Thursday, June 30, 2016

Mainland Chinese cyber spies hack DPP, says security firm

Mainland Chinese cyber spies hack DPP, says security firm

TAIPEI -- Mainland hackers were likely behind an attack on the website of Taiwan's ruling party, a U.S.-based security firm said Thursday, as the island warns of growing cyber threats. 
Cross-strait relations have turned increasingly frosty since Taiwan's new president Tsai Ing-wen of the China-skeptic Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) won elections in January and took office last month, with Beijing wary the new government may seek independence.
Taiwan has been self-ruling since the two sides split in 1949 after a civil war — but China still sees it as part of its territory.
The party's website came under attack in early April, redirecting visitors to a fake website, California-based FireEye said in a statement Thursday.
The tactic is one often used by Chinese hackers, it said.
Administrators fixed the problem the next day but the website was compromised again a few days later, suggesting the site is being monitored, according to the statement.
"FireEye believes this operation likely reflects continued efforts by China-based cyber espionage operators to collect intelligence related to the DPP as it moves Taiwan away from pro-mainland China policies," it said.
The government has raised concerns that its websites frequently fall prey to Chinese hackers.
Taiwan's Ministry of Transportation and Communication said in a report to a legislative committee last month that the scale of cyber attacks on Taiwan is "near warfare."
It added that the most active hackers are from the mainland and that they had infiltrated the island's systems including defense, air traffic, and communication.
The defense ministry says it will establish a "cyber army," one of the policies put forward by Tsai during her presidential campaign.
A "Fourth Service" should be formed along with the Army, Navy, and Air Force to protect "national digital territory," according to the DPP's proposal.
However, the DPP played down the findings of the new FireEye report and said it was not currently seeing "unusual hacking activities".
"The DPP has always put great importance on cyber safety," spokesman Wang Min-sheng told AFP.

Wang added that the party is not in contact with FireEye and that the security firm had been monitoring its website independently.

Tiananmen Square massacre remembered 25 years on

Chinese troops fire on protesters in Tiananmen Square

China Defends Tiananmen Square Massacre

China Defends Tiananmen Square Massacre

Claire E. Healey
Posted: Jun 03, 2014 1:45 PM
China Defends Tiananmen Square Massacre
China defended the June 4, 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre on the eve of its 25th anniversary, stating that it chose the right path for its people.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei commented on China’s road to reform to a daily news briefing:
“The Chinese government long ago reached a conclusion about the political turmoil at the end of the 1980s," Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei told a daily news briefing.
In the last three decades and more of reform and opening up, China's enormous achievements in social and economic development have received worldwide attention. The building of democracy and the rule of law have continued to be perfected.
It can be said that the road to socialism with Chinese characteristics which we follow today accords with China's national condition and the basic interests of the vast majority of China's people, which is the aspiration of all China's people.”
The massacre at Tiananmen Square occurred when Chinese soldiers forcibly ended seven weeks of student-led, peaceful protests for government accountability and freedom of the press in the heart of Beijing. China’s listed death toll of the unarmed civilians is 246, though the numbers range from 500 to 2,600, according to Tiananmen Square, 1989: The Declassified History, which was published by George Washington University’s National Security Archive.
Since deeming the crackdown on pro-democracy supporters “counter-revolutionary,” China has forbidden any mention or discussions about the incident.
Mainland China has never publicly recognized the massacre’s anniversary, though Hong Kong holds commemorations every year, along with self-ruled Taiwan.
The lead-up to this year’s anniversary was marked by the Chinese government’scensorship of Google. The main search engine and Gmail are blocked to many Chinese users as a result of the targets.

China's new island in the South China Sea

China's new island in the South China Sea

21 June 2015 Last updated at 01:04 BST
The news came faster than many expected - China says it will finish building some new islands in the South China Sea "within days".
The construction work has been carried out at a breakneck pace, to the alarm of the United States and many of China's neighbours, who have overlapping claims to the same waters.
From Beijing, Celia Hatton explains.

WW3? NOW!..are you paying attention Canada?

South China Sea: Chinese tourists visit disputed waters

21 June 2016 Last updated at 01:39 BST

China has been taking tourists to the disputed Paracel Islands in the South China Sea for more than three years.
More than 10,000 people have taken the trip, which is exclusively for people from the Chinese mainland and which many consider a patriotic duty.
The BBC joined some of them.

