A familiar consumer-marketplace phrase takes on a far deeper significance when it is applied to cyber threats to U.S. national security.
A Chinese proverb warns that “there are always ears on the other side of the wall.” A modern adaption might warn that the Chinese are on the other end of your Internet connection. There is increasing reason to heed that warning. In March 2009, for example, GhostNet, an electronic spy network based mainly in China, reportedly infiltrated 1,300 government computers in 103 countries, according to a Department of Defense (DOD) report. More recently, for 18 minutes in April 2010, 15 percent of the Internet’s routes were hijacked when “the state-controlled telecommunications company China Telecom Corp., redirected some of the world’s Internet traffic, including data from U.S. military, civilian organizations and those of other U.S. allies.” 1