Chinese hackers strike US government servers targeting people with Chinese ties - We Are The Mighty
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Chinese hackers strike US government servers targeting people with Chinese ties

China is at it again, starting off the first 100 days of the Biden Presidency with a number of cyberattacks aimed at shaking American businesses, local governments and even those agencies with their own interests in what happens inside the Chinese government.

The latest round of Chinese attacks on American data services was one of the most advanced hacks yet, especially in terms of the measures taken to evade detection. This time, the hackers weren’t necessarily targeting the Department of Defense or critical infrastructure, they were targeting individuals with information China would consider valuable.

A hacking group called Advanced Persistent Threat 5 (or APT5)  is the culprit in the latest round of attacks according to Charles Carmakal, chief technology officer of Mandiant, a division of FireEye. FireEye has routinely aided the U.S. government in its cybersecurity efforts and has detected or thwarted a number of high-profile attacks in the past decade. 

Charles Carmakal, chief technology officer of Mandiant, a division of FireEye (LinkedIn)

“This looks like classic China-based espionage,” Carmakal told the Washington Post. “There was theft of intellectual property, project data. We suspect there was data theft that occurred that we won’t ever know about.”

Though the defense department was a target of this round of hacking, a number of other U.S. government agencies were, along with some critical defense contractors. The attacks began in June of 2020 and may even be ongoing. The Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), acknowledged as much in an April 2021 alert.

This time, the flaws exploited by Chinese hackers were inside of Pulse Secure virtual private network servers (VPN) that allow remote working employees to access company servers while offsite. 

Hackers also got into hardware devices near the victims’ locations, and renamed their servers to mimic those of current employees. Hiding in plain sight with a common name and the accounts of persons they just hacked is what made the intrusion so difficult to detect. 

FireEye has a long history of exposing high-profile hacks from state actors. In 2015, the company discovered Chinese hackers exploiting vulnerabilities in Microsoft Word and Office applications as well as Adobe Flash Player. In 2016, it discovered a vulnerability in the Android mobile operating system that allowed hackers to access text messages and phone directories. 

The cybersecurity firm was also a target of hackers itself in 2020, when state-funded hackers stole the FireEye toolkit. FireEye had to then begin to fight its own software, releasting tools to make the use of its toolkit more difficult in cyberattacks. 

Chinese hackers strike US government servers targeting people with Chinese ties
Tech. Sgt. Bryan Dauphinais, 103rd Communications Flight cyber transport journeyman, analyzes simulated cyberattacks during exercise Cyber Yankee at the Windsor Locks Readiness Center, Windsor Locks, Connecticut, July 30, 2020. The exercise connects Guardsmen throughout New England with state and federal agencies, and has them work alongside critical infrastructure utilities to combat simulated cyber attacks from threat actors. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Steven Tucker)

Most importantly, FireEye detected the 2020 SolarWinds attack and reported it to the National Security Agency (NSA). The SolarWinds attack allowed hackers to breach multiple government agencies, grant themselves privileged access to their networks. This attack was allegedly conducted by hackers working for the Russian Foreign Intelligence Service, or SVR.  

In response, President Biden implemented seeping sanctions on the Russian economy upon taking office. There is no word yet on retaliation against China from the Biden Administration, the White House has only commented that it was aware of the situation and was monitoring it closely. 

The most recent cybersecurity breach by APT5 is the third detected attack in 2021, all suspected to have links to China’s Communist Party. One of the previous two attacks hit 30,000 Americans in small business and local government, the other targeted tech giant Microsoft. 

Articles

The King Of Jordan Sent Out This Badass Photo In Response To ISIL

Chinese hackers strike US government servers targeting people with Chinese ties
Jordan’s King Abdullah II (Photo: The Royal Hashemite Court, Facebook)


Jordan’s King Abdullah II, a former commander of his country’s special forces, vowed to bombard the Islamic State until his military runs “out of fuel and bullets” after the release of a grisly video showing a captured Jordanian airman being burned alive in a cage.

