A secret NSA map that is a slide from an NSA Threat Operations Center (NTOC) briefing shows the precise locations of “every single successful computer intrusion” by Chinese state-sponsored hackers, as revealed by NBC news.
The comprehensive listing of cyber ‘assaults’ shows targets in all sectors of the U.S. Industry and economy. Notable targets include tech giant Google, defense conglomerate Lockheed Martin and other major private and Government organizations.
A systematic, comprehensive attack
The map slide shows red dots that mark over 600 corporate, private and government targets as “Victims of Chinese Cyber Espionage” that were breached over a five year period. The entire Northeast from Washington to Boston was a particularly appealing target for Chinese hackers, as was the Silicon Valley in California. The highest concentration of attacks was indeed California, which was inundated with nearly 50 specific attacks.
It is important to note that each red dot represents a successful attack by state-sponsored hackers in China in their attempt to steal:
- Corporate, industrial and military secrets.
- Data and blueprints about critical infrastructure in the US.
- Vital details and data about power grids, telecommunications and the internet framework of the US.
- Advanced formulas for pharmaceutical drugs.
- Specifications for hybrid vehicles, primarily cars.
- Data and insight into civilian air traffic control systems.
“The briefing highlighted China’s interest in Google and defense contractors like Lockheed Martin, and in air traffic control systems. It catalogued the documents and data Chinese government hackers have “exfiltrated” — stolen — from U.S. corporate, government and military networks, and also listed the number and origin of China’s “exploitations and attacks,”” NBC news reported.
The leak comes during a particularly crucial time when the Department of Defense and the NSA currently lobbies for the creation and implementation of a “cyber-deterrent.” This ‘cyber-deterrent’ is an advanced weapon that acts as a network attack capability which can be used to launch a comprehensive and crippling cyber-attack against any adversary (state or private) who launched an attack on US networks.
Ashton Carter, the Secretary of Defense published a cyber strategy document which proposed:
“The United States must be able to declare or display effective response capabilities to deter an adversary from initiating an attack; develop effective defensive capabilities to deny a potential attack from succeeding; and strengthen the overall resilience of U.S. systems to withstand a potential attack if it penetrates the United States’ defenses.
“In addition, the United States requires strong intelligence, forensics, and indications and warning capabilities to reduce anonymity in cyberspace and increase confidence in attribution.”
The NSA is yet to release a statement confirming or clarifying the leaked slide revealed by NBC News.