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China mouthpiece rejects hacking allegations

Date

Carol Huang

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BEIJING — The official mouthpiece of China's ruling Communist Party on Monday roundly rejected claims of hacking attacks from China by American media outlets, hinting instead at ulterior motives by the US.

The People's Daily article echoed vehement government rejections last week after The New York Times and Wall Street Journal linked Beijing to cyber attacks and the Washington Post accused Chinese hackers of targeting it.

The reports added to rising concerns about Chinese hacking - a US congressional report last year said increasingly skilled Chinese state-backed entities were seeking to breach US systems, calling the country "the most threatening actor in cyberspace".

The front page Chinese-language commentary in the People's Daily, which could not be found on its English website, said: "Even those with little understanding of the internet know that hacking attacks are transnational and concealable.

"IP addresses simply do not constitute sufficient evidence to confirm the origins of hackers," it added.

The paper accused the US of fanning "fear of China" out of self interest, saying that it has invoked national security as a justification for trade protectionism and economic sanctions.

"America keeps labelling China as hackers, simply playing up the rhetoric of the 'China threat' in cyberspace, providing new justification for America's strategy of containing China," it added.

The article repeated the Beijing government's position that China is also a victim of hacking, saying that there were more attacks from US-based IP addresses on Chinese websites in December than from any other country.

Despite this, it said, "China did not draw simple inferences or hasty conclusions about the attack source".

There were attacks from 3000 foreign IP addresses in the month, it added.

The New York Times reported last week that hackers stole corporate passwords and accessed the personal computers of 53 employees after the newspaper published a report on the family fortune of China's premier Wen Jiabao.

Some security analysts said the media attacks were probably linked to the Beijing authorities, while others argued it was difficult to ascertain whether the attacks stemmed from China or if hackers acted on government orders.

"The Chinese government clearly has the capability of doing this," wrote the founder of a group, Greatfire.org, that monitors Chinese internet controls, a system termed the Great Firewall.

"Online censorship in China is both massive in scale and sophisticated, meaning that they have to employ very skilled people," he said, using the pseudonym Martin Johnson for security reasons.

Still, finding hard evidence to tie the attacks to the Chinese government was "nearly impossible," said his co-founder "Percy Alpha".

Hackers from China have previously been linked to attacks on US defence giant Lockheed Martin, Google and Coca-Cola. Other reports say Chinese hackers have tried to infiltrate the Pentagon's computers and those of US lawmakers.

Beijing's defence and foreign ministries last week repeatedly rejected any accusations of hacking.

"Cyber-attacks have a transnational and anonymous nature," the defence ministry said in a statement to AFP. "Under such circumstances accusing the Chinese military of launching attacks through the web without irrefutable proof is unprofessional and baseless."

AFP

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6 comments

  • Good hackers can hide their tracks well and smart ones will leave breadcrumbs at the door of the most obvious suspects. A friend once had her yahoo email account used as a point of origin for her friends list, probably to bypass SPAM filters. The IP address or origin on the email was Israel and Argentina. They cover their tracks well.

    Commenter
    Knee Jerk
    Location
    Sydney
    Date and time
    February 05, 2013, 1:00PM
    • This is an outrage. When will those insolent and recalcitrant Chinese realize that only America has the right to hack foreign government systems. Enough is enough!

      Commenter
      Jessica
      Location
      Mosman
      Date and time
      February 05, 2013, 1:03PM
      • Australian becomes a substate and mouthpiece of USA. Australian becomes an faceless nation in the world.It's a shameless of an nation willingly submitted herself to other nation as slavery state voluntarily.Australian have to distinguish partnership and slavery.Our forthfather die in vain.

        Commenter
        rory
        Location
        melbourne
        Date and time
        February 05, 2013, 3:50PM
        • When the wife was in China, I had to set up a secure tunnel so she could check her gmail....

          Technical details aside, once she started using it, there was immediate probing from the Chinese government's firewall servers trying to hack my side. I was watching this in real time, quite amused by it all.

          So, I'd absolutely 100% believe they'd do something like this.

          Commenter
          rar222
          Date and time
          February 05, 2013, 5:48PM
          • The US government has a nasty habit (and reputation) of 'fabricating events' to justify world dominance. I think the above-mentioned 'fanning "fear of China" out of self interest' describes the situation perfectly. No hard-proof (re: WMDs) yet millions will be persuaded that the hacking was China-based. Incredible.

            Commenter
            Marco
            Location
            France
            Date and time
            February 06, 2013, 12:54AM
            • If the language used to refute the claims wasn't so blustery and full of rhetoric -- "Even those with little understanding of the Internet know that...", we wouldn't get such an impression of artless lying by the Chinese government. They may be no more guilty of cyber attacks and espionage than any major Western government, but they are certainly more guilty of sounding like a four year old caught being guilty.

              Commenter
              jhd
              Location
              Clifton Hill
              Date and time
              February 06, 2013, 7:16AM
              Comments are now closed