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Chinese hackers renew cyberattacks on US targets after brief lull

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china hacking stock 1020
china hacking stock 1020

After a relative lull in activity, it looks as though the Chinese hacking group uncovered in a February security report has resumed its attacks on US targets. According to new information that security firm Mandiant submitted to The New York Times, attacks against identical, but unspecified, targets have been gradually increasing over the past two months, now sitting at 60 to 70 percent of their previous strength. Obama administration officials say that the issue will continue to be revisited until it can convince the Chinese leadership that "there is a real cost to this kind of activity."

In recent months, President Obama’s national security advisor Tom Donilon has talked tough about Chinese cyberattacks on US businesses and infrastructure targets, saying that "the international community cannot afford to tolerate such activity from any country." The resumption of attacks is expected to figure heavily in Donilon’s upcoming visit to China, notes The Times.

Following months of reports of Chinese cyberattacks against infrastructure targets and media companies like The New York Times and The Washington Post, a February report from Mandiant pinned their origin to a People’s Liberation Army base in Shanghai. Chinese authorities promptly dismissed the charges, and while the two countries have formed working groups to collaborate on cybersecurity issues, the Pentagon released its own report earlier this month attributing a string of 2012 attacks to the Chinese government. At the same time, many see the US’s stance toward the hacks as hypocritical given its own involvement in the Stuxnet attack against Iranian uranium enrichment facilities, and China has repeatedly claimed that the US is performing the same kinds of attacks it criticizes others of.