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India, Belgium warn of Chinese attacks
Published: 2008-05-08

Add India and Belgium to the list of countries worried about attacks coming from China.

Officials from both countries warned the public over the past week that online attacks -- appearing to come from the People's Republic of China (PRC) -- have targeted their government networks. Unnamed Indian officials told the Times of India that almost daily probes have focused on mapping and scanning India's official networks over the past 18 months. The Justice Minister of Belgium warned that e-mail attacks, aimed at compromising government computers, appear to be coming from China, according to a United Press International report.

Government officials in the United States, German and the United Kingdom have all warned of systematic attacks that appear to be emanating from China. Because computers can be compromised and used by attackers anywhere in the world, the attacks could easily be coming from cyber criminals or other nations using Chinese computers as beachheads. Yet, the pattern of attacks and China's doctrine of asymmetric warfare support theories that the nation could be the source of the attacks, according to a recent U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) report.

"Although it is unclear if these intrusions were conducted by, or with the endorsement of, the PLA (People's Liberation Army) or other elements of the PRC government, developing capabilities for cyberwarfare is consistent with authoritative PLA writings on the subject," the DOD stated in the report.

China has denied responsibility for any attacks coming from the country, but security experts have stated that the country -- and at least two dozen, and as many as a hundred, other nations -- routinely probe, and even attack, each other networks. Germany's government has acknowledged, for example, that the nation's intelligence agency has engaged in cyber espionage to gain information from computers in Afghanistan and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

In April, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) decided to establish a Cyber Defense Management Authority (CDMA) to coordinate its member countries responses to hostile online attacks.

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Posted by: Robert Lemos
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