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Chinese gov’t hackers regularly attack US targets, steal data

The Guardian - published on 02/19/13

The hacking group is a Chinese state secret, known as Unit 61398

A study has concluded that a large number of cyberattacks on western companies and governments have come from a single building in China, a discovery that obviously raises international tensions. The Guardian reports:

The Chinese government is directly aiding thousands of computer attacks against western companies and defence groups by top-level hackers based in Shanghai, according to a new study which warns that they have stolen vast amounts of data from their targets.
Mandiant, a security company which has been investigating attacks against western organisations for more than six years, says in a report (PDF)  that the attacks come from a 12-storey building belonging to the People's Liberation Army (PLA) General Staff's Department, also known as Unit 61398, in Shanghai.
The discovery will further raise the temperature in the intergovernmental cyberwars, which have heated up in recent years as the US, Israel, Iran, China and UK have all used computer subterfuge to undermine rival state or terrorist organisations. […]
Mandiant says that Unit 61398 could house "hundreds or thousands" of people and has military-grade high-speed fibre-optic connections from China Mobile, the world's largest telecoms carrier. "The nature of Unit 61398's work is considered by China to be a state secret; however, we believe it engages in harmful computer network operations," Mandiant said in the report. It said it has been operating since 2006, and is one of the most prolific hacking groups "in terms of quantity of information stolen" – which it put at hundreds of terabytes, enough for thousands of 3D designs and blueprints.

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