Cyber attacks from China have become a key point of contention between the United States and China. Both sides recently agreed to form a working group and hold regular talks on cybersecurity and industrial espionage, and the issue featured prominently during President Obama and President Xi Jinping’s recent summit in California.
The Obama administration has explicitly blamed the Chinese military for launching cyber-attacks on the U.S government and various defense contractors.
The cyber-attacks are a “serious concern” as U.S. computer systems “continued to be targeted for intrusions, some of which appear to be attributable directly to the Chinese government and military,” said the Pentagon’s annual report to Congress. Chinese pro-democracy and human rights groups have also been targeted for cyber assault. The attacks have unnerved Chinese dissidents, said Columbia University professor Andrew Nathan, a board member of the National Endowment for Democracy.
“There’s a paranoia that sets in,” he said. “That may be one of the functions of this surveillance.”
A non-governmental democracy assistance group was one of over 70 companies, governments and non-profit organizations targeted in a massive cyberspying offensive in 2011 that experts believe was likely conducted by China.
“The presence of political non-profits, such as the a private western organization focused on promotion of democracy around the globe or U.S. national security think tank is also quite illuminating,” said the report from the McAfee security firm.
A forthcoming hearing will examine the impact of Chinese cyber attacks on Chinese activists and human rights organizations as well as on American businesses and industries harmed by intellectual property theft:
The Congressional-Executive Commission on China announces a hearing on
Tuesday, June 25, 2013 – 2:30 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Dirksen Senate Office Building, Room 538, Capitol Hill, Washington, DC.
Slade Gorton, Former U.S. Senator from Washington State, Commission Member, Commission on the Theft of American Intellectual Property
James Mulvenon, Vice-President, Intelligence Division, Director, Center for Intelligence Research and Analysis, Defense Group, Inc.
Wen Yunchao (Online alias “Bei Feng”), Independent Journalist and Blogger; Visiting Scholar, Institute for the Study of Human Rights, Columbia University
Louisa Greve, Vice President, Asia, Middle East & North Africa, and Global Programs, National Endowment for Democracy
Click here to download a copy of the Commission’s full 2012 Annual Report.
Further details here.