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After a Hiatus, China Accelerates Cyberspying Efforts to Obtain U.S. Technology - The New York Times
By David E. Sanger and Steven Lee Myers
Nov. 29, 2018

Three years ago, President Barack Obama struck a deal with China that few thought was possible: President Xi Jinping agreed to end his nation’s yearslong practice of breaking into the computer systems of American companies, military contractors and government agencies to obtain designs, technology and corporate secrets, usually on behalf of China’s state-owned firms.

The pact was celebrated by the Obama administration as one of the first arms-control agreements for cyberspace — and for 18 months or so, the number of Chinese attacks plummeted. But the victory was fleeting.

Soon after President Trump took office, China’s cyberespionage picked up again and, according to intelligence officials and analysts, accelerated in the last year as trade conflicts and other tensions began to poison relations between the world’s two largest economies.

The nature of China’s espionage has also changed. The hackers of the People’s Liberation Army — whose famed Unit 61398 tore through American companies until its operations from a base in Shanghai were exposed in 2013 — were forced to stand down, some of them indicted by the United States. But now, the officials and analysts say, they have begun to be replaced by stealthier operatives in the country’s intelligence agencies. The new operatives have intensified their focus on America’s commercial and industrial prowess, and on technologies that the Chinese believe can give them a military advantage.
China  cyberattacks  cyber_security  espionage  intellectual_property  international_trade  U.S.  David_Sanger  industrial_espionage  security_&_intelligence  intelligence_analysts 
november 2018 by jerryking
Cyberattacks Put Russian Fingers on the Switch at Power Plants, U.S. Says
MARCH 15, 2018 | The New York Times | By NICOLE PERLROTH and DAVID E. SANGER.

The Trump administration accused Russia on Thursday of engineering a series of cyberattacks that targeted American and European nuclear power plants and water and electric systems, and could have sabotaged or shut power plants off at will.....Russian hacks had taken an aggressive turn. The attacks were no longer aimed at intelligence gathering, but at potentially sabotaging or shutting down plant operations.....Though a major step toward deterrence, publicly naming countries accused of cyberattacks still is unlikely to shame them into stopping. The United States is struggling to come up with proportionate responses to the wide variety of cyberespionage, vandalism and outright attacks.
Russia  security_&_intelligence  cyberattacks  vandalism  cyber_security  power_grid  infrastructure  NSA  vulnerabilities  hackers  U.S._Cyber_Command  David_Sanger  cyberphysical  physical_world 
march 2018 by jerryking
Security Breach and Spilled Secrets Have Shaken the N.S.A. to Its Core
NOV. 12, 2017 | The New York Times | By SCOTT SHANE, NICOLE PERLROTH and DAVID E. SANGER.

“These leaks have been incredibly damaging to our intelligence and cyber capabilities,” said Leon E. Panetta, the former defense secretary and director of the Central Intelligence Agency. “The fundamental purpose of intelligence is to be able to effectively penetrate our adversaries in order to gather vital intelligence. By its very nature, that only works if secrecy is maintained and our codes are protected.”
adversaries  data_breaches  hacking  vulnerabilities  counterintelligence  counterespionage  moles  malware  ransomware  Fedex  Mondelez  Edward_Snowden  security_&_intelligence  Russia  Leon_Panetta  NSA  cyber_security  cyber_warfare  cyberweapons  tools  David_Sanger  SecDef  CIA 
november 2017 by jerryking
Hacks Raise Fear Over N.S.A.’s Hold on Cyberweapons - The New York Times
By NICOLE PERLROTH and DAVID E. SANGER JUNE 28, 2017

The Petya ransomware attack....was built on cyberweapons (i.e. hacking tools that exploited vulnerabilities in Microsoft software) stolen from the NSA in 2016 by Shadow Brokers and made public in April 2017. Now those weapons are being deployed against various U.S. partners include the United Kingdom and Ukraine.....there is growing concern that United States intelligence agencies have rushed to create digital weapons that they cannot keep safe from adversaries or disable once they fall into the wrong hands..... the government “employs a disciplined, high-level interagency decision-making process for disclosure of known vulnerabilities” in software, “unlike any other country in the world.”....Officials fret that the potential damage from the Shadow Brokers leaks could go much further, and the agency’s own weaponry could be used to destroy critical infrastructure in allied nations or in the United States.

