US firm links cyber-security breaches to Chinese army

Mandiant report: “…one of the most prolific cyber espionage groups in terms of the sheer quantity of information stolen.”
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An American security firm has traced cyber-leaks of massive amounts of information from key U.S. industries to a Chinese military unit.

The Mandiant Corp., a security software firm based in Alexandria, Va., alleged Tuesday that firewalls designed to protect the data stored by sensitive industries, including military contractors and energy companies, have been breached and massive amounts of information have been compromised, according to The Navy Times.

The Chinese Foreign Ministry has call the claims “groundless” and its military denies any involvement. Although the Chinese have often been accused of hacking in the past, the specificity of the information contained in the Mandiant report gives those accusations new life.

The Navy Times continues:

Mandiant said it traced the hacking to a neighborhood in the outskirts of Shanghai that includes a drab, white 12-story office building run by “Unit 61398” of the People’s Liberation Army.

The unit “has systematically stolen hundreds of terabytes of data from at least 141 organizations,” Mandiant wrote. By comparison, the U.S. Library of Congress 2006-2010 Twitter archive of about 170 billion tweets totals 133.2 terabytes.

The company claims that the Chinese government has been engaged in hacking since at least 2006, and that “from our observations, it is one of the most prolific cyber espionage groups in terms of the sheer quantity of information stolen.”

The security firm confirms it’s taking a risk that the Chinese will take steps to cover its tracks now that it’s published its findings, but “It is time to acknowledge the threat is originating in China, and we wanted to do our part to arm and prepare security professionals to combat that threat effectively.”

In addition to cyber-spying, the Chinese has also been accused by the U.S. and other governments of currency manipulation and patent infringement.

Perhaps it’s time that we put an end to our borrowing and start paying off our debts — beginning with the securities being held by the People’s Republic of China.

Read more at The Navy Times.

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