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China Government Security United States Politics

Analysis: China-US Hacking Accord Is Tall On Rhetoric, Short On Substance 38

An anonymous reader writes: Ars takes a look at the cyberspying agreement between the U.S. and China. The article looks at what the accord does but more importantly, what it does not. "But even assuming both sides would follow the pact, the accord is tall on rhetoric and short on substance. The deal, for instance, defines the method of enforcement as requiring the two nation's to create a 'high-level joint dialogue mechanism,' according to a joint statement from Attorney General Loretta Lynch and Homeland Security chief Jeh Johnson. More important, the two superpowers make no commitment not to hack one another for intelligence-gathering purposes. That means the recent hack of the Office of Personnel Management's background investigation data—5.6 million sets of fingerprints from US federal employees, contractors and other federal job applicants—doesn't run counter to the accord. The OPM hack is believed to have originated in China and the data, as Ars has previously reported, is 'in the hands of the foreign intelligence services of China.'"
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Analysis: China-US Hacking Accord Is Tall On Rhetoric, Short On Substance

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  • by Psychotria ( 953670 ) on Sunday September 27, 2015 @10:28AM (#50607459)

    So, why should anyone expect China to?

    In fact, if I was a Chinese government official I'd be laughing at anything the US suggests. Maybe I'd sign the pact just for a joke though.

    • by lkcl ( 517947 ) <lkcl@lkcl.net> on Sunday September 27, 2015 @11:15AM (#50607653) Homepage

      So, why should anyone expect China to?

      In fact, if I was a Chinese government official I'd be laughing at anything the US suggests. Maybe I'd sign the pact just for a joke though.

      the thing is, what the U.S. politicians - and many people around the world - don't realise is that the Chinese Intelligence is so secretive it doesn't even have a name. its members operate in effect as independent cells, through word of mouth contacts, with absolute negligeable two-way contact with the outside world... even inside china and *including with the politicians*. remember, china's politicians, under the "one party state", don't actually have much in the way of power, and are not really that well-respected (or trusted).

      so the hilarious thing is that the only way for the politicians to inform the Chinese Intelligence that there's a treaty that's supposed to be signed is, in fact, to announce it in the news and hope like hell that someone relevant, somewhere, in their lair / bunker / hideout, actually reads it. here's the problem, though: if those operatives happen *not to agree* with that treaty, as far as "China National Security and Interests" is concerned, then, well, they don't actually have to take a blind bit of notice.

      the same goes for when all these attacks keep occurring. the *simplest* thing to say is "it was chinese hackers! they're nothing to do with us politicians! we have a policy of not attacking foreign assets! no really!" because for the politicians to even *admit* that it was Chinese Intelligence operatives - not that they could possibly find out who they were even if they wanted to - would probably result in them getting a knock on the door and them and their family deported to some remote area of China which hasn't changed in several centuries.

      we in the West assume that just because the Politicians in Western countries make the laws, that other countries have to follow that exact same process. China's politicians - people don't realise - are *not* at the top of the food chain as far as power is concerned. They're not even second to top. on mature reflection, you might call that a good thing, as it means that they can't really screw things up.

      • Have you got a single source for this bizarre fairytale? Politicians are the party elite in China, look at one the wrong way and you'll find out pretty quick how much power they have.

      • by CODiNE ( 27417 )

        China's politicians - people don't realise - are *not* at the top of the food chain as far as power is concerned. They're not even second to top.

        This sounds a lot like what I've heard people say about the American president as well. There's several levels of power above his head and he's told what to do by his masters... Freemasons, Illumnati, Reptilians, Raelians, the Vatican?

        So please enlighten us, what would be the 2 levels above the Chinese political base?

        Actually, just flat out really REALLY wealthy pe

        • by Anonymous Coward

          There's this giant organized conspiracy of nearly 7 billion people who really pulls all the strings, but they are so secretive they never collaborate face-to-face and their plans are nearly inscrutable to most.

      • How many times have you visited China? How many Party members do you actually know?

