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General News    H2'ed 3/4/13

Lobbyists Targeting Liberal Groups Channeled Chinese Hackers' Strategy

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Cross-posted from The Nation

Attorney General Eric Holder, center, accompanied by US Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator Victoria Espinel, left, and Acting Commerce Secretary Rebecca Blank, speaks about strategy to mitigate the theft of US trade secrets, Wednesday, February 20, 2013, in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building on the White House complex in Washington. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

The revelation, made by The New York Times and a firm called Mandiant last month, that the Chinese military is engaging in a sophisticated campaign of Internet spying and cyber attacks targeting American corporations and government websites provoked widespread alarm. What hasn't been noted is that the Chinese plot bears much in common with a conspiracy to spy on and sabotage liberal advocacy groups and unions -- a plot developed on behalf of none other than the US Chamber of Commerce back in 2011.

Indeed, Mandiant identified the Chinese plot by combing through the database of hacking tools managed by the same individuals associated with the American firm that had been enlisted to help the Chamber execute its spying and hacking plan, before it was exposed by the hacktivist group Anonymous.

Attorneys for the Chamber were caught negotiating for a contract to launch a cyber campaign using practically identical methods to those attributed to the Chinese, which reportedly could be used to cripple vital infrastructure and plunder trade secrets from Fortune 100 companies. The Chamber was seeking to undermine its political opposition, including the Service Employee International Union (SEIU) and, but apparently had to scotch the plan after it was revealed by Anonymous.

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LEE FANG  Lee Fang is a  reporting fellow with The Investigative Fund at The Nation Institute. He covers money in politics, conservative movements and lobbying. Lee's work has resulted in multiple calls for hearings in Congress and the (more...)
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