Though Obama did not reference China or any country specifically, U.S. officials have previously accused the Asian nation of undertaking a widespread cyber espionage campaign.
Cyberattacks on dozens of American companies have been
The 60-page document, first reported by The New York Times, says the group behind the attacks — nicknamed “Comment Crew” — is the most prolific the company has ever tracked and has been hacking U.S. companies since at least 2006.
Mandiant identified the People’s Liberation Army’s Shanghai-based Unit 61398 as the most likely driving force behind the hacking. Mandiant said it believed the unit had carried out “sustained” attacks on a wide range of industries.
“The nature of ‘Unit 61398’s’ work is considered by China to be a state secret; however, we believe it engages in harmful ‘Computer Network Operations‘,” Mandiant said in a report released in the United States on Monday.
“It is time to acknowledge the threat is originating in China, and we wanted to do our part to arm and prepare security professionals to combat that threat effectively,” it said.
The Chinese government has repeatedly denied involvement in cyber intrusions and Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hong Lei said today that the claims in the Mandiant report were unsupported, according to a report by The Associated Press.
“Not only are reports that China’s army has been involved in hacking unprofessional, they do not fit with the facts,” the ministry said in a statement to AFP.
“Hacking attacks are a global problem. Like other countries, China also faces the threat of hacking attacks, and is one of the main countries falling victim to hacking attacks.”
The country’s foreign ministry rejected “groundless accusations” of Chinese involvement in hacking and said China was itself a major victim, with most overseas cyberattacks against it originating in the US.
The president said the nation could not look back years from now and wonder why it didn’t do anything to stop it.
Both U.S. Democrats and Republicans have said more powerful legislation is needed, citing Chinese penetration not just of the largest companies but of operations essential to a functioning country, including those comprising the electric grid, reported Reuters.
- U.S. firm alleges Chinese hacking (toledoblade.com)
- Security group suspects Chinese military behind hacking attacks… (reuters.com)
- Chinese military linked to ‘overwhelming’ number of cyberattacks (zdnet.com)
- U.S. security firm alleges massive Chinese hacking (enterprisenews.com)
- Security group suspects Chinese military is behind hacking attacks (Reuters) (newsdaily.com)