Commercial cyber spying offers rich payoff


The building housing “Unit 61398” of the People’s Liberation Army is seen in the outskirts of Shanghai, Tuesday Feb. 19, 2013. Cyberattacks that stole information from 141 targets in the U.S. and other countries have been traced to the Chinese military unit in the building, a U.S. security firm alleged Tuesday. (AP Photo)

BEIJING — For state-backed cyber spies such as a Chinese military unit implicated by a U.S. security firm in a computer crime wave, hacking foreign companies can produce high-value secrets ranging from details on oil fields to advanced manufacturing technology.

This week’s report by Mandiant Inc. adds to mounting suspicion that Chinese military experts are helping state industry by stealing secrets from Western companies possibly worth hundreds of millions of dollars. The Chinese military has denied involvement in the attacks.

British security expert Graham Cluley says the world is in a “new era of cybercrime.”

He says, “We’ve moved from kids in their bedroom and financially motivated crime to state-sponsored cybercrime.”

Security experts say cyber spies with skills and resources that suggest they work for governments aim at higher-value but better-guarded information.

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  • Albert Einstien

    cyber space is like pacific & indian oceans combined..FISH UNLIMITED…china likes fishing..loves to OWN oceans & seas…like their 9 dash line in SCS…they dont mind who really owns it..they are there to fish…

  • Gerald Abueva

    Cybercrime? What about stuxnet or botnet? What about the US attacking Iranian uranium enrichment?

    When Europeans colonized the world, they never thought about ethics. They only knew to steal from others. After WWII, the European colonizers never returned their stolen wealth. The US never returned the Japanese war loots to Asia. In time, those who made off with the war loot and the fruits of colonial wealth became First World countries.

    Who’s stealing from whom?

    • Dawn

      Attacking military installations, be they local or remote, can be tolerated. On the other hand, attacking civilian targets is a war crime. And that makes all the difference.

      There is no such thing as stolen wealth during war time. It’s called war booty. And don’t be surprised. It’s not immoral. It’s been practiced since time immemorial.

      • Gerald Abueva

        You just justified the Chinese PLA’s cyberattacks unwittingly.

      • Dawn

        It’s not war time and the Chinese are not attacking military installations exclusively. There is no justification for PLA aggression, arrogance, and lack of respect for international laws.

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