After months of denial, the Obama administration is finally admitting that China’s military did in fact mount attacks on U.S. government computer systems, likely accessing sensitive and classified information.
The mainstream media, specifically one of the nation’s largest newspapers, reported the China invasion months ago though the administration has refused to acknowledge the crisis. It’s been downright insulting considering the February article featured digital forensic evidence—confirmed by American intelligence officials—showing that a Chinese Army unit repeatedly hacked into the computer systems of government agencies as well as U.S. corporations.
Also quoted was a detailed study conducted by a reputable American computer security firm that tracked individual members of China’s most sophisticated hacking groups, a military unit known as Comment crew or Shanghai Group. Regardless, the Obama administration refused to acknowledge the connection and a frustrated U.S. intelligence official explains why: “There are huge diplomatic sensitivities here.” Could it be because the communist nation remains one of our biggest trading partners?
This week the Obama administration finally recognized that China and its People’s Liberation Army is in fact using cyber weapons against the U.S. The long overdue acknowledgement comes via the Pentagon’s Annual Report to Congress. It flat out says that in 2012 numerous computer systems around the world, including those owned by the U.S. government, were targeted by “intrusions,” attributable directly to the Chinese government and military.
The information obtained by China could be used by the communist nation to “build a picture of U.S. network defense networks, logistics and related military capabilities that could be exploited during a crisis,” according to the defense report. The Chinese also strive to steal industrial technology and obtain insight into American policy makers’ thinking, the report says.
It gets even scarier, if you believe the Pentagon assessment which includes a number of graphs and charts illustrating specific incidents. It reveals that China has a very sophisticated cyber technology system that ranks among the world’s finest. That’s because its goal is to blind American satellites and other space assets by investing in electronic warfare capabilities. Oh, and the Chinese also plan to use electronic weapons systems to eventually push the U.S. military presence in the mid-Pacific about 2,000 miles from China’s coast.
China’s many investments in the U.S. will help accomplish all this by reinforcing its military technology, the Pentagon reveals. “China continues to leverage foreign investments, commercial joint ventures, academic exchanges, the experience of repatriated Chinese students and researchers, and state-sponsored industrial and technical espionage to increase the level of technologies and expertise available to support military research, development and acquisition.”
So, what should the U.S. do to stop China from compromising our national security? That appears to be top secret because it’s not included in the Pentagon’s report to Congress.