People’s Liberation Army ‘Unit 61398’ – US Ready To Strike Back Against China Cyberattacks – China Denies Cyber Attack Allegations

Cyber-assault HQ: how US is under attack from this office in Shanghai (Independent, Feb 19, 2013):

A barrage of malicious cyber-attacks against computer networks in the United States and other countries over several years has been sourced by a private US security firm to a single building on the fringes of Shanghai, which, it says, is occupied by the Chinese military.

A 60-page report released by Mandiant, a Virginia-based firm that specialises in cyber-espionage, concludes that hundreds or perhaps thousands of English-speaking Chinese computer experts toil daily inside the anonymous-looking 12-storey building in the Pudong district of Shanghai. ‘Unit 61398’, as it is known, hacks into foreign networks on behalf of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA), Mandiant alleges.

“The nature of Unit 61398’s work is considered by China to be a state secret; however, we believe it engages in harmful computer network operations,” the security firm said in the report, which drew instant rebukes from the Chinese government. “It is time to acknowledge the threat that is originating in China, and we wanted to do our part to arm and prepare security professionals to combat that threat effectively.”

The company asserted that the unit, one of several in China believed to be involved in invading overseas computer systems, had “stolen hundreds of terabytes of data from at least 141 organisations across a diverse set of industries beginning as early as 2006”.  While most of the activity targeted corporations in the United States are smaller number is located in Canada and Britain, it said.

US ready to strike back against China cyberattacks (AP, Feb 19, 2013):

WASHINGTON (AP) – As public evidence mounts that the Chinese military is responsible for stealing massive amounts of U.S. government data and corporate trade secrets, the Obama administration is eyeing fines and other trade actions it may take against Beijing or any other country guilty of cyberespionage.

According to officials familiar with the plans, the White House will lay out a new report Wednesday that suggests initial, more-aggressive steps the U.S. would take in response to what top authorities say has been an unrelenting campaign of cyberstealing linked to the Chinese government. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly about the threatened action.

The White House plans come after a Virginia-based cybersecurity firm released a torrent of details Monday that tied a secret Chinese military unit in Shanghai to years of cyberattacks against U.S. companies. After analyzing breaches that compromised more than 140 companies, Mandiant has concluded that they can be linked to the People’s Liberation Army’s Unit 61398.

China denies cyber attack allegations (BBC News, Feb 20, 2013)

Leave a Comment