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article imageChinese army connected to cyberattacks against US corporations

By Isabel Ivanescu     Feb 19, 2013 in World
Shanghai - A recent report by Mandiant, a US-based computer security firm, identifies the Shanghai center of People's Liberation Army Unit 61398 as the origin of a complex series of cyberattacks aimed at companies affiliated with US infrastructure systems.
The attacks were traced back to the non-descript base of Unit 61398 in a similarly non-descript suburb outside of Shanghai through analysis of several factors, which determined with relative certainty that it is in fact the starting point of the intrusions. An overwhelming majority of the cyberattacks were programed using mainland Chinese characters and originated from Shanghai IP addresses, simultaneously Unit 61398 was looking to hire skilled hackers with proficiency in the English language. As the founder and CEO of Mandiant so aptly put it, in an interview with the New York Times, Either they are coming from inside Unit 61398, or the people who run the most-controlled, most-monitored Internet networks in the world are clueless about thousands of people generating attacks from this one neighborhood.
While so far it seems the sole goal of the Chinese intrusions was to infiltrate the databases of American corporations and gather information and passwords, the access gained by the hackers suggest they could also easily disrupt important infrastructure systems. To return to the age-old saying, information is power. And with the information it currently has, China now has the power to do major damage to the US, should the situation arise.
The US government is now faced with the question of how to respond to the Chinese actions, all of which fervently denied by the Chinese government. Emphasizing the fact that hacking is illegal and that the security firms which have been analyzing the intrusions do not have concrete proof of the involvement of the Chinese government. A direct confrontation may lead to greatly diminished productivity in the relationship between Washington and Beijing and two of the world's largest economies, which would also be harmful to US citizens in it's own way. While ignoring the threat and launching similar attacks against China may lead to a cyberwarfare equivalent to the Cold War, in which both nations fortify themselves and build attacks against the other but neither directly engages the other for fear of retribution; this may keep the attacks at bay, but would also be an immense drain of resources.
It remains to be seen how the situation will play out; but hopefully both the affected companies and others in similarly compromised positions will act to safeguard themselves against future attacks.
More about China, Cyberattacks, china cyberattack, cyberwarfare
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