In a recent thread
I posed the question; Are we going to see a 'cyber false flag'
event that will give justification for a more censored, mainstream internet service?
It wasn't until today that I remembered an article I had seen which could hold some of the answers to that very question and which perhaps even poses
another question; Has a false flag already been attempted?
On January 12, 2010 Google disclosed that it had been subject to a 'cyber attack' that had begun in mid-2009 and continued through till December
2009. The attack had been aimed at dozens of organizations, of which Adobe Systems, Juniper Networks and Rackspace have publicly confirmed that they
were targeted. According to media reports, Yahoo, Symantec, Northrop Grumman and Dow Chemical were also among the targets.
The attack was dubbed 'Operation Aurora'
after the name of a file folder discovered on the
computer of one of the attackers.
Google were quick to state that the attack originated in China, more specifically they narrowed down its point of origin to be two Chinese schools,
Shanghai Jiao Tong University and Lanxiang Vocational School.
Google Cyberattack Linked To Two Chinese Schools
Computers at Shanghai Jiaotong University and the Lanxiang Vocational School in China reportedly played a role in the attacks, according to unnamed
sources cited in The New York Times.
Lanxiang Vocational School, The New York Times says, was created with funding from the Chinese military and trains computer scientists for the Chinese
military. Its network is operated by a company with ties to Baidu, Google's most significant rival in China.
Evidence of the role of the two schools' computers was reportedly presented by a U.S. military contractor at a meeting of security professionals.
This obviously implies that the Chinese Government had some sort of connection to the attacks, even though they emphatically denied any
While the schools boast of their "high-level talent", it seems unusual that such a sophisticated attack would originate at such a place, as has been
While the Chinese authorities have not commented on the report, a female member of staff from Lanxiang told the Guardian that the school was not
aware of the attacks on Google.
"We did not know Google was hacked before the New York Times contacted us – when they called, we told them we know nothing but they still made the
story up," she said. "Our students are middle school graduates, and we train them to use software like Photoshop. If our students are so skilled
they can hack Google, then what are they here for?"
And there is no doubting the level of sophistication of this attack...
Google Hack Attack Was Ultra Sophisticated, New Details Show
Hackers seeking source code from Google, Adobe and dozens of other high-profile companies used unprecedented tactics that combined encryption, stealth
programming and an unknown hole in Internet Explorer, according to new details released by the anti-virus firm McAfee.
“We have never ever, outside of the defense industry, seen commercial industrial companies come under that level of sophisticated attack,”
says Dmitri Alperovitch, vice president of threat research for McAfee. “It’s totally changing the threat model.”
All of this raises an important question. If the Aurora attacks were indeed sponsored by the Chinese government: why would they choose to launch the
attacks from schools to which the government holds close ties? And if the attacks were really that sophisticated, why did they leave a trace at all,
especially such an easily definable one?
This brings me to the crux of my theory. Could the attacks have been orchestrated by the US Government themselves and then blamed on the Chinese?
Well, Bruce Schneier, a security technologist, seems to think that the U.S were involved...
U.S. enables Chinese hacking of Google
Google made headlines when it went public with the fact that Chinese hackers had penetrated some of its services, such as Gmail, in a politically
motivated attempt at intelligence gathering.
The news here isn't that Chinese hackers engage in these activities or that their attempts are technically sophisticated -- we knew that
already -- it's that the U.S. government inadvertently aided the hackers.
He believes that the U.S Government have only themselves to blame for the attacks, how so?
Because, he says, some of the same laws that allow authorities to monitor Internet communications promotes criminal misuse. There's the 1994
Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act, which requires phone companies to facilitate FBI eavesdropping. The U.S. government is working on
the "Comprehensive National Cybersecurity Initiative," to address cyber-threats, which could give them the ability to police Internet activity and
(And then there's the National Security Administration's "Advanced QUestion Answering for INTelligence," or Acquaint project, which is designed to
collect data from phone calls, credit card receipts, social networks like Facebook and MySpace, GPS tracks, cell phone geolocation, Internet searches,
Amazon book purchases, and E-Z Pass toll records to locate and keep track of people.)
So the reason this attack happened was because the likes of the FBI, CIA and NSA are forcing companies to build 'back door' access systems that
allow them to spy on potential threats. It is via these 'back door' systems that these hackers gained access and were able to launch their
So it seems like a never ending circle:
1. The Government, worried about potential threats, puts in place systems to allow them to 'monitor' all internet users.
2. Sophisticated hackers then use these very same systems to initiate cyber attacks.
3. The government then uses such attacks to justify an even more censored/monitored internet.
And before too long the internet as we know it is a mere shadow of it's former self.
Even more unusual is a story that ran in The Financial Times in which an unnamed U.S. security researcher is quoted as saying that the man who wrote
the code isn't a "full-time" government worker and did not take part in the attack, but published the attack code to a hackers forum and that the
Chinese government therefore had access to the exploit software.
Obviously it is all speculation on my part, but it is surely not beyond the realm of possibilities that someone within the U.S Government with access
to these cyber loop-holes posted the appropriate codes anonymously to a Chinese hacking forum, in the knowledge that they would be used against them.
As I think about this possibility I am reminded of that quote I have already posted...
“We have never ever, outside of the defence industry, seen commercial industrial companies come under that level of sophisticated
Well maybe that's just it, maybe these attacks didn't come from outside of the defence industry?
Whether or not the U.S Government were directly involved with Operation Aurora it is true that, as a result of their obsession with wire tapping and
digital spying, they are opening themselves up to attack. But perhaps that's exactly what they want?