March 29, 2009
Researchers based in Canada reveal the operation dubbed "GhostNet," a China-based attack that infiltrated high-value political, economic and media targets in 103 countries. Computer systems belonging to embassies, foreign ministries and other government offices, and the Dalai Lama's Tibetan exile centers in India, London and New York City were compromised. There was no conclusive evidence that the Chinese government was involved in its operation. Read
Customers use computers at an Internet cafe in Shanghai on Nov. 15, 2008.
(Qilai Shen / Bloomberg News)
Jan. 12, 2010
Google reveals a cyber attack conducted by "advanced persistent threats" based in Beijing with alleged ties to the People's Liberation Army that took place from mid-2009 to December 2009. Targets reportedly included Adobe Systems, Yahoo, Symantec, Northrop Grumman, Morgan Stanley and Dow Chemical. As a result of the attack, Google stopped the Chinese government from censoring its search engine, and it later exited the Chinese search market. Read
A Chinese flag flies outside Google Inc.'s offices in Beijing on June 2, 2011.
(Keith Bedford / Bloomberg)
Feb. 10, 2011
McAfee’s Dmitri Alperovitch documents “coordinated covert and targeted cyber attacks … against global oil, energy, and petrochemical companies” originating in China starting in November 2009. Read
Aug. 3, 2011
"Operation Shady Rat" paper released by McAfee’s Alperovitch. Documented a continuing series of cyber attacks against a cross section of companies and other entities allegedly sponsored by China, starting in 2006. Read
Aug. 12, 2011
Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Mich.), chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, gives a speech before the Assn. of Former Intelligence Officers saying, “The military and intelligence services of Russia and China are conducting a sustained campaign to steal American commercial and military secrets through cyber espionage.” Officials privately clarified that China’s state-sponsored efforts in economic espionage dwarfed those of Russia.
Rep. Mike Rogers, chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, conducts a news conference in the Capitol Visitor Center on May 2, 2012.
(Tom Williams / Roll Call)
Nov. 3, 2011
The Office of National Counterintelligence Executive puts out what officials say is a groundbreaking report, “Foreign Spies Stealing U.S. Economic Secrets in Cyberspace.” The report says: “Chinese actors are the world’s most active and persistent perpetrators of economic espionage. U.S. private sector firms and cybersecurity specialists have reported an onslaught of computer network intrusions that have originated in China, but the IC cannot confirm who was responsible.” Read
March 27, 2012
Gen. Keith Alexander, head of the National Security Agency and the Pentagon's U.S. Cyber Command, tells Congress that China was behind a sophisticated March 2011 attack on computer security firm RSA that compromised its SecurID authentication tokens, which were used by millions of people, including government and bank employees. Read
Sept. 19, 2012
U.S. Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta, during a visit to Beijing, says he pressed the Chinese on cyber espionage but made little headway.
Then-CIA director nominee Leon Panetta testifies on Capitol Hill on June 9, 2011.
(Manuel Balce Ceneta / Associated Press)
Dec. 6, 2012
The Times reports that the U.S. intelligence community is nearing completion of its first detailed review of cyber spying against American targets from abroad. The CIA and National Security Agency have traced attacks and thefts to Chinese military and intelligence agencies.
Feb. 19, 2013
Security firm Mandiant issues a report accusing a Chinese military unit of carrying out a campaign of stealing Western intellectual property. Access
This building in Shanghai was cited in a report by Internet security firm Mandiant as the home of a military-led hacking group.
(Peter Parks / AFP/Getty Images)
March 11, 2013
White House national security advisor Thomas Donilon in a speech cites concerns “about sophisticated, targeted theft of confidential business information and proprietary technologies through cyber intrusions emanating from China on an unprecedented scale.”
June 1, 2013
U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel says cyber attacks on American firms “appear to be tied to the Chinese government and military.” Read
U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel delivers a speech at an International Institute for Strategic Studies meeting in Singapore.
(Tom White / European Pressphoto Agency)