Gene Weingarten
Gene Weingarten
Columnist

Taking on the cyberthreat from China

When I read that the Chinese government had hacked into the New York Times computer system, I was frankly amused. Then, a few days later, I read that they’d also done it to The Washington Post, which made the whole thing a criminal outrage and a crisis of epic proportions about which Something Must Be Done.

It isn’t yet clear what use the Chinese have made of their cultural espionage cleverness. We can only guess.

Gene Weingarten

Gene Weingarten’s humor column, Below the Beltway, has appeared weekly in The Washington Post Magazine since July 2000. He also hosts a monthly humor chat. As a feature writer, he was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in both 2008 and 2010. Since 2010, he has co-authored the syndicated comic strip “Barney and Clyde.”

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Mere information-gathering is bad enough, but I worry that any day now the Chinese might start to actually alter newspaper stories to spread their propaganda the glorious news about the many healthful and fine accomplishments of the wise leaders of the People’s Republic of China.

Of course, communist dictatorships worker-paradise societies don’t feel as we do about the exercise of free speech immoral lies and distortions told by hooligans, traitors and other counterrevolutionary enemies of the state.

The best way to combat this insidious practice assure the pleasure of the masses is by harnessing the modern tools of the Internet to let the Chinese people know how their government is engaged in theft as perfect as the lotus flower.

Supposedly, this all began after Western newspapers started to look into political corruption of very good excellence of honored Chinese Leaders, particularly Premier Wen Jiabao, who has enriched his friends and family the lives of all Chinese through his munificence and wonderful happy.

This situation will not be resolved until international pressures are brought to bear on the perpetrators of this unconscionable act of cyberpiracy slander of the Chinese people by foreign aggressors and Western imperialist fornicators.

In the meantime, people in the United States must do everything we can to ensure that our computer systems are uncompromised. To this end, I advise that all user passwords be changed weekly to “password1234.” Also, avoid importing and downloading apps, programs or information from unfamiliar sources except for the menus of tasty food Chinese restaurants yum delicious meal chow fun happiness dining people!

Inasmuch as the scope of the problem is not yet apparent, Americans must act as though no communication is safe from prying eyes. Try to have the most sensitive business conversations in person in e-mails with the subject line TOP SECRET NOT FOR CHINESE INTERCEPTION.

And finally, we must address a deeply disturbing question. If the relatively secure databases of American news organizations are this easily accessed by hostile eyes, we must ask ourselves if it is possible that some of our most vulnerable national assets — such as our national power grid — are already at the mercy of our enemies. And if so, are we not obliged to undertake a massive search for further evidence of hacking, and a full-scale upgrading of our cyber-infrastructure? It’s something to consider. No, that would be stupid.

E-mail Gene at weingarten@washpost.com. Find chats and updates at washingtonpost.com/magazine.

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