News / Asia

US Firm Links Chinese Army to Cyber Attacks

The building housing “Unit 61398” of the People’s Liberation Army is seen in the outskirts of Shanghai, February 19, 2013. The building housing “Unit 61398” of the People’s Liberation Army is seen in the outskirts of Shanghai, February 19, 2013.
x
The building housing “Unit 61398” of the People’s Liberation Army is seen in the outskirts of Shanghai, February 19, 2013.
The building housing “Unit 61398” of the People’s Liberation Army is seen in the outskirts of Shanghai, February 19, 2013.
A U.S.-based Internet security group is accusing the Chinese government of involvement in a sophisticated campaign of cyber attacks against American businesses, government and critical infrastructure.

A 60-page report released Tuesday by Mandiant details dozens of attacks by a prolific, China-based hacker group it says is using "direct government support" to wage a "long-running and extensive cyber espionage campaign."

Mandiant says the group, referred to as APT1, has stolen massive amounts of data from nearly 150 organizations, mostly located in the United States, since 2006. It does not name the targets, but says they span 20 major industries, ranging from IT to financial services.

It says it has traced the activities of the group to a Shanghai neighborhood surrounding the headquarters of the People's Liberation Army's secretive unit 61398, which Internet security analysts previously linked to cyber attacks.

Related video report by Carla Babb
US Security Company Accuses China of Cyber Spyingi
X
February 20, 2013 6:19 AM
A U.S. cyber security company says Chinese hackers, backed by the Beijing government, are trying to steal information -- in a sophisticated campaign of cyber attacks against American businesses and the government. VOA's Carla Babb has more from Washington.


Key findings of Mandiant's report:

  • Links hacker group APT1 to secretive unit of the People's Liberation Army (PLA)
  • Says group is responsible for stealing data from at least 141 global organizations since 2006
  • Tracks dozens of cyber attacks to neighborhood surrounding PLA building in Shanghai
  • Says attackers commonly used emails containing malicious attachments to inflitrate networks


Chinese Government Reacts

China's foreign ministry spokesperson Hong Lei strongly denied the accusations at a regular briefing Tuesday.

"Hacker attacks are an international problem and should be dealt with based on mutual trust and international cooperation," he said. "It is neither professional nor responsible to make groundless accusations without hard evidence. It is also not conducive to settling the relevant problem."

When asked about the building Mandiant says is likely responsible for the hacking attempts, Hong said he does not see how the evidence is credible, given the difficulty in tracing the origin of cyber attacks. He also returned the accusation, pointing to a Chinese study that claims the U.S. is the source of most cyber attacks in China.

China has long been viewed as a major source of global hacking attempts. But Mandiant, like many other IT firms, has been reluctant to directly accuse the Chinese government of overseeing cyber attacks. Now, the group says it has acquired evidence to change its mind, saying "It is time to acknowledge the threat is originating in China."

The Virginia-based company says its seven-year investigation revealed that more than 90 percent of APT1's cyber attacks originated from the neighborhood of the 12-story PLA building. Although it could not trace the attacks directly to the facility in Shanghai's Pudong district, it argued it is extremely unlikely the Chinese military would be unaware that hundreds of attackers were operating so closely to its grounds.

Map of the APT1 hacking headquarters in Shanghai, China.Map of the APT1 hacking headquarters in Shanghai, China.
x
Map of the APT1 hacking headquarters in Shanghai, China.
Map of the APT1 hacking headquarters in Shanghai, China.
Recent Hacking Attempts Revive Concerns

A series of recent China-based hacking attempts on high-profile U.S. media outlets, including the New York Times  and Wall Street Journal, have revived concerns about Chinese cyber espionage. U.S. officials have increasingly warned of the threat, but some say Washington has not done enough to discourage the attacks.

Asia security analyst Wendell Minnick tells VOA that he was not surprised by the report. He says there is little incentive for China to discourage computer espionage activity originating from inside its borders.

"There's no reason for (the Chinese) to behave themselves. They're a hungry nation and they want to win. And, they want to dominate," says Minnick.

The Tuesday report said Chinese hackers such as APT1 have traditionally focused on stealing information like technology blueprints, manufacturing processes and other information from foreign companies.

But Mandiant says APT1 recently has become more focused on attacking U.S. infrastructure, such as companies that control electrical power grids, gas lines and other utilities.

Washington this year increased the size of its own cyber security force by more than 4,000 people - up from the current 900. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta recently warned of the vulnerability of critical U.S. infrastructure, saying America faces the possibility of a "cyber Pearl Harbor" attack in the future.

You May Like

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. More

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

Dropout rate at an all-time high in South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during 3-year civil war More

Tennessee Songbirds Fly Coop Long Before Tornadoes Arrive

Researchers say birds apparently alerted to danger by sounds at frequencies below range of human hearing More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacksi
X
December 19, 2014 12:45 AM
The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Putin Says Russian Economy Will Emerge Stronger

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said his country's sinking economy will not only recover but also become stronger, despite falling oil prices and Western sanctions over Ukraine. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Detained Turkish Journalists Follow Teachings of US-Based Preacher

The Turkish government’s jailing of critical journalists has sparked international condemnation and is being seen as an effort to undermine the followers of an ailing Turkish preacher based in the United States. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video ‘Anti-Islamization’ Marches Increase Tensions In Germany

Anti-immigrant rallies in Germany have been building in recent weeks, peaking Monday night in the city of Dresden where tens of thousands of people turned out to demonstrate against what they call the ‘Islamization’ of the West. Germany has offered asylum to more Syrian refugees than any other country, and this appears to have set off the protests. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.

All About America

AppleAndroid