Feeds

France blames China for hack attacks

Chinese whispers

The essential guide to IT transformation

Updated Three more western nations have blamed China for an upsurge in hacking attacks against government computers.

Germany, the USA and the UK have all become the subject of targeted attacks originating from China, with many observers pointing the finger of blame towards China's Peoples Liberation Army (PLA). France, Australia and New Zealand joined the growing list this week.

The Chinese government has denied any involvement in the attacks, with officials painting the Asian giant as a victim of unidentified hackers.

Zut Alors

Earlier this week, Francis Delon, the secretary general of France's National Defence Office, confirmed that France had recently become the target of similar attacks.

Delon said Chinese hackers had "penetrated outer levels" of state computer systems. "We have proof that there is involvement with China. But I am prudent. When I say China, this does not mean the Chinese government. We don't have any indication now that it it was done by the Chinese People's Liberation Army," he added, France 24 reports.

Cyber door rattling

Targets of the attack against France reportedly include the French defence ministry's internet site. French sources are portraying that attacks, described as more of a reconnaissance effort than the frontal assault, as a nuisance rather than a threat.

Australian news wire reports suggest the Chinese also attempted to hack into systems run by the Australian and New Zealand governments. New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark said that "foreign intelligence agencies" had attempted to hack into its systems. "What I can stress is that absolutely no classified information has ever been penetrated by these attacks," She added.

Although the Austrlian government is neither confirming or denying the reports unnamed government sources told ANI that the country was indeed under cyberattack from China.

China denies involvement

Chinese government has denied that its army was involved in the attacks. "Saying that the Chinese military has made cyber attacks on the networks of foreign governments is groundless and irresponsible and are a result of ulterior motives," said foreign ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu.

Senior Chinese officials are suggesting it is even more of victim of cyberespionage than western nations. China has sustained "massive" and "shocking" losses of state and military secrets via the internet, according to Lou Qinjian, Vice Minister of Information Industry.

"The Internet has become the main technological channel for external espionage activities against our core, vital departments," he wrote in the magazine Chinese Cadres Tribune, Reuters reports

Whodunit

Security observers reckon it's very difficult to trace cyber attacks back to government agencies in foreign countries with any certainty.

Giacomo Paoni, CTO of WSLabi, which runs an online auction site for security vulnerabilities, said part of the difficulty is that China is famous for offering so-called "bulletproof hosting". The availability of gray-market services, popular with online ne'er do wells, creates a rogues gallery of potential suspects, Paoni argues.

"Internet service providers offering bulletproof hosting - aka bulk-friendly hosting - have a high degree of tolerance as to what actions their customers can carry out, therefore they are usually used by attackers and spammers from all over the world as a good way to hide their tracks."

Whether or not the Chinese Government itself is behind the attacks one thing is sure: western governments are under attack by organised groups of malicious hackers based in China. Paoni suggests that, at minimum, the Chinese Government is tolerant of this activity. "Regardless of who is really responsible for the hacker attacks being processed via the Chinese servers, the level of sophistication involved is quite high," he added. ®

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup

More from The Register

next story
Ice cream headache as black hat hacks sack Dairy Queen
I scream, you scream, we all scream 'DATA BREACH'!
Goog says patch⁵⁰ your Chrome
64-bit browser loads cat vids FIFTEEN PERCENT faster!
Chinese hackers spied on investigators of Flight MH370 - report
Classified data on flight's disappearance pinched
KER-CHING! CryptoWall ransomware scam rakes in $1 MEEELLION
Anatomy of the net's most destructive ransomware threat
NIST to sysadmins: clean up your SSH mess
Too many keys, too badly managed
Scratched PC-dispatch patch patched, hatched in batch rematch
Windows security update fixed after triggering blue screens (and screams) of death
Researchers camouflage haxxor traps with fake application traffic
Honeypots sweetened to resemble actual workloads, complete with 'secure' logins
Attack flogged through shiny-clicky social media buttons
66,000 users popped by malicious Flash fudging add-on
prev story

Whitepapers

Gartner critical capabilities for enterprise endpoint backup
Learn why inSync received the highest overall rating from Druva and is the top choice for the mobile workforce.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Rethinking backup and recovery in the modern data center
Combining intelligence, operational analytics, and automation to enable efficient, data-driven IT organizations using the HP ABR approach.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.