Some things are never in short supply and conspiracy theories fit that category.
Pick a subject—any subject—and let a good storyteller inject the content with enough intrigue that what hatches proves to be a scary but compelling scenario.
It's a strategy used to great advantage in movies, books and TV shows. After all, people do love a good chiller.
But when life imitates art and theory becomes reality, the fun stops and trouble begins.
Last week, it was reported that Chinese hackers had penetrated the White House computer network on multiple occasions, obtaining e-mails of government officials.
Additionally, it was reported that an attack this summer on the Obama and McCain campaign computer networks had also originated in China.
Computers have created a different world with its own language. Cyber attacks by hackers may not resemble the cloak-and-dagger activities portrayed in World War II movies, but they are the stuff of spies just the same.
In 2007, a new unit, the National Cyber Investigative Joint Task Force, was formed to tackle cyber security. It detected attacks on the White House, but officials stressed that the hackers had only accessed the unclassified computer network, not the more secure classified network.
Last year, the U.S. boosted efforts to tackle cyber security, particularly since Chinese hackers thought to be associated with the People's Liberation Army had perpetrated a major attack on the Pentagon.
At that time, U.S. military computer experts battled for weeks against a sustained attack that eventually overcame the Pentagon's defenses. The cyber assailants managed to obtain information and e-mail traffic from the unclassified computer system that supports Robert Gates, the defense secretary. Pentagon IT technicians were forced to take the network down for days to conduct repairs.
All this makes one wonder if the Chinese aren't placing a computer chip inside the computers they manufacture.
In 2006, the Chinese government announced that all PCs manufactured within the country must have an operating system pre-installed before they leave the factory.
It's no secret that many of the parts that make up a computer are Chinese-based. This goes for Apple, Dell, Hewlett Packard and Sony products. The item may be assembled in one place—even America—but is filled with parts manufactured in foreign countries.
Is it merely a conspiracy theory to think that preinstalled chips may enable foreign countries like China to have access into any system?
Some might argue that the U.S. is also involved in cyber-spying. But this country does not have the advantage of manufacturing the products and sending them overseas.
Is this the price we pay for outsourcing?
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