Back in May it was revealed that Chinese hacker spies had taken over the Penn State University engineering department.
Here’s a recap:
"Penn State offers a potential treasure trove of technology that’s already being developed with partners for commercial applications. The breach suggests that foreign spies could be using universities as a backdoor to U.S. commercial and defense secrets. The hackers are so deeply embedded that the engineering college’s computer network will be taken offline for several days while investigators work to eject the intruders," Bloomberg said at the time.
The breach, which the school’s president called “an incredibly serious situation," was allegedly perpetrated by "state-sponsored hackers" acting as "foreign spies" and was reportedly uncovered by the FBI late last year. After a lengthy investigation (which cost the university millions) school officials are now concerned that information from Penn State's Applied Research Laboratory (which has worked with the US Navy for the better part of a century) may have been compromised in the operation.
And that would hardly be the end of it.
Two months later, China was also blamed for what Washington called the "largest theft of US government data ever" and just this week, the US said the same hackers responsible for stealing information on government employees had also breached American Airlines.
The flurry of cyber accusations comes as the Pentagon looks to crack down on "cyber adversaries" including China, Iran, Russia (where "organized crime syndicates" were blamed for an IRS breach in May), and of course North Korea which allegedly committed the most heinous act of cyber terrorism yet when hackers from Pyongyang sabotaged Seth Rogen and James Franco’s "The Interview" last year.
Fortunately, Ashton Carter is on the ball and has developed a new cyber strategy which includes the "offensive" use of cyber warfare where necessary to defend the country’s interests.
As you can see, the list of "bad guys" is the same (China, Russia, Iran, North Korea) in cyber space as it is in the non-virtual world, and just to show you how "bad" the presumed ring leader of the Axis of Cyber Evil truly is, here’s an exclusive look at a secret NSA map (obtained by NBC) which shows all Chinese cyber attacks on US targets over the last five years:
More color from NBC:
A secret NSA map obtained exclusively by NBC News shows the Chinese government's massive cyber assault on all sectors of the U.S economy, including major firms like Google and Lockheed Martin, as well as the U.S. government and military.
The map uses red dots to mark more than 600 corporate, private or government "Victims of Chinese Cyber Espionage" that were attacked over a five-year period, with clusters in America's industrial centers. The entire Northeast Corridor from Washington to Boston is blanketed in red, as is California's Silicon Valley, with other concentrations in Dallas, Miami, Chicago, Seattle, L.A. and Detroit. The highest number of attacks was in California, which had almost 50.
Each dot represents a successful Chinese attempt to steal corporate and military secrets and data about America's critical infrastructure, particularly the electrical power and telecommunications and internet backbone. And the prizes that China pilfered during its "intrusions" included everything from specifications for hybrid cars to formulas for pharmaceutical products to details about U.S. military and civilian air traffic control systems, according to intelligence sources.
So China is apparently planning to build Chevy Volt knockoffs, manufacture medicine, and hijack air traffic control towers, among other nefarious activities.
Whether all of this is cause for the Pentagon to activate the "offensive" component of its brand new cyber strategy remains to be seen, but in the meantime, if you see this guy sneaking into a campus computer lab, say something: