US security firm alleges massive Chinese hacking



THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

Published — Wednesday 20 February 2013

Last update 20 February 2013 3:16 am

| نسخة PDF Print News | A A

BEIJING: Cyberattacks that stole massive amounts of information from military contractors, energy companies and other key industries in the US and elsewhere have been traced to the doorstep of a Chinese military unit, a US security firm alleged yesterday. China dismissed the report as “groundless.” China has frequently been accused of hacking, but the report by Virginia-based Mandiant Corp. contains some of the most extensive and detailed accusations to date linking its military to a wave of cyberspying against US and other foreign companies and government agencies.
Mandiant said it traced the hacking back to a neighborhood in the outskirts of Shanghai that includes a drab, white 12-story office building run by “Unit 61398” of the People’s Liberation Army.
The unit “has systematically stolen hundreds of terabytes of data from at least 141 organizations,” Mandiant wrote. By comparison, the US Library of Congress 2006-2010 Twitter archive of about 170 billion tweets totals 133.2 terabytes.
“From our observations, it is one of the most prolific cyberespionage groups in terms of the sheer quantity of information stolen,” the company said. It added that the unit has been in operation since at least 2006.
Mandiant said it decided that revealing the results of its investigation was worth the risk of the hackers changing their tactics and becoming even more difficult to trace.
“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.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei did not directly address the claims, but when questioned on the report Tuesday, he said he doubted the evidence would withstand scrutiny.
“To make groundless accusations based on some rough material is neither responsible nor professional,” Hong told reporters at a regularly scheduled news conference.
In a reiteration of China’s standard response to such accusations, Hong said China strictly outlaws hacking and said the country itself was a major victim of such crimes, including attacks originating in the United States.
“As of now, the cyberattacks and cybercrimes China has suffered are rising rapidly every year,” Hong said.
Mandiant said its findings led it to alter the conclusion of a 2010 report it wrote on Chinese hacking, in which it said it was not possible to determine the extent of government knowledge of such activities.
“The details we have analyzed during hundreds of investigations convince us that the groups conducting these activities are based primarily in China and that the Chinese government is aware of them,” the company said in a summary of its latest report.
It said the hacking was traced to the 2nd Bureau of the People’s Liberation Army General Staff’s 3rd Department, most commonly known as unit 61398, in the Shanghai suburbs.
China’s Defense Ministry did not immediately respond to faxed questions about the report, although it has in the past labeled such allegations as groundless and irresponsible, and has demanded that evidence be presented.
News of the report spread Tuesday on the Chinese Internet, with many commentators calling it an excuse for the US to impose greater restrictions to contain China’s growing technological prowess.

What's happening around Saudi Arabia

JEDDAH: The government has installed 5,000 high-definition cameras on all floors and courtyards of the Grand Mosque to ensure security and crowd control.These cameras are monitored 24 hours a day by officers at a control center in Mina. They have to...
GENEVA: Saudi Arabia has welcomed the report of the International Fact Finding Commission on Israeli aggression in Gaza and has lauded its effort to prepare the report despite noncooperation from Israel which did not allow the committee to do its wor...
JEDDAH: Several Yemenis have praised the government for correcting their status quickly, which created no extra burden while fasting.Many who gathered in front of the Passport Department in Asir said everything was in place for them, a local newspape...
RIYADH: The $11.6 billion King Abdullah Financial District (KAFD) is already being admired for being a smart city but nobody can tell when it will be completed.“Being a smart city, everything is state-of-the-art. There is seamless Internet access and...
RIYADH: In a new move, the Ministry of Health will conduct drug tests on all drivers ferrying pilgrims between Makkah and Madinah during the Haj season.The decision was taken at a Haj preparatory meeting held on Sunday under the chairmanship of Imad...
JEDDAH: Motorbikes are among the most important means of transportation in Makkah during Ramadan because they are easy to use and cope easily with congestion in the central area next to the Grand Mosque. Despite the presence of public transportation,...
JEDDAH: A local man here runs a business started 150 years ago by his grandfather making sought-after Hijazi sweets for Eid and other festivals.Samer Jastaniah, 35, has three family shops making these products. “I am the grandson of the doyen of swee...
RIYADH: Saudi students have won six medals — a gold, a silver and four bronze — at the 19th Junior Balkan Mathematical Olympiad (JBMO 2015), securing the fifth place for the nation, as against 13th in its first participation in 2013.Rinad Abu-Jamal f...
Ambassador of Belgium Geert Criel:— Which particular aspect of Saudi Arabia you like the most? The friendliness of its people.— What is your favorite and oft-repeated Arabic word? Ahlan wa Sahlan.— Which book is by your bedside these days? World Orde...
AL-AHSA: Saudi farmers here need more support to buy fertilizers, medicines and equipment, and market their products.This is the view of Ahmed Al-Musalmi, who recently won the country’s ‘Ideal Farmer Award.’ He said high production costs and low mark...
JEDDAH: The Commission of the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice (Haia) has launched 20 initiatives aimed at improving the professionalism of employees and limiting individual interpretations and actions while carrying out duties.Sheikh Abdul...
RIYADH: Medical studies and research for new methods in the treatment of chronic diseases suggests that fasting could help combat cancer and boost effectiveness of treatment.Scientists doing research on the positive aspects of fasting discovered that...
RIYADH: The Ministry of Education has announced that Saudi universities would accept 95 percent of high school graduates, despite a royal decree four years ago setting a ceiling of 70 percent.The royal decree had approved the “Afaq Project,” a strate...
JEDDAH: With the first stages of the municipal elections set to launch in Dhul Qadah, various organizations and institutions are responding to the intensifying “election fever” by trying to get in on the action and making a strong presence on the sce...
AL-AHSA: The third annual Youth Nights Festival kicked off at King Abdullah Environmental Park in Al-Ahsa recently. Organized by the General Presidency of Youth Welfare (GPYW), in collaboration with Al-Ahsa Municipality, the festival targets 70,000 y...

Stay Connected

Facebook