China paper scoffs at suggestion Beijing is hacking villain

BEIJING Fri Aug 5, 2011 12:58am EDT

BEIJING (Reuters) - China's top official newspaper on Friday dismissed as irresponsible suggestions Beijing was the "state actor" behind massive Internet hacking of governments and companies that security company McAfee this week said it had discovered.

The report in the People's Daily, the main mouthpiece of China's ruling Communist Party, did not quote any official reaction to the hacking allegations but is the closest to an official response that Beijing has given to the McAfee report.

McAfee said this week that it discovered a five-year long campaign of cyber attacks on the networks of governments, organisations and businesses.

It did not name the "state actor" it believed was behind the attacks but several experts pointed the finger at China.

Not so, said the People's Daily.

"Linking China to Internet hacking attacks is irresponsible," it said.

"The McAfee report claims that a 'state actor' engaged in hacking for a large-scale Internet espionage operation, but its analysis clearly does not stand up to scrutiny."

McAfee said the 72 victims in the hacking campaign included the governments of the United States, Taiwan, India, South Korea, Vietnam and Canada. Other targets were the United Nations, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, the International Olympic Committee; and an array of companies, from defense contractors to high-tech enterprises.

Jim Lewis, a cyber expert with the Center for Strategic and International Studies, earlier told Reuters it was very likely China was behind the hacking because some of the targets had information that would be of special interest only to Beijing.

McAfee's report said the attacks were the biggest ever discovered.

The People's Daily cited comments on the Internet that suggested McAfee published the report to alarm people into buying more of its cyber security technology.

"In fact, as the number of hacking attacks on prominent international businesses and organisations has grown this year, some Western media have repeatedly depicted China as the villain behind the scenes," said the paper.

The Chinese government has used the People's Daily to round on earlier foreign claims of hacking.

In early June, Google said it suspected Chinese hackers of trying to steal the passwords of hundreds of Google email account holders, including those of U.S. government officials, Chinese rights activists and journalists.

The overseas edition of the People's Daily hit back by saying that Google had become a "political tool" used to vilify the Chinese government, and warning that the U.S. Internet giant's statements could hurt its business.

(Reporting by Chris Buckley; Editing by Ken Wills and Jonathan Thatcher)

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Comments (6)
BobWest wrote:
Right, as if any sovereign is going to accept responsibility for hacking into and stealing another country’s property. Impossible to prove and deniable regardless. A situation custom made for “security” software vendors. Whatever…

Aug 04, 2011 10:35pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
Iontheworld wrote:
China will never admit to anything wrong. Underaged gymnastics stars, corrupt rail officials, obvious hacking of countless corporate and government networks… It is simply ingrained in the Chinese culture-lying is OK.

So, the question is… who will ever step up and hold the corrupt among the Chinese Government accountable? The US? The UN? Who has the guts to do it? Everyone is so seduced by China’s economy, I doubt any group dares to put them on the stand.

The Chinese people are beginning to complain about what they know is their Corrupt government, buy as long as the people are making money, they will not make any sacrifice or take any risk beyond simple complaining. Chinese of today care only about their own individual well being, not global peace or what’s right.

Aug 04, 2011 11:29pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
mpr007 wrote:
Why the headline change? You had “Top China paper scoffs at suggestion Beijing is hacking villain” — that was cool! Why change it?

Aug 04, 2011 12:41am EDT  --  Report as abuse
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