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Titan Rain Article- Piss on Time Mag?

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  • Deviant Ollam
    TIME has obtained documents showing that since 2003, the hackers, eager to access American know-how, have compromised secure networks ranging from the Redstone Arsenal military base to NASA to the World Bank. In one case, the hackers stole flight-planning software from the Army.
    see, this sort of wording raises the "sensationalism" flag with me. these chinese hackers have "compromised" secure networks... that could mean anything from gaining root on a router to figuring out what proxy server was behind a firewall, even if they never successfully took it over. is it a "compromise" of fort knox security if i learn the names and home addresses of the guards working tomorrow's afternoon shift? possibly, but it's unlikely i'm going to get the gold bars with that information.

    So far, the files they have vacuumed up are not classified secrets, but many are sensitive and subject to strict export-control laws, which means they are strategically important enough to require U.S. government licenses for foreign use.
    yeah, and encryption is subject to export controls. so are multi-processor parallel systems in some cases. once again, i think this is an example of wording that sounds scary but could be describing a legitimately worrysome situation or something rather mundane.

    China, in particular, is known for having poorly defended servers that outsiders from around the world commandeer as their unwitting launchpads.
    is this true? i've always thought that the large amount of spam and port scans i receive from chinese netblocks are the result of lax enforcement policies and a reduced likelihood of prosecution from overseas officials. is china the bounce point they make it out to be?

    the concern that Titan Rain could be a point patrol for more serious assaults that could shut down or even take over a number of U.S. military networks.
    i put this in the column of "hackers will turn off the power to california" or "with a few whistles into a telephone kevin could launch nuclear rockets" anything written this way conjures up the visual of Jonny Lee Miller and Angelina Jolie checking their wristwatches to see exactly when traffic lights are going to start malfunctioning at their command.

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  • Ridirich
    I read it, and two words hit me harder than anything. "Titan" and "Nuclear".

    Now, I know the Titan missle system was used for ICBM, but we no longer use Titans, they are all decommed, so why does this group call itself that, or did I miss the bigger picture?

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  • TheCotMan
    Originally posted by hackajar
    This is a "silent dragon" that will have to be delt with on a computer security and political level VERY soon.
    That won't be a problem at all. By 2020, there will be a whole new brand of security systems, software, protocols and services available to help deal with these problems... of course, they'll probably be "Made in China" (heheh-hehehe)
    [Uneasy laughter as there is some truth to that "joke."]

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  • hackajar
    Either way, the article points out something that is becoming an ongoing threat to U.S.A national security. China is posied to become a "core" super power by 2020 (see Thomas Barnett's "THE PENTAGON’S NEW MAP"). This is a "silent dragon" that will have to be delt with on a computer security and political level VERY soon.

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  • TheCotMan
    Originally posted by Mata Hari
    "So far, the files they have vacuumed up are not classified secrets"
    I prefer statements like, "There is no known published evidence that...[they have vacuumed up documents classified secrets.]"

    Just because nothing is published, or known by the reporter to have happened does not mean it has not happened.

    "They fired him and stripped him of his Q clearance, the Department of Energy equivalent of top-secret clearance."
    (So much for inter-departmental cooperation all all levels of government.)
    Too many cases where .gov and .mil "sysadmin" and "network admin" don't want to know about problems or else they have more work, or the "managers" decide that the negative publicity in an announcement, or cost to investigate is too high.

    He should have had the blessing of his boss/managaer/director before contacting the FBI about this incident. It is totally brain-dead to contact law enforcement about information security issues without notifying your boss at some point in time-- after all, he had several months. (There might be exceptions, if your boss was part of it.)

    Reading further, he decided to attack and trojan a router over there? That should really need the blessing of a supervisor if done with work resources.

    For the most part, the article is a work of sensationalism that is similar to other "hacking stories" and it tends to paint "hackers" as being bad, when in reality, the people using the tools for the break-in may not actually be hackers.

    Consider the case of a directed information attack by a .com or .gov. What is involved? A bunch of script monkeys who can use version reporting and host/sevice fingerprinting to determine what services are running, and then a DB lookup for what attacks may work against the found services. (A Few people develop the tools, a bunch of people search and use them, or use is automated, and hits are reported back for further examination.)
    Specialists to code exploits, specialists to manage attacks, specialists to make intelligent choices on what documents are worth acquiring.

    Even if the group exists, and is from China, and has government support in some way, shape or form, I suspect there is plausable denyability in whatever cover has been configured for the group.

    Entertaining story, but so is Family Guy. ;-)

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  • astcell
    Having been in print myself I can understand how tweaked the story can get from the original intent. It is a shame that such activities get so bogged down in bureaucracy with most handlers worrying about their pension and and the next lawsuit to surprise them from around the corner.

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  • Mata Hari
    started a topic Titan Rain Article- Piss on Time Mag?

    Titan Rain Article- Piss on Time Mag?


    I'd like to hear commentary about this piece... I have my own personal reservartions as a journalist about it... How extraordinarily enlightening...Indulge and enjoy, and I anticipate the feedback... As I mentioned, I have mixed feelings on this one-,00.html