China denies hacking US media outlets

China denies hacking US media outlets

Summary: Official newspaper of China's Communist Party rejects claims attacks on New York Times and Wall Street Journal originated from China, adding the U.S. has ulterior motives in spreading such fears.


The official newspaper of the Communist Party of China has rejected claims the country was involved in hacking U.S. news agencies The New York Times (NYT) and Wall Street Journal (WSJ).

"Even those with little understanding of the Internet know that hacking attacks are trans-national and concealable," said People's Daily on its front page, according to AFP's report Monday. It added the Internet protocol (IP) addresses were not sufficient to confirm the origin of the hackers.

ZDNet tried looking for the report on People's Daily's English Web site, but it was not available online.

The People's Daily refutes claims cyberattacks on U.S. media organizations came from China, and says U.S. has ulterior motives in fanning China security fears.

"Even those with little understanding of the Internet know that hacking attacks are transnational and concealable," the front page of The People's Daily, a Chinese Language newspaper said, AFP reported on Monday. The report could not be found on its English Web site.

The editorial comes after both NYT and WSJ identified China as the source for breaking in to their journalists' and other employees' e-mails. The Washington Post later claimed Chinese hackers were behind the intrusions in 2011.

The U.S. government subsequently said it was considering further action against China after high-level talks with Chinese officials over these cyberattacks failed to bear any positives.

Fanning anti-China sentiments
People's Daily claimed the U.S. was fanning "fear of China" out of self-interest, and that it invoked national security as a justification for trade protectionism and economic sanctions, the AFP reported.

"America keeps labeling China as hackers, simply playing up the rhetoric of the 'China threat' in cyberspace, providing new justification for America's strategy of containing China," the Chinese paper said.

It also reiterated the Chinese government's position that the country is also a victim of hacking, saying there were more attacks from U.S.-based IP addresses on Chinese Web sites in December 2012 than from any other country. In January, there were attacks from 3,000 foreign IP addresses.

Despite this, China did not draw "simple inferences or hasty conclusions" about the source of these attacks, People's Daily said.

One not-for-profit organization in the U.S. on Tuesday called for both governments to adopt more conciliatory stances and work together to solve cybersecurity challenges though. The U.S.-China Business Council said both parties have to learn to cooperate in order to protect the business interests of their companies, since these entities are frequently being targeted by cybercriminals.




Topics: Security, Government US, China

Ellyne Phneah

About Ellyne Phneah

Elly grew up on the adrenaline of crime fiction and it spurred her interest in cybercrime, privacy and the terror on the dark side of IT. At ZDNet Asia, she has made it her mission to warn readers of upcoming security threats, while also covering other tech issues.

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  • Determining the country of origin for a hacker is difficult

    The quote:
    "America keeps labeling China as hackers, simply playing up the rhetoric of the 'China threat' in cyberspace, providing new justification for America's strategy of containing China,"

    Is exactly what I see all this as, and my country claiming they know who is hacking their computers makes me ashamed of either 1) our lack of knowledge relating to hacking. or 2) Our blatant attempt to label China as the hacker without basis.

    ANY hacker with ability will hide his origin by routing through multiple other locations. If I was the hacker attempting to access some site I would definitely use a computer from another location than my own.

    It is a reasonable theory that the reason these attacks appear to come from China, is that there are more easily hack-able computers in China from which to base the attack due to fewer people protecting their computers.

    (e.g.) If I am based in .. say Spain, and I want to hack into the Wall St. Journal in the USA. I first hack or buy an already hacked computer.. Easiest to get is in China where fewer people use anti-virus. Once I have access to a third party's computer, I then remotely use it to hack Wall St. Journal in USA.

    I wish SOMEONE with technical knowledge would talk to our companies and government!
    Felix Laura
  • Another bit of American anti-Chinese lies

    If you ever read both paper that accused Chinese of hacking you will know the persistent anti-Chinese reporting. Now that they feel their endeavor to defame Chinese has failed miserable they resort to the aged proven tactic of accusation without proof. Any body that know a bit more in internet technology knows that it is easy to fake address. Many use this tactic to watch US only online movies outside of USA. Why are these papers still accuse China? I presume they do it out of frustration for failure to defame Chinese. I am sure these people will keep up their effort of spins, lies and fabrication. For western human right definition does not include defamation of humanity.
    Kay Li
  • It's not about the IP addresses!!!!

    These two commenters above ("Felix Laura" and "Kay Li") seem themselves either quite naive technically or else suspiciously willing to accept Chinese nonsense. In either case, the several accusations within the past three years against major Chinese hacking are NOT solely nor even principally based upon the IP addresses, but rather by an analysis of the tools used, certain other available data; certain other "signatures", the timing of real time traffic relays, and other factors well known in security circles. Sometimes the full proof reveals more about the counter-technology than is wished, so details are often deliberately omitted. Suffice it to say that NO ONE one concludes (or did conclude in these cases) the location of the origin site just based only upon the the last IP address. What a ridiculous assumption by these writers! One wonders if these two contributors might themselves be somehow more engaged only in defending China than in trying to convey useful info? Similarly the China news article which mysteriously does not appear in their English language version is disingenuous as well, since the Chinese also know very well the real facts!
  • China denies.. US denies.. X denies..

    A wizard did it
  • The report on People's Daily's English Web site

    The report on People's Daily's English Web site