US firm alleges China has resumed cyberattacks


The Chief Security Officer of a private US based technology security firm on Monday alleged that Chinese hackers are again targeting the US and other countries.


Mandiant Chief Security Officer, Richard Bejtlich admitted that the activity had been traced to computers in China which have been rerouted through a series of other terminals.

In March, President Obama’s national security adviser called for “serious steps” by China to stop cyber theft which has become intolerable to the international community.

China has denied the claim.

Mandiant was most recently noted for its work in helping The New York Times trace an attack on its employees’ computers to China, following a Times investigation into China’s former Premier Wen Jiabao.

Bejtlich told The Associated Press that activity had increased “over the last several weeks” and that attacks were being orchestrated from China.

“It seems as if they’ve transitioned to some new infrastructure, so, they’re coming from new sets of computers in China,” he said.

“They’re hopping through new computers in other parts of the world to launder their connections, and then they’re going after some new targets and also trying to get into or access targets that they had interacted with before,” he added.

In February this year, Mandiant released a report which alleged that a secret Chinese military unit in Shanghai was behind years of cyber attacks against US companies.

Mandiant alleged that it has traced a massive hacking campaign on US businesses to a drab, white 12-story office building outside Shanghai run by “Unit 61398″ of the People’s Liberation Army.

The unit is referred to as APT-1 by Mandiant specialists.

Military experts believe the unit is part of the People’s Liberation Army’s cyber-command, which is under the direct authority of the General Staff Department, China’s version of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

As such, its activities would be likely to be authorised at the highest levels of China’s military.

Bejtlich warned that the group have a lengthy list of companies scattered across various industries that they attempt to hack.

“APT-1 has a laundry list of about 20 different industries that they go after. So almost everything is fair game for APT-1,” confirmed Bejtlich.

He also warned that unless the threats were dealt with immediately, that there was no way of preventing industries from having highly sensitive data being stolen.

“If you’re able to operate on the order of minutes to hours, then you can. If it takes days, weeks, months and in some cases years, forget it, they take everything that they want and you’re at their mercy, unfortunately,” said Bejtlich.

The US government, including its intelligence agencies, almost certainly has similar and even more detailed information but it’s regarded as highly classified.

Being a private company, Mandiant doesn’t have to keep its information secret, although it hasn’t released the names of the companies attacked.

(Copyright 2013 APTN. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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