Further evidence has emerged from WikiLeaks that the Chinese authorities use supposedly private sector security vendors to support "governmental information warfare objectives".
The US diplomatic cables posted on the whistle-blowing site dated 29 June 2009 explain that Topsec, China's largest provider of information security products and services, was started up with financial help from the government, and can attribute much of its growth to winning significant contracts from the state.
"From June 2002 to March 2003, Topsec employed a known Chinese hacker, Lin Yong (aka Lion and owner of the Honker Union of China) as senior security service engineer to manage security service and training," the cable notes.
"While links between top Chinese companies and the People's Republic of China are not uncommon, it illustrates the state's use of its 'private sector' in support of governmental information warfare objectives, especially in its ability to gather, process and exploit information."
The cables also reveal that Topsec and other firms were given access to Microsoft source code as part of a government security programme agreement with the software company in 2003.
The international agreement was designed to help secure the Windows platform, but may inadvertently have given the Chinese government a helping hand in crafting attacks targeting vulnerabilities in the operating system.
"As evidenced with Topsec, there is a strong possibility that the People's Republic of China is harvesting the talents of its private sector in order to bolster offensive and defensive computer network operations capabilities," the cable concludes.
This is not the first embarrassing WikiLeaks revelation linking China to state-sponsored cyber warfare.
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