China today denied allegations from two U.S. congressmen that the nation had cracked its way into congressional computer systems. In fact, says China's Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang, China doesn't even have the skills to do so.That's right. In this news story, the AP quoted Gang as saying "Is there any evidence? ... Do we have such advanced technology? Even I don't believe it."
We're supposed to believe that a nuclear-armed superpower, with a growing space program, who has more Internet users than the U.S., doesn't have the people with the necessary skills or technology needed to give cybersnooping a whirl?
It's standard operations for China to deny having anything to do with alleged state-sponsored cyberattacks, whether those allegations be from Britain, Germany, the United States, or Taiwan. Just last month Chinese officials denied that a U.S. government laptop had been illegally copied during Secretary of Commerce Carlos Gutierrez' visit to that nation.
This is the first time, that I'm aware of, the nation claimed not to have the capability.
Just last November, the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission (USCC) cited Chinese espionage as one of the top risks to the U.S. technology industry, as well as its growing cyberwarfare capabilities, including the multiyear Titan Rain cyberoffensive:
The Commission also expressed concern about China's increasingly capable military and its ability to destroy satellites and to wage cyberattacks against U.S. computer networks. Organized attacks on U.S. networks have been widely reported since 2005, following a coordinated assault that appears to have started in 2003, dubbed "Titan Rain." American security experts blame the campaign on hackers backed by the Chinese military.
Then there are the 2004 accusations, in this story, from Taiwanese government officials that Chinese hackers had broken into databases belonging to the Taiwanese Democratic Progressive Party. And I almost forgot about the 2001 story I wrote when the National Infrastructure Protection Center (NIPC) had noticed an increase in politically motivated Chinese hackers attacking Web sites following the collision of a U.S. intelligence plane and a Chinese fighter that year.