The official Facebook page of The Royal Hashemite Court published a photo showing Jordan’s leader dressed in military fatigues. The same photo was published on the king’s instagram account eight months ago.

Jordan has carried out airstrikes against the Islamic State group, also known as ISIS or ISIL, in Mosul.

The Jordanian government has denied rumors the king flew any aerial attacks.

Dubbed the “Warrior King,” Jordan’s leader has served in the military for 35 years.

According to the King’s bio, he enrolled in the UK’s Royal Military Academy at Sandhurst in 1980 and went on to become an attack helicopter pilot.

The Washington Examiner carried this amazing snippet from US congressmen who visited Abdullah in Jordan as part of an official trip:

“He said there is going to be retribution like ISIS hasn’t seen,” said Republican Rep. Duncan Hunter Jr., a Marine Corps veteran of two tours in Iraq and one in Afghanistan, who was in the meeting with the king. “He mentioned ‘Unforgiven’ and he mentioned Clint Eastwood, and he actually quoted a part of the movie.”

Hunter would not say which part of “Unforgiven” the King quoted, but noted it was where Eastwood’s character describes how he is going to deliver his retribution. There is a scene in the picture in which Eastwood’s character, William Munny, says, “Any man I see out there, I’m gonna kill him. Any son of a bitch takes a shot at me, I’m not only going to kill him, I’m going to kill his wife and all his friends and burn his damn house down.”

Beyond airstrikes, Jordan could further contribute to the fight against ISIS through the use of its extremely effective special forces units.

Jordan’s special forces team, grouped under Jordan’s Joint Special Operations Command, is 14,000 strong and is one of the most effective fighting and intelligence forces in the region. Jordanian special forces frequently train alongside US forces.

More from Business Insider:

This article originally appeared at Business Insider Defense Copyright 2015. Follow BI Defense on Twitter.

Intel

Photo of soldiers breastfeeding in uniform goes viral

What was intended as a photo for the wall of a nursing room at Fort Bliss’ headquarters has exploded across social media after the Air Force vet who took the shot posted it to her Facebook page.


“Support for breastfeeding moms wasn’t even an option to consider,” photographer Tara Ruby wrote on Facebook. “To my knowledge a group photo to show support of active duty military mommies nursing their little’s has never been done. It is so nice to see support for this here at Fort Bliss.”

It’s doubtful Army officials will be as enthusiastic. In June 2012, photos of two Air National Guardsman breastfeeding their children went viral and stirred up a national debate over breastfeeding in uniform. Though military officials said the airmen violated a policy against “using the uniform to further a cause,” they were not disciplined.

However, Crystal Scott, the civilian organizer of the 2012 photo shoot, was fired from her job.

Now: Suck it, monster! Here’s how the Air Force would defend against Godzilla

Intel

Rare color footage shows the behind the scenes of the Japanese surrender 70 years ago

The official Japanese surrender ceremony took place aboard the USS Missouri anchored in Tokyo Bay on September 2, 1945.  Here’s some amazing B-roll uncovered by the Naval History and Heritage Command that shows behind-the-scenes stuff like the Japanese delegation coming aboard American warships on their way to the ceremony as well as what it looked like to the hundreds of sailors perched above the main deck when it all went down. The ceremony was a veritable who’s who event with military rock stars of the day like MacArthur, Nimitz, and Halsey in attendance. (There’s no sound on the video, but it’s worth the time.)


Intel

This Is A Triple-Barreled Soviet Space Gun With An Attached Machete

For 20 years Russians were equipped with a triple-barreled gun with a swing-out machete for space missions.

Also Read: 10 Things That Will Remind You About NASA’s Amazing Legacy

The TP-82 pistol was included in the Soyuz Portable Emergency-Survival Kit after two cosmonauts crash-landed into a forest in Siberia in 1965. They struggled to hunt prey, build shelter, and send a distress signal and thus, the “space gun” was born to shoot rifle bullets, shotgun shells, and flares.

