The American information security firm has suspicions that the Chinese government may have authorized the hacking. Mandiant’s report stated: “The details we have analysed during hundreds of investigations convince us that the groups conducting these activities are based primarily in China and that the Chinese government is aware of them.”
Hong Lei, a spokesman for China’s foreign ministry mentioned that China was also a victim of cyber attacks and that the country’s laws prohibit such activity; he also had this to say about Mandiant’s report: “Groundless criticism is irresponsible and unprofessional, and it will not help to solve the problem.”
Mandiant’s report also stated that the Shanghai-based unit of the People’s Liberation Army General Staff Department, also known as Unit 61398, is comprised of a staff of hundreds or possibly thousands of specially trained people in the areas of covert communications, network security, digital signal processing and English linguistics.
The Mandiant report has also stated that it cannot prove that the attacks came from within the military building it identified. It also said, “Either they are coming from inside Unit 61398, or the people who run the most-controlled, most-monitored Internet networks in the world are clueless about thousands of people generating attacks from this one neighbourhood.”
Now, this is one serious accusation — an accusation that is capable of creating further distrust and hatred between America and China.
In reality, this could have happened from any location on the globe. For example: a hacker in Australia could cover their tracks by making it look as though a cyber attack had originated in Denmark; there is computer software that can do those sorts of things.
The irony is: those cyber attacks could have been carried out by a highly skilled hacker on American soil.
So, one cannot say for sure that it really originated from China.