Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Chicom Cybercrime and Western Stupidity

"the capitalists will sell us the rope to hang them."

VI Lenin on the often moral flexibility of businessmen.

They (Capitalist) will furnish which will serve to support of the Communist Party in their countries and, by supplying us materials and technical equipment which we lack, will restore our military industry, necessary for our future attack against our suppliers. To put it in other words, they will work for the preparation of their own suicide.

VI Lenin, fully footnoted quote in

We have already been suffered through one Cold War. Now because some short sighted stupidity of bottom feeders another Cold War, at least, is due. In today's Globe & Mail there are two competing stories about pleasures and pains of doing business in the territory currently controlled by the Chinese Communist Regime. In the hard news section is a scary story, Foreign journalists in China target of computer attack. In the aptly named business section of the Globe & Mail, ROB, is a more upbeat story of the China trade, Interac ABMs to accept Chinese debit cards.

Screens scrapes of both articles after the jump. The G&M only allows access to the old articles for a limited time.

Interac ABMs to accept Chinese debit cards


Globe and Mail
Update Last updated on Sunday, Sep. 27, 2009 04:18PM EDT

The association that runs Canada's main payments network for automated banking machine transactions has signed a deal that will make it much easier for Chinese travellers to access cash here, a potential boon for businesses catering to them.

“Up until now, almost all Chinese bank cards could not be used to take cash from Canadian ABMs,” said Mark O'Connell, chief executive officer of the Interac Association.

Interac has signed a deal with China Unionpay, the dominant Chinese bank card network whose members have issued nearly 2 billion cards, that will make it easier for the holders of those cards to take money out of bank machines here.

Chinese travellers made 54,000 trips to Canada between January and May, up 8 per cent from a year ago, according to the Canadian Tourism Commission.

That could balloon if China grants Canada “approved destination” status, something that many officials in the tourism industry are hoping will happen soon now that Ottawa is making more of an effort to smooth relations between the two countries.

Finance Minister Jim Flaherty travelled to China in August, bringing along a delegation of executives and officials from Canada's largest banks and insurers, which are courting Chinese business both there and in Canada.

In recent weeks Bank of Montreal announced that it has received preliminary approval to incorporate in China, Manulife Financial announced that it has received approval to operate in Tianjin, and Fairfax Financial Holdings Ltd. announced its first foray into China.

Interac's deal means that the companies that run bank machines in Canada will now be able to process China Unionpay cards, although they must make some changes to their systems first. Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce and Open Solutions are expected to announce Monday that they will immediately begin accepting the cards.

They collectively represent about 12,000 bank machines.

On Friday CIBC launched a product it calls the Newcomer to Canada Plan, as it competes for lucrative immigrant business.

Mr. O'Connell, who travelled to Shanghai to seal the deal with China Unionpay, said he expects more machines will soon be accepting the cards. And Interac is hoping to negotiate another deal with China Unionpay that will allow Canadian Interac cardholders to take cash out of Chinese ABMs, and allow China Unionpay cardholders to pay with their cards at Canadian retailers, he said.

This deal comes as Interac prepares to go head-to-head with Visa Inc. and MasterCard Inc., which are both looking to become significant players in the country's debit card business. In most other countries where they operate, Visa and MasterCard have debit cards in addition to credit cards.

Foreign journalists in China target of computer attack

Omar El Akkad

From Monday's Globe and Mail
Monday, Sep. 28, 2009 08:16AM EDT

Researchers in Canada have shed new light on what appears to be a systematic attempt to infect and compromise computers belonging to journalists working in China – an attack that coincides with a security clampdown in the country as Beijing's Communist government celebrates its 60th anniversary.

Reporters working with foreign media outlets including Reuters, Dow Jones and Agence France-Presse began receiving e-mails last week from someone purporting to be each respective outlet's economics editor.

The e-mails, written in good English, detail a proposed trip to China for a story, and include an attached Adobe PDF file that contains a mostly accurate list of local contacts.

However, when opened, the file installs malware – software that infects the machine and often leaves it completely under the control of a remote user – on the user's computer.

The attacks coincide with reports of tighter security measures ahead of the 60th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China, say Nart Villeneuve and Greg Walton, senior research fellows of the Citizen Lab at the University of Toronto's Munk Centre for International Studies. The researchers have written a report outlining the attack.

“It seems to me that the people involved in that – targeted malware attacks – generally prey on organizations that are related to some ongoing event,” Mr. Villeneuve said, adding that the style of attack indicated a smart adversary, but not necessarily government involvement.

“In this kind of environment, with the 60th anniversary of the founding of the PRC coming up, it just seems to me that attacking media targets makes sense.”

The malware has in some cases connected to a command and control server, Mr. Villeneuve said. However, researchers have not been able to decrypt the communication passing between the two ends.

While the researchers stress there is no conclusive evidence that Beijing is behind the attack, they added that there are several factors to support such a conclusion.

For example, the malware was e-mailed to Chinese assistants working for foreign news organizations Such assistants rarely have their names published, but must be hired through an arm of the Chinese foreign ministry.

“That looks very suspicious to me,” said Ronald Deibert, director of the Citizen Lab.

Along with Mr. Villeneuve and Mr. Walton, Mr. Deibert was at the centre of an operation that uncovered “GhostNet,” a network of more than 1,200 infected computers worldwide that included machines in embassies and ministries. In that case, the vast majority of attacks appeared to originate from China.

In the case of the attacks against journalists, the researchers have traced back the malware's IP address to two compromised servers, both located in Taiwan.

Ironically, one of those servers belongs to the National Central University of Taiwan – it is where students and faculty are directed to go to download anti-virus software.

Because there exist very few recognized international mechanisms for reporting and logging such attacks, Mr. Deibert said he had to contact Taiwanese authorities directly to notify them that key servers had been infiltrated.

“I think it's not appropriate for a researcher at the university to contact an ambassador here in Canada to let them know,” Mr. Deibert said.

“But nonetheless it has to be done, and the reason is there is really no other obvious avenue for us to turn.”

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