It came from China! Maybe. Or not, says DoD
Many cyber espionage attacks in 2011 "originated within China" according to the Defense Department, but in a May 18 press briefing, a DoD official stopped short of attributing the attacks to the Chinese government.
The phrase about cyber espionage having originated from within China comes from the 2012 edition (.pdf) of an annual DoD report to congress on military developments of the People's Republic of China.
"Some of the targeted systems were U.S. government-owned, others were commercial networks owned by private companies whose stolen data represents valuable intellectual property," the report states.
But, David Helvey, the Pentagon's acting deputy assistant secretary of defense for East Asia and Asia Pacific security affairs, emphasized in a May 18 press briefing that the report doesn't say that attacks are actually Chinese.
"To be clear, I just said it comes from China. I didn't specify the specific attribution. But we do have some concern about a number of these potential--these particular operations that appear to originate in China," he said.
During the same press briefing, however, Helvey also said that China invests "not only capabilities to better defend their networks but also they're looking at ways to use cyber for offensive operations." He also said the report highlights "a number of areas where we see China engaging in cyber activity focused on computer network exploitation."
He also said that imported DoD attribution efforts "helps us to say with greater confidence that some of these are in fact coming from China."
- download the 2012 Annual Report To Congress on Military and Security Developments Involving the People's Republic of China (.pdf)
- read a transcript of Helvey's press briefing
- watch Helvey's press briefing on CSPAN
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