China military rejects hacking allegations

Updated 20 February 2013
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China military rejects hacking allegations

BEIJING,: China’s defense ministry on 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 security firm 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-story office building in Shanghai identified by Mandiant as the headquarters of the military cyberspying Unit 61398, with officers temporarily detaining journalists in the area.
Defense 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 ‘cyber attacks,’” 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 hacking group “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 organizations across 20 industries.
The US said in response to the document that it regularly raises hacking concerns with China, with State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland saying it comes up “in virtually every meeting we have with Chinese officials.”
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 defense ministry statement.
Security outside the building in Shanghai’s northern suburb of Gaoqiao that was said to house the military-led hacking 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.


86 people killed in central Nigeria violence: police

Updated 25 June 2018
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86 people killed in central Nigeria violence: police

  • Analysts believe it could become Nigeria’s biggest security concern, eclipsing Boko Haram’s Islamist insurgency that has left at least 20,000 dead since 2009
  • The violence — fueled by ethnic, religious and political allegiances — has killed thousands over several decades

JOS, Nigeria: Eighty-six people have been killed in an attack by suspected nomadic herders against farming communities in restive central Nigeria, police said on Sunday.
The discovery in the Barikin Ladi area of Plateau state came after days of violence apparently sparked by an attack by ethnic Berom farmers on Fulani herders on Thursday.
State police commissioner Undie Adie said a search of Berom villages in the area following clashes on Saturday found “86 persons altogether were killed.”
Adie told reporters six people were also injured and 50 houses razed. Bodies of those who died have been released to their families, he added.
The deaths are the latest in a long-running battle for land and resources that is putting President Muhammadu Buhari under pressure as elections approach next year.
The violence — fueled by ethnic, religious and political allegiances — has killed thousands over several decades.
Analysts believe it could become Nigeria’s biggest security concern, eclipsing Boko Haram’s Islamist insurgency that has left at least 20,000 dead since 2009.
The Plateau state government said it had imposed restrictions on movements in the Riyom, Barikin Ladi and Jos South areas “to avert a breakdown of law and order.”
“The curfew takes effect immediately... and movement is restricted from 6:00 p.m. (1700 GMT) to 6:00 am, except (for) those on essential duties,” said spokesman Rufus Bature.
On Sunday, ethnic Berom youths set up barricades on the Jos-Abuja highway and attacked motorists who looked “Fulani and Muslim,” according to those who escaped the violence.
Plateau state police spokesman Tyopev Terna and Major Adam Umar, from the military taskforce in the state capital, Jos, confirmed the blockade and vandalism to several cars.
There were no official reports of deaths but Baba Bala, who escaped the violence on the road, said at least six people were killed.
“I was lucky the convoy of the (Plateau) state government was passing through the scene of the attack shortly after I ran into the attackers,” he said.
“I escaped with smashed windscreens and dents on my car. I saw six dead bodies and several damaged cars.”