“Whether it’s North Korea, Russia, China, Iran or ISIS, almost all of the flash points out there now involve a cyber element,” Leon E. Panetta, the former defense secretary and Central Intelligence Agency chief.....viruses can suddenly mutate into other areas you didn’t intend, more and more,” Mr. Panetta said. “That’s the threat we’re going to face in the near future.”..... ransomware that recently gained the most attention in the Ukraine attack is believed to have been a smoke screen for a deeper assault aimed at destroying victims’ computers entirely. .....Mr. Panetta was among the officials warning years ago of a “cyber Pearl Harbor” that could bring down the American power grid. But he and others never imagined that those same enemies might use the N.S.A.’s own cyberweapons.....rogue actors actors, like North Korea and segments of the Islamic State, who have access to N.S.A. tools who don’t care about economic and other ties between nation states,”.....So long as flaws in computer code exist to create openings for digital weapons and spy tools, security experts say, the N.S.A. is not likely to stop hoarding software vulnerabilities any time soon.
adversaries  CIA  computer_viruses  cyberattacks  cyberthreats  cyberweapons  David_Sanger  exploits  hackers  Leon_Panetta  malware  NSA  North_Korea  Pentagon  power_grid  ransomware  rogue_actors  security_&_intelligence  SecDef  vulnerabilities 
june 2017 by jerryking
U.S. Cyberweapons, Used Against Iran and North Korea, Are a Disappointment Against ISIS - The New York Times
By DAVID E. SANGER and ERIC SCHMITT JUNE 12, 2017.

In 2016, U.S. cyberwarriors began training their arsenal of cyberweapons on a more elusive target, internet use by the Islamic State. Thus far, the results have been a consistent disappointment......The effectiveness of the nation’s arsenal of cyberweapons hit its limits against an enemy that exploits the internet largely to recruit, spread propaganda and use encrypted communications, all of which can be quickly reconstituted after American “mission teams” freeze their computers or manipulate their data..... the U.S. is rethinking how cyberwarfare techniques, first designed for fixed targets like nuclear facilities, must be refashioned to fight terrorist groups that are becoming more adept at turning the web into a weapon......one of the rare successes against the Islamic State belongs at least in part to Israel, which was America’s partner in the attacks against Iran’s nuclear facilities. Top Israeli cyberoperators penetrated a small cell of extremist bombmakers in Syria months ago, the officials said. That was how the United States learned that the terrorist group was working to make explosives that fooled airport X-ray machines and other screening by looking exactly like batteries for laptop computers......ISIS' agenda and tactics make it a particularly tough foe for cyberwarfare. The jihadists use computers and social media not to develop or launch weapons systems but to recruit, raise money and coordinate future attacks.

Such activity is not tied to a single place, as Iran’s centrifuges were, and the militants can take advantage of remarkably advanced, low-cost encryption technologies. The Islamic State, officials said, has made tremendous use of Telegram, an encrypted messaging system developed largely in Germany......disruptions often require fighters to move to less secure communications, making them more vulnerable. Yet because the Islamic State fighters are so mobile, and their equipment relatively commonplace, reconstituting communications and putting material up on new servers are not difficult.
ISIS  NSA  security_&_intelligence  disappointment  Israel  encryption  disruption  London  London_Bridge  tools  cyber_security  cyberweapons  vulnerabilities  terrorism  Pentagon  U.S._Cyber_Command  campaigns  David_Sanger 
june 2017 by jerryking
‘Last Secret’ of 1967 War: Israel’s Doomsday Plan for Nuclear Display - The New York Times
By WILLIAM J. BROAD and DAVID E. SANGER JUNE 3, 2017

On the eve of the Arab-Israeli war, 50 years ago this week, Israeli officials raced to assemble an atomic device and developed a plan to detonate it atop a mountain in the Sinai Peninsula as a warning to Egyptian and other Arab forces, according to an interview with a key organizer of the effort that will be published Monday.

