Intelligence: Aftermath of Chinese Network Attack


December11, 2006: The U.S. Naval War College (NWC) is still trying to repair the damage caused by a massive hack attack last month. The full extent of the penetration, and damage, is not yet known. The forensics people aren't sure when they'll be finished. What they do known so far is that the attack came from China, although the Chinese deny any involvement.

Oddly enough, the attack targeted a part of the navy that did not contain a lot of current secrets. When it comes to developing new strategy, the NWC is pretty much out-of-the-loop. Very few of the CNOs (Chief of Naval Operations, what the commander of the navy is called) in the past 30 years was even an NWC grad. Most current admirals never went. Sea duty and mandatory specialist schooling seriously cut into the education options of naval officers during the Cold War and the '90s. Remember, the Navy was always deploying, while most of the Army and Air Force, and a major chunk of the Marine Corps, were essentially in garrison, during those years.

The NWC students are headed for important staff and support jobs, not the key command positions. The NWC is a wonderful repository of historical information on American naval operations and planning. Even then, most of those documents are not in electronic form. Then again, it is believed that the Chinese hackers went after the NWC because their probes indicated that the cyber defenses there were weaker than at other U.S. Navy installations. That makes sense, as the navy deploys its Internet experts and security capabilities to where they will do the most good (and protect the most valuable information.) What this attack will do, however, is provide a lot of useful information, to American security experts, on the state of the art within China's Cyber War forces.




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