The predominant narrative among U.S. officials and security experts is that Chinese hackers, allegedly at the behest of their government, are thoroughly compromising the computer networks of American government, defense, and public sector organizations in order to steal any valuable data. What you don’t hear so often though, is that the U.S. is doing the same exact thing to China.
In fact, China’s top Internet security official told the state-sponsored China Daily earlier today that he had “mountains of data” indicating just that. Somewhat ironically, as Huang Chengqing, the director of China’s National Computer Network Emergency Response Technical Team, was calling out the U.S. for hacking Chinese networks, he was also condemning U.S. officials for their proclivity toward publicly blaming Beijing for the hacking problem. Chengqing suggested that communication and cooperation would be a more constructive course of action than the status quo of blaming and shaming.
“We have mountains of data, if we wanted to accuse the US, but it’s not helpful in solving the problem,” said Chengqing. “The importance of handling Internet security cases keeps rising, but the issue can only be settled through communication, not confrontation.”
CNCERT’s leader disparaged Beltway officials for running to the media whenever they suspect the Chinese of hacking. He was particularly troubled by a recent Washington Post report claiming that Chinese hackers had made off with design specs for various Pentagon weapons systems. Chengqing says that U.S. officials failed to mention this incident to the People’s Republic before leaking the information to the media.
Sourcing CNCERT, the China Daily claims that through May of this year, 4062 US-based control servers were responsible for the hijacking of some 2.91 million machines in China and that at least 54 “important” Chinese websites were fitted with backdoors from U.S. IP addresses.
“However, it’s hard to judge whether the US government supported or got involved in the hacking. Besides, hackers can easily hide their real location and identities,” Chengqing said, qualifying the statistics. “So technically it is irresponsible and unfounded for some people to talk about alleged hacking supported by the Chinese authorities.”