We're the real hacking victims, says China

We're the real hacking victims, says China

Summary: China hits back over hacking allegations and says instead that it has been targeted by the US.

TOPICS: Security

The Chinese authorities have hit back after the US charged five men it described as Chinese "military hackers" with attacking US corporations.

Yesterday, the US Justice Department said the alleged hacking was directed at six US organisations — including those in the nuclear power, metals and solar products industries — and identified the culprits as five officers in Unit 61398 of the Third Department of the Chinese People's Liberation Army.

A report by security company Mandiant last year linked the unit with a number of cyber-attacks, a claim denied by the Chinese authorities.

However, Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Qin Gang described yesterday's indictments as "based on deliberately fabricated facts" and said the move jeopardises China-US cooperation.

China said it has asked the US to "immediately correct its mistake" and withdraw the indictment. In response to the indictments, China said it has also decided to suspend the activities of the China-US Cyber Working Group.

The spokesman insisted the Chinese government, the Chinese military and their "relevant personnel" have "never engaged or participated in cyber theft of trade secrets" and described the accusation against the Chinese officers are "purely ungrounded".

He also claimed that instead the US government has long been involved in "large-scale and organised cyber theft as well as wiretapping and surveillance activities against foreign political leaders, companies and individuals, which constitute a violation of international laws and basic norms governing international relations".

"China is a victim of severe US cyber theft, wiretapping and surveillance activities," he said. "Large amounts of publicly-disclosed information show that relevant US institutions have been conducting cyber intrusion, wiretapping and surveillance activities against Chinese government departments, institutions, companies, universities, and individuals."

While cyber-espionage has been a long-standing practice among government agencies, it is not usually something that is addressed publicly which is what makes the US indictments so unusual, even if a trial is very unlikely.

The cyber surveillance capabilities of the US have been well documented thanks to the Snowden leaks but the US would argue this is different to the economically-motivated hacking emanating from China, which it has complained about for some time.

Further reading

Topic: Security

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  • Hypocrisy

    I heard a Wall Street Journal reporter yesterday defending the criminal charges against China by saying in effect that all the US government has done is spy on millions of private individuals and foreign (often allied) nations. But China has spied on what is TRULY sacred, American business, and for this they must be punished. This says much about both government's values.
  • bs

    Google China clones F150 (ford pickup)
    the amount of intellectual theft is galling
  • Glass houses

    I don't think we have the moral high ground here since we got caught with our hand in the Cookie Jar. People in glass houses should not throw stones.

    "Our spying is Ok but yours is not!" doesn't strike a chord nor likely to generate sympathy in other countries. I have to imagine there were other ways the US government could have handled this.
    • Ignorance of spying by any country is just silly

      We just a chicken rat out then run (he's no hero ). This stuff has been going on for years by everyone. China is probably one of the worst, but they are stealing intellectual property because they could not even engineer a correct chop stick w/o copying it from some one first.
      • cyber espionage?

        @ScanBack chop stick? I love that. I thought chop stick's invention had something to do with Marco Polo. That aside you are more than correct to the notion that this stuff has been going on for years by everyone.
  • Crocodile tears

    Pity that the United Nations has so little stroke. Otherwise, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon could grab both Presidents Xi Jinping and Barack Obama by the scruff of their necks and slam their heads together.

    Stop fighting! There are huge problems to solve that require the cooperation of China and the United States of America.
    Rabid Howler Monkey
    • Kissinger summed it up:

      'America doesn't have friends, it only has interests'
      • America doesn't ...

        Couldn't be said better.
      • Yeah, totally unlike any other country ;)


    • Be careful what you wish for...

      ...you might get it. I'd be very reluctant to give a greater role to the UN as long as authoritarian and totalitarian states have a working majority in the General Assembly.
      John L. Ries
  • China should not complain!

    For years the Chinese have illegally copied and hacked. I know the US hacks and spies supposedly only for national security. But the Chinese just outright steal anything they think they need and defend it on the grounds that it's economically necessary. I don't defend everything the US Government does, but if they had behaved as the Chinese do in the beginning, they never would have gotten where they are today. I believe the Chinese should take a lesson in this and not complain when when their tactics are turned against them.

    Robert Seth
    • I don't know who should be complaining.

      When Boeing undercut Airbus contracts by using email taken by wiretapping the internet using the ECELON system Boeing did very well. That happened quite a while ago and nothing has changed since. We saw confidence in the Cloud at a low after hearing how major US companies are obliged to create back-doors for the NSA. We will see a low in US hardware and Chinese hardware because they both create back-doors into hardware. Incidentally those back-doors can be used by any hacker with the will to reverse engineer the hardware or software. Hypocrisy is pretending to do vaccinations while being stupid enough to admit to it which finally ends in health workers being targeted by terrorists as suspected agents. This then creates major health problems for the entire World. And I'm only talking about what CNN and the BBC reports.
  • Hackers

    "We're the real hacking victims, says China"
    That's not what my firewall says, at least when it wasn't preemptively blocking Chinese IP blocks.
  • The title of this article alone is

    darn funny.
    • Take it to 4Chan you two

      It's absurd that the cries are taken so seriously.

      NO U.

      NO U.

      NO U.


      Most importantly, Nothing at all will change.
  • Ethics of Software Industry

    I am not sure why nationalism is the blame for a simple individual ethic problems of these hackers. Only people with strong software training can perform hacking into other country's networks. It's not average Chinese or American citizens who are doing or who want to do this, let's be clear. It's the greed and foolishness of smart software programmer/designer/Engineer-types. They are being duped into following orders for Nationalism, safety, greed, pride, and plan dishonestly. Every major technology company is the World is resonsible for the low state of ethics of Software people, as an industry of fragmented souls, you need to do the right thing, respect privacy, security and do more to help humanity, stop using your talents for unethical practices, and any of you who do this, you know who you are already. Let's keep our E.Q. is check and stop slinging mud country-per-country when the real issue is lack of Global Trust, be a leader not a follower.
    • Wrong

      China is different. It's run by a paranoid cluster of elites that dictate from the top down (well, OK, America is becoming that, too).

      In any case http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/E/EU_GERMANY_MALICIOUS_PHONE?SITE=7219&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT&CTIME=2014-06-17-12-27-43