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Inside the Ring

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According to the newsletter, the malicious software in question morphed into a different threat than was intended by its human creators.

“Ten years ago, there was a clear-cut distinction between Trojans, viruses and worms,” the report said. “They all had their own features specific to one family of malware only. As more people connected to the internet, cyber-criminals started mixing ingredients to maximize impact. … Trojans with worm capabilities or viruses with Trojan features, and so on.”

But a new practice emerged recently. The new digital threat: viruses that infect executable files happen to hit a system already infected with a worm — a malicious executable file — that then carries the virus with it to other computers and networks.

“Although this happens unintentionally, the combined features from both pieces of malware will inflict a lot more damage than the creators of either piece of malware intended,” according to the report, based on the work of the software firm Bitdefender.

Bitdefender found 40,000 examples of piggybacking malware in a pool of 10 million files. One was identified as the Virtob virus combining with the Rimecud worm.

Military cybertechnology officials say the virus-worm combination is likely to be used in military-grade cyberwarfare attacks in the future.

RUMSFELD’S TAIWAN VISIT

China tried convince former Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld that he should not visit Beijing’s rival Taiwan last year.

According to sources close to the former Pentagon chief, a Chinese Embassy political officer called Mr. Rumsfeld’s office before the October visit to urge him not to go.

Mr. Rumsfeld ignored the request. During his visit, he said Taiwan needed more U.S. arms in response to China’s continued large-scale military buildup.

In a speech Oct. 11 in Taiwan, Mr. Rumsfeld said: “As Taiwan identified further requirements and those needs are assessed as legitimate and reasonable in light of China’s military posture, Taiwan has the responsibility to continue to make known its requests for responsible consideration.

“In turn, the United States has the responsibility to give such requests fair, prompt and reasonable attention. Taiwan deserves no less from a fellow democracy.”

The Obama administration around that time offered to upgrade Taiwan’s fleet of U.S.-made F-16s but declined the island nation’s request for newer F-16s.

The attempt to dissuade Mr. Rumsfeld from visiting Taiwan is part of China’s efforts to isolate Taiwan from the United States.

China’s communist government uses its visa system in trying to control what Americans may say about China. Anyone who is regarded as a critic of Beijing is routinely denied entry to China.

The policy is mainly targeted at U.S. specialists on China who need access to China as part of their work.

Beijing’s message: Say nice things and ignore threatening things and you can visit China. Otherwise, forget about it.

Mr. Rumsfeld now heads the Rumsfeld Foundation, a nonprofit group that supports military charities and rewards public service.

He donated the $524,000 he made from sales of his memoir, “Known and Unknown,” to military charities late last year, according to the foundation’s latest report.

The foundation also brings professionals from Central Asia to the U.S. for six-week fellowships. The latest group of Central Asian fellows included people from Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan.

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About the Author

Bill Gertz

Bill Gertz is a national security columnist for The Washington Times and senior editor at The Washington Free Beacon (www.freebeacon.com). He has been with The Times since 1985.

He is the author of six books, four of them national best-sellers. His latest book, “The Failure Factory,” on government bureaucracy and national security, was published in September 2008.

Mr. ...

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