Return of the Guru

The Truth Will Set You Free—Except Where Money is Involved

Ara Trembly
Insurance Experts' Forum, July 15, 2010

In what might be termed the stifling of a really “inconvenient truth,” a talk on China's military cyber-attack capabilities has been removed the Black Hat security conference schedule following pressure from Taiwanese and Chinese agencies, according to a report by IDG News.

The talk, entitled "The Chinese Cyber Army: An Archaeological Study from 2001 to 2010," was billed as an analysis of China's government-backed hacking initiatives, based on intelligence gathered from a variety of Asian intelligence groups, says IDG. The talk was to be given by Wayne Huang, chief technology officer with Taiwanese security vendor Armorize, and Jack Yu, a researcher with the company. 

The session description from the Black Hat program states:

Here we'll call this organization as how they've been properly known for the past eight years as the ‘Cyber Army,’ or ‘Wang Jun’ in Mandarin. This is a study of Cyber Army based on incidences, forensics, and investigation data since 2001. Using facts, we will reconstruct the face of Cyber Army, including who they are, where they are, who they target, what they want, what they do, their funding, objectives, organization, processes, active hours, tools, and techniques. Examples of incidences studies will include, for example, recent intrusions into United Nations and CSIS. Our data was collected over a long period of time, through intelligence trading, and through our involvement in helping Asian governments in their investigation efforts.

On the face of it, this sounds like a most informative session—one that exposes embarrassing facts that many would like to have suppressed.  Certainly, we have seen news reports of high-ranking government officials, including U.S. senators, attributing acts of cyber-intrusion into U.S. systems to the governments of China and Russia.  This presentation, however, seems to document this threat at a level not previously seen in our media, and certainly far beyond what government sources have revealed. 

So I find myself asking what kind of “pressure” was applied to stop this information from being presented because “pressure” in this context borders dangerously on “extortion.”  I can’t imagine that thugs visited Mr. Huang and threatened his family and business gangster-style.  Then again, personal threats are easy to transmit in this age of e-mail and texting. 

My hunch, however, is that the Chinese government—flush with cash from its newfound economic success—simply applied that influence where it would do the most good.  I’m not saying that Mr. Huang or anyone else was bribed, but it would be easy for a large and powerful government to perhaps influence customers of the presenters’ company in a negative way.  It doesn’t even have to be an outright threat; maybe all it would take is a subtle hint. 

In any case, it is a shame that truth has once again been shackled by the force of raw power wielded by those who want to stay in power.  For an insurance industry that is so eager to do business in China, this should be a huge red flag, because the character of those we do business with—more than anything else—is the key to profitable and honorable relationships. 

Caveat emptor. 

Ara C. Trembly (www.aratremblytechnology.com) is the founder of Ara Trembly, The Tech Consultant, and a longtime observer of technology in insurance and financial services.

Readers are encouraged to respond to Ara using the “Add Your Comments” box below. He can also be reached at ara@aratremblytechnology.com.

This blog was exclusively written for Insurance Networking News. It may not be reposted or reused without permission from Insurance Networking News.

The opinions of bloggers on www.insurancenetworking.com do not necessarily reflect those of Insurance Networking News.

Comments (0)

Be the first to comment on this post using the section below.

Add Your Comments...

Already Registered?

If you have already registered to Insurance Networking News, please use the form below to login. When completed you will immeditely be directed to post a comment.

Forgot your password?

Not Registered?

You must be registered to post a comment. Click here to register.

Blog Archive

Putting Your Investments Where Your Transformation Is: Part 2: Optimizing Your IT Investments Portfolio

Sam Medina continues a 3-part series on Transforming the IT Investment Budget in order to fund new programs and initiatives without the necessity of additional capital expense.

Boosting Performance with Integrated Underwriting Tools

A unified, comprehensive platform can help underwriters perform their jobs more efficiently — and profitably.

Opinion: Halbig Decision Creates New Level of Uncertainty for Obamacare

Time will tell if the Halbig decision remains viable. But in the meantime, a new level of uncertainty has been injected into the process.

Apply Mindfulness to Leadership

Managers can benefit from applying this theory both to their career aspirations as well as to interactions and expectations of staff.

Apple's Way: Succeeding in the Enterprise Without Even Trying - Part 3

Today's data centers are doing far more with much smaller footprints.

CIOs: "We Don't Have Enough People to Run Our Mainframes"

Insurers will be competing with other industries for both legacy and “new IT" talent.

Advertisement

Advertisement