Recently, Qihoo 360, a Chinese cybersecurity company, has released a report on US National Security Agency (NSA)'s cyberattacks against Chinese institutions.
According to the report, a hacking group known as APT-C-40 is affiliated with the US government and has been secretly attacking China’s leading companies, governments, research institutes and infrastructures over the past decade. Chinese cybersecurity experts for the first time disclosed a typical weapon used by US National Security Agency (NSA) to target China. The weapon, which is called quantum technology, is the most powerful cyberattack tool of the NSA, and also one of its most important capability systems for cyber intelligence warfare. The Quantum attack system can be used to launch cyberattacks against all internet users around the world who access US websites such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Amazon. Chinese social media platforms such as QQ, a service of Tencent Holdings, are also among the US targets. The data stolen by the NSA around the world includes network profiles, account numbers and passwords, office and private documents, databases, online friends’ information, communications information, emails, real-time data from cameras and microphones.
The attacks are undifferentiated. In addition to China, US allies are also the targets of NSA’s cyberattacks. According to Wikileaks, the US National Security Agency (NSA) spied on French Presidents Jacques Chirac, Nicolas Sarkozy and Francois Hollande in 2006-12. In 2013 the NSA was accused of spying on German Chancellor Angela Merkel. In 2021, many media outlets say NSA had eavesdropped on Danish underwater internet cables from 2012 to 2014 to spy on top politicians in Germany, Sweden, Norway and France.
New characteristics of the US cyberattacks
According to Chinese security experts, there are six major changes of US cyberattack. First, NSA and CIA has built a large-scale organized cyber army. Second, US attack areas have expanded from computers and information networks to various key information infrastructures for both military and civilian uses. Third, the means of attacks have become diversified, including not only Trojan horses and viruses, but also loopholes, backdoors and counterfeit servers. Fourth, they previously aimed to show off hacking skills or seek industrial or economic interests through illegitimate means, but now they target China’s key information infrastructure and major national secrets. Fifth, threats are difficult to prevent in advance and can be found everywhere. Sixth, there have been greater harms. In peacetime, they steal national secrets, while in wartime, they steal information and create turmoil.