U.S. Fingers China For Cyber Espionage

For the first time in public, the U.S. is directly accusing the People's Republic of China's military of having a direct hand in intrusions aimed at government and defense contractor systems, agreeing with private security firms that have been making the rallying cry about this for some time now.

The official recognition of China's apparent exploratory maneuvers in cyberspace was part of a 92-page report by the Department of Defense outlining all of China's perceived military capability.

(See also Cyberwar Imperative: We Need A Next-Generation Internet and Why We're Not In A Cyberwar With China.)

"China is using its computer network exploitation… capability to support intelligence collection against the U.S. diplomatic, economic, and defense industrial base sectors that support U.S. national defense programs," the Pentagon report stated. "The information targeted could potentially be used to benefit China's defense industry, high technology industries, policymaker interest in US leadership thinking on key China issues, and military planners building a picture of U.S. network defense networks, logistics, and related military capabilities that could be exploited during a crisis."

The timing of this notice is interesting, since the Department of Defense has been revising its cyber Rules of Engagement for some time now. The new rules, which define how the military can react to cyber intrusions, will no doubt incorporate responses to China's activities. Hawkish lawmakers may also be willing to send a little more IT funding the Pentagon's way.

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