Jan 22, 2010

Clinton declares cyber war on China

Among buckets of saccharine rhetoric linking freedom and democracy, Hillary Clinton’s speech on internet freedom is a declaration of cyber war against China.

Stilgherrian — Technology writer and broadcaster


Technology writer and broadcaster

Among buckets of saccharine rhetoric linking freedom and democracy to the image of “the little girl who was pulled from the rubble on Monday in Port-au-Prince” (wtf?), Hillary Clinton’s speech on internet freedom amounts to a declaration of cyber war against China.

Were Google’s highly unusual public statements about Chinese-sourced attacks  on it and 33 other corporations part of a larger plan? After all, as Crikey reported Monday, such industrial espionage is hardly new.

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7 thoughts on “Clinton declares cyber war on China

  1. Niall Clugston

    So is America going to cut its aid to police state Egypt? Or just cyber-sabre-rattle against China?

  2. Stilgherrian

    You’re not actually expecting consistency between words and actions, are you Niall?

  3. Bob the builder


    I’d be fascinated to hear what you think about Freenet, both in terms of privacy protection and as an alternative to the commercialised internet.

    I had a look at it and found it very reminiscent of the mid-90s internet in it’s basic graphics, lack of adverts, and quirky interesting content. I also found it quite slow and hard to use!

    What’s your take on it?

  4. Stilgherrian

    @Bob the Builder: To be honest, I haven’t explored Freenet enough to form a proper opinion. However three key issues come to mind.

    1. What’s to stop “the bad guys” just creating false identities and joining Freenet themselves, thus immediately being “inside” the network. If I were, say, a Chinese intelligence organisation, I’d already have a programmer or systems administrator or three working within the project itself and building up trust.

    2. In an oppressive regime, simply using privacy and encryption tools marks you out as a problem to be investigated.

    3. Attackers focus on the weakest links. In almost every case the weakest link isn’t the data in transit or even the servers it’s shared from, but the end users’ computers. It’s relatively easy to get keystroke loggers onto users’ computers and monitor that way.

    I recall security expert Bruce Schneier saying he’s not worried if websites taking his credit card details don’t have SSL encryption because the endpoints are the vulnerability. Encrypting the credit card numbers in transit, he said, is like using an armoured car to move cash between people who live in cardboard boxes

  5. Bob the builder

    Well that puts paid to that!

    Notwithstanding that though, they do claim that – using the ultra-security mode – it’s invisible on your computer and there’s also a panic button that can wipe files straight away. It’s also apparently so de-centralised that even being an “insider” wouldn’t help you get in.

    I am pretty good at keyboard shortcuts and know how to use heading styles correctly in MS Word, but apart from that am pretty flummoxed when it comes to the real workings of the cyber-world.

    Would love to see more discussion about freenet and other “secure” e-communication systems. Perhaps some articles or a Crikey clarifier or just on this thread.



  6. Stilgherrian

    @Bob the Builder: All requests for Clarifiers gratefully received. I’ll see if I can sell the idea to our illustrious editor.

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