China cyber threat looms large

Attacks on government systems, U.S. interests on the rise

In testimony before the House Armed Services Committee on March 26, Navy Adm. Robert Willard warned of the increasing cyber threat from China, an official echo of complaints from Google and GoDaddy Group Inc. over malicious Chinese Internet activity.

“U.S. government networks and computer systems continue to be the target of intrusions that appear to have originated from within the PRC [People’s Republic of China],” said Willard, commander of the U.S. Pacific Command (PACOM).

Willard added that PACOM “faces increasingly active and sophisticated threats to our information and computer infrastructure,” according to prepared remarks. “These threats challenge our ability to operate freely in the cyber commons, which in turn challenges our ability to conduct operations during peacetime and in times of crisis.”

He also said the United States is taking steps to defend computer networks. “U.S. Pacific Command, in conjunction with the newly established U.S. Cyber Command and other service and agencies, is working on solutions to detecting these attacks on our networks and to responding to them in near real time.”

The admiral’s testimony comes after Christine Jones, an executive vice president and general counsel at the domain registration service GoDaddy, told the Congressional-Executive Commission on China March 25 that “in the first three months of this year, we have repelled dozens of extremely serious [distributed denial-of-service] attacks that appear to have originated in China,” according to a Computerworld report.

Google, which recently pulled its services from the China market amid controversy over censorship, has also cited cyber attacks that included several hacking incidents it said originated in China, according to a Washington Times report.

About the Author

Amber Corrin is a former staff writer for FCW and Defense Systems.

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