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Beijing on Tuesday denied allegations that the Chinese government and military are behind cyberattacks against US websites.
"The Chinese army has never supported any hackings," the Ministry of National Defense said in a statement. Such accusations are unprofessional and false, it added.
The ministry's remarks came in response to a report released by Internet security firm Mandiant on Monday that claimed that China's army controls some of the most prolific hackers in the world, and that a host of cyberattacks was traced to a building in Shanghai.
Observers said verifying the firm's so-called evidence is difficult, as hackers' origins are transnational and anonymous, and the report is likely to be politically motivated to raise the specter of a China threat.
The Shanghai building trace, if true, also showed the firm hacked the building in Shanghai, they added.
China bans all cybersabotage activities, including hackings, and the Chinese government always strongly fights them, the ministry said.
China, like other countries, also faces a severe threat of cyberattacks and is one of the major victims of cyberattacks, it added.
In 2012, about 73,000 overseas IP addresses controlled more than 14 million computers in China and 32,000 IP addresses remotely controlled 38,000 Chinese websites, Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said at a regular news conference on Tuesday.
Attacks originating from the United States rank the first among these hackings, Hong added.
The Chinese army is also one of the top victims. From January to March 2012, the websites of China's Ministry of National Defense and China Military Online suffered 240,000 cyberattacks, according to the Ministry of National Defense.
Wen Weiping, a professor at the School of Software and Microelectronics at Peking University, said cybersabotage targeting China is rising rapidly, but Beijing has seldom accused other countries of launching the attacks.
People's Daily said earlier this month that allegations from the US serve as an excuse for Washington to expand its cybersecurity forces and levy more technology restrictions on China as a containing measure.
International rules could regulate the hackings but cannot eradicate them and hacking accusations, said Cui Baojiang, an expert on information studies at Beijing University of Posts and Telecommunications.
To fundamentally address the problem, every country has to keep strengthening its own cyberdefense system, said Cui, adding that China's cyber security capacity has been improved but still heavily relies on imported technologies.
(China Daily 02/20/2013 page12)