Web traffic from China high on East TN military groups' websites

2:38 PM, Feb 1, 2013   |    comments
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Former Marine Laimon Godel keeps his fellow veterans in the loop as volunteer webmaster for two local military groups.

"It's an avocation of mine. I've served in the military," said Godel, a member of both the East Tennessee Military Affairs Council and the Knoxville Marine Corp League Detachment.

The websites are not official military sites and have no classified information, but offer military events calendars and resources for veterans.

Information that's important to Godel and the members, but also seems to be of interest to computers in China.

"2,180 visitors from China to a Marine Corp League Detachment in Knoxville, Tennessee is a little bit unusual," he said.

Godel gives reports each month to the groups of who is visiting the sites. He discovered that a big chunk of the visitors each year were from foreign countries.

For the year, the Marine Corp League had 2,180 visitors from China, 879 from the Ukraine, 779 from the Russian Federation, and 709 from Germany. 

This comes after the New York Times reported Chinese hackers broke into its computers. Godel says they have not been hacked, but were puzzled by the large number of hits.

"This is not a surprise at all. As a matter of fact, I would have guessed that it would be higher than it actually is," said technology expert, Dan Thompson.

Thompson says the word military on a website, even if it's not an official government site, means intelligence from other countries are likely to scope it out.

"It's going to be an automated system and basically we call it "crawling the internet." [The systems are] looking for specific data or specific exploits," Thompson said. "It's very common to see China, and Russia, and India crawling sites for information. It's what they do."

In fact, crawling is so common, that even Thompson's personal blog gets a few hits from overseas.

"It's the world we live in. If you want to make your website viewable to the world, you have to make it viewable to these people as well," he said.

Godel says they aren't worried about being hacked because there's no classified information on their sites.

Thompson says he doesn't think we need to be concerned.

"It's good to talk about it, but mostly it's not something to be worried about," Thompson said.

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