China’s Foreign Minister, Yang Jiechi, says his country is calling for new rules and cooperation when it comes to Internet espionage issues. His comments were made to reporters on Saturday, during the annual session of the National People’s Congress.
In addition to calling for a team-up, Foreign Minister Jiechi also said that recent accusations that China was involved in a string of high-profile security incidents was part of an international smear campaign. His remarks, the New York Times noted, mark the first time an official with such a high rank has issued flat denials of this kind.
The claims that China is on a hacking spree targeting international governments and high-value targets is built on shaky ground, he said. Adding that anyone “who tries to fabricate or piece together a sensational story to serve a political motive will not be able to blacken the name of others nor whitewash themselves.”
Jiechi’s remarks come on day before China’s news agency Xinhua ran a story proclaiming the nation as a victim of cybercrime – not an aggressor. According to China’s CERT, the United States is the top attacker against the country. Their data shows that in the previous 59 days, 2,196 servers in the U.S. controlled some 1.29 million systems in China.
Xinhua quoted an unnamed official from China’s National Internet Information Office as saying that a “large amount of facts have proven that for many years, China has been one of the primary victims of cyber attacks.”
Last month, U.S. security firm Mandiant released a scathing report naming China as the source for a string of attacks discovered earlier this year. In addition, Mandiant said that China’s army controls hundreds, perhaps thousands, of hackers in order to carry out these types of attacks and develop the weapons used during them, including groups like APT1.
In a report for SecurityWeek, Palo Alto Networks’ Wade Williamson commented on the report and listed some of the indicators organizations can look for if they suspect these types of attacks.
Meanwhile, the debate in Washington over cybersecurity continues, and no one is changing their stance when it comes to blaming China.