Thursday, April 15, 2021

Pentagon Report Accuses China of Cyberattacks

A new report from the U.S. Department of Defense blames the Chinese government for a recent spate of cyberattacks on American companies and defense-related networks. China immediately denied the report’s claims.

The Washington Post’s Ernesto Londoño reported, “Cyber-espionage targeting U.S. government and business entities appears ‘to be attributable to the Chinese government and military,’ the Pentagon charged Monday in the U.S. government’s most explicit public accusation to date against Beijing. The 2013 ‘Military and Security Developments Involving the People’s Republic of China’ provides detailed allegations about a problem of rising concern to the U.S. government and American businesses.”

Computerworld’s Jeremy Kirk added, “The DOD said that last year ‘numerous computer systems around the world, including those owned by the U.S. government, continued to be targeted for intrusions, some of which appear to be attributable directly to the Chinese government and military. These intrusions were focused on exfiltrating information.’ The stolen information is useful to a range of Chinese entities, including its defense and technology industries, U.S. policy makers in China as well as military planners, the report said.”

All Things D’s Arik Hesseldahl noted, “It’s pretty well understood that if the U.S. and China found themselves in a shooting war tomorrow, the U.S. would hold a significant military advantage…. China, the Pentagon says, sees electronic warfare (‘EW’ for short) as a way to ‘reduce or eliminate’ those technological advantages. How? China’s military doctrine calls for making its enemy blind, deaf and dumb by disrupting its ability to communicate and share information. ‘Effective EW is seen as a decisive aid during military operations and consequently the key to determining the outcome of war,’ the Pentagon writes. ‘Potential Chinese adversaries, in particular the United States, are seen as information dependent,’ the report says elsewhere.”

China’s state-controlled Xinhua news agency wrote, “A Pentagon report alleging that China is conducting cyber attacks against the United States is groundless and irresponsible, said military experts on Tuesday.” It quoted Wang Xinjun, a researcher with the Academy of Military Sciences of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army, who said, “The groundless accusations reflect U.S. distrust of China.”

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