Information Warfare: Chinese Thought Police Gone Wild

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December 30, 2007: China's Cyber Warriors are not only going after Western industrial and military secrets, they are also shutting down Chinese dissidents who are operating from the West. Hundreds of Chinese language web sites and blogs are based in the West, where they can be reached by the 10-20 percent of Chinese users willing and able to use available tools that allow you to bypass the "Great Firewall of China." The government knows this is going on, because they see news, and ideas, from these offshore sights quickly showing up in China. The Chinese government does not like this, because the "illegal" news is often embarrassing to the government.

The Chinese are using two techniques to cripple these dissident efforts. First, there are hacker attacks to cripple operation of the sites, or monitor activity (and collect data on the activities and identities of dissidents using the site.) More recently, massive DDOS (distributed denial or service) attacks (this involves transmitting huge quantities of bogus messages) have been used to shut down targeted web sites.

No one else benefits from these attacks but the Chinese government, and such actions complement other anti-dissident operations (coercing Chinese citizens in U.S. colleges to join "student groups" that oppose dissident groups, sometimes using illegal methods.) There has also been direct attacks, like attacking dissident newspapers in the U.S., via pre-dawn break-ins. All this is reminiscent of the Soviet KGB, which, in pre-Internet days, terrorized, and sometimes murdered, anti-communist Russian exiles.

 


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