Russia signs 30-year gas deal with China

Russia signs 30-year gas deal with China

  • 21 May 2014
  • From the sectionBusiness
Gazprom CEO Alexei Miller and CNPC Chairman Zhou shake hands with Russian President Putin
Image captionGazprom CEO Alexei Miller (centre) and CNPC Chairman Zhou Jiping shake hands as Russian President Putin looks on during the signing ceremony in Shanghai
Russia's President Vladimir Putin has signed a multi-billion dollar, 30-year gas deal with China.
The deal between Russia's Gazprom and China National Petroleum Corp (CNPC) has been 10 years in the making.
Russia has been keen to find an alternative energy market for its gas as it faces the possibility of European sanctions over the crisis in Ukraine.
No official price has been given but it is estimated to be worth over $400bn.
President Putin said in a statement to the Russian news channel Rossiya: "The price is satisfactory for both sides.
"It is tied, like it is envisaged in all our international contracts with Western partners, specifically our partners in Western Europe, to the market price on oil and oil products. It is an absolutely calibrated, general formula for pricing."
Gazprom shares rose 2% on the news.
Media captionHow significant is the deal?
The agreement, signed at a summit in Shanghai, is expected to deliver some 38 billion cubic metres of natural gas a year eastward to China's burgeoning economy, starting around 2018.
The main argument has been over price and China is thought to have been driving a hard bargain.
Over the last 10 years it has found other gas suppliers. Turkmenistan is now China's largest foreign gas supplier, and last year it started importing piped natural gas from Myanmar.
Alexei Miller, Chief Executive of Gazprom said the new deal was "the biggest contract in the entire history of the USSR and Gazprom - over 1 trillion cubic metres of gas will be supplied during a whole contractual period."

Analysis: Jamie Robertson, BBC News

The gas deal between Russia and China was signed at 04:00 China time, which gives some indication of the level of urgency over these talks. Mr Putin appears to have been determined not to leave Shanghai without a deal - and he got one.
But the financial details are a "commercial secret", so we don't know how much he had to give away to get it. Certainly China needs the gas to help it cut its coal-fired smog levels, and it wants to diversify supply. But it had the luxury of time in which to negotiate, something Mr Putin was short of.
The perceived motive for the deal is that Russia needs a second market for its gas, so it can face up to European sanctions. Given that the "Power of Siberia" pipeline won't start pumping gas into Chinese factories until 2018 at the earliest, its economic effect on the European crisis will be limited.
More important may be the investment that China will make into Russia's power and transport infrastructure. Putin may not have managed to sign the most advantageous of gas deals on Wednesday but the opening of economic doors with China could well be the greater achievement.

Rain Newton-Smith, head of emerging markets at Oxford Economics, said: "The whole tenet of the deal has a symbolic value - it says that the two countries are prepared to work with one another. For instance there were other elements such as Chinese participation in Russian transport infrastructure and power generation.
"It is similar in many ways to China's investments in Africa where they drive a hard bargain over the price of raw materials but then provide infrastructure for the economies they are doing business with.
Jonathan Marcus, the BBC's defence and diplomatic correspondent said tensions between Russia and the west were not just over Ukraine: "There are fundamental differences over Syria and about the whole direction in which President Vladimir Putin is taking his country.
"Thus this deal could symbolise an important moment of transition - when both in economic and geo-political terms, Russia's gaze begins to look more towards the East than towards the West."

Siberian power

Another sticking point on the deal has been the construction of pipelines into China.
Currently there is one complete pipeline that runs across Russia's Far East to the Chinese border, called The Power of Siberia. It was started in 2007, three years after Gazprom and CNPC signed their initial agreement in 2004.
But financing the $22-30bn cost of sending it into China has been central to the latest discussions.
China is Russia's largest single trading partner, with bilateral trade flows of $90bn (£53bn) in 2013.
The two neighbours aim to double the volume to $200bn in 10 years.

Chinese National Sentenced to 30 Months in Prison for Smuggling High Tech U.S. Military Hardware to China

Department of Justice
Office of Public Affairs

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Chinese National Sentenced to

 30 Months in Prison for

 Smuggling High Tech U.S. 

