Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Global Impact: US Cyber Firm Documents Escalation of Chinese Military Efforts

According to, a California-based US security firm, CrowdStrike, has recently produced a detailed report, which accused another Chinese military unit of carrying out cyber espionage attacks against foreign corporations. 

CNN cites the report just weeks after the US Department of Justice lodged charges against five Chinese military officers of hacking into US companies. The move signals a dramatic escalation of of federal government efforts to combat state-sponsored corporate espionage.

CrowdStrike, which provides services that aid firms in detecting and responding to cyber threats, said in its report that a group of hackers collectively named "Putter Panda," had launched attacks against defense, satellite and aerospace firms based in Europe, Japan and the US. 

Much of the report focuses on the activities of one hacker known as "cpyy," who has been suspected of being a member of a military group called Unit 61486.

COMMENT: For those who dispel allegations against the PRC, the majority of federal prosecutions under the Economic Espionage Act of 1996 have been ethnic Chinese.

"China's decade-long economic espionage campaign is massive and unrelenting. Through widespread espionage campaigns, Chinese threat actors are targeting companies and governments in every part of the globe," CrowdStrike CEO George Kurtz said in a statement.

According to CrowdStrike, the People's Liberation Army unit operating in Shanghai had uses various tools to break into the firms' computers, which include malware that exploits most-used office programs like Adobe Reader and Microsoft Office. 

The group was said to have shared some of their resources with Unit 61398. Another US-based cyber-security firm, Mandiant, had unmasked the said Shanghai-based PLA hacking group last year, according to CNN said.

CNN said that China has long rejected allegations of economic espionage and insisted that China is actually a victim of various cyber-attacks, majority of them coming from the US. 

Foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying questioned the accuracy of CrowdStrike's allegations on Tuesday (June 10).