News / Asia

Chinese Cyber Hackers a Growing Threat

Chinese hackers have conducted a growing number of attacks against foreign companies and government institutions in recent years, leading a recent U.S. congressional report to call China the "most threatening actor in cyberspace."

Although the attacks are difficult to trace to a specific source, many suspect the hackers are targeting overseas business, media, political and security institutions at the direction of, or with the permission of, the Chinese government or military.

Chinese officials have denied the charge, saying Beijing also is a victim of computer attacks and security breaches. They argues that just because cyber attacks may originate from Chinese soil does not mean China is sponsoring the attackers.

New York Times hints at cyber attack by Chinese military

The latest accusation came Thursday from the New York Times, which said hackers employing methods known to be used by the Chinese military broke into its computers, in apparent retaliation for a scathing investigation into the wealth of Premier Wen Jiabao.

Related - Chinese Hackers Attack NY Times Website

The story fits the pattern of many China-based journalists and activist groups, who have long complained of computer-based attacks and other techniques allegedly aimed at intimidating them and their sources from covering topics that upset Beijing.

Although the Times was able to employ a large computer security firm to help protect it from cyber attacks, observers say many smaller organizations with modest IT budgets are more vulnerable because they are unable to provide the same level of protection.

US report: China 'most threatening actor in cyberspace'

Chinese hackers also are believed to have spied on U.S. government and military activities, as detailed in a November report to Congress by the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission.

The report said state-sponsored hackers often have stolen sensitive information to help advance China's political, economic and security objectives. It also said China often chooses to look the other way when "hacktivists," or independent cyber criminals, conduct attacks against U.S. business or government interests.

The report said the issue is complicated by the widespread existence of state-owned or state-controlled companies in China, which often employ hackers to steal trade secrets in order to gain advantages on foreign competitors.

Because of these factors, the U.S. panel called China "the most threatening actor in cyberspace."

Evidence suggests growing Chinese involvement in hacking

Recent data suggests the problem is only getting worse. A quarterly report last week from Akamai Technologies found that global cyber attacks originating from China more than doubled in the third quarter of 2012, compared to the previous three months. The study suggests that one-third of all cyber attacks now come from China.

Even though a growing amount of evidence suggests Beijing's involvement in cyber hacking, security analysts say it is difficult to trace the attacks directly to the Chinese government, in part because hackers use sophisticated methods to hide their tracks.

Thursday's New York Times story said the hackers tried to conceal their activities by routing their attacks through overseas computers and continually switching IP addresses. It also said Beijing maintains plausible deniability for hacking attempts by outsourcing attacks to skilled hackers.

Washington facing 'Cyber Pearl Harbor?'

Washington officials in recent months have warned of the dire threat posed by foreign computer hackers, including those in China. This week, the Pentagon moved to address those threats, increasing the size of its cyber security force by more than 4,000 people, up from the current 900.

The move comes just weeks after Defense Secretary Leon Panetta warned that the U.S. faces the possibility of a "cyber Pearl Harbor" attack that could disrupt the country's power grid, transportation system and financial networks.

U.S. officials have repeatedly raised the issue with China, which continues to deny involvement in any cyber espionage. It argues that it has worked hard to crack down on Internet crimes, saying the Chinese government itself is the world's biggest victim of cyber attacks.

You May Like

Photogallery Americans Celebrate Thanksgiving With Feasts, Festivities

Holiday traditions include turkey dinners, 'turkey trots,' American-style football and New York parade with giant balloons More

Video For Obama, Ferguson Violence is a Personal Issue

With two years left in term, analysts say, president has less to lose by taking conversation on race further More

