Tag Archives: China

Four Million Records!: The Meaning of Massive Cyber Intrusions

It has become common to wake up to news of yet another intrusion in America, or even Chinese systems by cyber hackers.  The deeper ignored question is just what does this mean?  What can someone really do with four million records of identity for United States government employees?

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The Cyber Discourse and Alliances

I have been busy lately promoting my recently released book (with Ryan Maness), Cyber War versus Cyber Realities. In it, we dissect and empirically evaluation the emergent cyber era finding more bluff and bluster than realistic analysis of cyber conflict. In fact, there is very little evidence of cyber conflict and what conflict we do observe is very low level operations or espionage.  cyber-spy

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Punishing China for Cyber Espionage: Spitting into the Wind


The United States recently  indicted five Chinese military operatives for cyber espionage. The grand jury charges bring about 31 different counts that could result in sentencing the individuals to 227 years in prison combined (by my count).   Many are calling the U.S. Justice Department’s latest move to punish Chinese citizens for cyber espionage an unprecedented step (a Google news search brings up an amusing number of articles that seem to basically copy each other).  While this goes a bit too far in that the U.S. Government has punished individuals for state crimes before, this move to charge five Chinese military officials with espionage is clearly an escalatory step that also at the same time represents doing the least that can be done beyond doing nothing.

A strong reaction is likely.  Jon Lindsay, notes that “it [the charges] does broach new ground by fingering Chinese military personnel actively serving in China. Retaliation by China, perhaps even outing US intelligence personnel serving at the NSA, is probably inevitable, although accusations are sure to be more rhetorical than evidence-based.”

In fact, China has taken the first step by calling the charges preposterous and charging the U.S. with double standards.  They have called in the ambassador to launch a formal complaint and canceled cooperation on a cyber initiatives for the time being.  Further action in private or in public is clearly forthcoming.  China has also taken the step to ban Windows 8 on all government computers.  A strong step in that Windows XP was so popular there and it was assumed that Windows 8 would be just as prevalent in the future.  They are reacting both to these moves but also Microsoft’s abandonment of the XP operating system leaving current Chinese systems vulnerable.

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A Woman Scorned?

It’s difficult to find a day that mistresses are not in the news.  Today is no exception. NPR ran a story today about the problems rooting out corruption in Chinese politics, the bulk of which was about the problems of mistress culture. According to the story, the way to get dirt about the corruption of high-ranking Chinese politicos is to find scorned mistresses interested in revenge.

These Chinese mistresses – whose “public scandals” have “made for bad press” despite being a symptom rather than a cause of corruption, have been the subject of a number of news and human interest stories. Of course, they are not the first mistresses to attract attention (and blame) in politics – from Paula Broadwell to Julie Gayet, publics love good mistress stories. Political analysts also often cannot resist analyzing the ‘trouble’ caused by sexual politics (e.g., Dan Drezner’s discussion of “The Trouble with Dames in World Politics” and subsequent responses). Some call it news, I call it slut-shaming.

The ‘trouble’ that these Chinese ‘dames’ cause seems to be multi-dimensional, to read their press. The stories characterize them as only in it for the money, cold, disloyal, and ruthless. Rather than talking about them as victims of the sex industry, the stories emphasize that they are ‘players’ who make their own choices, including the choice of betrayal. Their customers, or keepers, on the other hand, are characterized as relatively helpless: ninety-five percent of elite Chinese politicians have illicit affairs and sixty percent keep mistresses, it is ‘required’ for them to demonstrate their masculinity. The mistresses, then, are characterized as a key part of corruption and a key reason that corrupt officials are likely to get caught.  They characterized as the political equivalent of kryptonite to Chinese President Xi Jinping’s crackdown on corruption – they are at once the corruption and the threat to take it down messily. The message to (Chinese) politically powerful men is clear: keeping it in your pants is key to political survival, and women can take you down.

In a world where fifty-something, wealthy, married, powerful men exploit poor, undereducated, teenage women for sex (and often abuse), … how did the woman become the perpetrators and the men the victims?

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