China top suspect in US government agency hacking

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By Larry Banks

The chief of US intelligence, James Clapper, said this week that China was the main suspect in the huge hacking of a US government agency that led to millions of America personnel records being compromised.

The comments from Clapper, who is the director of National Intelligence, were reported in the Wall Street Journal on Thursday, and it’s the first time the government has publicly accused China of the hacking attacks on the Office of Personnel Management.

Chinese to blame for US hacking

“You have to kind of salute the Chinese for what they did”, said Clapper at a Washington intelligence conference. Clapper’s office then confirmed that he had named China as one of the main suspects, but it said the government’s investigation was still ongoing.

In Beijing, Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang said it was strange that the US is still probing the hacking but believes China is to blame.

“This is an absurd logic”, he said. The US has previously blamed the hacking on Chinese hackers, but not in public.

OPM director Katherine Archuleta told the Senate Homeland Security Committee that personnel data of more than 4.2 million current and former federal employees was compromised in the breach, and that another attack had affected millions more people.

There could be as many as 18 million Americans affected, according to some news outlets. the comments from Clapper come just days after a meeting about cyber theft, at which John Kerry said that US made it crystal clear that cyber theft was not acceptable, and that the US needs to work with China to develop a code of conduct on state behaviour in cyberspace.

“It’s something that we agreed needs to be addressed and hopefully it can be addressed soon”, State Department spokesman John Kirby said. Clapper also said that the US government and American companies would be targets until policymakers addressed the lack of deterrents.

SOURCE: Reuters.

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