Video Italian Espresso Expands Into Space

When Italian astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti headed for the ISS, her countrymen worried how she would survive six months drinking only instant coffee More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Wangchuk from: NYC
February 01, 2013 12:13 PM
The PRC is the greatest threat to cyber security in the world. Tibetan, Uighur, and Chinese dissidents are hacked and attacked by the PRC constantly. The PRC also spies on pretty much everyone else. The PLA has a whole unit for cyber-warfare & recruits in colleges. The US and other nations must be prepared for cyber-war w/ the PRC.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
South Africa Sees Male Circumcision as Way to Reduce HIV Infectionsi
X
November 28, 2014 3:31 PM
South Africa remains plagued by AIDS despite massive government and NGO efforts on prevention and life-sustaining Anti-Retro-Viral programs. But the country has opened up another front to reduce new HIV infections: promoting circumcision. Emilie Iob reports for VOA News from a pioneering circumcision center in Orange Farm, Johannesburg.
Video

Video South Africa Sees Male Circumcision as Way to Reduce HIV Infections

South Africa remains plagued by AIDS despite massive government and NGO efforts on prevention and life-sustaining Anti-Retro-Viral programs. But the country has opened up another front to reduce new HIV infections: promoting circumcision. Emilie Iob reports for VOA News from a pioneering circumcision center in Orange Farm, Johannesburg.
Video

Video To Make A Living, Nairobi Street Vendors Face Legal Hurdles, Physical Violence

The Nairobi City Council has been accused of brutality in dealing with hawkers in the Central Business District - in order to stop them from illegally selling their wares on the streets. Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.
Video

Video For Obama, Ferguson Violence is a Personal Issue

Throughout the crisis in Ferguson, Missouri, President Barack Obama has urged calm, restraint and respect for the rule of law. But the events in Ferguson have prompted him to call — more openly than he has before — for profound changes to end the racism and distrust that he believes still exists between whites and blacks in the United States. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Online Magazine Gets Kids Discussing Big Questions

Teen culture in America is often criticized for being superficial. But an online magazine has been encouraging some teenagers to explore deeper issues, and rewarding their efforts. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky went to this year’s Kidspirit awards ceremony in New York.
Video

Video US Community Kicks Off Thanksgiving With Parade

Thursday is Thanksgiving in the United States, a holiday whose roots go back to the country's earliest days as a British colony. One way Americans celebrate the occasion is with parades. Anush Avetisyan takes us to one such event on the day before Thanksgiving near Washington, where a community's diversity is on display. Joy Wagner narrates
Video

Video Aung San Suu Kyi: Myanmar Opposition to Keep Pushing for Constitutional Change

Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi says she and her supporters will continue pushing to amend a constitutional clause that bars her from running for president next year. VOA's Than Lwin Htun reports from the capital Naypyitaw in this report narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Mali Attempts to Shut Down Ebola Transmission Chain

Senegal and Nigeria were able to stop small Ebola outbreaks by closely monitoring those who had contact with the sick person and quickly isolating anyone with symptoms. Mali is now scrambling to do the same. VOA’s Anne Look reports from Mali on what the country is doing to shut down the chain of transmission.
Video

Video Ukraine Marks Anniversary of Deadly 1930s Famine

During a commemoration for millions who died of starvation in Ukraine in the early 1930s, President Petro Poroshenko lashed out at Soviet-era totalitarianism for causing the deaths and accused today’s Russian-backed rebels in the east of using similar tactics. VOA’s Daniel Shearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests at a Crossroads

New public opinion polls in Hong Kong indicate declining support for pro-democracy demonstrations after weeks of street protests. VOA’s Bill Ide in Guangzhou and Pros Laput in Hong Kong spoke with protesters and observers about whether demonstrators have been too aggressive in pushing for change.
Video

Video US Immigration Relief Imminent for Mixed-Status Families

Tens of thousands of undocumented immigrants in the Washington, D.C., area may benefit from a controversial presidential order announced this week. It's not a path to citizenship, as some activists hoped. But it will allow more immigrants who arrived as children or who have citizen children, to avoid deportation and work legally. VOA's Victoria Macchi talks with one young man who benefited from an earlier presidential order, and whose parents may now benefit after years of living in fear.
Video

Video New Skateboard Defies Gravity

A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the United States are benefiting from gas prices below $3 a gallon. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the decreasing price of petroleum has a downside for the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States.

All About America

AppleAndroid