Cyberspy Group of Chinese Army Spotted

Chinese Defense Building

Visiting the outskirts of Shanghai, China, you’ll notice the 12-story People’s Liberation Army base Unit 61398, a defense headquarters. What is this building for? Cyberwarriors as they’re called, or more specifically those trained to get involved in cyberwar (internet war and crimes, hacking, etc.).

American Intelligence Officials have found a growing body of digital forensic evidence, according to the New York Times, which has been in operation for years. Speculation remains that this building, as sketched above, is the originating point for all the recent cyberattacks on US corporations, government agencies, and other organizations.

There is a 60-page report (PDF), detailed by Mandiant, an American computer security firm, released today, talking about exposing the cyber-espionage group APT1 (a Chinese organized unit).

“In seeking to identify the organization behind this activity, our research found that People’s Liberation Army (PLA’s) Unit 61398 is similar to APT1 in its mission, capabilities, and resources,” Mandiant said in its report. “PLA Unit 61398 is also located in precisely the same area from which APT1 activity appears to originate.”

Goes on… “Either they are coming from inside Unit 61398,” said Kevin Mandia, the founder and chief executive of Mandiant, in an interview last week, “or the people who run the most-controlled, most-monitored Internet networks in the world are clueless about thousands of people generating attacks from this one neighborhood.”

When contacted recently, the Chinese Embassy in Washington, swears their government does not engage in computer hacking, according to the New York Times, and that such activity is illegal. They were quick to point out that they have no hacking groups, but the US clearly has many hacking groups. Sounds a bit childish to say they have none, but blame others, right?

The US is planning more aggressive defense toward these Chinese hacking groups, and under such directive last week by President Barack Obama signing the Executive Order, unique digital signatures from the groups will be provided to American internet providers.

More information on the investigation is detailed in the New York Times.


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