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5 Jun, 2013 12:35

Who’s the spy? China claims ‘mountains of data’ on US cyberattacks

Who’s the spy? China claims ‘mountains of data’ on US cyberattacks

China amassed huge amounts of data on hacking attacks against the country originating from the United States, Beijing’s top Internet security official said. The US has previously accused China of failing to stop – or supporting – cyberattacks on America.

"We have mountains of data, if we wanted to accuse the US, but it's not helpful in solving the problem," said Huang Chengqing, director of CNCERT, China’s cybersecurity body.

The official spoke to the newspaper China Daily days before US President Barack Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping are set to meet in California. Accusations that China conducts hacking attacks to steal American military and commercial secrets has topped headlines lately, and is expected to be among the issues that the two leaders will discuss at their first formal meeting.

Huang said Chinese cybersecurity specialists see a lack of cooperation on the part of their US counterparts, and complained that Washington uses the media to raise cybersecurity issues rather than settling them bilaterally: "Some cases can be addressed if they had talked to us, why not let us know? It is not a constructive train of thought to solve problems."

CNCERT maintains it has fully cooperated with Washington, addressing 32 cases raised by the US over the first four months of 2013, Huang said.

The latest in a string of cyber-espionage accusations against China was made Saturday by US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel. "The United States has expressed our concerns about the growing threat of cyber intrusions, some of which appear to be tied to the Chinese government and military," Hagel told the annual Shangri-La Dialogue conference in Singapore.

Hagel’s remarks came shortly after China's defense ministry dismissed a Pentagon report that claimed Chinese hackers had stolen classified information on a dozen advanced US weapons, including aircraft, ships and missile defense systems. The report was made public late last month by the Washington Post.

Huang cited the report, which was the most explicit statement yet from Washington that it believes China is using cyber-espionage against targets in the US. While not denying it, he suggested that the information should not have been accessible from the Internet at all if the US wished to maintain secrecy.

"Even following the general principle of secret-keeping, it should not have been linked to the Internet," Huang said.

Beijing routinely denies allegations it conducts or supports hacking attacks, insisting that computers in China also suffer from such attacks originating in the US.