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Reason for cyber accusation

China Daily | Updated: 2013-02-21 07:27

In the face of unfounded accusations by the United States that the Chinese government and military are behind cyberattacks on US websites, the Ministry of National Defense was quick to respond with a written statement on Tuesday and a news conference on Wednesday. This alone shows China's seriousness and sincerity in addressing cybersecurity.

A report released by the US Internet security firm Mandiant on Monday claimed that cyberattacks against US websites were traced to a building in Shanghai owned by the Chinese army. But given that hackers' origins are transnational, deceptive and anonymous, the report failed to produce any convincing evidence that its occupants were behind the attacks. It is unprofessional as well as irresponsible for the US firm to base its allegations on such shaky ground.

China is also a victim of cyberattacks. About 73,000 overseas IP addresses controlled more than 14 million computers in China last year, and 32,000 IP addresses remotely controlled 38,000 Chinese websites. A considerable number of these attacks could be traced back to IP addresses in the United States.

But China never blamed others for these cyberattacks, as it understands finger pointing will not help solve what is a transnational problem. Instead, it believes consultation and cooperation to enhance law enforcement is the way to tackle the issue.

This round of US accusations against China is nothing new as the country has been regularly targeted as the home of hackers in recent years. But with the so-called China cybersabotage and espionage continuing to make headlines in the US media this week, one cannot help but ask the real purpose of such a hullabaloo.

With the US economic recovery dragging its feet, it is reasonable to think that some in Washington may want to make China a scapegoat so that the public's attention is diverted away from the country's domestic woes.

The Pentagon's plans to expand its Cyber Command, as revealed by the US media recently, might also shed some light on the myth. The Washington Post reported last month that the Pentagon had decided to expand Cyber Command's current staffing level of 900 to 4,900 in the coming years. Apart from protecting national computer systems, the missions of the command also include executing attacks and other offensive operations.

Interestingly, when the Cyber Command was established two years ago, the US played the same card.

Hence, it is reasonable to conclude that by whipping up cybersabotage by China time and time again the US is just using it to develop its own cyber force.

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