Hacking Nationalism Essay

1676 words - 7 pages

The Background

In March of 1999, the "North Atlantic Treaty Organisation"(NATO) Allied Forces were in the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia carrying out a peacekeeping mission.

U.S. intelligence officers began considering the Federal Directory of Supplies and Procurement (FDSP) of Yugoslavia as a potential target of the NATO Allied Forces in early March. They referred to three out-dated maps (both commercial and government maps)which did not include the new location of the China Embassy. Instead, all their maps reflected the China Embassy in its pre-1996 location in Belgrade. On top of this, their U.S. databases did not highlight the mistaken location of the Embassy despite numerous visits to it by U.S. officials in recent years. These two factors and some others culminated to the errant aerial bombing of the China Embassy. The result: 3 Chinese correspondents dead, more than 20 Chinese diplomats injured and the Embassy destroyed.

The Chinese government and its people were enraged because they felt that it was a grave violation of the Geneva Convention and of fundamental norms governing international relations. Also, the act infringed China's sovereignty as a state. It did not help that the videotape of Secretary Albright's late night visit to the China Embassy in Washington soon after the bombing and explanation were never shown to the Chinese, possibly as an attempt to stir up nationalist feelings by the Chinese government. The local government-controlled media in China added fuel to the fire by providing extensive coverage on the aftermath of the event, and sensationalised sensitive pictures.

A year following this incident, many US government websites were defaced. Another incident occurred involving the collision of a US spy plane with a Chinese military jet on 02 April 2001 contributed to this increase in anti-US sentiments. Effects of the defacement included The Department of Energy website's headline being altered as "Protest USA's Nazi Action"; pictures of the dead Chinese pilot were briefly posted on the Interior Department website. Neither was the official Whitehouse site spared.

US-loyal hackers calling their fight, `Project China' counter-attacked a number of Chinese sites, mostly those ending with the `.cn' domain. They hacked into these websites and left vulgar and racist taunts on these web sites. Of which "Poizon Box" was responsible for a significant number. In retaliation, the China-loyal hackers by the names of Hacker Union of China and China Eagle defaced more than 1 000 websites and launched "Denial-of-Service" attacks against the White House and CIA.

Hacking in China was given a nationalist twist, with hackers proclaiming themselves as "red hats", symbolising themselves as patriotic hackers because China's national flag is red in colour. (as opposed to prevailing terms, "black hats" referring to those who hacked into websites for malicious reasons, and "white hats", those who hacked into website...

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