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Pentagon: Chinese Government Launching Cyberattacks

A building in a Shanghai suburb that is reportedly a center of cyberespionage.
Peter Parks | AFP | Getty Images
A building in a Shanghai suburb that is reportedly a center of cyberespionage.

For the first time, the Pentagon has officially accused the Chinese government and military of conducting computer-based attacks against the U.S., including efforts to steal information from federal agencies.

A new report from the Defense Department took a small step beyond its previous position. It has said before that cyberattacks originated in China and that Beijing may be using civilian experts in clandestine computer operations against U.S. companies. But over the past year some U.S. officials and private cybersecurity experts have stepped up accusations that the Chinese government appears to be directly involved in attacks.

In February, U.S.-based cybersecurity firm Mandiant issued a report alleging that a secret Chinese military unit in Shanghai had for years conducted cyberattacks against more than 140 companies, most of them American.

Investigations Inc.: Cyber Espionage

  • When a person enters information on a website, like an email or credit card, it gets stored in that company’s data base. Those web-based forms are a simple tool for users, but they are also another way hackers can exploit a company’s system. Instead of inputting a name into the website, cyber spies can put in a specially crafted text that may cause the database to execute the code instead of simply storing it, Alperovitch said. The result is a “malicious takeover of the system,” he said.

    By attacking business computer networks, hackers are accessing company secrets and confidential strategies and creating huge losses for the overall economy.

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    China is working feverishly to counteract its slowest GDP growth in recent years, and one of the ways it’s doing so, say U.S. officials, is through the theft of American corporate secrets.

  • hacker_keyboard_200.jpg

    US businesses are enduring an unprecedented onslaught of cyber invasions from foreign governments, organized crime syndicates, and hacker collectives, all seeking to steal information and disrupt services, cybersecurity experts say.


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