Created on: February 22, 2013 Last Updated: February 24, 2013
The landscape of military warfare has dramatically changed from the days of bullets, bombs and blood. A modern day military can sit behind desks in a discreet office with a cup of coffee and infiltrate government departments and agencies, hack websites belonging to large private companies and obtain data held by financial institutions.
A new 60-page report released Tuesday by Mandiant, a cyber-security company located in the United States, outlined that the Communist Party of China has been ordering the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) to initiate systemic cyber espionage and data theft against numerous entities and organizations across the globe.
The report highlighted how the Chinese military has been leaking into governments around the world, seeping into firms operating natural gas pipelines and breaching into networks that control industrial systems and electric grids.
Mandiant noted in the report that it traced the source of the hacking back to a neighborhood in the suburbs of Shanghai that consists of a 12-story office building run by the nation’s military unit 61398.
“In a state that rigorously monitors Internet use, it is highly unlikely that the Chinese government is unaware of an attack group that operates from the Pudong New Area of Shanghai,” the report stated.
“We ran into APT1 again and again and again, so we started observing and orienting toward APT1 just because of the volume of attacks they were doing," said Kevin Mandia, Mandiant founder and chief executive, in an interview with the New York Times. "After responding to APT1 for years, at over 100 different organizations, you start to pick up patterns over 98 percent of the time, when they were doing their intrusions in the U.S. companies, they were also using computer addresses from Shanghai. So I called 98 percent not an anomaly.”
It was discovered last year that companies operating natural gas pipelines had their business networks infiltrated by cyber-spies, while utilities that control the country’s electric grid also experienced the same issues.
According to reports from the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) and the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), this past summer the federal government had reported a 680 percent increase in cyber security breaches since 2006. In the fiscal year 2011, Washington cited 42,887 incidents of privacy breaches, data theft and computer intrusions.
The Associated Press reports that Democratic California
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