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Inside Privacy Updates on Developments in Global Privacy & Data Security from Covington & Burling LLP

Report Links Cyberattacks on U.S. Companies to Chinese Military

Posted in China, Cybersecurity, Data Breaches, Data Security, International, United States

On Tuesday, the U.S. cybersecurity firm Mandiant released a 60-page report detailing the activities of a hacking collective it claims has direct ties to China’s military. The firm has linked the collective to cyberattacks on more than 140 organizations across 20 industries worldwide since 2006.

Mandiant claims the activity—carried out by a group called the “comment crew”—can be traced to four networks near Shanghai, with some of the activity occurring in a nondescript building on Datong Road—the headquarters of Unit 61398, a secret wing of the People’s Liberation Army.

The report notes that the hackers have a “well-defined attack methodology,” that has enabled them to steal large volumes of intellectual property, including technology blueprints, proprietary manufacturing processes and business plans.

In the wake of the report, two recent victims of cyberattacks—The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal—have published editorials that are outwardly critical of China. Both publications pressed President Obama to confront China more aggressively and publicly on its cyber espionage.