‘Byzantine Hades’ attacks traced to Chinese spying units
Leaked secret diplomatic cables and expert views on the matter have unearthed evidence that China is ahead of the US in cyber espionage. According to reports, China was behind attacks such as "Aurora" that have crippled numerous large government and private organisations in the US since 2006.
US investigators told Reuters that they have found that China has stolen terabytes of sensitive data — from State Department computers’ usernames and passwords to multi-billion dollar weapons systems designs. The investigators have dubbed the attacks as "Byzantine Hades."
Secret US State Department cables, which Reuters has with it from an undisclosed source, show that the attacks originated in the Chinese military.
An April 2009 cable notes that many Chinese-registered websites were involved in Byzantine Hades intrusion activity in 2006 and that those sites were registered in the city of Chengdu.
The cable says, "Much of the intrusion activity traced to Chengdu is similar in tactics, techniques and procedures to [Byzantine Hades] activity attributed to other" electronic spying units of the People’s Liberation Army.
The revelations have shown that China has outpaced the US in cyber espionage. US investigators have said that attacks on both government and private organisations in the US have accelerated in recent past.
More and more US companies have reported about cyber attacks in last two years. In January 2010, Google said that a sophisticated cyber-attack dubbed as "Aurora" had hit it.
US former counterintelligence chief Joel Brenner told Reuters that the Google attack "was certainly an escalation of Chinese network operations against the U.S."
Brenner said that though only 34 companies have been publicly identified as targets of the Aurora attacks, the actual number runs into "Thousands."