Cyber Discussion in Chinese Media

Posted: 28th September 2012

Current government cyber security coverage by the mainstream US media and blogosphere is heavy on threats from China and Iran. But what’s the perspective from the other side? Is Chinese media coverage on cyber issues similarly trained on the United States?

The below timeline from Recorded Future shows the most recent 60 days of reporting on malware and cyber attack events as reported by Chinese sources. View the live timeline (translation from Chinese to English in application).

Notable recent events captured in the above view at the time of this post’s publication:

– Japanese web sites as cyber attack targets: According to the National Police Agency a “hacking” groups message board the Honker Union listed about 300 Japanese organizations as potential cyber attacks target. Police also confirmed that some 4,000 people released a message about the planned attack and attack programs.

– Reports on the possibility of additional computer viruses from US related to Flame malware: According to foreign media reports, the researchers found evidence to suggest that the United States might have developed a three previously unknown computer viruses, for espionage or network warfare.

– Report on Philippines government hack: At least seven government websites, including the Philippine central bank were hacked. The hackers posted on the website opposing the Philippines recent prevention of cyber crime law that they claim restricted freedoms of speech.

Perhaps the most interesting item is an event that received minimal attention from US media:

– Arabic ‘Anonymous’ attacks on Western websites: Arab regional satellite television station, Al Arabiya television reported that hackers from several Arab countries calling themselves “Arab Electronic Army” invaded several Western websites in response to the recent anti-Islam film. One of the hackers, who identified himself as Ridouan (hacker alias RéD-Zàr) from Morocco, wrote in an email that the hacking operations were part of a “campaign to defend Allah’s prophet”, and he identified some of his fellow hackers as Abdel Haq from Morocco (pro-psd), Saudi Hacker (wesker Hacker) Alaa from Syria (Alaa Alsory), Khaled from Syria (Connect-r Syrian).

Final Thoughts

In short, at least from this sample of sixty days, the focus is not exceptionally heavy on the United States. Regional issues seem to garner at least as much attention, and those references to the US, Flame malware aside, are in relation to domestic subjects: claims that Chinese companies lost $46 billion to cyber crime and wariness of US businesses to work with Huawei due to security concerns.