Chinese cyberattacks on U.S. military jump


China appears to be launching a growing number of cyberattacks against the Defense Department, a report to Congress concluded last week.

The U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission, citing data from the U.S. Strategic Command, estimated there were 43,785 malicious cyber incidents targeting Defense systems in the first half of the year. That's a huge increase from 2008 when there were 54,640 such incidents.

The commission said that if cyber attacks maintain this pace, they will jump 60 percent in just one year. In its annual report, the commission concluded that a "large body of both circumstantial and forensic evidence strongly indicates Chinese state involvement in such activities."

"The quantity of malicious computer activities against the United states increased in 2008 and is rising sharply in 2009," the report said. "Much of this activity appears to originate in China."

The cost of these attacks is enormous, according to the commission's report. It said the military spent $100 million to fend off attacks just between September 2008 and March 2009.

Comparing the number of attacks to those in past years shows a dramatic increase. In 2000, for example, there were only 1,415 incidents. There could have been more, according to the commission, but the military was not equipped to identify them.

What can be done about these attacks? It may take enlisting the Chinese government to help prevent them, and it definitely will take better security tools to repel them.

For more on China's Internet attacks:
- see this article

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