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11 September 2007, 11:06

Report indicates China's plans to gain "electronic dominance"

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According to a report from the London Times, the Pentagon has obtained information indicating that Chinese hackers have laid plans for cyber attacks on the US armed forces. A Pentagon report states that a detailed plan exists for an attack on the US Air Force. By 2050, China wants to achieve “electronic dominance” over countries such as Great Britain, Russia, South Korea and the US. The goal is to weaken the rivals’ economic, financial and communications capabilities in case of a conflict.

The Times suggests this information comes from military documents and other information analyzed by the US Secret Service. The plan for a cyber attack on the US military was authored by two officers of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army. According to the US Army War College Report by security expert Larry M. Wortzel, they have written a virtual guidebook for electronic warfare. In June, US Air Force General Robert Elder warned that China was attempting to displace the US as the dominant player in cyberspace. The general is also responsible for coordinating US responses: he issued this warning on the occasion of his appointment as commander of a new "Cyber Command" unit at the Barksdale Air Force Base in Louisiana, which has been set up to monitor cyberspace and secure America’s cyber dominance.

During the last few weeks reports have been published to the effect that Chinese hackers have conducted attacks against the US Department of Defense and also government systems in France, Great Britain and Germany. According to the Times report, the Pentagon logged 79,000 intrusion attempts in 2005, 1300 of which were successful. Hundreds of systems had to be replaced or taken off-line for weeks. In June, the DoD announced that 1500 Pentagon systems had to be taken off-line following a cyber attack said to have been conducted by Chinese hackers. China has rejected these accusations.

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