China state media disputes recent hacking claims as 'irresponsible'

China state media disputes recent hacking claims as 'irresponsible'

Summary: One of China's main state newspapers calls the recent hacking allegations against Beijing as "irresponsible".

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TOPICS: Security, China
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One of China's top state newspapers today dismissed claims that Beijing might have been involved in the recent  cyberattacks, targeting over 70 governments and corporations, discovered last week by anti-virus giant McAfee.

Calling out the claims in the People's Daily, the newspaper run by the ruling Communist Party, said that it was "irresponsible" to suggest China had carried out hacks against worldwide, high-profile targets.

No official response from Beijing was given in the newspaper article, but the People's Daily has been used before to refute similar claims, which were then proven false.

Such affected organisations included the United Nations, the International Olympic Committee, and other high-profile organisations based mostly in North America and Europe

Known as Operation Shady RAT -- "RAT" known as Remote Access Tool -- there are similarities between the recent hacking discovery and the Google hacks last year.

McAfee has not singled out China as the source of the hacks, but has highlighted the work was 'of a nation state'.

Written in today's People's Daily newspaper, it also went on to warn that such allegations could "hurt U.S. business":

"Linking China with Internet hackers is irresponsible. In fact, as hacking attacks against internationally renowned companies or international organizations have increased this year, some Western media have repeatedly described China as 'the black hand behind the scenes."

But if China thinks that the Western world is unfairly pointing fingers, it has hacked before.

Operation Aurora, McAfee's response to the Internet Explorer vulnerability which let hackers access data from Google last year, also affected twenty other companies.

In the leaked Wikileaks diplomatic cables, one suggested that "senior Chinese figures" were behind the hacks at Google, which led to the search giant leaving China altogether.

It was only in June that the U.S. government officials began investigating the intrusion of hundreds of government Gmail accounts, with the Chinese government refuting claims it was involved as "unacceptable".

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Topics: Security, China

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14 comments
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  • RE: China state media disputes recent hacking claims as 'irresponsible'

    Screw McAfee! They are acting completely irresponsibly by not telling us who the actor was in this coordinated series of this far and wide ranging attacks against worldwide organizations and governments. The world has the right to know what country has been doing this crap! I hope someone leaks this information to Wikileaks. This is stuff I want and need to know. How are we to use "the power of the purse" (so to speak) to boycott the country that has acted this way if we don't know who they are?
    josh92
    • RE: China state media disputes recent hacking claims as 'irresponsible'

      @josh92 I cant post a link from my tablet, but you should google Tracking Ghostnet Tracking a Cyber Espionage (spelling?) Network. It's a fairly large pdf but very interesting reading.

      Mc Affee really can't come right out and accuse a country. That could cause a diplomatic incident.
      Muttz
    • RE: China state media disputes recent hacking claims as 'irresponsible'

      @josh92 Why do you need to know anything if you haven't been hacked? This is sensitive stuff here, between the hacked and the governments, not you. You also have no fundamental constitutional duty to boycott anything, so I don't think that's a legal consideration.
      jgm2
    • RE: China state media disputes recent hacking claims as 'irresponsible'

      @josh92 How can you use "the power of the purse" when China owns you.
      I am Gorby
  • Only time China feel "responsible" is got caught in site.

    Even everyone knows they did it, they can still deny it.
    FADS_z
    • Everyone knows?

      @FADS_z
      I don't know it and unless you you're a witness or investigated thoroughly enough to eliminate all reasonable doubt, you don't know either.

      There may be good reason to suspect the Chinese government (or "patriotic" hackers associated with the Chinese Communist Party), but suspicion isn't proof, or even evidence.
      John L. Ries
      • RE: China state media disputes recent hacking claims as 'irresponsible'

        @John L. Ries When all of the targets are enemies of China and that's the only commonality and many targets are political in nature, that certainly is reason to think it's China. Think Bayesian here. :-) Between that and the past known incidents of Chinese hacking that indeed does allow a Bayesian to assign a very high probability to China as the culprit.
        jgm2
  • Liability for vulnerabilities?

    Very likely the exploits existed in code created by a well-known US software giant, whose business model involves releasing buggy new software versions frequently in order to create more or less constant upgrade sales.

    This software giant would quite reasonably (for a US corporation) prefer to make money on jazzy new features than create secure software by placing priority on design, testing and bug releases. A succession of new browsers--each released with security vulnerabilities that were quickly discovered by hackers--illustrates the fact.

    This software company has become so dominant that it is able to force EULAs on customers that exempt the company from any accountability whatever for selling defective products.

    Would anyone care to speculate on how many billions of dollars have been lost as a result of this company's negligence and greed?
    FeralUrchin
    • RE: China state media disputes recent hacking claims as 'irresponsible'

      @FeralUrchin Do you zealots ever give it a rest? I'm a Linux user and *I* could barely tolerate reading that post. :-(

      This has nothing to do with Microsoft. Microsoft is not a leaky sieve. Microsoft is not out to take over the world. Windows is not defective by design. This is not 1990. They're not coming to get you. There's nothing wrong with closed source software. There's nothing cancerous about open source software. Apple is not evil. Apple is not good. OSX is not awful. OSX is not perfect. Linux is not bug-riddled. Linux is not invulnerable.

      Print that out on an index card, hang it by the bathroom mirror and read it out loud at least once a day, preferably before posting here. You'll feel better and lower your blood pressure. And you can still make fun of Ubuntu. Any product with the name "Natty Narwhal" just cannot be defended from ridicule, no matter how hard one tries. ;-)
      jgm2
  • Refuted and Proven Wrong?

    From what I read in the articles "denied" and "dismissed" are not the same as refuted and proven wrong. Am I missing something here?
    gitwut
  • RE: China state media disputes recent hacking claims as 'irresponsible'

    They call it "irresponsible" to blame them, but they didn't deny it.
    CSwa913102
    • RE: China state media disputes recent hacking claims as 'irresponsible'

      @CSwa913102
      "I didn't do it; Nobody saw me do it; You can't prove anything."
      DLClark
  • The denial doesn't mean much

    Given that the People's Daily is the official organ of the Communist Party and has a long history of defending its interests, no matter what, its reaction is as expected and by itself cannot be considered an indication of either guilt or innocence. That will need to be determined by less partial investigators (if at all) and may never be known, except by the actual perpetrators, the suspected ones, and their respective supervisors.

    One of the problems totalitarian states face is that because independent investigators cannot be tolerated, it becomes much more difficult to exonerate the authorities when foreigners charge them with wrongdoing.
    John L. Ries
    • Another problem with a non-free press is...

      @John L. Ries
      ...even the people on top may not know what's really happening. Mikhail Gorbachev noted that he and his associates got their first news as to the seriousness of the Chernobyl accident not from their own people, but from the western media.
      John L. Ries