Last updated: August 20, 2010 - 8:13am
For the first time, the United States is publicly warning about the Chinese military's use of civilian computer experts in clandestine cyberattacks aimed at American companies and government agencies.
The Pentagon laid out its concerns this week in a carefully worded report. The People's Liberation Army (PLA), the Pentagon said, uses "information warfare units" to develop viruses to attack computer systems and networks, and those units include civilian computer professionals. Asked about the civilian hackers, a Defense Department spokesman said the Pentagon is concerned about any potential threat to its computer networks. The Pentagon, said Cmdr. Bob Mehal, will monitor the PLA's buildup of its cyberwarfare capabilities and "will continue to develop capabilities to counter any potential threat." The Pentagon report says that last year, "numerous computer systems around the world, including those owned by the U.S. government, continued to be the target of intrusions that appear to have originated within" the People's Republic of China.
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