Today’s Yellow Peril alert from The Huffington Post:
LAWMAKERS SAY CAPITOL COMPUTERS HACKED BY CHINESE
WASHINGTON — Multiple congressional computers have been hacked by people working from inside China, lawmakers said Wednesday, suggesting the Chinese were seeking lists of dissidents.
Two congressmen, both longtime critics of Beijing’s record on human rights, said the compromised computers contained information about political dissidents from around the world. One of the lawmakers said he’d been discouraged from disclosing the computer attacks by other U.S. officials.
Virginia Rep. Frank Wolf said four of his computers were compromised, beginning in 2006. New Jersey Rep. Chris Smith, a senior Republican on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said two of his computers were attacked, in December 2006 and March 2007.
Wolf said that following one of the attacks, a car with license plates belonging to Chinese officials went to the home of a dissident in Fairfax County, Va., outside Washington and photographed it.
The real news story here is that, yet again, government officials have failed to protect the security of highly sensitive information.
But lucky for Reps. Wolf and Smith, they can blame it on the Chinese.
The news story bothers me for a number of reasons:
- Where are the details? Who are these mysterious “people working inside of China”?
- The hackers were seeking “lists of dissidents.” Really? Dissidents tend to make themselves known — that’s why they keep gong to jail. I’d find the story much more credible if the dissidents found out that someone had applied for credit cards using their social security numbers.
- The computers were “compromised.” What does that mean exactly? I have a mental image of Rep. Wolf opening his web browser to find that his home page is now some porn site that he can’t get rid of.
- The reason this story has legs is because of America’s fear of sneaky Chinese guys in a dark room somewhere, typing away at their keyboards… Hey! Wait a minute!
I’m not saying that the Chinese record on human rights is anything to write home about, or that there aren’t legions of hackers in China, Russia, or wherever trying to hack into US computers. But, come on! These congressman are saying, in effect, that China is the dog that ate their homework.