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China: People's Daily Rejects US Hacking Claims

(c) Sky News 2013

The United States is "fanning fear of China" according to a front page article in China's People's Daily.

The newspaper, which is the mouthpiece of the ruling Communist Party, robustly rejected claims of probable state-sponsored hacking made last week by The New York Times and the Wall Street Journal.

"America keeps labelling China as hackers, simply playing up the rhetoric of the 'China threat' in cyberspace, providing new justification for America's strategy of containing China," the front page article said.

It added: "Even those with little understanding of the internet know that hacking attacks are transnational and concealable.

"IP addresses simply do not constitute sufficient evidence to confirm the origins of hackers."

The New York Times and the Wall Street Journal both announced last week that they had been victims of extensive cyber attacks.

The media outlets said evidence strongly suggested the hacking had originated in China and that there was evidence it was a "state-sponsored" attack.

The reports prompted a wider debate about China's alleged involvement in cyber crime.

It was revealed over the weekend that Google Chairman Eric Schmidt regards China as "the most sophisticated and prolific" hacker of foreign companies.

Writing in his new book, co-authored with Jared Cohen, Mr Schmidt said that China is "the world's most active and enthusiastic filterer of information".

Google (NasdaqGS: GOOG - news) 's difficult history with China is well documented. Ever since the search engine was launched in China in 2006, it has been fighting censorship within the country.

China's Communist government has placed a nationwide block on certain websites, including Facebook (NasdaqGS: FB - news) and Twitter, while specific searches on Google and other search engines are routinely blocked if they are considered too sensitive.

Last year a US congressional report said Chinese state-backed groups with increasing levels of sophistication were attempting to breach US computer systems. The report called China "the most threatening actor in cyberspace".

The People's Daily article, which is written in the style of an editorial, says the US is using national security as a justification for its unfounded accusations.

America has long claimed China is guilty of commercial espionage.

The article also said, as the Chinese government did on Friday, that Chinese websites had been the victim of more attacks from US-based IP addresses than any other country but that "China did not draw simple inferences or hasty conclusions about the attack source".

According to the New York Times, hackers from China stole the corporate passwords of 53 of its employees shortly after the paper published an expose of China Premier Wen Jiabao's family fortune.

Neither the New York Times nor the Wall Street Journal explicitly accused the Chinese government of involvement.

The methods used to hack computer systems and the 'bouncing' of information through servers around the world mean it is often impossible to precisely identify an attacker.

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