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