In February the US government named and shamed Chinese hackers who had been attacking, and stealing secret data from US companies. A report compiled by Mandiant, a private security company that helps companies and government agencies defend themselves from hackers, listed the organisations that had stolen numerous government documents, and items of intellectual property over the past five years.
Following the report, Unit 61398, a cyber-division of China’s People’s Liberation Army, with its white, 12 story office building on the edge of Shanghai, became the symbol of Chinese cyber-power.
Three months have since passed in relative peace, but now the Chinese hackers are back.
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Mandiant has announced that Unit 61398 has begun to increase the number of attacks, focussing more on companies that have direct access to the US electrical grid. Using different IP addresses and different servers they have managed to install most of the hacking tools within the companies computer systems that they were using previously. Mandiant believes that they are already operating at 60% to 70% of the level they were working at before.
Rep. Trent Franks (R-Ariz.), Rep. Yvette Clarke (D-N.Y.) and the Hon. James Arbuthnot of Great Britain, the co-chairs for the Electric Infrastructure Security Summit, have warned that “new questions are being raised about the electric grid’s vulnerability. If we don’t change our course, national electric grids could be headed for disaster. And our societies cannot survive without them.”
Thomas Donilon, President Obama’s national security advisor, is due to visit China shortly, where the subject of Chinese cyber-attacks on US companies will be a central issue.
By. James Burgess of Oilprice.com