A leaked clip from Chinese documentary may have inadvertently proven long-denied allegations that China is actively engaged in cyberwarfare.
The six-second clip shows a small portion of a twenty-minute state-produced documentary entitled The Cyber Storm Has Arrived! which aired last month on China's CCTV-7. The clip begins with Senior Colonel Du Wenlong of the Chinese army's Academy of Military Sciences, discussing the importance of computer networks.
Networks have become the basis for military action and for winning a war, says Du Wenlong during the clip, later adding that to keep up with the pace of virtual technology, we must increase our fighting ability.”
The video shows a computer screen and a user choosing between a www denial-of-service attack and a distributed denial-of-service attack, two well-known hacking methods (distributed denial of service, or DDoS, is certainly familiar to many from hacker collective LulzSec's recent activities).
In the next frame, one can clearly see a dialog box reading China's People's Liberation Army Electronic Engineering Academy at the top, asking for an attack target. The IP address that is typed in, 188.8.131.52 resolves to dali.chem.uab.edu, which is [The University of Alabama at] Birmingham, according to a YouTube comment later verified by The Wall Street Journal sources.
A drop-down box is shown which seem to list a number of pre-specified targets, including Minghui.org, a web site for the Falun Gong. A spiritual organization focusing on health and virtue, the Falun Gong was initially supported by the Chinese government, but the popularity and independent teachings eventually led to the Communist Party declaring it a heretical organization in 1999.
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The clip was originally reported by the Epoch Times, a news organization founded by Falun Gong supporters shortly after the Chinese government outlawed the group. The video was then brought to wider attention on the China SignPost web site by Andrew Erickson, an associate professor at the US Naval War College's China Maritime Institute, and Gabriel Collins, a security specialist focusing on Russia and China.
Both Erickson and Collins men pointed out that the cyberattack method shown in the footage was relatively primitive by today's standards, which could indicate that the footage was a decade old -- if it was real in the first place. However, many have seized upon this footage as the first real proof that China's involvement in cyberwarfare -- which the country has long and sometimes angrily denied -- is very real.
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