Hacking of U.S. government was criminal, not state-sponsored

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China Author: Orville Davis ; Last update: 03 December , 2015 10:33:13 

The issue was discussed during talks between US Attorney General Loretta Lynch, U.S. Department of Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson and Chinese Public Security Minister Guo Shengkun, in which they agreed on guidelines for requesting assistance in cyber crime cases. 

While China has announced the arrest of the OPM hackers, it has not divulged any further details. 

China’s state run news agency, Xinhua, said that an investigation had determined that the hacking attack on OPM that compromised personal data on more than 20 million individuals was a criminal case as opposed to a government-sponsored attack. 

This is the reason US officials say they appear to have been carried out in an effort to lessen tensions with Washington. Justice Department spokesman Marc Raimondi and Department of Homeland Security spokesman S.Y. Lee declined to comment. 

Various unnamed U.S. government officials had previously blamed China for the attack, though, the Obama administration did not publicly point the finger at the Chinese government. 

So if it wasn’t the Chinese government, then who could it be?

 Beijing is known to scrutinize visa applications of people with US ties, based on travel patterns and other data. The meeting was primarily held to discuss issues related to cyber security. The meeting was a follow-up to the cyber accord reached when Chinese President Xi Jinping visited the White House in September. 

“China is not the only source of some of our cyber attacks, but it’s certainly one of the major sources of cyber attacks”, Kendall said. Evanina also indicated that China is the largest perpetrator of espionage against US businesses.

“From what we see, the majority of the intrusions today are coming from sets that we believe are MSS [China’s Ministry of State Security] or MSS contractors versus the PLA”, Dmitri Alperovitch of the cybersecurity firm CrowdStrike said. 

Chinese hackers also stole sensitive data on US aerial refueling schedules for military tankers.

 The Obama administration has refused to acknowledge the Chinese government’s role in cyber attacks against the United States. 

The cyber security agency CrowdStrike revealed in October that Chinese hacking continued unabated after the summit agreement.

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