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Washington: ‘Another Chinese hacking unit exists’

Posted June. 11, 2014 06:18,   

Updated January. 01, 1970 09:00


A new claim argues that China operates Putter Panda, another hackers’ unit under the Chinese People’s Liberation Army.

The New York Times reported on Monday that CrowdStrike, a U.S. information security firm, released a report based on investigation into the hacking activities by the Chinese military hackers’ group known as Unit 61486. The U.S. Department of Justice already indicted five officers with China’s Unit 61398 on the charges of hacking last month, but the new report claims that Unit 61486, another military hackers’ unit, have been hacking organizations and companies of the U.S. and its allies.

With China having flatly denied suspicions raised by the U.S., attention is focusing on whether Washington-Beijing conflicts will further intensify in the wake of the fresh claim about another hacking unit in the Chinese military.”

According to the report, over the past seven years, the Chinese hackers’ unit has hacked computers at government agencies in the U.S. and Japan; military contractors that supply the U.S. government with parts, including nuclear weapons and drones; and workers with satellite firms. The unit has thus stolen confidential information in commerce and military fields. In addition, Unit 61486 in question has shared information by frequently exchanging emails and used the same Internet protocol as Unit 61398 involving the five Chinese officers whom the U.S. Department of Justice filed suit against last month.

Unit 61486, whose identity has been newly revealed, is called “Putter Panda.” The term is combination of “putter” used in golf, and the “panda” bear symbolizing China. The hackers sent emails, including invitations, to people who frequently participate in conferences on golf as theme, and install hacking programs in computers of leaders who inadvertently opened such emails, and stole key intelligence.

According to the security firm, the hackers also attempted hacking targeting leaders who frequently attend military and satellite conferences by using a similar method. Leaders of major agencies and firms, who were hacked by Putter Panda, amount to hundreds. The New York Times said the U.S. National Security Agency has already confirmed this finding, and is currently tracing more than 20 hackers’ groups in China.

Meanwhile the U.S. Department of Defense mentioned for the first time China’s new intercontinental ballistic missile Dongfeng-41. The capability of the Second Infantry Unit, a strategic missile unit under the Chinese People’s Army, was explained in the Pentagon’s annual report entitled the “Military and Security Developments Regarding the People`s Republic of China 2014” released last week. Being mounted on a mobile missile launcher, the missile can load 10 nuclear warheads, and provide a max range of 14,000 kilometers, which covers the entire U.S. mainland.