China blames US for cyberattack on university computer network


Beijing has accused the United States of infiltrating computers at a Chinese university supposed to conduct military research.

It’s the type of cyberattack that the United States often accuses China of committing.

China’s National Computer Virus Emergency Response Center said it determined the US National Security Agency was responsible for the Northwestern Polytechnical University network breach in June.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Mao Ning said in a statement that the NSA has engaged in cyberattacks and data theft against Chinese people, including more than 1,000 operations against the university.

“As the most powerful nation in cybertechnology and capability, the United States must immediately stop abusing its technological strength for cyber theft and attacks,” Ms Ning said on Twitter.

The National Computer Virus Emergency Response Center said the NSA used proxy servers in 17 countries, including Japan, Poland, South Korea and Ukraine, to launch the cyberattack that exploited zero-day vulnerabilities, which are previously undiscovered flaws exploited by hackers.

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The United States, however, said China was responsible for several hacks and attacks compromising Americans’ security and siphoning off intellectual property.

Last year, the US government shared new details about Chinese cyberattacks on US critical infrastructure from a decade earlier, revealing Chinese-sponsored efforts against US oil and gas companies from December 2011 to 2013. Biden administration said the federal government informed victims and others of the 2012 attacks but waited to make it public until 2021.

The Biden administration also attributed Microsoft Exchange server hacks to China last year, and the Justice Department indicted four Chinese cyberattackers.

China is “almost certainly” capable of disrupting critical infrastructure services involving oil and gas pipelines and rail systems, according to the Office of the Director of National Intelligence 2022 Annual Threat Assessment.

“We estimate that China presents the broadest, most active and persistent cyber espionage threat to U.S. government and private sector networks,” the assessment said. “China’s cyber activities and the export of related technologies are increasing threats of attacks on the American homeland, the removal of American web content that Beijing sees as a threat to its control, and the expansion of authoritarianism focused on technology globally.”

FBI Director Christopher A. Wray sounded the alarm over Chinese industrial espionage in July 2022 in a speech at the London headquarters of MI5, Britain’s domestic intelligence agency. Wray warned the business community that China is determined to steal technology and undermine companies to take over their markets.

The NSA declined to comment on China’s hacking accusations.

• This article was based in part on wire service reports.


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