Information Warfare: July 2, 2002


China got a dose of high tech Information War in the past week when millions of people had their television programming interrupted and replaced with the a picture of a Falungong banner. Thousands of people in the capital also got phone calls that consisted of a five minute recorded message explaining what Falungong is about and criticizing the government's crackdown. Falungong had apparently hacked into the government controlled telephone system to do this. The television incident was particularly worrying to the government as it was done by literally taking over one of China's communications satellites. There were actually two incidents. In one, most of the ten national channels were hijacked for up to fifteen minutes. In the second incident, ten local (provincial) channels were hijacked. In several cases, the government was able to shut down the satellite (cutting off all programming off that bird) until they could figure out what was going on. It's thought that Falungong used a mobile (truck mounted) ground station (a ten foot diameter dish would do it) to cut into the satellite communications. But at the moment the government doesn't know, and isn't talking. There's been a blackout in the Chinese news about this incident. News only got out because of the Internet and the fact that millions of people were affected. 


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