Need more proof? IT firm reports China supports cyber espionage campaign

Mandiant released a report this morning detailing the path they followed after a host of cyberattacks against US newspapers and government entities which concluded at an ‘anonymous’ building in Shangai. Furthermore, they’re stating that the Chinese government is well aware of their existence. One group in particular, described as “APT1″(Advanced Persistent Threat), had critical infrastructures such as the US energy grid in its cross-hairs. The group, supposedly a branch of the People’s Liberation Army(PLA) called Unit 61398, has been running its operations out of a 12-story building lying on the edge of the city.

200px-China_Emblem_PLA

The report exclaims “We believe the totality of the evidence we provide in this document bolsters the claim that APT1 is Unit 61398, staffed by hundreds, and perhaps thousands of people.”

In expected fashion, China has once again dismissed allegations. Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei responded by saying “It is neither professional nor responsible to make groundless accusations without hard evidence and is also not conducive to solving relevant problems.” Lei even went so far as to note that China is a major victim of increasing cyberattacks in recent memory, with the US ranking as the highest in overseas IPs attacking.

As we reported earlier, increasing amounts of evidence suggests that China is taking steps to control media content about them and, as we now know, critical infrastructures throughout the United States.  US President Barack Obama put it succinctly in his recent State of the Union address when he said “We know foreign countries and companies swipe our corporate secrets. Now our enemies are also seeking the ability to sabotage our power grid, our financial institutions, our air-traffic control systems. We cannot look back years from now and wonder why we did nothing in the face of real threats to our security and our economy.” Emphasizing the safety of our critical infrastructures and the methods of maintaining safety, recent documents were exposed which grant the Commander in Chief the power to attack enemies through cyberattacks if enough evidence suggests a threat.

In the meantime, the building being labeled as APT1 HQ sits quietly on the outskirts of Shangai. Framed posters showing soldiers are displayed on a high wall surrounding the complex, with the Chinese PLA’s symbol(a red star) hanging proudly over the main door of the building. Oh, and a soldier or two in camouflage uniforms standing by the main gate, according to an AFP correspondent. Nothing to see there… right?

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