Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Chinese and US Electrical grid

I wrote here about a massive security breach in the World Bank that was reportedly the result of hackers from an IP block in China.

Recently articles have surfaced reporting that hackers have hacked into the US electrical grid and have been able to disrupt power in some cases.

A security blogger: Bruce Schneier writes an interesting piece on this in which he suggests that all of the articles with these claims have no substance, only supposition. While hacker communities all over the world (including China) are driven by similar motives to hack and sell the fruit of their exploits, the real threat to our infrastructure is the more random internet beasts - like worms and viruses. Even though these don't target specific systems they can randomly cause enough harm on enough machines to take down the 911 emergency service lines in an area.

He has an interesting take on the Chinese government-sponsored hacker theory too. While not ignoring the fact that the Chinese military may recruit and even turn a blind eye to the hackers there, he is more concerned that they are motivated like any other hacker groups are, by their own need for conquest and their greed.

He suggests: "If anything, the fact that these groups aren't being run by the Chinese government makes the problem worse. Without central political coordination, they're likely to take more risks, do more stupid things and generally ignore the political fallout of their actions."

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