During flight, the gun is stowed in a metal canister and if all goes well, the canister is never opened, NBC News space analyst James Oberg reports. “At the end of the mission, after landing, the gun is usually presented as a gift to the Soyuz spacecraft commander,” Oberg reports.

Astronomer Matija Cuk at Harvard University explains that the only difference between shooting a gun on Earth and in space is that the bullet will keep traveling forever. “The bullet will never stop, because the universe is expanding faster than the bullet can catch up with any serious amount of mass,” Cuk told LiveScience.

Astronomer Peter Schultz at Brown University also notes that in space you could technically shoot yourself in the back.

“For example, while in orbit around a planet, because objects orbiting planets are actually in a constant state of free fall, you have to get the setup just right. You’d have to shoot horizontally at just the right altitude for the bullet to circle the planet and fall back to where it started (you),” Shultz told LiveScience.

Russia replaced the gun with the semi-automatic Makarov pistol because all the in-stock ammunition for the TP-82 had expired.

While the conjoined gun-machete no longer exists in the Soyuz portable emergency-survival kit, an individual gun and machete are still included.

More from Business Insider:


Intel

The most radioactive places on earth

Nuclear energy is clean and efficient when everything works. The U.S. powers aircraft carriers, submarines, and even cities with it, but there are obvious down sides: Disasters can lead to death, destruction, and poisonous radiation.


Nuclear accidents are graded from zero to seven, zero being no safety issues and seven being extremely hazardous to health and the environment. Two examples of major nuclear incidents include the 1986 disaster in Chernobyl, Ukraine and Fukushima, Japan in 2011.

Although no occurrence of this magnitude has happened in the United States, the Department of Energy has been tasked with cleaning up over 100 nuclear sites within its borders, according to this TestTube video.

Watch:

Intel

This is how powerful the Tsar Bomba would have been over America

In the heights of the Cold War, Soviet First Secretary Nikita Khrushchev banged his shoe against his desk as he vowed to show America at the United Nation General Assembly in 1960. The following year, on October 30th, the most massive nuclear explosion ever was detonated over Severny Island.


The 50-megaton, 60,000-pound hydrogen bomb was said to have been 1,570 times larger than the combined energy of the nuclear devices dropped over Hiroshima and Nagasaki, 10 times the collective destructive power of every conventional weapon ever used in WWII, and it alone accounted for 10 percent of all nuclear yields ever.

Chinese hackers strike US government servers targeting people with Chinese ties
Thankfully for humanity, this was never tested again.
(Courtesy Photo)

The mushroom cloud of the blast soared up 40 miles high (seven times the height of Mount Everest) and had a 59-mile-wide cap. The blast was so incomprehensibly large that it’s nearly impossible to contextualize just how devastating it would have been if detonated over American soil.

To put all of this into perspective — and much to the delight of Yankees fans — let’s measure the hypothetical blast using today’s pitcher’s mound at Oriole Park in Baltimore, MD, as a point of reference.

Chinese hackers strike US government servers targeting people with Chinese ties
I have nothing but love for the city of Baltimore and the Orioles, but they do make things rather convenient for this thought experiment.
(Courtesy Photo)

The initial blast would have decimated the entire city and everything within 12 miles. The mushroom cloud, with a radius of 29.5 miles, would have stretched all the way into Washington D.C. The heat from the blast would have extended out 62 miles, and would have left everyone in Dover, Delaware with third-degree burns.

According to NukeMap, roughly 1.4 million people would have been killed immediately and the nuclear fallout would have made its way through Philadelphia, PA and into Trenton, NJ. Shockwaves reached 430 miles, which would have put it past Cincinnati, OH. Windows would be shattered up to 560 miles miles away, reaching Chattanooga, TN.

With a height of 40 miles, the mushroom cloud would have been visible from 564.5 miles. That means everyone in the outskirts of Atlanta would have been able to see it. The fireball was visible from 620 miles away, which would have meant everyone in Chicago would be witness to it.

For more information on the destructive power of the Tsar Bomba, check out this video.

