China military rejects hacking allegations

Feb 20, 2013
Chinese soldiers stand in line to watch the daily flag-raising ceremony on Tiananmen Square in Beijing on January 1, 2013. China's defence ministry Wednesday rebuffed a report linking its People's Liberation Army to sophisticated cyberattacks on US firms, saying there was no internationally agreed definition of hacking.

China's defence ministry Wednesday rebuffed a report linking its People's Liberation Army to sophisticated cyberattacks on US firms, saying there was no internationally agreed definition of hacking.

The 74-page analysis by the American Internet Mandiant provided one of the most detailed accounts of large-scale hacking operations that many Western experts have long believed receive official Chinese support.

Security was stepped up at the 12-storey office building in Shanghai identified by Mandiant as the headquarters of the military cyberspying Unit 61398, with officers temporarily detaining journalists in the area.

Defence ministry spokesman Geng Yansheng said in a statement that Mandiant's claims had "no factual basis" and insisted there was no consensus on what qualified as hacking.

"There has been no clear internationally agreed definition for ''," he said, adding that the report "subjectively deduced" that online activities amounted to cyberspying.

He reiterated previous arguments by Beijing officials that attacks traced to Chinese IP addresses did not necessarily originate in the country.

"Cyberattacks are by nature transnational, anonymous and deceptive, and the origin of attacks is highly uncertain," he said.

"It's widely known that using stolen IP addresses to carry out hacking attacks is happening practically every day."

In its report, Mandiant alleged the "APT1"—from the initials "Advanced Persistent Threat"—was a branch of Unit 61398 and had stolen hundreds of terabytes of data from at least 141 organisations across 20 industries.

The US said in response to the document that it regularly raises hacking concerns with China, with spokeswoman Victoria Nuland saying it comes up "in virtually every meeting we have with ".

At a regular press briefing on Wednesday, China's foreign ministry spokesman Hong Lei did not respond directly to a question about whether Washington had discussed the issue with Beijing.

He said instead that both sides "have maintained communication" and referred reporters to the defence ministry statement.

Security outside the building in Shanghai's northern suburb of Gaoqiao that was said to house the military-led group was tightened Wednesday after it became the object of media attention.

An AFP photographer was detained for half an hour while shooting video outside the complex, while another international news agency photographer was also briefly held.

Six Chinese soldiers in uniform pulled the AFP photographer out of a car and brought him to the guardhouse, where they searched his bag and seized his camera's memory card before allowing him to leave with a warning.

Speaking in English, the apparent leader of the group told him no photography was allowed since it was a military installation.

Explore further: Belarus tightens control over online media

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

US, China trade charges on cyberattacks

Feb 19, 2013

The United States and China on Tuesday traded charges over cyberattacks after a security firm alleged that Beijing controled hackers who have penetrated the US government, companies and media.

China's PLA controls hackers: US IT security firm

Feb 19, 2013

China's army controls hundreds if not thousands of virulent and cutting-edge hackers, according to a report Tuesday by a US Internet security firm that traced a host of cyberattacks to an anonymous building ...

Claims of hacking New York Times 'groundless': China

Jan 31, 2013

China on Thursday dismissed accusations that it had hacked into the system of the New York Times, in a cyberattack the paper linked to its expose of the wealth amassed by the family of Premier Wen Jiabao. ...

China Communist paper rejects hacking allegations

Feb 04, 2013

The official mouthpiece of China's ruling Communist Party on Monday roundly rejected claims of hacking attacks from China by American media outlets, hinting instead at ulterior motives by the US.

US ready to strike back against China cyberattacks

Feb 20, 2013

(AP)—As public evidence mounts that the Chinese military is responsible for stealing massive amounts of U.S. government data and corporate trade secrets, the Obama administration is eyeing fines and other ...

China says it's not behind Google email hacking

Jun 02, 2011

(AP) -- China denied it supports hacking activities and said it is part of global efforts to combat computer security threats Thursday, a day after Google disclosed some of its email users suffered hacking ...

Recommended for you

Digital dilemma: How will US respond to Sony hack?

10 hours ago

The detective work blaming North Korea for the Sony hacker break-in appears so far to be largely circumstantial, The Associated Press has learned. The dramatic conclusion of a Korean role is based on subtle ...

UN General Assembly OKs digital privacy resolution

13 hours ago

The U.N. General Assembly has approved a resolution demanding better digital privacy protections for people around the world, another response to Edward Snowden's revelations about U.S. government spying.

Online privacy to remain thorny issue: survey

14 hours ago

Online privacy will remain a thorny issue over the next decade, without a widely accepted system that balances user rights and personal data collection, a survey of experts showed Thursday.

Spain: Google News vanishes amid 'Google Tax' spat

Dec 16, 2014

Google on Tuesday followed through with a pledge to shut down Google News in Spain in reaction to a Spanish law requiring news publishers to receive payment for content even if they are willing to give it away.

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.