Cyber-Attacks Against China Most Often Blamed On US
March 1, 2013

Cyber-Attacks Against China Most Often Blamed On US

Michael Harper for — Your Universe Online

Last month, American security firm Mandiant released a report which claimed China's military was behind more than 100 attacks against US companies spanning 6 years.

China's Ministry of National Defense has now returned fire, saying that two-thirds of the attacks in their country have originated in the US.

The Ministry of Defense (MOD) released a statement yesterday claiming that they have seen, on average, 144,000 attacks per month. Scanning IP addresses, the Ministry believes 62.9 percent of them have originated in the US. The statement shows that China is willing to trade blows with the US when it comes to cyber-attacks.

Last week, China made a  similar accusation against the US, claiming many of their attacks come from the US. This report is the first to place tangible numbers to these claims.

"The Defense Ministry and China Military Online websites have faced a serious threat from hacking attacks since they were established, and the number of hacks has risen steadily in recent years," claims Geng Yansheng, a Defense Ministry spokesman in a press statement.

With some 63 percent of these attacks said to be originated from the US, Yansheng is now looking to the west for answers.

According to last month's Mandiant report, the Chinese attacks against American companies originated from a single, secretive military group known as the People's Liberation Army, or Unit 61398.

The attacks stemming from this group are considered to be a state secret. The building where most of these attacks are believed to have originated from is so closely guarded that BBC reporters filming the location were detained and asked to hand over their tapes before being released.

"We believe that APT1 is able to wage such a long-running and extensive cyber espionage campaign in large part because it receives direct government support,” claimed Mandiant. They even discovered evidence which suggests China Telecom was responsible for providing the network used to launch these attacks against the US.

Mandiant was also asked to investigate previous hacks into the network at the New York Times.

Last October, the Times ran a report about the wealth acquired by relatives of China´s Prime Minister, Wen Jaibo. The report found that Jaibo's brother, wife and other family members had used their positions to stock their bank accounts with as much as $2.7 billion.

In their investigation, Mandiant found that Chinese hackers had attacked NY Times reporters who had participated in the story. Though Mandiant found that these hackers had not accessed any personal information, they were able to uncover the passwords of every NY Times employee on the network and hack into their email accounts.

When news of those hacks first hit headlines, China's Ministry of defense called these accusations baseless, saying: "To arbitrarily assert and to conclude without hard evidence that China participated in such hacking attacks is totally irresponsible."