid of upsetting China and won't come out and accuse them directly.  When Foreign Minister Bob Carr was asked if China was hacking into Australian institutions, he refused to answer yet the government has banned Chinese telco Huawei from being part of the National Broadband Network.  But when pressed, Mr Carr had no choice but to answer and said "If the Chinese mounted cyber attacks on Australia, of course it would do damage to the Australia-China relationship.

Foreign Minister, Bob Carr

Cyber espionage is serious business and costing the west millions. China is regarded as the world's largest source of Intellectual Property (IP) theft.  So what is Intellectual Property?

IP refers to creations of the mind:  inventions, literary and artistic works and symbols, names, images, and designs used in commerce.  It's divided into two categories:  Industrial property, which includes inventions, (patents), trademarks, industrial designs, and geographic indications of source;  and Copyright which includes literary and artistic works such as novels, poems and plays, films, musical works, artistic works such as drawings, paintings, photographs and sculptures, and architectural designs.  Rights related to copyright include those of performing artists in their performances, producers of phonograms in their recordings, and those of broadcasters in their radio and television programs.

Last month, ABC's 4 Corners program aired allegations from anonymous informers that Chinese hackers targeted a contracting firm working on the ASIO building and had "stolen the blueprints", not just for the overall building but also of the "communications cabling and server locations, floor plans and security systems."  ASIO Director-General David Irvine refused to comment on the allegations and the Prime Minister said the program included "unsubstantiated allegations and inaccurate reports."

We have now entered into another war where the enemy can't be seen. It's a secret war that nobody wants to talk about and we need our security agencies like ASIO, more than ever before, to step up and answer the call.