According to the New York Times, U.S. businesses, local governments and major military contractors using Microsoft’s email system were compromised by Chinese Hackers, and as Microsoft took steps to plug the vulnerabilities, seven new Chinese hackers attacked, trying to steal information before the system was fully repaired, the U.S. National Security Council stressed the seriousness of the situation. “The White House is taking a series of government responses to assess and address the impact of the Microsoft intrusion,” said National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan, who is paying close attention to the vulnerability of Microsoft Exchange and whether it will pose damage to U.S. think tanks and defense industrial base entities!
Secretary of State Blinken’s policy of both cooperation and competition with China, the Chinese Communist Party has responded with a cyber war, a “shadow war” that has already begun, as if Biden were in a dream. It is as if Blinken only discovered today that the CCP is his number one competitor. The leftist government is helpless to do anything about it, but only sees a vague strategy of walking. Before the Chinese hackers broke into Microsoft products, late last year Russian hackers broke into the products of the Texas technology company SolarWinds Orion platform, a system widely used by U.S. government agencies and businesses. This Russian approach is unprecedented. The hackers first rented a cloud server in the United States, hacked into the SolarWinds system and added the code, then spent three to six months waiting for users to update their systems, downloading malicious programs, and gradually infiltrating 18,000 users along the way, allowing the hackers to gain access and quietly steal the information they needed. This “supply chain attack” of hacking into corporate products and then infiltrating target departments is the beginning of a new wave of “shadow war” between Russia and China.
Asymmetric Shadow Warfare
Russia’s annexation of Crimea is a successful case of shadow warfare, with cyber warfare as the main force. Fake news, fake accounts, and KOLs create social hatred and division, influence the Ukrainian government’s judgment on the political situation, use armed militias to cover up the actions of Russian troops, use hacking to paralyze the command system of the Ukrainian army, and spread false messages of non-resistance. While everyone still thinks that future geopolitical conflicts will continue to be fought in the same way as hot wars, with airplanes and artillery? It may be misjudged, hot war is risky and politically costly, both sides dare not make the first move, but shadow warfare is a kind of asymmetric warfare, gray area attack, can enter or retreat, unknowingly. The U.S. Obama administration did not elevate the hacking issue to the level of national security and warfare, and it was only when Trump signed an executive order in August 2018 that he gave U.S. Cyber Command greater authority to conduct daily, short-term skirmishes on the network without explicit presidential authorization.
But the advantage of shadow warfare remains in the hands of Russia and China, so why are they simultaneously launching attacks from cloud servers rented under false names in the United States? Because it is well known that U.S. law prohibits intelligence agencies from viewing computer systems located in the United States, so the recent hacking attacks by China and Russia were discovered by private companies. The shadow war is not only covert, there are no rules of engagement, the attacker is even kept in the dark, which is why it is called “asymmetric warfare”, and the saddest thing is that the more democratic and free a society is, the easier it is to be used as a cover to launch attacks.
The British Prime Minister announced to send the carrier battle group HMS Queen Elizabeth to the South China Sea for “free sailing” to participate in the US-Japan military exercises in Okinawa, and last week the British media reported at the same time that the British carrier battle group planning to sail into the South China Sea might be subject to cyber attacks by the Chinese Communist Party.