Military Hardware to China

arms smuggling, illegal arms smuggling, china, us, us china, china us, thermal imaging scopes, night vision scopes, goods smuggling, us arrest, us sentence, us news, china news, world news

Kan Chen, 26, of Ningbo, China, in Zhejiang Province, was sentenced to 30 months in prison and three years of supervised release for conspiring to violate the Arms Export Control Act and International Traffic in Arms Regulations; attempting to violate the Arms Export Control Act and International Traffic in Arms Regulations; and violating the International Emergency Economic Powers Act.
Assistant Attorney General for National Security John P. Carlin, U.S. Attorney Charles M. Oberly III of the District of Delaware, Acting Special Agent in Charge Gregory C. Nevano of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigation (HSI) Philadelphia and Special Agent in Charge Nasir Khan of the U.S. Department of Commerce-Bureau of Industry and Security’s Office of Export Enforcement Washington Field Office made the announcement.
On June 16, 2015, Chen was arrested by HSI agents on the Northern Mariana Island of Saipan following an eight-month long investigation into his illegal conduct and has remained in custody.  He pleaded guilty to the offenses listed above on March 2, 2016.
“The United States will simply never know the true harm of Chen’s conduct because the end users of the rifle scopes and other technology are unknown,” said U.S. Attorney Oberly.  “No matter their nationality, those individuals who seek to profit by illegally exporting sensitive U.S. military technology will be prosecuted.  It is important that we take all necessary steps to prevent our military technology and equipment from being exported and possibly used against our service members and our allies overseas.”
“These sophisticated technologies are highly sought after by our adversaries,” said Acting Special Agent in Charge Nevano.  “They were developed to give the United States and its allies a distinct military advantage, which is why HSI will continue to aggressively target the individuals who might illegally procure and sell these items.”
“Today's sentencing is the result of exceptional investigative work by the Office of Export Enforcement and our law enforcement partners to disrupt an illicit network and prevent sensitive technology from falling into the wrong hands,” said Special Agent in Charge Khan. 
According to court documents, from July 2013 through his arrest in June 2015, Chen caused or attempted to cause the illegal export of over 180 export-controlled items, valued at over $275,000, from the United States to China.  Over 40 of those items – purchased for more than $190,000 – were sophisticated night vision and thermal imaging scopes, which are designated by the International Traffic in Arms Regulations as U.S. Munitions List defense articles and can be mounted on automatic and semi-automatic rifles and used for military purposes at night. 
Given the sensitivity surrounding these military-grade items, Chen devised a scheme to smuggle these items through Delaware and outside the United States.  He purchased the devices via the internet and telephone and had them mailed to several reshipping services in New Castle, Delaware, which provide an American shipping address for customers located in China, accept packages for their customers and then re-ship them to China.  In order to further conceal his illegal activity, Chen arranged for the re-shippers to send the devices to several intermediary individuals, who in turn forwarded the devices to Chen in China.  Chen then sent the devices to his customers.  During the course of this conduct, Chen made numerous false statements in order to knowingly and willfully evade the export control laws of the United States, including by undervaluing the shipments, unlawfully avoiding the filing of export information with the U.S. government, indicating that he was a natural-born U.S. citizen and providing the address of the reshipping service as his own.
During the sentencing hearing, the government noted the lethality of these items when combined with weapons designed for use on a battlefield.  For example, the ATN ThOR 640-5x, 640x480-Inch Thermal Weapon Scope, 100 mm, which Chen purchased for $8,428.39, is described by the manufacturer as “an ideal product for force protection, border patrol officers, police SWAT and special operations forces providing them the tools they need to be successful in all field operations both day and night.  Uncooled thermal imaging cuts through dust, smoke, fog, haze, and other battlefield obscurants.”  These rifle scopes, therefore, are weapons of war, and Chen’s smuggling and subsequent sale of these military-grade items outside of the United States directly undermines our nation’s national security interests. 
As the government further noted, Chen’s conduct was particularly harmful because he sold this military technology indiscriminately.  Thus, it could have ended up in any number of nefarious hands – including agents of foreign governments, bad actors and brokers.  Once these rifle scopes were exported to China and distributed by Chen to his customers, the military technology contained inside these items could have been reversed engineered or used anywhere in the world for a variety of purposes by oppressive regimes, terrorists, or others to threaten the United States or its allies’ military advantage or to commit human rights abuses. 
This case was investigated by HSI and U.S. Department of Commerce-Bureau of Industry and Security’s Office of Export Enforcement.  It is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Jamie M. McCall and Elizabeth L. Van Pelt of the District of Delaware and the National Security Division’s Counterintelligence and Export Control Section.