Are the Chinese Military Behind Cyber Attacks on Western Businesses?

20 Feb

Are the Chinese Military Behind Cyber Attacks on Western Businesses?

Recently, there have been numerous cyber attacks on western businesses and a US security firm says they have traced it back to Unit 61398 of the Chinese Military. This unit is often suspected to be carrying out top-secret tasks, and now it seems that they have been uncovered. The unit is claimed to have stolen hundreds of terabytes of data from at least 141 organisations in US, UK and Canada.

The Chinese Government fiercely oppose these statements however, these have been quicklky dismissed by US Officials. “The PLA plays a key role in China’s multifaceted security strategy, so it makes sense that its resources would be used to facilitate economic cyber-espionage that helps the Chinese economy,” said Dmitri Alperovitch, chief technology officer and co-founder of CrowdStrike, a web security firm.

Watch the video in the link below to see a discussion over this topic.


2 Responses to “Are the Chinese Military Behind Cyber Attacks on Western Businesses?”

  1. pw9g10 February 20, 2013 at 11:13 am #

    Firstly, it would be naive to think that the US do not carry out similar ‘attacks’ on foreign businesses and organisations while fully justifying their own actions. The video suggests this sort of action isn’t done in the same manner although its easy to complain about foul play in the capitalist market when you benefit the most from it and your economic supremacy is challenged. Additionally, the US government may not directly assist its largest businesses on the international market as stated in the Bloomberg video but it undoubtedly will do indirectly.

    We would come to expect (maybe cynically) that the co-founder of a web security firm would exaggerate this issue to raise the importance and income of his firm. The extent of the actual threat from Chinese hacking is questionable and may just come in the form of gaining economic advantages and therefore the way the issue was discussed in the video appears somewhat exaggerated. This appears to be the case when nuclear scientists in Iran are likened to hackers in China. This comparison is laughable as from a basic point of view US relations with China are much more positive than the relations with Iran and so Chinese hacking does not need to be treated with the same level of caution.

  2. iyh1g10 February 20, 2013 at 4:10 pm #

    In addition to military rivalries and maritime disputes, it would appear that ties between China and the U.S. are now threatened by the latest global conflict in the form of hacking in cyberspace. China has fallen subject to criticisms for lacking true innovation and disregard for international rules. The hacking and data theft accusations that recently surfaced, has been responded by China stating that the US lacks technical proof, further rebutting the allegations with a counter-statement revealing the U.S. as the top source of attacks against targets in China.

    Agreeing with the post above, I find it rather hypocritical of the U.S. to make such accusations. It might be easy to accuse China for theft and using the U.S. however could it be said that other countries “guilty” of theft should be made to come forward? China’s actions have been criticized as immoral but would it not be bullying to call out only one thief in a room of ten? Arguably, the economy downturn faced by the U.S. in more recent times has attributed to these accusations coming to light. Now that the tables have turned and China appears to be on the rise, the U.S. is trying to protect itself, citing intellectual property laws. When there were talks of Taiwan, South Korea and Japan stealing technology and reverse engineering back in the 1980s and 90s, the U.S. did not point fingers at them, trying to discredit an entire nation and slow down its progress. In fact, can the U.S. proudly prove that they have never done the same to Germany, Russia and other countries?

    With such animosity between the two countries, it would appear that there remains quite a way to go before the countries become true allies.

    U.S., China Ties Tested in Cyberspace. Source:
    China condemns hacking report by US firm Mandiant. Source:
    China’s Online Thieves. Source:

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