Mandiant: China is sponsoring cyber-espionage
February 20, 2013 -- Updated 1126 GMT (1926 HKT)
- Mandiant say thousands of cyber attacks have come from one neighborhood near Shanghai
- The espionage group mainly targeted U.S. blue chip companies in 20 separate industries
- Mandiant VP Grady Summers says diplomatic pressure is needed on Beijng from Washington
(CNN) -- The Chinese government is sponsoring cyber-espionage to attack top U.S. companies, according to Grady Summers, vice president of security firm Mandiant.
Virginia-based Mandiant published a 60-page report detailing allegations over a six-year period against a group of hackers -- known as Comment Crew -- which Summers linked to a secret division of the Chinese military.
Summers told CNN: "China is attacking the U.S. on a scale like we've never seen before... We believe that the Communist Party of China is very aware of this."
Read more: Have the courage to deal with cyber war
Mandiant says the activity can be traced to four networks near Shanghai -- with some operations taking place in a location that is also the headquarters of Unit 61398, the secret military division.
Cracking down on Chinese hackers
Firm: Many hackers attacking from China
Report: Chinese Army behind cyber attacks
U.S. cyber battle with China
Summers added: "Never before have we seen one state-sponsored entity like unit 61398 of the Chinese PLA attacking helpless commercial organizations in other countries."
Read more: Chinese cyber attacks on West are widespread, experts say
The espionage group mainly targeted U.S. blue chip companies in 20 separate industries from aerospace to financial services.
"It's really a who's who of American companies. Of 140 victims worldwide, 115 of them were in the U.S.," Grady said.
Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Hong Lei dismissed the hacking charges on Tuesday, insisting that China is the victim of many cyberattacks -- most originating in the United States.
"Making baseless accusations based on premature analysis is irresponsible and unprofessional," he said. "China resolutely opposes any form of hacking activities."
Earlier this month, President Obama signed an executive order designed to address the country's most basic cybersecurity needs -- and highlighted the effort in his State of the Union address.
Summers says a cyber offence by the U.S. is not an appropriate response to the attacks as "it creates more problems than it solves."
Instead, he advocates better defense systems in organizations that are vulnerable to cyber attacks and diplomatic pressure from Washington on Beijing.
The Mandiant report details 3,000 technical indicators including IP addresses, domain names and encryption certificates, that can be used to strengthen companies' defenses.
Today's five most popular stories
Part of complete coverage on
November 25, 2014 -- Updated 0153 GMT (0953 HKT)
China is building an island in the South China Sea that could accommodate an airstrip, according to IHS Jane's Defence Weekly.
November 19, 2014 -- Updated 1057 GMT (1857 HKT)
North Korean refugees face a daunting journey to reach asylum in South Korea, with gangs of smugglers the only option.
November 21, 2014 -- Updated 2319 GMT (0719 HKT)
China and "probably one or two other" countries have the capacity to shut down the nation's power grid and other critical infrastructure.
November 21, 2014 -- Updated 1039 GMT (1839 HKT)
It'd be hard to find another country that has spent as much, and as furiously, as China on giving its next generation a head start.
November 18, 2014 -- Updated 0532 GMT (1332 HKT)
In 1985, Meng Weina set up China's first private special needs school in the southern city of Guangzhou.
November 12, 2014 -- Updated 2014 GMT (0414 HKT)
Despite China's inexorable economic rise, the U.S. is still an indispensable ally, especially in Asia. No one knows this more than the Asian giant's leaders, writes Kerry Brown.
November 13, 2014 -- Updated 0338 GMT (1138 HKT)
For the United States and China to announce a plan reducing carbon emissions by almost a third by the year 2030 is a watershed moment for climate politics on so many fronts.
November 17, 2014 -- Updated 2026 GMT (0426 HKT)
China shows off its new stealth fighter jet, but did it steal the design from an American company? Brian Todd reports.
November 11, 2014 -- Updated 0101 GMT (0901 HKT)
Airshow China in Zhuhai provides a rare glimpse of China's military and commercial aviation hardware.
November 12, 2014 -- Updated 1314 GMT (2114 HKT)
A new exchange initiative aims to bridge relations between the two countries .
November 11, 2014 -- Updated 0551 GMT (1351 HKT)
Xi and Abe's brief summit featured all the enthusiasm of two unhappy schoolboys forced to make up after a schoolyard dust-up.
November 11, 2014 -- Updated 0112 GMT (0912 HKT)
Maybe you've decided to show your partner love with a new iPhone. But how about 99 of them?
November 3, 2014 -- Updated 0219 GMT (1019 HKT)
Can China's Muslim minority fit in? One school is at the heart of an ambitious experiment to assimilate China's Uyghurs.
November 4, 2014 -- Updated 1455 GMT (2255 HKT)
Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg is one of thousands of Americans learning Chinese.
November 4, 2014 -- Updated 0500 GMT (1300 HKT)
Taiwanese President Ma Ying-jeou says he needs to maintain good economic ties with China while trying to keep Beijing's push for reunification at bay.
October 30, 2014 -- Updated 0528 GMT (1328 HKT)
Chinese drone-maker DJI wants to make aerial photography drones mainstream despite concerns about privacy.
October 29, 2014 -- Updated 0518 GMT (1318 HKT)
A top retired general confesses to taking bribes, becoming the highest-profile figure in China's military to be caught up in war on corruption.