China Acknowledges Existence of Cyberwarfare Unit

Thursday, May 26, 2011



Chinese government officials have acknowledged the existence of a military unit dedicated to cyber warfare activity, according to intelligence sources.

Chinese Defense Ministry spokesman Geng Yansheng said that the unit, called the "cyber blue team", is designed to "better safeguard the internet security of the armed forces".

Geng stated that the unit was organized in response to international threats to Internet security, and that China is still relatively weak in regards to cyber security and its ability to defend against cyberterrorism.

Intelligence analyst Glenmore Trenear-Harvey says many in the intelligence field believe China has had a cyber offensive unit active for at least the last five years.

"They [China] may have acknowledged that they have set up this unit but they have been doing it for a long time, and they have been enormously successful in their attacks,"  Trenear-Harvey said.

China has recruited thousands of hackers for a cyber force tasked with infiltrating a multitude of computers to establish a large botnet which can be utilized to conduct denial of service (DoS) campaigns to disrupt targeted websites as well as conducting cyber espionage activity to pilfer sensitive information.

"It is one of the greatest threats we have... But do remember that we - the US and UK - are doing this in reverse and we are very successful. It's an incredibly potent weapon which will certainly be utilized," Trenear-Harvey said.

According to a recent article by Joshua Philipp and Matthew Robertson, the Chinese have long seen a tactical cyber offensive capability as being a potentially powerful equalizer in their quest to attain superpower status and undermine the effectiveness of international political rivals.

The Chinese strategy extends well beyond potential military targets, posing a significant threat to the core industries and critical infrastructure systems a nation relies upon to sustain a healthy military presence.

Attacks on private sector assets are seen as a central aspect of a successful Chinese cyber aggression strategy by eroding the industrial and technological superiority of an adversary over time.

Chinese hackers are not merely tasked with infiltrating established western economies, they are also conducting extensive operations in emerging economies and extending their presence in regions fraught by political conflict and economic turmoil.

While numerous nations are involved in varying levels of cyber aggression, what makes the Chinese threat so much more palpable is the systemic nature and comparatively large scale of the state-sponsored cyber-offensive operations, as evidenced by attacks like Operation Aurora, Ghostnet, and most recently Night Dragon.

Possibly Related Articles:
China Military Headlines Espionage National Security Operation Aurora Cyber Warfare Night Dragon Ghostnet
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