The secret contingency plan, called a “doomsday operation” by Itzhak Yaakov, the retired brigadier general who described it in the interview, would have been invoked if Israel feared it was going to lose the 1967 conflict. The demonstration blast, Israeli officials believed, would intimidate Egypt and surrounding Arab states — Syria, Iraq and Jordan — into backing off.

Israel won the war so quickly that the atomic device was never moved to Sinai.
existential  Israel  Arab-Israeli_War  anniversaries  1967  nuclear  secrets  Doomsday  Arab-Muslim_world  Six-Day_War  David_Sanger 
june 2017 by jerryking
Hackers Hit Dozens of Countries Exploiting Stolen N.S.A. Tool
MAY 12, 2017 | - The New York Times | By NICOLE PERLROTH and DAVID E. SANGER.

Hackers exploiting malicious software stolen from the National Security Agency executed damaging cyberattacks on Friday that hit dozens of countries worldwide, forcing Britain’s public health system to send patients away, freezing computers at Russia’s Interior Ministry and wreaking havoc on tens of thousands of computers elsewhere.....The attacks appeared to be the largest ransomware assault on record, but the scope of the damage was hard to measure. It was not clear if victims were paying the ransom, which began at about $300 to unlock individual computers, or even if those who did pay would regain access to their data.

Security experts described the attacks as the digital equivalent of a perfect storm. They began with a simple phishing email, similar to the one Russian hackers used in the attacks on the Democratic National Committee and other targets last year. They then quickly spread through victims’ systems using a hacking method that the N.S.A. is believed to have developed as part of its arsenal of cyberweapons. And finally they encrypted the computer systems of the victims, locking them out of critical data, including patient records in Britain.
tools  cyber_security  cyberweapons  cyberattacks  vulnerabilities  malware  Microsoft  ransomware  hackers  NSA  exploits  blackmail  David_Sanger 
may 2017 by jerryking
What Trump’s Changes Mean for the National Security Council - The New York Times
By DAVID E. SANGER and MARK LANDLER JAN. 30, 2017

The council is no place for political creatures, many have argued. It is the place where the nation’s deepest intelligence secrets, its fluctuating hierarchy of national interests and its jockeying-for-power cabinet members combine as policy differences are hashed out. It is the forum where decisions about war, from Vietnam to Iraq; drone strikes in Pakistan; and conflicts in cyberspace have unfolded over endless hours of meetings.

Of course, with stakes that large, it has always been about politics — from grand strategy to petty scorekeeping.....The formal instrument is the “principals committee,” made up of the president, the vice president and all those jockeying cabinet members. That is what Mr. Bannon joins, meaning he won the first week’s access-trust-influence sweepstakes. ...The NSC has a staff that numbers several hundred professionals — most borrowed from the State Department, the Pentagon, the intelligence agencies and other government agencies for two years or so....Much of the day-to-day decision-making is done by the “deputies committee,” where sub-cabinet officers, and their designees, sit in seemingly endless meetings in the Situation Room to debate out differences, create policy and push the hardest issues to the president and his top advisers. Intelligence officials often open those meetings, providing assessments of what is happening around the world. (They are not supposed to delve into policy suggestions, but it has happened.)
NSC  White_House  security_&_intelligence  U.S.foreign_policy  national_interests  Stephen_Bannon  Henry_Kissinger  Brent_Scowcroft  APNSA  David_Sanger 
january 2017 by jerryking
U.S. Directs Cyberweapons at ISIS for First Time - The New York Times
APRIL 24, 2016 | NYT | By DAVID E. SANGER.

The United States has opened a new line of combat against the Islamic State, directing the military’s six-year-old Cyber Command for the first time to mount computer-network attacks that are now being used alongside more traditional weapons....The NSA, which specializes in electronic surveillance, has for years listened intensely to the militants of the Islamic State, and those reports are often part of the president’s daily intelligence briefing. But the N.S.A.’s military counterpart, Cyber Command, was focused largely on Russia, China, Iran and North Korea — where cyberattacks on the United States most frequently originate — and had run virtually no operations against what has become the most dangerous terrorist organization in the world...The goal of the new campaign is to disrupt the ability of the Islamic State to spread its message, attract new adherents, circulate orders from commanders and carry out day-to-day functions, like paying its fighters....The N.S.A. has spent years penetrating foreign networks — the Chinese military, Russian submarine communications, Internet traffic and other targets — placing thousands of “implants” in those networks to allow it to listen in.

