by Jim Emerson
“For to win one hundred victories in one hundred battles is not the acme of skill. To subdue the enemy without fighting is the acme of skill.” –Sun Tzu
Sun Tzu would love cyber warfare. The master of the Chinese board game of Go enjoyed the idea of defeating his enemy without a battle. China is conducting cyber war on the United States. The People’s Liberation Army (PLA) have a group of highly trained hackers (Hēikè) whose sole purpose is to attack American companies in order to steal information to enhance the Chinese Military. (1) This hacking group is working with the full knowledge and blessing of the Communist’s Government leadership. (3) It’s time America acknowledges that the Chinese are conducting a full-scale cyber war against the west.
“All war is deception.” –Sun Tzu
The PLA “Unit 61398“ is believed to be launching cyber-attacks against the United States from a nondescript 12- story building in Shanghai. Most of the hacking is performed by the unit using the names Comment Crew or the Shanghai Group. The groups are most likely elements of Unit 61398. The actual manpower or capability of the PLA unit is unknown but most of the cyber-attacks have been traced back to this building in a dilapidated area, a location which would certainly be preferred by hacker groups. The actual operation of the unit is considered a state secret and the government will deny its existence, in fact they have ridiculed such accusations.
“Your aim must be to take All-under-Heaven intact. Thus your troops are not worn out and your gains will be complete. This is the art of offensive strategy.” -Sun Tzu
Unit 61398 is one of most prolific hacking group in the world and has been operating since 2006. This PLA Unit has been targeting defense businesses and organizations as well power and water companies. Their favorite target is Government agencies, especially the Armed Forces. Their goal is simple
1. Disrupt the military and strategic infrastructure to greatly diminish America’s ability to fight a war.
2. Steal all military and manufacturing secrets.
- 1. http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/2013/feb/19/china-hacker-attacks-west
- 2. http://www.businessweek.com/ap/2013-02-20/a-look-at-mandiant-allegations-on-china-hacking
- 3. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/northamerica/usa/9882347/Hackers-have-been-let-off-the-leash-by-Chinese-government.html