Intel

A book published in 513 B.C. predicted exactly how the Vietnam War would play out

The lessons in Sun Tzu’s book “The Art of War” still ring true, despite it being written in 513 B.C. Case in point comes from the tactics used during the Vietnam War. As the following video points out, you have American Gen. William Westmoreland, who sees the battlefield like a chessboard. Then you have Gen. Võ Nguyên Giáp — who sees it like Sun Tzu would — as a go board. In go, you acquire territory with the fewest resources instead of eliminating the enemy troops like in Chess.


“It’s a classic case of a general fighting the last war,” says Richard A. Gabriel, a professor at the Department of War Studies at the Royal Military College of Canada, in the video. “The lessons he learned there [Gen. Westmoreland during World War II] only apply partially to Vietnam. There were no fixed objectives to be taken, there were no fixed units to be destroyed.”

This video shows how Sun Tzu’s lessons were applied during the Vietnam War:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fy2PZFajNPE

NOW: This Green Beret’s heroism was so incredible that Ronald Reagan said it was hard to believe

OR: Here’s how Hollywood legend Dale Dye earned the Bronze Star for heroism in Vietnam

Articles

9 of the most evil weapons of all time

Of course, anything made to kill another human being has an element of dubiousness about it; but some designs go above and beyond merely killing and add suffering to the equation. Here are nine of these evil weapons:


1. Boiling Oil/Hot Tar

Chinese hackers strike US government servers targeting people with Chinese ties

One of the earliest forms of evil weapons. When defending a castle, use arrows and spears and rocks to simply kill. Use hot tar to terrorize and demoralize the enemy as well as kill him.

2. Mustard Gas

Chinese hackers strike US government servers targeting people with Chinese ties

Mustard gas was first used in battle by the Germans in World War I with the expressed intent of demoralizing the enemy rather than kill him. The skin of victims of mustard gas blistered, their eyes became very sore and they began to vomit. Mustard gas caused internal and external bleeding and attacked the bronchial tubes, stripping off the mucous membrane. This was extremely painful. Fatally injured victims sometimes took four or five weeks to die of mustard gas exposure. (Source: Wikipedia)

3. V-1 Buzz Bomb

Chinese hackers strike US government servers targeting people with Chinese ties

The V-1 rockets were not intended to hit specific targets, but instead, they were designed terrorize the population of England during World War II.

4. Flamethrower

Chinese hackers strike US government servers targeting people with Chinese ties

What do you do when you don’t want to crawl into tunnels and pull Japanese soldiers out of their hiding places one-by-one? You strap on your flamethrower and burn them out — a torturous way to go.

5. Firebombing

Chinese hackers strike US government servers targeting people with Chinese ties

Firebombing is an air attack technique that combines blast bombing with incendiaries to yield much more destruction than blast bombs would alone. The Germans firebombed Coventry and London in 1940, and the British paid them back in spades toward the end of the war, most notably at Dresden.

6. Atomic Bomb

Chinese hackers strike US government servers targeting people with Chinese ties

Since August of 1945 service academies and war colleges have studied the calculus of using the atomic bomb on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, but regardless of whether the strategy ultimately saved lives that would have been lost during a manned invasion of the Japanese homeland, it inflicted great suffering on the population in the form of destruction on an unprecedented scale and the follow-on radiation poisoning.

7. Anti-personnel Mines

Chinese hackers strike US government servers targeting people with Chinese ties

These mines are designed to maim, not necessarily to kill. Stepping on them causes the mechanism to bounce up to pelvis level before exploding, causing maximum suffering before a slow painful death.

8. Punji Sticks

Chinese hackers strike US government servers targeting people with Chinese ties

An evil booby trap most notoriously associated with the Vietnam War, Punji Sticks were a low-fi weapon used by the Vietcong to terrorize American forces patrolling the jungle. The sharp sticks were hidden under tarps or trap doors covered with brush, and they inflicted nasty and painful wounds to lower extremities.

