Information Warfare: September 9, 2003


Taiwan announced last week that it had uncovered an effort by Chinese cyberwar hackers to plant programs in computer networks belonging to thirty government agencies (including the National Police Administration, the Ministry of National Defence, the Central Election Commission and the Central Bank of China) as well as fifty corporations. These programs, called "Trojan horses" or "zombies", are under the control of the people who plant them, and can later be used to steal, modify or destroy, data or shut down the computer systems the zombies are on. This is a classic cyberwar tactic, for if you can insert these zombie programs into enough enemy computers, you can cause enormous damage when the zombies are activated. Apparently it didn't work, and the Taiwanese government says it's own cyberwar forces were able to uncover where the zombies came from inside China. Zombies are sometimes used by criminals, to steal money or data from corporations. But the Taiwanese government explicitly blamed China, without revealing too many details of how the Taiwanese network engineers discovered zombie effort, or exactly where in China the hacking was being done from.


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