Morning Brief: Report details aggressive hacking operations by Chinese army

From Foreign Policy Tue Feb 19 2013, 14:17:31

Report details aggressive hacking operations by Chinese army

Top news: A series of bold, highly aggressive cyber attacks have been traced to a single unit in the Chinese army, headquartered in a drab office building outside of Shanghai, according to a new report that details a spate of attacks directed at the United States government, major companies, and infrastructure.

According to The New York Times, U.S. officials have been aware of the hacking group -- officially known as People's Liberation Army Unit 61398, unoficially as "Comment Crew" -- for some time, but the report by Mandiant, an American security firm, makes public detailed allegations against the Chinese army and accuses it of carrying out attacks against major U.S. firms, stealing proprietary information like negotiating strategies, and illicitly obtaining blueprints to the American oil and gas infrastructure.

While Chinese officials denied the allegations, the Mandiant report argues that if the hacking activity in Shanghai is not the work of Unit 61398, then "a secret, resourced organization full of mainland Chinese speakers with direct access to Shanghai-based telecommunications infrastructure is engaged in a multiyear enterprise-scale computer espionage campaign right outside of Unit 61398's gates."

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