A second Chinese military unit has been accused of cyber crime, just weeks after the U.S. charged five Chinese officers with alleged economic espionage.
CrowdStrike, a cyber security company, claims to have found a group of hackers operating under the code name "Putter Panda". The Shanghai-based unit is accused of hacking into companies around the world to steal trade secrets, mainly from the U.S. and European satellite, aerospace and communications industries.
The new report comes after the U.S. Department of Justice charged five Chinese nationals for alleged economic espionage against a handful of U.S. companies. The charges followed a report by Mandiant, another security company, which shone a spotlight on the issue last year. Mandiant was the first to publicly provide detailed information on the location and identity of an alleged military cyber crime unit.
The U.S. has become increasingly worried about Chinese hacking in recent years, particularly since Pentagon and White House computers were accessed. While the U.S. says all countries engage in geopolitical spying, it accuses China of using cyber espionage to steal commercial secrets for the benefit of Chinese companies.
China denies the claims and has called the U.S. a "high-level hooligan" for bringing the recent charges. It has also accused Washington of hypocrisy following the revelations from Edward Snowden, the former U.S. intelligence contractor who revealed the extensive nature of the National Security Agency's spying program.
Beijing has also ordered state-owned enterprises to cut ties with U.S. consulting companies because of fears they were spying on behalf of the U.S. government. China has so far not commented on the latest accusations from the U.S.