        For me, the answers to both questions are "many".

        I am pretty sure that, in China, when the Central Committee of the CCP say "frog", hopping ensues shortly thereafter.

        I am also pretty sure that the Chinese leadership are just as good as, if not better than, the plausible deniability thing as their American counterparts.

      • by AHuxley ( 892839 )
        Re: " don't realise is that the Chinese Intelligence is so secretive it doesn't even have a name"
        China produces a lot of internal documents. What any one person can walk out with to a US/UK embassy is never really that useful.
        The UK was reduced to rebuilding container ships with signals equipment and having cargo ships move far up rivers in China. Did the UK get much? No. Hong Kong, Little Sai Wan, Chum Hom Kok, the large Demos 1-4 NSA designed dish upgrades did not really get much going into the 1
  • ... the accord is just words at this point. The proof will be in the actions that follow those words.

    .
    If you really expect China to stop stealing our commercial secrets,you are living in a fantasy world. China needs to build its technology infrastructure, and it is far easier and quicker to steal it rather than develop it.

  • Nobody expects either party to truly disarm. The important point: to keep them talking, instead of (virtually or really) shooting at each other.
  • The Chinese will pretend to stop, and Obama will pretend to believe them
  • requiring the two nation's to create a 'high-level joint dialogue mechanism,'

    Hey, I can help! Just give me an hour to get a red case from the kiosk in the mall, and they can use my cell phone as a mechanism for high level communications, including dialogue, for a very reasonable price.

    I'll bet the problem is that you also have to legally alter where apostrophes go in English. If so, I'm out of luck; these international relations issues always have some kind of catch.

  • 33 million records from date of birth, ssn, bank accounts, everyone you've ever met, etc from the OPM hack via the Chinese. Now 5 million finger prints. The Chinese already have all the info they need to blackmail people in real life. So why not agree? Notice nothing of this mentioned by the White House or Congress.
  • Asking a nation sign a pact not to spy/hack is silly. Obviously they'll do it anway. That goes for ANY nation.

    So options are: (1) create an agreement that bans hacking and watch it be ignored in practice, or (2) write an agreement that doesn't require things that can't be lived up to.

    Of course it would be nice if everyone would stop being mean and just get along together and coexist so we wouldn't have a need for this at all. Could happen.

    • Agreements can also be for the PR (Public Relations). Many (including me) are cynical about this and believe that this is an insult to the paper that it is written on; however some will take it at face value and believe that their respective leaders are making the world a better place. Not everything that governments do is done with you in mind.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    If a country other than China hacked the US wouldn't it make sense to make it look like it originated in China?
    Are there always tell-tale signs that a hack was definitely Chinese or not?

    • by AHuxley ( 892839 )
      Beyond the logs left to be found full of ip's and the 9 to 5 time zone day shift in that part of the world? Traces in the code that was used was found to be what is expected?
      Any advanced nation can fake that trail as the public now understands from the recent whistleblowing news over the past few years.
      Ex staff, former staff, nations that allowed access to advanced 5 eye nation sites and had smart local support staff working on site. Some other nation built their own more interesting "collect a network"
  • Hacking the US power grid is an act of war, and if China won't stop, we need to send the world a clear message that this is unacceptable behavior. I recommend nuking Beijing.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      You are aware the Chinese have nuclear weapons as well right?
      The world needs less "nuke them" people such as yourself.

      You want to start a new "cold war" with one of your major financial backers?

  • Of course it is. Because it's violated before the ink was ever dry. On BOTH sides most likely.

  • Analysis: China-US Hacking Accord Is Tall On Rhetoric, Short On Substance

    Seriously? Anyone with an IQ over 75 that actually believes that either the U.S. or China is going to cease their 'cyberspying' activities needs to take off and put away their Rose-Colored Glasses and view the world the way it really is. That's like when the crossbow was invented and was put into regular military use; it was deemed an unchivalrous and honorless way of killing your enemies, but did that stop it's use? Hell no. Genie's out of the bottle, and it's not going back in for love or money, not until

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