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D.C. Firm: Chinese Military Behind Hacking Of Major U.S. Businesses

WASHINGTON (WJZ) — The Chinese military is behind a startling wave of hacking attacks on major U.S. businesses, according to a sweeping cybersecurity review.

Mike Hellgren has more on why this is cause for concern.

The Chinese government denies it but an exhaustive report by a company based in the D.C. area says thousands of computers have been hacked, including major companies like Apple and the New York Times. Computers that control infrastructure are at risk, too.

Cybersecurity researchers say the Chinese government is using its military to attack computers that control everything from electrical grids to those that contain private government and business information.

“We saw somebody log in to the victim network here in the United States and then start checking their Gmail account. Well, it’s in plain view. We’re capturing the traffic. Law enforcement would call this a wiretap. We just call it full content monitoring,” said Kevin Mandia, CEO of Mandiant.

The cybersecurity firm Mandiant claims they traced many computer attacks to a nondescript office building in Shanghai used by the Chinese military, a secret division that has the blessing of top Chinese officials.

Mandiant says what’s particularly scary is the attacks are more advanced and better funded because of that, and can be more threatening–and will probably continue.

Several lawmakers have issued dire warnings but the Chinese government has repeatedly said it is not involved and has, itself, been the victim of hackers.

“Making baseless accusations based on premature analysis is irresponsible and unprofessional. China resolutely opposes any form of hacking activities,” said Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei.

The Chinese have reportedly targeted everything from bank accounts to the gasoline supply, although none of these critical services have been disrupted yet.

Congress has not been able to agree on any new cybersecurity laws. Experts say there are so many attacks, trying to prevent them all is futile.

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