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China summons US envoy over cyber-spying charges, vows retaliation

Published time: May 20, 2014 07:09
Edited time: May 21, 2014 13:45
Reuters / Edgar Su

Reuters / Edgar Su

​China has dismissed all US accusations of industrial cyber-espionage against five of its military officials and published proof that Washington is actually stealing data from China. Beijing also summoned the US ambassador for an explanation.

Beijing reacted to Washington’s recent round of industrial espionage accusations by publishing its latest data on US cyber-attacks against China.

China’s National Computer Network Emergency Response Technical Team Coordination Center of China (NCNERTTCC) reported that during just two months, from March 19 to May 18, the US directly controlled 1.18 million host computers in China using 2,077 Trojan horse networks or botnet servers.

According to the NCNERTTCC, over the last two months 135 host computers stationed in the US conducted 14,000 phishing operations against Chinese websites using for the attacks 563 phishing pages. The other hacking activities through the same period of time included 57,000 backdoor attacks, performed from 2,016 IP addresses in the US through backdoors implanted on 1,754 Chinese websites.

The Chinese Foreign Ministry summoned the American ambassador to China for an explanation, urging him to drop all charges against China’s military officers. The meeting between Chinese Assistant Foreign Minister Zheng Zeguang and US Ambassador Max Baucus took place on Monday night, reported Xinhua.

Depending on further developments, China “will take further action on the so-called charges by the United States,” Zheng told Baucus.

“The Chinese government and military and its associated personnel have never conducted or participated in the theft of trade secrets over the internet,” Zheng reportedly told Baucus as quoted by Xinhua.

America’s attitude to internet security is “overbearing and hypocritical,” Zheng told Baucus, urging the US to finally give a clear explanation on multiple reports that America’s National Security Agency is spying after Chinese government, businesses, universities and individuals.

On the other side of the Pacific, China's Ambassador to the US Cui Tiankai "made solemn representations" to the US State Department, China News Service reported on Tuesday.

Chinese Minister of Defense Chang Wanquan (R) shakes hands with US Ambassador to China Max Baucus (L).( AFP Photo / Alex Wong )

“The accusations that the United States have made against these Chinese officials are purely fictitious and extremely absurd," Chinese ambassador to the US is quoted as saying.

Geng Yansheng, spokesman for China’s Ministry of National Defense, accused Washington of hypocrisy and damaging bilateral military ties.

“From 'WikiLeaks' to the 'Snowden' affairs, the hypocrisy and double standards of the US side on the issue of internet security has been clear for a long time,” said the spokesman as cited by the Wall Street Journal.

Beijing insists that while the US accused China of industrial cyber-spying on multiple occasions, America itself is waging unprecedented cyber warfare against China, infiltrating all kinds of the country’s networks - government and business alike - also targeting both civilians and officials through mobile phones.

After the revelations of former NSA contractor Edward Snowden the US has been criticized by most of the world powers, as it turned out that America is spying after literally every state and every person found necessary.

For example back in 2012 Washington accused Chinese telecom giants, including the world’s second-largest global supplier of telecommunications equipment, Huawei, of posing a threat to America’s national security through ‘tapping’ their routers, switches and other telecoms equipment.

Two years later it turned out that the US was not only spying on Huawei, but America’s NSA has been actually embedding surveillance tools within computer hardware exported from the US.

On Monday, the US personalized accusations of industrial cyber-espionage against China, charging five military officials with hacking attacks against American companies.

Beijing dismissed all the accusations as groundless and based on fabricated facts, blaming Washington of imperiling China-US “cooperation and mutual trust” in a released statement.

“China is steadfast in upholding cyber-security,” the statement maintains. “The Chinese government, the Chinese military and their relevant personnel have never engaged or participated in cyber-theft of trade secrets. The US accusation against Chinese personnel is purely ungrounded and absurd,” the document said.

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder (L) speaks as he announces indictments against Chinese military hackers on cyber-espionage as U.S. Attorney for Western District of Pennsylvania David Hickton (R) listens May 19, 2014 at the Department of Justice in Washington, DC.(AFP Photo / Alex Wong)

US attorney General Eric Holder leveled charges against China of stealing confidential data and business secrets in order to give Chinese companies competitive advantage over American corporations in the nuclear and solar technology sectors.

According to the Justice Department, the grand jury’s indictment must become a “wake-up call” for the American nation to realize the scale of cyber intrusions.

The companies that allegedly suffered from espionage are such industrial giants as Alcoa World Alumina, Allegheny Technologies, SolarWorld, US Steel Corporation, the United Steelworkers Union and Westinghouse Electric.

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