Chinese Web sites attack U.S. government networks  

Excerpted from, August 25th, 2005


Chinese Web sites are doggedly targeting computer networks in the Defense Department and other U.S. agencies, compromising hundreds of unclassified networks, The Washington Post reported Thursday. The newspaper attributed this to several unnamed officials who said the attacks haven't compromised classified systems. But they remain concerned because, as one official said, even seemingly innocuous information, when pulled together from various sources, can paint a valuable picture of an adversary's strengths and weaknesses.

"The scope of this thing is surprisingly big," said one of four government officials quoted in the Post report. The sources spoke separately about the incidents, which stretch back as far as two or three years and have been code-named Titan Rain by U.S. investigators. U.S. analysts are divided on whether the attacks are a coordinated Chinese government campaign to penetrate U.S. networks or the handiwork of other hackers using Chinese networks to disguise the origins of the attacks. "It's not just the Defense Department but a wide variety of networks that have been hit," including the departments of State, Energy and Homeland Security as well as defense contractors, one official said. "This is an ongoing, organized attempt to siphon off information from our unclassified systems." But another official cautioned against exaggerating the severity of the intrusions. He said the attacks, while constituting "a large volume," were "not the biggest thing going on out there."

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