China cybervictim claims a red herring
| Carol Huang |
BEIJING (AFP) – China’s full-throated denials of hacking and counter-accusations of its own do nothing to allay growing concern over large-scale cyberspying alleged in a bombshell report this week, Western analysts said.
Chinese officials and state-run media have lashed out after a report by a US firm laid out in unprecedented detail what Western officials and experts have long claimed: that China’s army runs an aggressive hacking operation targeting US firms.
But James Lewis, a senior fellow based in Washington with the Centre for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), said: “No country breaks into tears and confesses when accused of espionage, so the denials can be dismissed.
“Many countries besides the US have concluded that China is the leading bad actor in cyberspace and China’s espionage is on track to become a major international problem,” he added.
“Saying ‘we’re victims, too’ won’t deflect this.”
The report from consultancy Mandiant alleged that hacking group “APT1” had stolen data from at least 141 organisations across 20 industries and was part of a Chinese military unit which investigators traced to an office block in Shanghai.
Although the account laid out the most detailed accusations yet of Chinese hacking, the rising power’s online conduct had already drawn growing scrutiny.
Last month the New York Times and other American media outlets reported they had come under hacking attacks from China, and a US congressional report last year named the country as “the most threatening actor in cyberspace”.