If China wants respect abroad, it must rein in its hackers
FOREIGN governments and companies have long suspected that the Chinese hackers besieging their networks have links to the country’s armed forces. On February 19th Mandiant, an American security company, offered evidence that this is indeed so. A report, the fruit of six years of investigations, tracks individual members of one Chinese hacker group, with aliases such as Ugly Gorilla and SuperHard, to a nondescript district in residential Shanghai that is home to Unit 61398 of the People’s Liberation Army. China has condemned the Mandiant report. On February 20th America announced plans to combat the theft of trade secrets.
Mandiant claims that hackers at Unit 61398 have stolen technology blueprints, negotiating strategies and manufacturing processes from more than 100, mainly American, companies in a score of industries (see report). Its report does not name the victims, but a related New York Times investigation has found evidence that hackers targeted a company providing internet security for American spooks. The hackers also gained access to the systems of an American defence contractor. Perhaps most worrying, they broke into networks of a company that helps utilities to run North American pipelines and power grids. Nobody knows how many billions of dollars cybercrime costs businesses. But pretty much everyone has come to believe that China is the most egregious offender.....Read more