ISSA chapter meeting explores China and human behaviour

William Hagestad
William Hagestad

A UK chapter meeting of the ISSA was held on September 6th, and in attendance was Fujitsu's James Gosnold, who reported back for SC Magazine.

The main speaker was former US Marines Lieutenant Colonel William Hagestad, author of ‘21st Century Chinese Cyber Warfare' which he presented on. After addressing all in attendance in Mandarin for a minute or two (to make the audience feel ‘uncomfortable'), Hagestad assertively stated that "every one of your networks is compromised" and ran through various articles reporting on the Chinese cyber/electronic threat to reinforce that.

Hagestad has spent much time studying Chinese language and culture and said China is as paranoid of foreign cyber intentions as the West is of them. He also went on to detail how "the Chinese have drawn up a strategy/rules of engagement for cyber warfare and are quite open about it", in direct contrast to the seemingly surreptitious tactics of the West.

In terms of technical topics in the China cyber space, a pair of Dutch hackers at the recent DefCon conference demonstrated several exploits of vulnerabilities in the firmware of Huawei network equipment. Huawei are a Chinese company – the largest telecommunications manufacturing company in the world – founded and owned by an ex-military officer and former member of the People's Liberation Army.

Any offensive strategies where the Chinese are concerned are also hampered considerably by the development and use of the Kylin Operating System. Kylin is based on FreeBSD but crucially is operated in Mandarin, making it extremely difficult for most of the Western world to get to grips with.

Mike Neumann of ITS Training also presented on ‘Lies, Liars & Chancers', which was all about using NLP/body language to identify miscreants and fraudsters in organisations.

Subjects such as ‘Non Verbal Leakage' were covered: constant yawning, covering of mouth with hand, scratching ear/neck. Neumann stressed none of these signals categorically means someone is lying but perhaps a shift in one of these during conversation could indicate deception of some kind.

The eyes are of course very relevant in this area and the direction people look/focus when accessing different sources and types of recollections were examined.

Lastly, building a rapport is a technique useful to both investigators of crime and those forging business relationships. Matching the language, voice, posture and breathing rate of the subject or person you are trying to build a connection with are key techniques and Neumann articulated methods for achieving these.

The presentation session closed with a CISO's panel, but the observation of Chatham House Rules was requested. Finally, the event finished with a networking session that once again presented an excellent opportunity to discuss the evening's topics with peers from the infosec industry.

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