FBI Links Chinese Government to Cyber Attacks on U.S. Companies

Beijing attacked two U.S. web pages used to beat censors

Computer hackers linked to the Chinese government used two Chinese telecom companies and the Baidu search engine to mount mass data disruption attacks on American websites involved in circumventing Beijing’s censors.

According to a confidential FBI Flash alert sent to U.S. companies on Thursday, investigators determined with high confidence that since the middle of March Internet traffic entering China was used in a data-denial attack against two websites involved in defeating Chinese-based web censorship. The traffic was  “manipulated to create cyber attacks directed at U.S.-based websites,” the notice said.

“Analysis by the U.S. government indicated that Internet traffic which originated outside China, was intercepted and modified to make unsuspecting users send repeated requests to U.S.-based websites,” the report said.

“The malicious activity occurred on China’s backbone Internet infrastructure, and temporarily disrupted all operations on the U.S.-based websites,” the notice said.

Investigators analyzing the attacks discovered that malicious software was injected into the web browsers of unsuspecting computer users “as traffic transited China Unicom or China Telecom networks and at the same points in these routes that censor traffic for the Chinese government.”

China Unicom and China Telecom are both state-owned telecommunications companies under control of the Chinese Ministry of Information Industry.

The involvement of the two companies is an indication of Chinese government involvement in the hacking technique known as a “man-in-the-middle” cyber attack, the FBI said.

“The location of the [man-in-the-middle] system on backbone networks operating censorship equipment indicates that the [man-in-the-middle] attack could not have occurred without some level of cooperation by the administrators of these systems,” the FBI said.

Full article: FBI Links Chinese Government to Cyber Attacks on U.S. Companies (Washington Free Beacon)

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