In its annual report to Congress on Monday, the Pentagon accused the Chinese military of mounting cyber attacks on the U.S government and various defense contractors, marking the first time that the Obama administration has explicitly blamed Chinese officials for the country’s offensive cyber activities. The report, which called the cyber attacks a “serious concern,” said that U.S. government computer systems “continued to be targeted for intrusions, some of which appear to be attributable directly to the Chinese government and military.”
China’s primary objective appears to be the theft of industrial technology, but according to the report, the information gathered by Chinese hackers could easily be used for “building a picture of U.S. network defense networks, logistics, and related military capabilities that could be exploited during a crisis.” The diplomatic, economic, and defense industrial sectors that form the basis of U.S. defense programs are all being targeted, according to the report.
China rejected the accusations on Tuesday, saying that it “resolutely oppose[s] all forms of hacker attacks.” “We’re willing to carry out an even-tempered and constructive dialogue with the U.S. on the issue of Internet security. But we are firmly opposed to any groundless accusations and speculations, since they will only damage the cooperation efforts and atmosphere between the two sides to strengthen dialogue and cooperation,” said a spokeswoman for the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs.