March 11, 2011

US Concerned By China’s Cyber Capabilities

The United States has become concerned with China's growing capabilities in cyber-warfare and intelligence, according to a top official with National Intelligence on Thursday.

James Clapper, Director of National Intelligence told the Senate Armed Services Committee that "the Chinese have made a substantial investment in this area, they have a very large organization devoted to it and they're pretty aggressive."

"This is just another way in which they glean information about us and collect on us for technology purposes, so it's a very formidable concern," he said.

Clapper did not elaborate on the types of cyber activities the Chinese are involved in, according to Reuters. But in a written testimony, he said 2010 saw a "dramatic increase in malicious cyber-activity targeting U.S. computers and networks." That passage did not specifically blame China.

He also cited an incident that occurred on April 8, 2010 in which state-owned China Telecom advertised flawed network routes that instructed "massive volumes" of US and other foreign Internet traffic to go through Chinese servers for 17 minutes.

"This incident affected traffic to and from U.S. government and military sites, including sites for the Senate, the Army, the Navy, the Marine corps, the air force, and the office of the Secretary of Defense, as well as a number of Fortune 500 firms," Clapper said.

When that incidence was revealed in late 2010, China Telecom denied any involvement in the issue. China's standard response to cyber-attack allegations has been to deny any connection to them and say it has also been the victim of such attacks.


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