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China's Defense Ministry attacks hacking report

4:05 AM, Feb 20, 2013   |    comments
Building housing "Unit 61398" of the People's Liberation Army, Shanghai
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BEIJING (AP) -- China's military says a study accusing it of sponsoring massive hacking attacks on U.S. targets is deeply flawed.

A statement from the Defense Ministry on Wednesday said the conclusions of the report by Virginia-based Mandiant were wrong because the addresses linking the attacks to a military facility in Shanghai could have been hijacked.

It also said there was no agreed definition of Internet attacks and accused the company of portraying routine Internet data collection activity as spying, adding that Internet attacks are transnational, anonymous, and deceptive and that the data about them is inherently unreliable.

The statement also said China was a hacking victim and works with other countries to investigate Internet crime. It says "one-sided attacks in the media" destroy the atmosphere for cooperation.

A report from Washington Tuesday said public evidence is mounting that the Chinese military is responsible for stealing massive amounts of U.S. government data and corporate trade secrets, and that's prompting the Obama administration to plan trade actions against countries caught at cyberespionage.

According to officials familiar with the plans, the White House is eyeing fines, penalties and other trade restrictions. The officials say the new strategy will be released Wednesday.

The White House plans come after a Virginia-based cybersecurity firm released a torrent of details that tied a secret Chinese military unit in Shanghai to years of cyberattacks against U.S. companies. After analyzing breaches that compromised more than 140 companies, Mandiant has concluded that they can be linked to the People's Liberation Army's Unit 61398.

Military experts believe the unit is part of the People's Liberation Army's cyber-command, which is under the direct authority of the General Staff Department, China's version of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Associated Press

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