Private U.S. report accuses another Chinese military unit of hacking

SAN FRANCISCO Mon Jun 9, 2014 8:55pm EDT

Crowdstrike Co-founder and CTO Dmitri Alperovitch speaks during the Reuters Media and Technology Summit in New York, June 11, 2012. REUTERS/Keith Bedford

Crowdstrike Co-founder and CTO Dmitri Alperovitch speaks during the Reuters Media and Technology Summit in New York, June 11, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Keith Bedford

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - A private U.S. cybersecurity company on Monday accused a unit of China’s military of conducting far-reaching hacking operations to advance the country’s satellite and aerospace programs.

Security company CrowdStrike said Shanghai-based unit 61486 of the People's Liberation Army 12th bureau has attacked networks of Western government agencies and defense contractors since 2007.

CrowdStrike said the hacking targeted the U.S. space, aerospace and communications sectors. The cyberspying targeted "popular productivity applications such as Adobe Reader and Microsoft Office to deploy custom malware through targeted email attacks," CrowdStrike said.

Less than three weeks ago the U.S. Justice Department took the unprecedented step of unsealing indictments against five members of another People’s Liberation Army unit that allege they stole trade secrets.

CrowdStrike said it was publicizing a report previously sent to clients to show that the issue was broader than many realize.

“After the Chinese response, where they basically said this is all fabricated, we said why don’t we unleash something that’s undeniable,” said CrowdStrike co-founder Dmitri Alperovitch. He said the company had briefed U.S. intelligence agencies before publishing its report.

CrowdStrike said an individual named Chen Ping registered website domain names used in some of the intrusions. Chen's personal blog appears to put his age as 35, and he identified himself as a soldier, the report said.

Chen's email is tied to profiles, blogs and forum postings, CrowdStrike said. Among material on those sites was a photo album titled “office” that includes a building CrowdStrike identified as the Shanghai headquarters of the military unit in question.

Spokesmen for the Chinese Embassy in Washington and Chen could not immediately be reached for comment.

CrowdStrike was founded by former senior executives at big antivirus company McAfee, now part of Intel . It has contracts and other ties to the U.S. government.

The new report is likely to add to the escalating tensions over cybersecurity issues between the world’s two largest economies. Chinese officials have already responded sharply to last month’s indictments, pulling out of talks on hacking issues and accusing the United States of plundering Chinese political and military secrets.

(Additional reporting by David Brunnstrom in Washington; Editing by Cynthia Osterman)

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Comments (3)
nickir wrote:
I don’t understand why anyone doubts that China hacks for commercial advantage. It can’t innovate itself…so how else?

Jun 09, 2014 9:14pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
dd606 wrote:
nickir wrote: I don’t understand why anyone doubts that China hacks for commercial advantage. It can’t innovate itself…so how else?”

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Nobody with any common sense does doubt it. The people who pretend to doubt it, are just chronic US bashers, either domestic or abroad… who are too busy worshiping their delusional hero, Ed Snowden… to accept reality.

One thing is for certain though… That Chinese soldier’s life is over.

Jun 09, 2014 10:14pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
fyus wrote:
Since the Us does the same, as well as any other countries, why bother complaining?

Jun 10, 2014 11:44am EDT  --  Report as abuse
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