02/20/2013, 00.00
CHINA
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Beijing reacts to charges of cyber espionage by asking for proof

China's Defence Ministry rejects Mandiant's claim that it is among the most "prolific cyber espionage" groups in the world. For Communist China, there is no evidence connecting it to hackers. However, cyber crimes are rampant in the mainland. One businessman is arrested for blocking articles and keywords.

Beijing (AsiaNews) - China responded to charges by a US-based company that the People's Liberation Army is one of the world's "most prolific cyber espionage groups.  The Defence Ministry in Beijing issued a statement saying that the report by Mandiant "lacks technical proof" linking hackers to China. The latter had suggested that a military unit in Shanghai stole sensitive documents from 141 companies from around the world to help the country's five-year plan.

On its website, the Chinese military said that the cyber attacks mentioned in the report were carried out using stolen IP addresses, that no clear definition of cyber attack exists, and that they are in any event "transnational and hard to trace".

Other analysts say that Mandiant's charges are exaggerated. Both the United States and China are involved in a media and diplomatic tug-of-war over copyrights and internet security. Still, for Washington, Beijing is an internet pirate, on paper at least.

Cyber espionage is also a problem in China. An investigation by Caixin Magazine claims that a company owned by Gu Tengda used dubious tactics to take down negative stories on the internet for customers.

At present, Gu is in police custody and his activities are under investigation for online crimes and kickbacks.

Gu typically charged customers tens of thousands of yuan to remove online articles and block certain keywords blocked on popular search engines.

Most of his business was with party officials from smaller cities but also with state-owned corporations and individual businessmen.

Gu's company, Yage Times, made a 50 million yuan in gross profit in 2011.

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