US media hypes ‘cyber Cold War’ [People’s Daily]

by Wang Tian

Dec. 20, 2011

Edited and translated by People’s Daily Online

A Dec. 14 report by Bloomberg claimed that the networks of at least 760 companies, research universities, Internet service providers and government agencies in the United States have been hit by the same elite group of China-based cyber spies over the last decade.

The companies range from some of the largest corporations such as Google and Intel to niche innovators in sectors like aerospace, semiconductors, pharmaceuticals and biotechnology, according to intelligence data obtained by Bloomberg News.

The report said that China-based hackers might have used the networks of iBahn, a U.S.-based provider of Internet services to hotels, as a launching pad into corporate networks that are connected to it, in order to steal company secrets. Bloomberg called it the “Cyber Cold War” in the sensational report.

* US accusations lack evidence *

The Associated Press said in a recent report that most of the China-based cyber attacks stealing critical data from U.S. companies and government agencies were committed by 12 different hacker groups, largely “backed or directed by” the Chinese government, according to U.S. cyber security experts.

The Associated Press added that the “aggressive but stealthy attacks” by China-based hackers have stolen billions of dollars in U.S. intellectual property and data, and U.S. officials at times can tell where the hackers are and even who they may be according to certain “distinct signatures” of their attacks.

The article said U.S. intelligence officials alleged cyber attacks from China were escalating, but “it was difficult to provide” relevant “evidence.” The article also said U.S. government officials were reluctant to link these cyber attacks with the Chinese government directly, but privately officials and experts generally expressed that they believed the hackers were related to the Chinese government or military. Some American cyber-security experts criticized the U.S. government’s failure to put enough pressure on China to force it to trace hackers.

U.S. National Counterintelligence Executive Office opened a report submitted to Congress titled “Foreign Spies Stealing U.S. Economic Secrets in Cyberspace” on Nov. 3, alleging by name that China and Russia had stolen a lot of value U.S. economic secretes via the internet in the past two years, which has created “increasingly serious and persistent threat” to U.S. economic security.

China and Russia were “the most ambitious collectors” of U.S. economic information and technology, mainly targeting the U.S. economy’s key sectors, such as information and military technology, according to the report.

The report particularly alleged that China was “the world’s most active and most lasting economic espionage criminal” and “U.S. private companies and cyber-security experts have once reported computer network intrusion attacks from China” but “cannot confirm who should be responsible for that.”

The report predicted that what may be “stolen” in the future would possibly be information and communication technology; business information on scarce natural resource suppliers or important business information in U.S. enterprise and government negotiations; and military technology, particularly technologies in marine systems, unmanned aerial vehicles and other aerospace, civil or multi-purpose technology in clean energy and pharmaceutical sectors.

China also victim of overseas hacker attacks

Some people abroad are fond of making rumors about cyber espionage, but what they say is groundless, a spokesman with China’s foreign ministry said in response to the accusation.

The Chinese government opposes and forbids any kind of hacker attacks. It is expressly stipulated in China’s laws that any related network crime would be investigated for criminal responsibilities in accordance with the Criminal Law of the People’s Republic of China.

China’s vulnerable network is a victim of major overseas hacker attacks and is frequently subject to illegal hacking and attacks from certain countries. Ensuring information and network security is a common interest for all of the countries. China is committed to guarding information and network security together with the international community via mutually beneficial cooperation on an equal footing.

The spokesman also pointed out that there is another problem we should pay more attention to, i.e. certain countries are keen on improving their capabilities in the so-called cyber armament race. It has become a top priority for the international community to find a way to prevent the information and network space from turning into a new battleground, but to guard its peace and make it be truly used to promote social economic development and human welfare. The International Code on Information Security jointly proposed by China, Russia and other countries, aims to drive the international community to establish a peaceful, safe, fair and open information and network space.

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