China says the US hacked a Chinese research university

China says the US hacked a Chinese research university
FILE PHOTO: A hooded man holds a laptop computer as cyber code is projected on him in this illustration picture taken on May 13, 2017. REUTERS/Kacper Pempel/Illustration

China, the US and Russia are pretty big deals when it comes to researching cyber warfare. For years, it’s been the norm for the US and allies to accuse China of widespread cyberattacks and spying. Recently, though, China has begun more directly accusing the US of staging official cyberattacks on its institutions.

This Monday, China called out the US for allegedly hacking into the computers of Northwestern Polytechnical University in its western city of Xi’an this past June. The university runs research programs in aeronautics, astronautics and marine technology engineering. According to China’s analysts, Washington hackers stole info on the university’s network management and other “core” tech. Reportedly, they traced network attack tools back to the National Security Agency (NSA), which is part of the US Department of Defense.

Key comments:

“The US and allies need to focus on explaining why China’s activity in this space is abnormal – beyond what most intelligence agencies do. Of course, China is likely to continue responding with similar accusations, which may or not be factual,” said Samantha Hoffman, a senior analyst at the Australian Strategic Policy Institute.

“It’s a change of direction and probably about almost 10 years overdue,” said Greg Austin, a Chinese cyberactivities expert t the Singapore-based International Institute for Strategic Studies. “The disparity between what the United States government and its allies have released on China and what China has released on American and ally attacks is massive. We knew almost nothing from Chinese officials on the scale of American attacks.”

“China strongly condemns it. The United States should immediately stop using its advantages to steal secrets and attack other countries,” China’s Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Mao Ning said.