US ‘dou­ble stan­dards’ threaten other na­tions

China, Rus­sia pro­pose in­ter­na­tional reg­u­la­tions on in­for­ma­tion se­cu­rity

China Daily (Canada) - - CHINA - By LI XIAOKUN and ZHAO YANRONG

Wash­ing­ton is ap­ply­ing dou­ble stan­dards by de­vel­op­ing new tech­nol­ogy to at­tack for­eign databases — even if the com­put­ers are not con­nected to the In­ter­net — while play­ing up cy­berthreats from oth­ers, China’s For­eign Min­istry said on Thurs­day.

Min­istry spokesman Hong Lei made the re­marks in re­sponse to a New York Times re­port pub­lished on Tues­day that gave de­tails of the US spy­ware, which re­port­edly set the Chi­nese mil­i­tary as a ma­jor tar­get.

“For some time, the rel­e­vant coun­try has on one hand played up the cy­berthreats from other coun­tries, and on the other hand used var­i­ous meth­ods to im­ple­ment cy­ber sur­veil­lance en­dan­ger­ing the sovereignty, se­cu­rity and pub­lic pri­vacy of other coun­tries,” Hong said.

He said China and Rus­sia have pro­posed to the United Na­tions the set­ting up of a global stan­dard on in­for­ma­tion se­cu­rity.

The spokesman called on the US to “work with the in­ter­na­tional com­mu­nity to cre­ate in­ter­na­tional reg­u­la­tions and build a peace­ful, safe, open and co­op­er­a­tive cy­berspace”.

“The United States is the coun­try which has made the most ac­cu­sa­tions about cy­ber­at­tacks from other coun­tries, but it, in­deed, con­ducted the most sur­veil­lance on oth­ers,” said Fan Jishe, a ex­pert at the Chi­nese Academy of So­cial Sciences.

Wash­ing­ton has long ac­cused the Chi­nese mil­i­tary of at­tack­ing and spy­ing on US com­put­ers, with­out pro­vid­ing strong proof. The blame turned ironic when US Na­tional Se­cu­rity Agency whis­tle-blower Ed­ward Snow­den ex­posed the coun­try’s mas­sive cy­ber spy­ing pro­gram around the globe last year, with China listed among its ma­jor tar­gets.

The New York Time’s re­port on Tues­day said the NSA has em­bed­ded soft­ware in nearly 100,000 com­put­ers around the world to carry out sur­veil­lance.

The ar­ti­cle, cit­ing NSA doc­u­ments, com­puter ex­perts and US of­fi­cials, said the agency has used a tech­nol­ogy since at least 2008, which re­lies on a covert chan­nel of ra­dio waves that can be trans­mit­ted from tiny cir­cuit boards and USB cards in­serted sur­rep­ti­tiously into the com­put­ers, to con­duct sur­veil­lance.

The equip­ment can also launch cy­ber­at­tacks.

The agency calls the ef­fort an “ac­tive de­fense’’, said the re­port.

Fan noted that the US not only tapped coun­tries like Cold War ri­vals Rus­sia and China, but also spied on its al­lies in Europe.

The NSA has used the tech­nol­ogy to mon­i­tor for­eign mil­i­taries, drug car­tels, trade in­sti­tu­tions in­side the Euro­pean Union and some­time US part­ners against ter­ror­ism such as Saudi Ara­bia, In­dia and Pak­istan, the New York Times re­ported.

Li Qing­gong, deputy sec­re­tary-gen­eral of the China Coun­cil for Na­tional Se­cu­rity Pol­icy Stud­ies, said US spies us­ing ra­dio waves to col­lect in­for­ma­tion from com­put­ers that are not linked to the In­ter­net have to be in close prox­im­ity to re­ceive the in­for­ma­tion.

He warned that “any peo­ple try­ing to take such ac­tions around a Chi­nese gov­ern­ment or Chi­nese army com­plex” would be break­ing Chi­nese law.

Cherian Sa­muel, a cy­ber­se­cu­rity ex­pert at New Delhi’s In­sti­tute of De­fense Stud­ies and Anal­y­ses, said, “If it had been any other coun­try do­ing this kind of thing, the US would have come down on them like a ton of bricks with puni­tive sanc­tions,” ac­cord­ing to the As­so­ci­ated Press.

James An­drew Lewis, a cy­ber­se­cu­rity ex­pert at the Center for Strate­gic and In­ter­na­tional Stud­ies in Wash­ing­ton, told the New York Times, “What’s new here is the scale and the so­phis­ti­ca­tion of the in­tel­li­gence agency’s abil­ity to get into com­put­ers and net­works to which no one has ever had ac­cess be­fore.

“Some of th­ese ca­pa­bil­i­ties have been around for a while, but the com­bi­na­tion of learn­ing how to pen­e­trate sys­tems to in­sert soft­ware and learn­ing how to do that us­ing ra­dio fre­quen­cies has given the US a win­dow it’s never had be­fore.” Con­tact the writer at lix­i­aokun@chi­nadaily.com.cn

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