Pentagon: Cyberattacks appear to come from China

The Defense Department said Monday that cyberattacks in 2007 against computer networks operated by governments and commercial institutions around the world "appear" to have originated within China -- marking the first time the Pentagon has so visibly pinned the blame against China for cyberattacks. Defense made its cyber warfare charge against China in its annual report to Congress on China's military power. "In the past year," the report concluded, "numerous computer networks around the world, including those owned by the U.S. government, were subject to intrusions that appear to have originated within the [People's Republic of China]. These intrusions require many of the skills and capabilities that would also be required for computer network attack. Although it is unclear if these intrusions were conducted by, or with the endorsement of, the [People's Liberation Army] or other elements of the PRC government, developing capabilities for cyber warfare is consistent with authoritative PLA writings on this subject." The report said that in 2007, networks operated by Defense, other federal agencies, defense-related think tanks and contractors experienced "multiple computer network intrusions, many of which appeared to have originated in the PRC." The report also highlighted public statements by top intelligence and defense officials in France, Germany and the United Kingdom that pinned the blame for cyberattacks against networks in those countries on China. The report quoted Hans Elmar Remberg, vice president of Germany's Office for the Protection of the Constitution (the country's domestic intelligence agency), who accused China of sponsoring computer network intrusions "almost daily." The report also cited an alert in November issued to 300 financial institutions by Jonathan Evans, director general of MI5, the United Kingdom's intelligence service, saying that it was the target of state-sponsored computer network exploitation from China. France also has experienced Chinese cyberattacks, the report said, quoting French Secretary-General of National Defense Francis Delon. China's use of cyber warfare stems from a doctrine designed to provide the country's military with advantages over technologically superior adversaries, the report said. It quoted a Chinese publication, which said: "[The] application of non-nuclear high technologies can bring about strategic effects similar to that of nuclear weapons, and at the same time, it can avoid the great political risk possibly to be caused by transgressing the nuclear threshold.… Among other things, following the advent of cyber information age, information warfare and information warfare strategy are widely drawing attention." The report issued Monday does not go as far as a little noticed report sent to Congress in late 2007 by the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review. It said Marine Gen. James Cartwright, the vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, viewed Chinese cyberattacks as potentially having an effect equal to "the magnitude of a weapon of mass destruction." Cartwright told the commission that China has a larger capability to conduct denial-of-service attacks against computer systems than any other country, and such attacks have "the potential to cause cataclysmic harm if conducted against the United States on a large scale." China also is developing a multidimensional program to limit or prevent the use of space-based assets by its potential adversaries, the report issued Monday said, as part of a process of extending battle space from traditional land and sea domains into outer space and cyberspace.
Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
FROM OUR SPONSORS
JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Close [ x ] More from GovExec
 
 

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from GovExec.com.
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Sponsored by G Suite

    Cross-Agency Teamwork, Anytime and Anywhere

    Dan McCrae, director of IT service delivery division, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)

    Download
  • Data-Centric Security vs. Database-Level Security

    Database-level encryption had its origins in the 1990s and early 2000s in response to very basic risks which largely revolved around the theft of servers, backup tapes and other physical-layer assets. As noted in Verizon’s 2014, Data Breach Investigations Report (DBIR)1, threats today are far more advanced and dangerous.

    Download
  • Sponsored by One Identity

    One Nation Under Guard: Securing User Identities Across State and Local Government

    In 2016, the government can expect even more sophisticated threats on the horizon, making it all the more imperative that agencies enforce proper identity and access management (IAM) practices. In order to better measure the current state of IAM at the state and local level, Government Business Council (GBC) conducted an in-depth research study of state and local employees.

    Download
  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    The Next Federal Evolution of Cloud

    This GBC report explains the evolution of cloud computing in federal government, and provides an outlook for the future of the cloud in government IT.

    Download
  • Sponsored by LTC Partners, administrators of the Federal Long Term Care Insurance Program

    Approaching the Brink of Federal Retirement

    Approximately 10,000 baby boomers are reaching retirement age per day, and a growing number of federal employees are preparing themselves for the next chapter of their lives. Learn how to tackle the challenges that today's workforce faces in laying the groundwork for a smooth and secure retirement.

    Download
  • Sponsored by Hewlett Packard Enterprise

    Cyber Defense 101: Arming the Next Generation of Government Employees

    Read this issue brief to learn about the sector's most potent challenges in the new cyber landscape and how government organizations are building a robust, threat-aware infrastructure

    Download
  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    GBC Issue Brief: Cultivating Digital Services in the Federal Landscape

    Read this GBC issue brief to learn more about the current state of digital services in the government, and how key players are pushing enhancements towards a user-centric approach.

    Download

When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.