China counters US claims with own charges of cyberespionage

Hacker at computer
(Source: Stockfresh)

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20 May 2014 | 0

China’s state-controlled media have released a report that claims the US hacked into Chinese systems using phishing attacks.

During the last two months, US based servers took control of about 1.2 million Chinese computers, resulting in the stealing of trade secrets and fraud, the report said.

The release of the report comes after the US Department of Justice accused five Chinese military officers of stealing trade secrets from US companies. It marks the first time the US has tried to criminally charge state-sponsored hackers.

The activities of a China-US Working group, set up to ease tensions between the two countries following allegations of cyberattacks, have also been suspended by the Chinese.

China has slammed the US for indicting the five Chinese military officers and warned that the “fabricated” charges could jeopardise relations between the two nations.

“The US accusation against Chinese personnel is purely ungrounded with ulterior motives,” said China’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang in a statement posted online.

US officials have said the country will not tolerate the alleged sabotage of its companies. But China has been quick to deny the claims, and is portraying the US as a hypocrite that engages in cyberespionage in China.

“China is a victim of severe US cybertheft, wiretapping and surveillance activities,” said Qin, who accused the US of hacking into Chinese government departments, companies and universities.

Tensions have long simmered between the two nations over alleged cyberattacks. But last year, the US found itself on the defensive after former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden claimed that the US had been hacking into schools and companies based in mainland China and Hong Kong.

To try and ease the tensions and resolve the security matters, the two nations have established a China-US Working group. But on Tuesday, China’s Foreign Ministry said the group’s activities had been suspended, given the US’s “lack of sincerity” on the matter.

China added that it continues to urge the US to stop the alleged hacking activities, and demands the nation withdraw its indictment.

The indictment of five Chinese military officers marks the latest attempt by the US to put the alleged hacking attempts back into the spotlight and put pressure on China, according to experts. China has always dismissed allegations of state-sponsored cyberattacks. US officials claim the cyberespionage can result in job losses and undermine the US economy.

 

Michael Kan, IDG News Service

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