9. Napalm

Chinese hackers strike US government servers targeting people with Chinese ties

A bomb full of a gelling agent and petroleum, Napalm was originally used against buildings but later became an anti-personnel weapon. The flaming goo that erupts when the weapon goes high order sticks to skin and causes severe burns.

Intel

Elon Musk’s SpaceX wins 2 Pentagon contracts for nearly $160 million to launch missions with its Falcon 9 rockets

  • SpaceX won two contracts for $159.7 million to launch US military craft with its Falcon 9 rockets.
  • The Department of Defense also awarded the United Launch Alliance two contracts for $224.4 million.
  • They are expected to be take place by the end of 2023.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

The Pentagon announced Tuesday that it had signed two contracts with Elon Musk’s space company, SpaceX, for more than $159 million.

Under the agreements, SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rockets will launch two separate missions, the US Department of Defense said in a statement.

The two contracts come to $159.7 million and are expected to be completed by the end of 2023, the Pentagon said. It did not disclose the cost of each individual mission.

The launches will take place in Vandenberg Air Force Base, in California, and Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, in Florida, it added.

Another launch provider, the United Launch Alliance, was also awarded two Pentagon contracts Tuesday for $224.2 million, the DOD said.

The ULA, which is a joint venture between Boeing and Lockheed Martin, will also provide its Vulcan Centaur rockets for launch services.

The ULA launches are also scheduled before the end of 2023.

This is the third time SpaceX has signed an agreement with the Pentagon. In October, the company won a $149 million contract to make missile-tracking satellites for the DOD – SpaceX’s first government contract to build satellites.

In July, SpaceX won 40% of an agreement with the US military to launch new rockets for the Space Force. The other 60% went to the ULA.

This article originally appeared on Business Insider. Follow @BusinessInsider on Twitter.

Intel

This is Canada’s version of SEAL Team 6

Canada has its own version of the elite U.S. Navy SEAL Team 6 that is just as capable at counterterrorism, hostage rescue, and other sensitive missions.


Also Read: Here’s How US Navy SEALs Take Down A House

Known as Joint Task Force 2 and based near Ottawa, the unit keeps tight-lipped about its operations. That’s the case with most special ops of course, but JTF2 has seemingly dodged infamy and insider books. That stands in sharp contrast to the SEAL Team that has become well-known in the U.S. thanks to leaked details of high profile missions such as the Bin Laden raid.

Established in 1993, the unit has around 250 members. According to its official website, the unit was deployed to Afghanistan in 2001 — the first time it had been in major combat operations outside of Canada. It has also been rumored to be involved in combat against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).

The activities of the unit are so secretive that a query about why no one ever hears about it — unlike other nations’ special operations forces — appears as one the frequently asked questions on the Canadian Armed Forces website.

This video originally posted by Funker 530 gives an idea of some of their capabilities. Check it out:

Articles

Check out these sweet Royal Marine combat moves

The Royal Marines apparently hold unarmed combat displays to engage with the public on “Poppy Day,” the British Commonwealth version of Memorial Day. And the display the Marines put on is pretty impressive.


This 2015 demonstration was held at the Waterloo station in London and featured four Marines fighting and a few announcing, answering crowd questions, and collecting funds for Remembrance Sunday.

The Marines showed how they could sneak up on armed guards and take them out:

Chinese hackers strike US government servers targeting people with Chinese ties
It’s like being attacked by an ultra-violent spider monkey. (GIF: YouTube/Ministry of Defence)

They displayed a masterful and nuanced way to kick someone in the chest:

Chinese hackers strike US government servers targeting people with Chinese ties
This probably didn’t hurt. Especially not when his head landed off the mat and on the tile. (GIF: YouTube/Ministry of Defence)

And, of course, they choked a dude out and then took a selfie with him:

Chinese hackers strike US government servers targeting people with Chinese ties
Pics or it didn’t happen. (GIF: YouTube/Ministry of Defence)

See more of the Royal Marines’ awesome moves in the video below:

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