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Chinese officials deny cyber attack responsibility

20 Feb 2013
China map

Chinese military officials have shot down claims that they've hacked over 141 companies.

The denial comes following the release of a report by security firm Mandiant, which identified a Chinese military performed complex as the source of cyber attacks on a variety of high profile companies.

Chinese officials rejected the report on the basis that Mandiant neglected to mention key facts in its report. The officials argued that Mandiant's conclusions were based on finding IP addresses in China that were linked to the attacks.

But IP addresses can be misleading are not sufficient to prove the attacks originated in China, the officials argued.

It is common practice for international hackers to set up servers in mainland China. The fact that IP addresses lead back to the country does not mean the hackers are based in the nation, according to Chinese officials.

In the statement, officials say statistics prove that China is one of the biggest targets for hackers. Officials point out that the Chinese military has suffered repeated cyber attacks from IP address within the US.

Officials don't say they consider that to be evidence of US governmental cyber attacks.

While the group does not admit to any wrong doing, they also report that the gathering of online data should not be considered a hacking attack.

Chinese officials reported that the legal definition of a hack is not clearly defined and currently does not include the gathering of cyber information as part of the definition.

Mandiant alleged that a group of Chinese military hackers were infesting corporate systems and gathering information sent through firms over the course of many years.

The firm's report said that the group was collecting data but makes no mention of taking over systems. According to Mandiant, Chinese military division, Unit 61398 has siphoned data from over 141 companies over the last many years.

In one case, Mandiant reported that the group covertly took data off a specific company's systems for as long as four years.

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James Dohnert

James is a freelance writer and editor. In addition to ClickZ, his work has appeared in publications like V3, The Commonwealth Club,, and Shonen Jump magazine. He studied Journalism at Weber State University.

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