China's People's Daily says linking China to hacking attacks is 'irresponsible'

China paper dismisses McAfee hacking allegations

China's top paper has dismissed as "irresponsible" suggestions that the country is linked to large-scale internet hacking.

The paper, seen as the main mouthpiece of China's ruling Communist Party, did not quote any official reaction to the hacking allegations but is the closest to an official response that the country has given to a recent McAfee report.

McAfee said this week that it had discovered a five-year long campaign of cyber attacks on the networks of international governments and companies.

While it did not name the "state actor" it believed was responsible, several experts have pointed the finger at China.

"Linking China to internet hacking attacks is irresponsible," said the report in the People's Daily.

"The McAfee report claims that a 'state actor' engaged in hacking for a large-scale internet espionage operation, but its analysis clearly does not stand up to scrutiny."

McAfee said the 72 victims in the hacking attacks included the governments of the United States, Taiwan, India, South Korea, Vietnam and Canada.

Other targets were the United Nations, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, the International Olympic Committee, and a wide range of companies from defence contractors to high-tech enterprises.

Cyber expert Jim Lewis with the Center for Strategic and International Studies said it was very likely that China was behind the hacking as some of the targets had information that would be of special interest only to Beijing.

McAfee's report said the attacks were the biggest ever discovered.

The People's Daily cited comments on the internet that suggested McAfee published the report to alarm people into buying more of its cyber security technology.

"In fact, as the number of hacking attacks on prominent international businesses and organisations has grown this year, some Western media have repeatedly depicted China as the villain behind the scenes," said the paper.

The Chinese government has used the People's Daily to round on earlier foreign claims of hacking.

Google said in June that it suspected Chinese hackers of trying to steal the passwords of hundreds of Google email account holders, including those of U.S. government officials, Chinese rights activists and journalists.

The overseas edition of the People's Daily hit back by saying that Google had become a "political tool" used to vilify the Chinese government, and warned that its statements could hurt its business.

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