But those implants can be used to manipulate data or to shut a network down. That frequently leads to a battle between the N.S.A. civilians — who know that to make use of an implant is to blow its cover — and the military operators who want to strike back. N.S.A. officials complained that once the implants were used to attack, the Islamic State militants would stop the use of a communications channel and perhaps start one that was harder to find, penetrate or de-encrypt.
ISIS  cyber_warfare  NSA  security_&_intelligence  terrorism  cyberweapons  exploits  hackers  software_bugs  vulnerabilities  Pentagon  U.S._Cyber_Command  campaigns  David_Sanger 
april 2016 by jerryking
U.S. Fears Data Stolen by Chinese Hacker Could Identify Spies - The New York Times
By MARK MAZZETTI and DAVID E. SANGER JULY 24, 2015

the hackers — who government officials are now reluctant to say publicly were working for the Chinese government — could still use the vast trove of information to identify American spies by a process of elimination. By combining the stolen data with information they have gathered over time, they said, the hackers can use “big data analytics” to draw conclusions about the identities of operatives....The C.I.A. and other agencies typically post their spies in American embassies, where the officers pose as diplomats working on political affairs, agricultural policy or other issues. The American Embassy in Beijing has long housed one of the largest C.I.A. stations in the world, with intelligence officers gathering information on China’s political maneuvering, economic development and military modernization.

Several current and former officials said that even if the identities of the agency officers were not in the personnel office’s database, Chinese intelligence operatives could run searches through the database on everyone granted visas to work at American diplomatic outposts in China. If any of the names are not found in the stolen files, those individuals could be suspected as spies by a process of elimination.
Chinese  data_breaches  China  hacks  CIA  espionage  security_&_intelligence  cyber_warfare  cyber_security  massive_data_sets  David_Sanger 
july 2015 by jerryking
Gates Says U.S. Lacks a Policy to Thwart Iran - NYTimes.com
April 17, 2010 | New York Times | By DAVID E. SANGER and THOM
SHANKER. In an interview on Friday, General Jones declined to speak
about the memorandum. But he said: “On Iran, we are doing what we said
we were going to do. The fact that we don’t announce publicly our entire
strategy for the world to see doesn’t mean we don’t have a strategy
that anticipates the full range of contingencies — we do.”

But in his memo, Mr. Gates wrote of a variety of concerns, including the
absence of an effective strategy should Iran choose the course that
many government and outside analysts consider likely: Iran could
assemble all the major parts it needs for a nuclear weapon — fuel,
designs and detonators — but stop just short of assembling a fully
operational weapon.
Iran  Obama  Robert_Gates  memoranda  James_Jones  nuclear  contingency_planning  Michael_Mullen  David_Sanger  SecDef 
april 2010 by jerryking
Fareed Zakaria GPS - CNN.com
BOOK OF THE WEEK
The Fat Tail: The Power of Political Knowledge for Strategic Investing by Ian Bremmer and Preston Keat.
The Lords of Finance by Liaquat Ahamed
"It's about how we got into the last great depression, and it contains good lessons on how to avoid this new one."
Science and Government ~ The Godkin Lectures at Harvard University, 1960 by C.P. Snow.
US POLITICS
• "The Inheritance: The World Obama Confronts and the Challenges to American Power" by David E. Sanger.
THE ECONOMY
• "The Ascent of Money: A Financial History of the World" by Niall Ferguson.

HISTORY
• "The Wise Men" by Walter Isaacson.
• "Imagining India: The Idea of a Nation Renewed" by Nandan Nilekani
SOCIOLOGY
• "Outliers" by Malcolm Gladwell
FOREIGN POLICY
• "Power Rules: How Common Sense Can Rescue American Foreign Policy" by Leslie Gelb
news  media  geopolitics  Fareed_Zakaria  globalization  cnn  interviews  Great_Depression  Outliers  Malcolm_Gladwell  books  Ian_Bremmer  David_Sanger 
april 2009 by jerryking

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