Chinese cyber-warfare unit identified by American computer security firm

The building of ‘Unit 61398′, a secretive Chinese military unit, is seen in the outskirts of Shanghai. Reuters

The building of ‘Unit 61398′, a secretive Chinese military unit, is seen in the outskirts of Shanghai. Reuters

The Unit 61398 of The People’s Liberation Army, an obscure cyber-espionage corps, was identified by the American Computer Security Firm Mandiant as their “Advanced Persistent Threat 1.”

These cyber-attacks have gleaned a huge amount of corporate and government secrets in the US and Canada.

Recently, the Chinese cyber warriors seem to have been emboldened by their success, and began hacking into companies that are vital to the critical infrastructure in the U.S.

Despite the overwhelming evidence tracing the origin of the attacks to the neighbourhood where the Unit 61398 is located, the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs denied the accusation of PLA involvement.

A spokesman of the Ministry also expressed their “resolute opposition to hacking actions”.

The Chinese state-run English language newspaper China Daily also published an article rebutting the allegations of PLA hacking unit.

The China Daily article is reproduced below:

Allegations of hacking US websites ‘false and unprofessional’

China on Tuesday denied allegations that its government and military are behind cyber attacks against websites in the United States.

“The Chinese army has never supported any hacking,” the Ministry of National Defence said in a statement. Such accusations are unprofessional and false, it added.

The ministry’s remarks were in response to a report by US-based Internet security firm Mandiant Corp on Monday that claimed China’s army controls some of the most prolific hackers in the world, and that a host of cyber attacks had been traced to a building in Shanghai. According to Mandiant, the attacks were made against 141 companies, including 115 in the US, dating back to 2006.

Some academics and experts in computer security said verifying the firm’s claims would be difficult, as hackers’ origins are transnational and anonymous. In addition, these people said, the report could be intended to raise the spectre of a China threat.

Tracing the alleged attacks to the Shanghai building, if true, would also mean that Mandiant had hacked into that facility, the observers said.

China bans all forms of cyber sabotage, including hacking, and the government always strongly fights any such activities, the ministry said.

China, like other countries, also faces a severe threat of cyber attacks and is a major victim of them, it added.

In 2012, about 73,000 overseas Internet protocol, or IP, addresses controlled more than 14 million computers in China and 32,000 IP addresses remotely controlled 38,000 Chinese websites, Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said at a regularly scheduled news briefing on Tuesday.

Attacks originating from the United States rank first among these hacking incidents, Hong said.

The Chinese army is also one of the top targets. Between January and March 2012, the websites of the Ministry of National Defence and China Military Online suffered 240,000 cyber attacks, according to the defence ministry.

Source: China Daily – “We’re not behind cyber attacks, says Beijing”

Categories: Communication & Technology

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6 replies


  1. China’s hacks cracked after cyber attack « China Daily Mail
  2. U.S. accuses China of cyber spying on American companies | China Daily Mail
  3. Cyberwarfare between the US and China visualized | China Daily Mail

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