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Google vs China the real deal

Posted on Jan 14, 2010 by Paul White

Over the past few days Google has gotten the spot light because its threatening to lift the censorship filtering from its search engine on china.  Many don't realize what this really means.  If you are not a web developer you probably don't understand the impact this could make on business.  In my opinion World War III will be a cyber war, and this small incident could be the start of tensions.

My Theory is this.
Google which is an open source and open ideas supporter, does not like how China wants to squash any opposition to the government. Censorship, and Filters in general goes against what google is all about.  Now that the chinese government is suspected of hacking to a gmail account of a human rights activist,  Google wants the logs and information from china who controls the servers that made the attack.  This could be a non government action, but I believe google suspects other wise.  The way I see it is google is blackmailing the chinese government.  They want them to work with them to bring those responsible to justice, else they will remove censoring from the search engine.  Of course this will result in china kicking google out, and hence the start of the next world war.

What happens if China Kicks google out?

If google wants to shield themselves from china, they can block all IPs from china that attempt to use their search engine, and or services.  Considering there are many corporations that use Google services ( gmail ), this could impact buisness and trade between china and the USA.  Sure Google might miss out on $400 million in revenue from leaving china, but the cost to China would be much greater.

What impact does blocking IPs have?

Its pretty common for developers to block random IPs, to prevent hackers from getting into their sites, and trying stuff.  I have even gone to the extent of blocking entire Class A IP blocks.  99% of the comment spam I get comes from China / India IPs.  So to solve that problem I have been known to block them completely from my sites and my mail servers.  After all my clients don't do business outside of the USA.  Blocking IPs can be an easy way to keep out hackers, and spammers.  Some people might say they would use proxies, and this is true, but it takes effort to setup.  Plus in recent attempts it was easy to detect.

What can we learn from this?

Basically if you want it done right you have to do it yourself.  This is why I run my own server, and I don't depend on third parties for anything.  If you use shared systems for websites, or for Email, you are putting yourself at risk.  Bigger targets tend to draw the most bullets. If you use Gmail, you are a very big target.

Why don't Companies alert the general public of such attacks?

Because most of the general population is not educated enough to realize the risks, or the meaning of such attacks.  Lets say Bank of American reported it had been hacked.  This could cause many to move their business accounts else where, doing damage to BOA's bottom line.  Certain types of news could dramatically affect consumer confidence.  Look at what 911 did to our economy.  If people got scared to put money in the banks, people would start to live on cash only.  The government already has a hard enough time tracking down lost tax revenues, due to people doing business under the table with cash, or moving it off shore.

How could this grow into a World War III?

The internet is quickly becoming the primary medium to do business.  Some countries block foreign IPs.  Iran blocked Twitter during the up rise, to prevent news from getting out.  China and the USA are in a disfunctional relationship.  They loan us money, we spend that money on goods from China.  But if we got into a commerce war with China who would win?  We seem to be dependent on China for both money and goods.  If we stopped making payments on the national debt ( bonds ), and stopped buying goods from china ( walmart ), who would last longer? 

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