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May 6, 2021

China’s military denies hacking allegations

Definitely no computer hacking, according to China’s military, which said Wednesday that it is not engaged in cyberattacks of any sort.The forceful denial comes a day after Virginia-based cybersecurity firm Mandiant released a 60-page report detailing the activities of a hacking collective it claims has direct ties to China’s military, CNN reports.Mandiant says it has watched the group systematically steal hundreds of terabytes of data from at least 141 organizations across 20 industries worldwide since 2006.Mandiant claims the activity – perpetrated by a group called the “comment crew” – can be traced to four networks near Shanghai, with some operations taking place in a nondescript building on Datong Road that is also the headquarters of Unit 61398, a secret wing of the People’s Liberation Army.Geng Yansheng, a spokesman for China’s Ministry of National Defense, characterized the charges Wednesday as “groundless both in facts and legal basis.”The spokesman offered, for the first time, a detailed rebuttal of Mandiant’s charges. The report relies too heavily on the tracking of IP addresses, Geng said, referring to the digital identifiers which are stolen “almost everyday.”“The report, in only relying on linking IP addresses to reach a conclusion the hacking attacks originated from China, lacks technical proof,” the spokesman said, according to a transcript posted on the ministry’s website.Geng also resorted to a somewhat arcane legal argument.

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